Blog Tour: Arson

You can find the whole tour schedule here for guest posts & other reviews :)
Also, don't forget to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of Arson & a $25 Amazon gift card!

Arson (Arson #1) by Estevan Vega
Release Date ~ May 4, 2010
StoneGate Ink Press
ISBN13: 9781615666034
E-copy received from author for blog tour
Goodreads Synopsis:

Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl--who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin--moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he's never had: purpose. After years of living in fear, he will be forced to confront his haunting past and embrace the unknown as he walks the fine line between boy and monster. Edgy, realistic, and breathtaking, Arson, the chilling chronicle of an isolated teenager with unimaginable ability, is set to ignite the hearts and minds of a new generation.

Arson sounded so completely different from other YA books I've read that it instantly drew my interest, and after seeing the positive reviews other bloggers had given it I knew this was one I just had to try out for myself.

I was pleased to find a unique book which is able to take some familiar ideas (mutant teenager with a power he doesn't want and can't control very well) and still embark into new territory. And while it isn't flawless, it's a very quick read which is a great choice for those looking for something a bit more eccentric than your typical YA fare.

  1. A deliciously creepy beginning:

    Guys, what's better than a book that starts up by completely creeping you out? Things are so messed up and mysterious that you keep reading because you're like, I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING, why is everything SO WEIRD?! And Arson COMPLETELY delivers in this area - especially with Arson's secretive past and the arrival of a new neighbour- a teenage girl who always wears a mask so that people can't see her face (not even her parents). Masks just freak me out (I watched that movie, The Strangers, years ago and I was terrified by all the random masked people popping around everywhere *shivers*)
  2. Secondary characters who drive the story:
    Um, I kind of hate to admit this but I was less than enchanted with Arson. But EMERY- that was a character I could get behind. I think Arson confused me more than anything, because I had a hard time understanding his motivations and character, so Emery really stole the show for me. She admittedly creeped me out at first, and well, most of the time with her mask but she was just a lively character, with so much dimension to her. And I loved that she wouldn't take crap from anybody. She's a little bit broken, but not weak by any means.
  3. Complete with an adrenaline-pumping ending:

    My heart was just POUNDING by the last few chapters as the story just completely took off in a different direction. I knew it was slowly being angled that way, but then BAM, off we go! I really don't want to spoil anything, although it isn't really like we know too much but the conspiracy theorist in me was just jumping up and down in excitement because I was so caught off guard and pleased by how things turned out.
But there were still a few areas where I felt like I was wanting a bit more - I found most of the dialogue to be rather stilted and didn't always flow as nicely as it should. And I wasn't really buying the romance in it, at least not yet. I loved the friendship aspect of it, but I just wasn't quite buying into the love story. I think with a bit more time I really could get into it though.

And there was definitely so much going on in terms of secrets and characters that I was confused more than once. I was trying to piece together what was central to the plot and what wasn't - and frankly, I really didn't care that much about Emery's parents and I couldn't quite pin down Arson's Grandma, although I found her intriguing. And messed up - I'd really like to know more about THAT history for the book.

So while I really enjoyed the idea of this book, and really appreciated the strong, eccentric characters who aren't cookie cutter stereotypes, I didn't feel that the execution was as strong as it could have been. But overall, still a very good start to an exciting series.

You can connect with the author, Estevan Vega here:
At his website http://www.estevanvega.com/
On Twitter @EstevanVega
Or on his Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/estevan.vega

Purchase Links
United States

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! :)


Review: Temptation

Temptation (Temptation #1) by Karen Ann Hopkins
Release Date ~ June 26, 2012
Harlequin TEEN
ISBN13: 9780373210541
e-ARC received from publisher via Net Galley

Goodreads Synopsis:
Your heart misleads you. That's what my friends and family say. But I love Noah. And he loves me. We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other's arms. It should be ROSE & NOAH forever, easy. But it won't be. Because he's Amish. And I'm not.

