Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review: School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

If you're a fan of Rachel Hawkins's Hex Hall series no doubt you, like me, waited with bated breath for the release of its sure-to-be-superfantasticllyawesome spinoff, School Spirits! And if you haven't been able to read it yet, trust me, you MUST get your hands on this book. It's every bit as full of action, laughs, and both lovable and infuriating boys as its predecessor (which, if you haven't read, you definitely ought to). 

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
Released May 14, 2013
Source of my copy: Gift
Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy's mom decides they need to take a break. 
Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who's always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush. 
Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt?  
Rachel Hawkins' delightful spin-off brings the same wit and charm as the New York Times best-selling Hex Hall series. Get ready for more magic, mystery and romance!
Okay, so, as a huge, huge fan of the Hex Hall books, I had high expectations for School Spirits. And guess what? They were totally met. I loved Izzy when she was introduced previously, and I love her even more after reading her story. You think Sophie is sarcastic and kick-butt? Clearly it runs in the family.

Izzy Brannick has never had a normal life. She's never been to public school, or, well, had friends. She's spent all her time monster-hunting with her two best friends--her mom, and her sister, Finley. But suddenly, between the blink of an eye and the turn of a page, Finley's gone and Izzy's registered at Mary Evans High, in search of a semblance of normality and a mysterious ghost--all while making sure the school's unfortunately named ghost-hunting club (PMS-- the Paranormal Management Society) doesn't get in over their heads.

Infiltrating PMS turns out to be a lot easier than Izzy expected. Befriended by founding (and only) members Dex, Romy, and Anderson, Izzy's quickly on the fast track not only to info on the ghost, but--could it be?--friendship. If ever there was a book with characters to adore, this is the one. Every single one of them came to life and made me desperately want to be friends with them--or, in some cases, punch them out. If I were to put emphasis on any one character (besides Izzy) it would be Dex.

Oh, Dex! Dex, of the old-fashioned talk and asthma; Dex of the peacoat and complete and utter adorableness. I love you so. Dex is very, very different from Archer, but absolutely fantastic just the same! Where Archer is all snark and shielded emotions, Dex is sweet and genuine. But both, of course, are incredibly good looking ;) *Cough* Ummm, anyway, back to the book.

Izzy's caught up in a lot of drama in School Spirits.  Not only does she have a ghost to deal with--which is becoming much trickier than a silly little haunting problem ought to be--she's also struggling to prove to her mother that she is good at being a Brannick, cope with Finley's absence, and have social life--while remembering that said social life is fleeting and her friends will inevitably be left behind. If that isn't complicated enough, toss in a maybe-crush on a maybe-normal boy, and increasingly odd interactions with Torin, the ever-infuriating but sort of charming warlock trapped in the family mirror. Oh yes, Torin's back and better more confusing than ever, with more allusions to secrets about Izzy...and maybe something more.

Honestly, poor Izzy's life is almost as dramatic as her new favorite TV show, high school drama Ivy Springs.

While the book is packed full of adventure and mystery, the ending has just enough closure to satisfy but leave the door wide open for another book in the series. Unfortunately, that's not happening at the moment. But hey, never say never! And in this case I definitely won't--I need more of Izzy, Dex, and everyone else!

School Spirits undeniably earned itself <*><*><*><*><*>


Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Auracle by Gina Rosati

I was scouring my local Library’s bookshelves, looking for something to read. It’s been awhile since I really search the Library. It’s amazing what little gems you can find, gems that go unnoticed. A gem such as Auracle…
Auracle by Gina Rosati
Released August 7, 2012
Source of my copy: Library 
16 year old Anna Rogan has a secret she's only shared with her best friend, Rei; she can astrally project out of her body, allowing her spirit to explore the world and the far reaches of the universe.
When there's a fatal accident and her classmate Taylor takes over Anna's body, what was an exhilarating distraction from her repressive home life threatens to become a permanent state. Faced with a future trapped in another dimension, Anna turns to Rei for help. Now the two of them must find a way to get Anna back into her body and stop Taylor from accusing an innocent friend of murder. Together Anna and Rei form a plan but it doesn't take into account the deeper feelings that are beginning to grow between them.
 Can we just talk about the cover for a bit? Oh my gosh, it’s so ethereal, mysterious, and absolutely gorgeous. It’s stunning. I’m sad to say it was what originally drew me to Auracle. I am afraid to admit that I am a sucker for pretty book covers!

Auracle is so unique, from its title to its cover to its story. The story and the characters held me captive from the beginning to the end. It’s been awhile since a book has truly done that for me.

Anna, our protagonist, is a 16 year old girl. She can astrally project out of her body, allowing her spirit to go anywhere in the universe. Sounds cool, right? For abilities, I say it’s pretty awesome one. Until one of her classmates, after a terrible incident, hijacks Anna’s body. Nobody knows how to get her out, not Anna, Taylor (the hijacker), or Anna’s best friend, Rei.

