Teen Review: The Man Painter

The Man Painter (Painter Series #2) by Melissa Turner Lee
Release Date ~ September 20, 2012
E-copy received from author for review

Goodreads Synopsis
Secrets can kill a relationship. But the secrets Holly and Theo keep from each other in the start of their relationship could mean the death of either of them. Fritz holds all the cards, and raises the stakes in this deadly, more adult conclusion of The Painter Series.

When I finished The Earth Painter, I was dying for the sequel to come out.  I built up this book to be amazing in my mind.  I was really excited when I got a message on Goodreads asking if I wanted an ARC.  Obviously, I said yes.  When I started reading the PDF, I found that it did not reach my incredibly high standards and wasn't up to par with the first book in the series.

  1. A Great Story Involving the Painters:

    One of the best parts of the previous book is of course the other painters, such as Biology and Physics.  The storyline that surrounded them was really exciting to read about, and I also thought that a lot of work was put into it.  Their story contributes so much to the ending, which I thought was a fairly surprising ending.  I liked how we get to see a bit more about their friendship with Theo.
I think that the reason I did not enjoy this book as much as the previous one is because like it says in the synopsis, it's more adult.  I think that the more adult way of telling the story I found really hard to connect with, and I found some of the characters to be completely annoying. 
 I really liked the romance in the previous novel, and I found it really sweet.  In the sequel, I found it moved far too fast for any lasting relationship to.  Holly acted incredibly immature sometimes, which I thought was a big step backward for her character from the book before.  Some things just didn't make sense to me.
I think that if you're an older, adult reader, you might connect with this book more.  I'm a younger teen, so if you're older and you liked the previous book, you might very well like this one.  There are some good parts in this book, but it just didn't do it for me.


Home Run Blog Tour

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
Release Date ~ October 1, 2012
Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN13:  9781402271878
ARC received from Raincoast Books for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
After her family's scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won't turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys--a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far...especially when he starts flirting back.

As part of the Home Run Blog Tour highlighting Miranda Kenneally's sophomore book, Stealing Parker, I am thrilled to be able to share with you some of my thoughts on the book, a special guest post from Miranda, AND a giveaway for one of you lucky readers to win a copy of this new release!

Catching Jordan was one of those books that completely took the YA book world by STORM- and even I had to admit that I was pleasantly impressed by Miranda's debut release. Needless to say, there's been a fair amount of anticipation surrounding Stealing Parker as a result.

And while I wasn't completely sold on Stealing Parker's story, it struck me as an excellent companion to Catching Jordan and proves that Miranda has a very strong voice to contribute to the YA world with her stories.

  1. Realistic, flawed characters:

    My favourite part about Miranda's stories is that she doesn't shy away from asking hard questions and tackling tough issues and making her characters deal with them head on. She doesn't tiptoe around anything, and I think Stealing Parker is a devastatingly good example of this as Parker finds herself in a situation just begging to blow up in her face. She's often struggling with where she needs to draw the line, and I appreciated how her actions did have some ugly consequences - because Parker was living in the real world.
  2. Complicated questions:

    Remember how I mentioned that Miranda doesn't shy away from the tough issues? It's easy to see why Parker feels like she's dealing with a life crisis when you consider her fairly young age, lack of guidance from those around her, and the numerous changes she's had to adapt to in her life. Parker has to question everything she's known and relied on in her life, from her faith to her parents and even her closest friends. There's just something so raw about Parker's life, and I imagine a number of readers will be able to relate to at least some of these issues in one way or another.
While I felt like the build-up and anticipation in the story was wildly successful, it was the conclusion that left me feeling a tad uneasy. For the most part, Parker comes out relatively unscathed - and it felt just a little too much like all the issues had been neatly wrapped up and tied with a pretty little bow. It isn't that everything turns out perfect (because it doesn't), but I think that my strong sense of justice was still holding out for something more and I didn't feel like the plot delivered to my satisfaction.

And I personally wished we had delved a little bit deeper into Parker's character. I loved all the layers to her, and all of her messy mistakes and flaws but I don't think it was completely driven home for the reader. I can easily see how some may get tired of her at first, because she is so good at hiding the real Parker behind a mask that I'm not sure she truly shines through by the end.

Overall, I don't think Stealing Parker is quite as effective as Catching Jordan - it felt like there was a little too much heaviness for so few pages and like a bit more balance to the story could have worked better. But for fans who appreciate strong contemporary reads  that aren't entirely simple, Miranda's books are an excellent place to begin.

The Art of Making Mistakes by Miranda Kenneally

Why messing up is one of the most important things you can do

I love reading reviews of my books. I always listen to what people have to say in hopes I can make my writing better. However, there’s one thing I’ll never change about my books, no matter what: I’ve seen some readers get upset when my characters make mistakes.

My characters make big mistakes and small mistakes. Some decisions have serious repercussions on the life of not only my main character, but sometimes on the lives of others.

When I was a teenager, I did some very dumb things. Like, one time my parents told me I couldn’t go to the Aerosmith concert, but I took their car and went anyway. My parents got really upset. Sure, I loved the concert, but afterwards I had to live with the guilt of hurting my parents and doing something I knew was wrong. They grounded me for a month!

Another time, I told a friend a serious lie because I thought it would impress her. She was always doing things that were “cool” and I wanted to feel cool too. I wanted her to think I was worthy of our friendship. Instead of thinking I was cool, she told a bunch of people what I said and spread the gossip about me all over school. What made it especially bad was that some people knew it wasn’t true. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. And I was sad that my “friend” wasn’t a true friend. But I learned from the mistake. I learned not to lie anymore, and I learned that true friends will love me for who I am, not what I’ve done.

When I’m writing a book, I’m not scared to have my characters screw up. If we don’t screw up, we can’t learn, and then we can’t become better people.

Sourcebooks has VERY generously offered up ONE finished copy of Stealing Parker to one reader!

Just fill out the Rafflecopter form & good luck! :)

US/Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Trailer Reveal: The Cadet of Tildor

Title: The Cadet of Tildor

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin)

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre: High fantasy

Expected Release: January 10, 2013

Book trailer by: Medieval Reenactment Group “Liberi Lusenta” located in Italy

Organized by: AToMR Tours



·         Meet the Trailer Cast

·         The Cadetof Tildor Media Kit


Tamora Pierce meets George R. R. Martin in this smart, political, medieval fantasy-thriller.
There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown's inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.


Alex is a YA fantasy author, a Tamora Pierce addict, a horse rider, and paramedic.  The latter two tend to hand in hand a bit more often than one would like.  Alex started writing at 2 am.


Happily Ever After Hop!

First of all, I just wanted to say that I know I've been incredibly MIA lately - school has been a BIG transition for me, and it looks like I've taken a bit of a mini hiatus without meaning to! But it won't be staying that way :) expect more posts coming VERY soon!

This hop is such a perfect fit for my blog, and I've decided to offer up one of my longtime favourite books - if you're familiar with my blog, you may already know that I just LOVE Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine :)

This one's open internationally, and the winner will receive a copy of Ella Enchanted from The Book Depository - just fill out the form & good luck! And then stop by the rest of the stops on the hop too :)

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