I've done a surprisingly good job of avoiding Amish novels in the past, regardless of their prevalence within the Christian fiction genre (which I only occasionally read. Probably because there are a few too many of the same Amish stories everywhere). But Temptation caught my eye, and I figured that maybe this would be a good way to give it a shot.

And I was immediately fascinated by and drawn into the story; Noah and Rose were intriguing, and surprisingly lifelike. But the story, ultimately, completely fell apart for me and I found myself increasingly frustrated with the book for a number of reasons.

  1. An impossible situation:

    We all know right from the get-go that this relationship between Noah and Rose just really isn't going to work (or it won't work out easily, at least). But you still can't help but root for them at first, and hope that somehow they can find a way to beat the odds and find some way to be together that makes everyone happy. But some times, life just isn't like that. Some times, actually more like most of the time, some people will be unhappy with how things turn out and the decisions you make. And that can hurt. So I was really hoping for a powerful book that would deal with some hardhitting issues about growing up and making those hard choices.
But unfortunately, Temptation utterly fell flat for me. Try hard as I might, I simply could not buy into the book or its characters. Temptation is very clearly a romance, and I found there was little else to it which I found disappointing. The relationship between Noah and Rose is all-consuming, ularly disappointed with how the Amish culture ended up being portrayed. I understand that Temptation is a work of fiction, and that not all Amish communities are the same. I've studied cultural relativism, and I'm familiar with that way of thinking. But my problem is that taking such a biased perspective of one culture puts the story in a rather precarious position.

Just about any reader with a modern sense of gender equality and contemporary relationships will be shocked by many things which take place between Noah and Rose. And I was extremely disappointed to see that so much of it fell on the expectations of Rose to change- understandable from one perspective, but there was very little serious thought given to any other option.

I will say though that the dual perspectives were really well done- Rose and Noah totally sounded like different people, and it was a technique that worked well for the story to present their differing ideas and contrasting backgrounds.

Noah's a difficult character to relate to, but that's understandable given his past and the community he grew up in. Rose's weakness, however, I found to be rather uncharacteristic. And for all the reasons they say they love each other, those seem to be the qualities they want to stamp out of one another.

Moreover, the insta!love was too much for me. Thse two jump right into a teenage "true love" mindset, hurtling towards forever at the speed of light. They're extraordinarily immature and I jus twant to lock them up for a few years just so they can grow up and think things through slowly. The majority of their problems could have been easily solved had they stopped making out every minute they had to actually have conversation with each other and figure out why they liked each other. And they're shockingly physically close considering their Amish community doesn't even allow boys and girls to sit next to each other at the table.

I'm not sure whether the author simply didn't know much about Amish culture in general, or whether she was trying to present her opinion on it but it felt rather stereotyped and narrow. That, to me, was one of the most disappointing aspects of the book. There was a great opportunity here that was completely missed.

Temptation is truly another Romeo & Juliet inspired story; it features many familiar elements of that famous Shakespearean work, but I'm afraid I disliked this one even more than I dislike Romeo & Juliet.

Purchase Links
United States


Dreaming Anastasia Deleted Scene

So not too long ago I heard about the Dreaming Anastasia series - a book series featuring Russian mythology and one of my former historical obsessions, the Romanov family! It sounded like something I would love, so I picked up the first book one day and hoping I can get to reading it soon!

But today I have something special as well, which is a deleted scene from the newest book in the series ANASTASIA FOREVER, as well as a guest post from author Joy Preble! Enjoy & let me know what you think of the book after reading more about it.