Anna is adorable. I love her. She is funny and down to earth. She always thinks about other first. She struggles with her home life yet still comes out shinning? Anna is some everyone can relate to and admire. Anna would be someone I would hopefully be friends with. 

Rei…  Where do I start? Rei is smart, loyal, extremely protective of Anna, strong, and hot! But he is also down to earth like Anna. If you remember from my Teaser Tuesday, he's funny too! He truly is a swoon worthy guy! I kind of hate Gina Rosati for creating him and making my already high expectation of the male species even higher.

While I was sad to see Auracle end, I was happy the way it ended. It wraps it up nice and neat, no loose ends. Auracle is one of the books where you want a sequel to see more of the characters not because the actually storyline needs it. In fact, I wouldn’t want a sequel because Auracle is so wonderful on its own.

Auracle was an awesome find! I could not put it down! Gina Rosati did an excellent job, especially considering this was her debut novel.

Auracle most certiantly gets

Cover Reveal: Searching for Beautiful by Nyrae Dawn

Today Nyrae Dawn and Entangled Teen are revealing the cover for SEARCHING FOR BEAUTIFUL, which releases on March 4, 2014. Also enter below for a paperback of the book or an eBook!

On to the reveal!

Before, Brynn had a group of best friends, a loving boyfriend, a growing talent for pottery. She had a life. And after…she had none. 
When Brynn lost the boyfriend who never loved her, the friends who feel she betrayed their trust, and the new life just beginning to grow inside her, she believes her future is as empty as her body. But then Christian, the boy next door, starts coming around. Playing his guitar and pushing her to create art once more. She meets some new friends at the local community center, plus even gets her dad to look her in the eye again…sort of. 
But can Brynn open up her heart to truly find her life’s own beauty, when living for the after means letting go of the before?

Excerpt from Searching for Beautiful:
Christian looks at me. I wait for a smart-aleck reply or a smile but get neither. Just his blue eyes sucking me in like a whirlpool. “That’s what I thought you would say. So you just have to keep fighting for it. Keep fighting to get it back.”
    My eyes won’t leave his and his won’t leave mine. And he’s cute. God, he’s so cute, I just want to focus on his cuteness. I want that to be all that matters. When his hand comes up and cups my cheek, I gasp. He brushes his thumb under my eye and licks his lips and I’m frozen and on fire and close to having a heart attack and anxious all at the same time.
    Slowly, he leans forward and I know he’s giving me time. And my heart is leaping and I want to feel his lips. This is Christian. The boy who asked me to dance. The boy I ran to my mom about and told her that I loved. And now he’s my friend. The first person who has made me feel normal since everything happened.
    But I’m so scared. Scared of messing it up. Scared he’ll decide he doesn’t want me. Scared of losing him. Of getting hurt.
    He gets closer and I smell his sweet, sugary scent. See his mouth and wet lips and that hair I want to touch.
    See the one person besides Emery who I have. The one person I can’t lose. “Wait,” I say and Christian stops moving. He’s still close. So very, very close that his lips are only an inch away from mine. “I’m scared,” I admit.
    “I won’t hurt you.”
    And I swear a part of me believes him. Maybe all of me. But how do I know if that’s the right decision or not?
    He runs his hand down my face and touches my hair. Love that he’s not nervous to do it the way I am with him and I watch his fingers, brown against my red hair.
    “Go out with me, Bryntastic. Let’s go do something this weekend. Don’t keep running. I won’t even try to kiss you again unless you tell me to. Or I’ll wait for you to do it. Just let go. Live.”
    His words are what I want. I want them so badly and they sound so perfect that it’s hard not to just scream, “Yes!” right now. “Why?” I ask him. “Why are you so nice to me?”
    I love his strength. Love that he doesn’t even hesitates before saying, “Because you were my first crush. Because I used to watch you conqueror anything and used to listen to you laugh with your friends. You were happy and I loved your smile. Because I had to work up the courage to ask you to dance and I did, and then I left and the one thing I missed was that smile. I watched my sister lose hers and watched my family fall apart and when I came back here? I wanted to see your smile again. Because you’re beautiful when you smile and you’ve lost it now. I want you to conquer this because what the hell is the purpose in it all if the first girl I ever danced with loses her smile?”

    I don’t realize I’m crying until Christian wipes my tears. “You think I’m beautiful?”  

About Nyrae Dawn:

Writing has always been Nyrae Dawn’s passion. There have been times in her life where she wasn’t able to chase that dream the way she desired, but she always found her way back to telling stories.

One of her loves has always been writing about teens. There’s something so fresh and fun about the age that she loves exploring. Her husband says it’s because she doesn’t want to grow up. She doesn’t think that’s such a bad thing and luckily for her, he doesn’t either.