Here is a bit of background on the scene from Joy:
“It occurs after Anne and Ethan have found Professor Olensky murdered in his office. They are desperately trying to figure out what to do and being chased by Viktor's henchman Dimitri. And my initial impulse was that I very much wanted them to share their first kiss on that El train platform. It felt like the perfect moment -- the classic 'everything is going crazy and this is the person I've been running from but really he's exactly the right person for me' passionate kiss... followed by danger looming and breaking them apart.”
And then, we’re alone.
The wind’s whipping our hair and Ethan’s still holding my hand, our fingers lacing together. Neither of us says a word. The wind swirls a piece of newspaper around on the track and a couple of pigeons peck at the platform across the tracks, looking for bits of food.
“I’m sorry,” Ethan says as a twenty-something guy wearing an unzipped grey hoodie over his green scrubs plops himself down on the bench across the tracks and the pigeons, startled, fly off to search for other crumbs. He lets go of my hand and thrusts both his hands in his jacket pockets.
“You’re right. It is your battle. Probably as much as it is mine.” He blows out a breath.
“We were all so certain after the assassination that at any moment we could find a way to fulfill the prophecy. Get Anastasia back. Restore the Romanovs to power through her. But we didn’t. Ten years passed, then another ten. Then – well, it’s easier than you think for the years to slip by. Each time I though I’d found the girl who could do this, it turned out I was wrong. And each time, I think I just slipped a little farther from the person I used to be. The person who was so clear of his purpose. I never gave up, but I think I stopped trying as hard.”
Ethan stops. Looks down the track for a bit. There’s no train in sight. Across the way, a tall girl in a denim mini and black leggings joins scrub suit guy on his bench. She’s bobbing along to whatever is playing in her headphones. Everywhere I look, it seems, the world is going on like normal. Except I know it’s not.
Ethan’s gaze holds mine, his blue eyes so tired and sad that I feel like crying except I think I’ve used up my quota of tears today. “If Viktor’s betrayed us,” Ethan says, “it’s because I let him. Because I just stopped paying attention. And that part, I do have to bear alone.”
I’m not sure what to say to him. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is one of those times where I probably don’t need to say anything. But he’s standing there in such pain that I start talking.
“We’ll find her, Ethan,” I say, even though I’m not at all sure that’s ever really going to happen. “I mean, you found me, didn’t you?”
And then we just stand there. The wind dies down for a bit, although I can tell from the clouds that it’s going to pick up again soon. Underneath my feet I can feel a slight vibration. Far down the track, our train is coming. Ethan steps closer to me. My heart beats harder: thump, thump, hop in my chest.
I study his face. Those blue eyes. That shaggy chestnut hair all tousled from the wind. 
He’s going to kiss me. And I guess it should be weird or whatever. But it’s not. It’s just me and him – and okay, the two strangers across the way – and all the other stuff just sort of drops away. Because when you’re going to kiss someone – really kiss someone – it’s got to be just about that and not anything else.
And then he does. Kiss me, I mean.
He bends down a little, cause he’s taller, and presses his lips to mine. And it’s way better than the kiss on the forehead. And way, way better than the dream kiss since this time he’s just kissing me, not trying to suck the life out of me. His lips are warm and full and sweet, and they feel good against mine.
So I kiss him back.
 “I almost lost you, too,” Ethan whispers against my lips. His breath tickles and little sparks tingle their way down my spine. “Here, I’ve just found you, and I almost lost you.” We kiss some more. I reach up and wrap my arms around his neck. I rest one hand on his shoulder – right where he’s got that lion tattoo etched into his skin.
In novels, you always read phrases like ‘they kissed and time stood still.’ And until now, I’ve always thought what a load of crap that was. Cause even when I was making out with Adam Greene, time was marching right along.
And maybe it’s because Adam was a sort of slurpy kisser. And that’s why my mind kept wandering to images of Buster lapping water from his dish. 
Or maybe he just wasn’t the right one.
But right now, time is still. And Ethan’s lips, and his hands that are resting against the small of my back, are filling my head so completely there’s no room for anything else.
But then our train pulls up to the platform. The doors open, and I let Ethan take my hand and lead me inside. We settle into our seats as the train gives a lurch and starts up again, headed downtown. I’m sitting next to the window. Ethan’s looking at me like I’d always hope someone who’d just kissed me would look at me.
And then he’s not. Looking at me, that is.
Because he’s looking out the window beyond me. Back over, I realize as I turn my head, to the staircase that leads up the platform we just left. Watching as the familiar figure of Dimitri rushes into view, just as the train picks up speed and carries us away.

What’s Love Got to Do with It?: The Anne/Ethan Romance

Guest Post by Joy Preble

The guiding force of the DREAMING ANASTASIA series is the relationship between Anne and Ethan. Anne knows from the second she catches blue-eyed Ethan stalking her at the ballet that there is just something about him. And in fact, he proceeds to turn her life upside and sideways because it is Ethan who peels back Anne’s normal world and reveals a world of Russian fairy tales brought to life, of a hidden princess and an illegitimate royal son driven by vengeance. When they touch – and I always knew that their story would begin with a physical touch setting things in motion—everything changes.

 Anne is no longer just the girl who dances ballet and goes to school and mourns the death of her brother to cancer. She is a girl with power to save a princess, power to right ancient wrongs and ultimately, the power to break a curse that is holding her birth grandmother captive. But power comes with a steep price. And when Anne accepts Baba Yaga’s bargain so she can save Ethan in book 2, she steps into the witch’s forest in a way she has up until then refused to do. Of course, I wanted her to do this for love, even if she has trouble admitting that’s what it is.

 This is problem for Anne and Ethan: they do not come easily to loving each other. Or rather, Ethan comes easily to loving Anne, even if he feels that he does not deserve her or a second chance at life. Which is exactly what she gives him when she rides out of the witch’s forest with Anastasia, allowing Ethan to regain his mortality. While Viktor yearns to live forever, Ethan wants only to have what he lost for a cause that was never what he believed it to be: to live and die in the proper time. That he has found the love of his life makes him both deliriously happy as well as guilty as hell.

 And Anne, well, she’s a smart girl. Even when she’s not, she has Tess watching her back, making sure she sees things as they are. Anne sees loving Ethan as an impossibility. He is too old even if he looks young. He has secrets and a long, long past. She is only sixteen. And yet I think she loves him from the moment he tells her his story. But she holds back; she is indecisive. In fact, these traits hurt her in all aspects of her life. She has trouble committing. Ethan, on the other hand, is an all-in kind of guy.

 So what did I do to these two? I made them inhabit a reverse fairy tale. It is Anne who ends up saving Ethan over and over. It is Anne who is the hero. And ultimately, it is Ethan (no spoilers for book 3 quite yet) who needs redemption and forgiveness before he and Anne can be together. A happily ever after, but hard won. And not without suffering and sacrifice. This is after all, a Russian fairy tale. No one knows endurance like the Russians.

 And so it goes: Ethan and Anne, circling and circling love, each running from the other, each doing the hero’s job. The question becomes, will they figure out that they belong together before it’s too late?

 Of course they will!

But with these two, love isn’t simple. I think that makes them equal parts of smart and stupid. Not forbidden love. Not crazy love where the passion burns out everything else—and I think we all need some of that in our lives.

When Anne and Ethan finally figure out that they belong together, it will be a love that entwines them like two puzzle pieces, marveling at how perfectly and easily they fit. And how foolish they were not to know it.


Thanks for stopping by to share with us, Joy!


Teen Review: Between the Lines

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
Release Date ~ June 26, 2012
Simon Pulse ~ Simon & Schuster
ISBN-13: 9781451635751
Book purchased personally
Goodreads Synopsis
What happens when happily ever after…isn’t?
Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale.

Ever since I can remember, I've liked fairytales. I read them all the time when I was younger, and I watched Disney movies like there was no tomorrow. When I saw this novel, I knew that I had to give it a shot. I mean, from what I could gather from the synopsis, this was an awesome mix of fantasy and contemporary. I started reading it, and it did not fail to satisfy my expectations.