Nyrae gravitates toward character-driven stories. She loves going on emotional journeys with characters whether it be reading or writing. And yes, she’s a total romantic at heart and proud.

Nyrae resides in sunny Southern California with her husband (who still makes her swoon) and her two awesome kids.

When she’s not with her family, you can be pretty sure you’ll find her with a book in her hand or her laptop and an open document in front of her.

She writes for Entangled Publishing, Grand Central Publishing and is self-published.

Nyrae is represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management.

Doesn't Searching for Beautiful sound AMAZING? And that cover is absolutely gorgeous. Add in that excerpt? I'm sold. I absolutely cannot wait to read this one. If you feel the same, don't forget to enter to win!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tor's Stacking the Shelves- 7/27/13

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted over at Tynga's Reviews, where booklovers can share whatever awesome new reads they got in the week, whether purchased, borrowed, or gifted!

Since this week is my last week of freedom (I start band camp next week), I decided I am going to read as many books as I can. I may have gone a bit overboard with on this...

  • Storm by Brigid Kemmer: I think I already read this book on my Kindle but I couldn't remember so I got it anyways!
  • Auracle by Gina Rosati: I did my Teaser Tuesday on this book. I randomly found this in my library and what a great find it was!
  • Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev: Another random find! It looks interesting so I though I would give it a try!
  • Destined by Aprilynne Pike: Because I avoided the library for a year (I owed $11.50 in fines and was ashamed to show my face. It's all good now because I finally paid it off!) I am finally getting to read the last book in the Wings Series! I am excited to see how this series ends!
  • Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst: Another random find! It turns out I already read a book by this author, Enchanted Ivy, which happens to be one my favorites. The story seems so unique and interesting, I can't wait to read it!
  • Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti: I love this author! When I found Keep Holding On, I was surprise because my library never has Susane Colasanti books in, you always have to put it on hold. Naturally, I grabbed it before anyone else could. 
  • Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: I've wanted to read this book for awhile now but never had a chance. I've heard some good things about so I am excited to read it!
  • Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell: It looked like a quick, easy read. I just randomly picked it so I don't know what to expect!
  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendra Blake: A friend recommended this to me (I think it was Mag). I was so happy when I saw it at the Library! 

 There are some awesome deals for a bunch of YA books right now so I decided to take advantage of them!

  • Pivot Point by Kasie West: The whole idea that this character's life is this giant "What if?" is intriguing. 
  • Spellcaster by Claudia Gray: I have a weakness for books that involve magic. I love, love books with magic in them. I also am a fan of Claudia Gray. 
  • Defiance by C.J. Redwine: Another on my to- read list. I was ecstatic when I found out it was only $1.99! 
  • Starling by Lesley Livingston: Another weakness of mine- mythology. I don't care what kind of mythology it is, if it has mythology in it I will most likely read it. In this case, Starling has Norse mythology which I don't know anything about so this will be interesting! 
I originally wasn't going to by anything other than chapstick but... 

  • Legend by Marie Lu: This was recommended to me a while ago by one of my Tumblr followers (I think Mag also recommended this to me too). I've only heard positive things about Legend so I am excited to read it! 

 Care to share your thoughts on any of these books? Or did you get any awesome new books that you want to talk about? Leave me a link in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: 7/24/13

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking the Spine, spotlighting books that have not yet been released but are being greatly anticipated! What are we waiting on this week? Let's find out!!

Tor is waiting on... 

Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike

Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told. 
Tavia immediately searches for answers, desperate to determine why she feels so drawn to a boy she hardly knows. But when Tavia discovers that the aunt and uncle who took her in after her parents' death may have actually been responsible for the plane crash that killed them--and that she may have been the true intended victim--she flees for the safety of Camden, Maine, where the boy she sees in her visions instructs her to go.
Now, Tavia is on the run with no one to trust. No one, that is, except for her best friend and longtime crush, Benson.
Tavia feels torn between the boy who mysteriously comes to her at night and the boy who has been by her side every step of the way. But what Tavia doesn't know is that the world is literally falling apart and that to save it she will have to unite with the boy in her visions. Only problem? To do so would mean rejecting Benson's love. And that's the one thing Tavia Michaels swore she'd never do.
 I loved Aprilynne Pike's Wings Series, so I am excited about her new series Earthbound and where it will go!

Mag is waiting on...

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts. 
Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth. 
With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.
 Rachel Hawkins' Hex Hall books (plus spinoff School Spirits) are some of my absolute favorites, so I CANNOT WAIT to see what she's doing with her next books. And this one sounds AMAZING. I can't wait to read it!!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave us your WoW links!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: 7/23/13

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play, and the rules are simple:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Tor's Teasers:

My teasers are from Auracle by Gina Rosati. I saw this book at the library today and thought it looked good. Auracle sounds different and enrapturing. I just picked this book up so its to soon to tell if I like it or not. 