  1. An Original Fairytale:

    A lot of the fairytales that are used in novels now, are ones that had already been written before, such as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast.  What I liked about this novel was that a whole new fairytale was used.  It was original and unique.  Throughout the novel, parts of the novel are written out for you to read.  It read exactly like what a children's fairytale should be. 
  2. Amusing Fairytale Characters:

    Along with Oliver, all the rest of the characters in the fairytale exist in their own little world.  I found it amusing to read about them, and the differences that they have when they are not acting out the story.  They were funny and unique, and made the overall story that much more enjoyable.
  3. An Adorable Love Story:

    One of the main plot points of the novel was the romance, so I expected it to be good.  I did have my worries; some romances in novels are just terrible and poorly executed.  I absolutely loved the relationship between Oliver and Delilah.  From the moment they meet, you know exactly which direction their friendship will lead them.  I thought that the way they interacted with each other really showed just how much they cared about each other.  This relationship felt really genuine in that, in the end it probably wouldn't have mattered what either Oliver and Delilah had looked like.  They seemed, at least to me, that they were actually in love with who the other person was.  I found this love story to be quite a refreshing take on YA romance.
As you probably tell, I really liked this novel.  One problem I had with it, though, was that the dual-perspective wasn't the best.  This also might be a bit nit-picky, but I was not fond of the different colours of font.  I am grateful, though, that the colours were only blue and green, which are not too hard to read.  After reading the Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater, I have acquired a strong dislike for books with coloured fonts.  Seriously, that red-on-white was so annoying to try and read.

Anyways, besides those little details this book was a magical experience to read that I didn't want to end.  I haven't read any of Jodi Picoult's adult books, but I hope that more YA novels by her will be coming our way!  On a side note, I thought it was really cool that she wrote this novel alongside her daughter.  I highly reccomend this to people who still love fairytales and happily ever afters.

Purchase Links
United States


Blog Tour: Frost

My review today is part of the blog tour for Frost, the first book in Kate Avery Ellison's The Frost Chronicles. There's a giveaway at the bottom, so make sure you check it out to win a copy of the book!

And you can find the full schedule of tour stops here.

Frost (The Frost Chronicles #1) by Kate Avery Ellison
Release Date ~ April 18, 2012
ISBN13: 9781475005875
Review copy received from author for blog tour
Goodreads Synopsis:
In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, one wrong move and a person could end up dead—and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone. After monsters kill her parents, she must keep the family farm running despite the freezing cold and threat of monster attacks or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides and failure just one wrong step away, she can’t afford to let her emotions lead her astray. So when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest—a young stranger named Gabe—Lia surprises herself and does the unthinkable.

She saves his life.

Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the “Farthers,” as ruthless and cruel. But Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent…and handsome. She might even be falling in love with him.

But time is running out. The monsters from the forest circle the farm at night. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Lia must locate a secret organization called the Thorns to help Gabe escape to safety, but every move she makes puts her in more danger.

Is compassion—and love—worth the risk?

So Frost was AMAZING - it took my two favourite genres (fantasy and sci fi/dystopian) and came up with ONE awesome book. It's completely entrancing and I adored every minute I spent reading it!

A great blend of two different genres, combined with a fairytale sort of feeling to its writing and story, and a romance you can't help but root for makes for one perfectly enjoyable new series that is sure to be loved by many!

  1. Fairytale ambiance:

    There was something very haunted about Frost- the world Kate had created was creepy and the whole story had such a fairytale & folktale vibe - kind of reminiscent of The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab in some ways actually! Both are positively brilliant books, and utterly enchanting in their dark, twisted sort of way.
  2. A fast-paced story:

    I loved that we didn't get bogged down in world building or unimportant details. Instead, the story moves along quickly and easily holds the reader's interest throughout the entire read. I found myself easily drawn into the story and completely entranced by this fascinating world and the secrets it holds (which are many, yay)!
  3. Intriguing romance:

    While it may have been a TAD too fast for a romance to develop for my taste, I was completely rooting for the two of them. And it sucked knowing that things weren't going to be easy for them as a couple! It's rare that you can find a book where chemistry truly seems to exist between two characters but Frost definitely had it! And to be fair, the whole book is rather quick in terms of development, so it makes sense that the love plot would be the same way.
  4. Perfect for fantasy fans and sci fi/dystopian readers:

    How tricky is it to find a book that appeals to picky readers who may only like one or the other? That's hard to find, and even harder to accomplish when creating a setting for a book. But Kate merges the two flawlessly, in a way that is perfectly appropriate and makes sense.
But if anything, Frost was a tad too short. I liked that it was fast-paced and enjoyable, but a bit more development regarding characters and setting wouldn't have hurt either. And because of that, I had a hard time completely immersing myself within the story as much as I might have had the book been longer or I wish I'd had a copy of the sequel on hand to read it right away!