     1. "'Finders keepers, Anna. I'm not going anywhere. You go away.'"
        -Page 76

     2. "'Yeah, and I used to think my Power Rangers underwear were cool, too."
        -Page 47

Mag's Teasers:

My teasers this week are from Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft by Jody Gehrman, a book I received for review before my hiatus. That means a review coming soon, so keep an eye out! 

1. "Sometimes knowledge is power, and sometimes it's a deadly liability."
   -Kindle Location 3015 
2. "What is insanity, though, Audrey?" He flashed a feral grin. A vein throbbed in his temple. "Isn't that just the word we use when people won't conform to our limitations?"
   -Kindle Location 6277
 What are you reading this week? Leave us your TT links!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tor's Stacking the Shelves- 7/20/13

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted over at Tynga's Reviews, where booklovers can share whatever awesome new reads they got in the week, whether purchased, borrowed, or gifted!

This week I was at a band camp so I wasn't able to get any books from the Library. I did, however, buy a book on my Kindle and swapped books with a friend. 


-Falling Into You by Jasinda Wilder: This book kept popping on my recommendations so I decided to get it. Its Mature YA/New Adult and so far I like it! 


-Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: This has been on my to read list for a while and when I saw this on my friend's book shelf, we decided to swap books. I took this and he took Insurgent by Veronica Roth. 

Did you guys get any books this week? Care to share? Leave a link in the comments!!

Happy Reading,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

Ever since I saw the cover and synopsis back in November, I've been dying to read The Summer I Became a Nerd. While I've never really been into comic books, I absolutely adore the fandom life and all things nerd. So I knew I would be able to identify with and love this book, and I wasn't disappointed!

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
Released May 7, 2013
Source of my copy: Gift
On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way. 
Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.
When we join Maddie's story, she's smack in the middle of her nerdy double life, retrieving the final installment of her favorite comic from the mail in secret. It's not like she could get it from the local comic store-- someone could SEE! But when a shipping error requires her to do just that, Maddie is forced to reevaluate the facade she shows the public and the person she keeps hidden inside.

I absolutely loved this book. As adorably dorky and delightfully fantastic Logan encourages Maddie to break out of her mask and embrace her inner geek, we're pulled along for the ride. I especially loved the RPGing; as a fledgling D&D player, I would love to do something so large-scale and in person. All of the nerdy adventures throughout the book felt fun and authentic. All the secondary characters were fabulous, as well, from Logan's equally geeky best friend Dan to Maddie's "friend" and foil Rayann, they were personal and real enough for me to love (and hate!) them.

If anything annoyed me about the The Summer I Became a Nerd, it was the painful lying and double life Maddie clung to. I'm one of those readers who experience secondhand shame and embarrassment easily, and I knew she was going downhill fast, with barely enough time to finish the hole she was digging for herself. It frustrated me that she worried so much about what people--even people she didn't necessarily like and "friends" within quotes--thought about her, at the expense of not only other, truer friends, but HER OWN HAPPINESS. That just frustrated me.

Still, the good more than outweighed what could be called "bad," and the book stole my heart and inspired me to find more books that line up with my nerdiest side--I don't know now why I haven't before!

A book that is most certainly--say it with me--geek chic, The Summer I Became a Nerd gets

~If you like The Summer I Became a Nerd, try Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern~

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: 7/17/13

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking the Spine, spotlighting books that have not yet been released but are being greatly anticipated! What are we waiting on this week? Let's find out!!

Mag is waiting on...

Infinityglass by Myra McEntire

The stakes have risen even higher in this third book in the Hourglass series. 
The Hourglass is a secret organization focused on the study of manipulating time, and its members — many of them teenagers -­have uncanny abilities to make time work for them in mysterious ways. Inherent in these powers is a responsibility to take great care, because altering one small moment can have devastating consequences for the past, present, and future. But some time trav­elers are not exactly honorable, and sometimes unsavory deals must be struck to maintain order. 
With the Infinityglass (central to understanding and harnessing the time gene) at large, the hunt is on to find it before someone else does. 
But the Hourglass has an advantage. Lily, who has the ability to locate anything lost, has determined that the Infinityglass isn't an object. It's a person. And the Hourglass must find him or her first. But where do you start searching for the very key to time when every second could be the last?
Myra McEntire's Hourglass series is one of my absolute favorites. I'm so excited to see what happens next with the characters I've come to adore :D

Tor is waiting on...

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...
Maggie Stiefvater is one of my favorite authors. The first book, Raven Boys, was awesome.  So I can't wait to see what happens to Gansey, Blue, Adam, and Ronan. 

What are you waiting on this week?