Purchase Links
United States

As part of the blog tour for Frost, 10 readers are going to win an e-book copy of Frost! Good luck, and just fill out the entry form below to win :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Stacking the Shelves {11}

Welcome to another week of Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga!

As Tynga explains, all you have to do is:
  • Create your own Stacking The Shelves post. You can use my official graphic or your own, but please link back to Tynga’s Reviews so more people can join the fun!
  • You can set your post any way you want, simple book list, covers, pictures, vlog, sky is the limit!
  • I am posting Stacking The Shelves on Saturdays, but feel free to post yours any day that fits you.
  • Visit Tynga’s Reviews on Saturday and add your link so others can visit you!
  • Visit other participants link to find out what they added to their shelves!
Phew, our weather here has FINALLY cooled down a bit instead of being terribly hot and humid! Kind of nice to have it a bit nicer :) I received a few books this week that I'm incredibly excited about so that helped make it a great week too! There was also a great event this week in Toronto featuring Rachel Hartman and her debut YA book, Seraphina.

  • ARC Be My Enemy (Everness #2) by Ian McDonald (TBR ~ September 2012) received from Pyr Books - I haven't read Planesrunner yet, the first in this series, but I've had good luck with Pyr in the past so I'm hoping to love this series as well!
  • ARC The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater (TBR ~ September 18, 2012) received from Scholastic Canada - I've heard great things about this one and can't wait for it!
  • ARC A Mutiny in Time (Infinity Ring #1) by James Dashner (TBR ~ August 28, 2012) received from Scholastic Canada
  • ARC Katya's World by Jonathan L. Howard (TBR ~ October 30, 2012) received from Angry Robot - this books sounds like it will be RIGHT up my alley and I can't wait to see how it is!
  • ARC The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susan Nielson (TBR ~ September 11, 2012) received from Random House Canada
  • E-galley Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff (TBR ~ September 28, 2012) received from publisher via Net Galley - I've heard great things about this one and can't wait to find out for myself! Everyone is raving about Stormdancer :)
Clearly, it was an ARC sort of week! Let me know what other books you received this week by leaving a link so I cna stop by and visit too :)


Review: Take a Bow

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
Release Date ~ April 1, 2012
Point ~ Scholastic
ISBN13: 9780545334747
Review copy received from Scholastic Canada
Goodreads Synopsis:
From the fantastic author of The Lonely Hearts Club and Prom & Prejudice comes a story of all the drama and comedy of four friends who grow into themselves at a performing arts high school.

Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it's been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn't sure how to admit that he'd rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.
Although I had heard some really great things about this book from other bloggers and friends, I still didn't know very much about it (to the point where I really didn't even read the description) so I had no idea what to expect when I started reading Take a Bow.
At first, I was hesitant that a book with 4 perspectives of different characters could be succinct and poignant rather than confusing and convoluted. But I was wrong- the lives of these 4 teens are so intertwined that it's fascinating to watch their stories unfold together, as told from POVs from each of them.
  1. A story about growth and those pesky highschool years:

    For such a relatively short book, Take a Bow takes place over a rather extended period of time. The book takes place during their senior year of highschool, but includes a number of flashbacks to explain their relationships to one another and personal backgrounds. This is something I often find hard to do in YA books, because I've read so many that tried and just weren't able to keep me from feeling bogged down and confused in past history that I don't understand and characters I can't tell apart from one another. But Elizabeth tries this and is successful- with 4 entire characters that all stand apart on their own but come together to tell one story. That's HARD to do- this isn't a story that just happened to fall together. It's one that was masterfully woven into something beautiful.
  2. Truly real characters:

    Honestly, I feel like I KNOW Carter, Emme, Ethan and even Sophie. It's remarkable how much these 4 remind me of myself at times, and those I grew up with and even know now. There are those you like and those you're frustrated with and those you admire and those you really can't stand but put up with for a time regardless. These four are flawed, but they're strong and remarkable in their own way. And some of them learn from mistakes, but not all of them do.
  3. A passionate story:

    Here's what I loved most about Take a Bow: the passion these four feel for the things they love- it's just RIPPLING in waves off of the pages. It seems like you can actually feel how much they love certain things, and how hard they're willing to work for it. Whether it's a hobby or a person, or a goal, each of them ha something to feel passionate about. And I think that's so important for everyone to remember, to find something we each feel passionate about that we can dedicate time and effort towards simply because it makes us happy and enjoy life a little bit more.
As realistic of a character she was, I have to admit that I did not care for Sophie in the least. And I felt like we only scratched the surface with her character, rather than going as in depth as we did with the other 3- it feels HINTED at, but I never felt like I really knew her. She felt too shallow- and I have a hard time believing that there are people that are just that shallow, so I didn't feel satisfied with how her story ended.

Similarily, I also felt like that in some ways Ethan's story was kind of lacking. So much of it is spent agonizing over his love life, that I didn't feel like I had a good sense of what ELSE was going on in his life. Including the few mentions of the voices in his head- I really wasn't clear where we were trying to go with that.

I honestly was not expecting to LOVE Take a Bow as much as I did; it's so unlike the typical books I'd pick out for mysef, but that's exactly what I love about book blogging- I really get to open myself up to new books I normally would never have picked up and that's exactly what Take a Bow was for me.

No book trailer for this one, but there is a short clip with Elizabeth and David Leviathan chatting about it!

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Teen Review: My Life in Black and White

My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend
Release Date ~ June 28, 2012
Viking Juvenile ~ Penguin
ISBN13: 9780670013036
ARC received from Penguin Canada through RazOrbill
Goodreads Synopsis:
What if you lost the thing that made you who you are?

Lexi has always been stunning. Her butter-colored hair and perfect features have helped her attract friends, a boyfriend, and the attention of a modeling scout. But everything changes the night Lexi's face goes through a windshield. Now she's not sure what's worse: the scars she'll have to live with forever, or what she saw going on between her best friend and her boyfriend right before the accident. With the help of her trombone-playing, defiantly uncool older sister and a guy at school recovering from his own recent trauma, Lexi learns she's much more than just a pretty face.

This novel has a pretty dramatic synopsis. Before I read it, I geared myself up for a novel that is filled with pointless drama, and a melodramatic protagonist. I didn't think that I would like it very much, from what I could gather from the synopsis. When I started reading it though, it was much different than what I thought it would be.

  1. Good portrayal of true friendship

    The novel's main focus is the friendship between protagonist and her best friend. Flashbacks are written so that we get to see how their friendship was before the accident. These two are as close as sisters. They don't have a perfect relationship, but the way that it has lasted so long shows us just how much they care about each other. Even after the accident, it is clear that the two still do care about each other; although neither of them will admit it. I liked how the question of whether or not you can still reconcile with a friend even after a betrayal was brought up.
  2. Lexi's character change

    At the beginning of the novel, lexi is the typical spoiled, popular snob. The accident takes its toll on her by basically taking away everything that made her popular. This forces lexi to change; for both good and bad. Her development as a character flows beautifully with the pacing of the novel. When the end of the novel comes, you can really tell that she has changed a lot as a person through the circumstances that she is put in.
Although I did really like this novel, I had two problems with it. Firstly, I found the back-and-forth switch between past and present to be really confusing. I was glad when that stopped later on.

Secondly, lexi could be so whiny and annoying at times. She whined about the smallest things. She just expected the world to fall at her feet, though I think she was purposely written that way to show her change in character and emphasize what she had lost. Despite these problems, I did like this book and recommend it to contemporary fans.

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