Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sam's Ramblings

I'm not sure what number I'm on, but whatever!

So, as I'm working on my list of top 10 favorite reads of this year, I realized how much I love being a blogger. Although I definitely can get careless at times and not update (usually from laziness) for long periods of time, everything else makes it worth it.

Especially when some of my favorite authors retweet me or @reply to me on Twitter! It's such an honor to be able to talk to them and know they ACTUALLY respond, that they aren't these famous people who don't have any time for a reader like me.

I think that's why I want to be an author so much. Because it's not about fame or money to the people who write books - it's about the books.

I love you guys! :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Review: Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers

Title: Fall for Anything
Author: Courtney Summers
Page Count: 224 pages
Summary: When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?

Review: I am a huge Courtney Summers fan - Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are are two of my favorite books. And even though Fall for Anything was definitely different in tone, I think it worked really well. Before, in her writing, we've seen characters that are witty and sarcastic or ex-mean girls, but while Eddie is broken like they both are, she is nothing like them.

For the first half of the book, I wasn't quite as into it as I have been with Summers' other novels; it felt as if there was something missing to make the story interesting to me. From the get go, I loved Milo - he was sweet and obviously cares so much about Eddie, whereas Culler just seemed super creepy to me. And while I wasn't quite taken in by the first half of the book, the second half had me going. It was just really interesting how Summers' can give you this impression of the characters without explicitly saying anything, while barely even hinting at it. I think that takes real talent, because I wasn't sure who I was supposed to like until nearer to the end of the book. And the suspense of that definitely made it worth it.

The thing I always like about Summers' books is that they are raw. There isn't any narration that isn't in character and the story is told more through the actions of the characters than any fluffy inner monologues, which I style that I strive to write in.

But while I did like Fall for Anything, I didn't quite as much as Summers' other books. Maybe because this one was so dark and there wasn't any funny sarcasm to lift me out it for a moment, but it definitely worked for the story. I couldn't see it being written any other way.

Overall: 4.5/5 stars

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Teaser Tuesday!


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • 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!
This week I'm reading Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky!

"Because at some point, you need to start calling the shots. At some point, you have to start believing that you know what's best. Or, I thought with a smile, you just stop asking for their permission in the first place." - Page 124

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Page Count: 440 pages
Summary: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.


Review: God, I loved this book. Maybe not quite as much as Before I Fall, but it was definitely not a disappointment at all.

First of all, the character development is CRAZY good. In the beginning, Lena was this shy girl who didn't like to break the rules, but inside of her she knew there was something different than most of the people she had to spend her days with. And in the society she lives in, this is not a good thing. So she tries to cover it up.

But then she meets Alex and her entire world is flipped upside down. I didn't realize the depth of the loathing of love in her society until this point - parents who've had the procedure don't tell their children they love them, they don't comfort them when they cry. And while I can understand not wanting romantic love to ruin you, to feel the pain of it, to not love your child in the same way? Argh, it just hit me so hard. And I knew Lena needed to leave.

Her and Alex's relationship was... it was exactly like first love should be. I thought it fit so well - with her little insecurities melting away and her shock at seeing him shirtless for the first time. It just melted my heart. But at the same time, it flourished when love isn't supposed to.

The ending was so heartwrenching, but I thought it was a perfect ending for the book. I'm not going to give anything away and some people might disagree, but the ending worked so well. And it showed that love, even when you try to suppress it, cannot be stopped.

I guess I can't write this review without gushing. But there was only one thing I disliked about the book and that, too, eventually grew on me: the premise seemed a little hard to believe at first. But once I got into the book and saw the depth of it, of people believing that love will actually kill you, it definitely worked.

Overall, I loved this book. I don't have much more to say than that.

Romance: 4.7/5
Overall: 5/5

Delirium comes out in February, 2011.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review: Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund

Title: Ascendant
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Page Count: 392 pages
Summary: Astrid Llewelyn is now a fully trained unicorn hunter, but she can't solve all her problems with just a bow and arrow. Her boyfriend, Giovanni, has decided to leave Rome, the Cloisters is in dire financial straits, her best friend's powers seem to be mysteriously disintegrating, and Astrid can't help but feel that school, home, and her hopes of becoming a scientist are nothing but impossible dreams.

So when she's given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters and put her skills to use as part of a scientific quest to discover the Remedy, Astrid leaps at the chance. Finally, she can have exactly what she want--or can she? At Gordian headquarters, deep in the French countryside, Astrid begins to question everything she thought she believed: her love for Giovanni, her loyalty to the Cloisters, and most of all her duty as a hunter. Should Astrid be saving the world from killer unicorns, or saving the unicorns from the world?


Review: I think there are some books that affect me in such a way that I can't do my standard bullet point reviews. The last book I finished, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly was one of those and Ascendant definitely is. I think there's something in the rawness of these books that I can't make bullets about what I liked; I can ramble in paragraphs about it, however.

Ascendant took me a little too long to finish, but not for lack of interest. I'm glad I took it slow, because I could savor it. And even though it wasn't as fast-paced and exciting as Rampant was, with the whole, "Will she do it with Giovanni?" thing, I think it was definitely better for it. It was more mature. And you can definitely see the change in Astrid from the beginning of the book until the end. It wasn't some kind of dumb character development that I didn't believe - I really, really believed it. It was done so well.

I won't say I absolutely loved Ascendant, because I probably would've finished it earlier if I had, but the ending was awesome. I don't want to reveal too much, but Astrid is bad-ass. Even more bad-ass than in Rampant, if that's humanly possible. I know I like my characters to be kind of hard, to have a tough outer shell, but Astrid has to earn that, because that's not really the kind of person she is.

I'm really interested to see where this series goes!

Overall: 4/5 stars

Friday, December 10, 2010

Blog Update

Finals are over, hooray! Well, they were over for me a lot earlier than most people. I got sick after I got back from Thanksgiving at school, which accounts for my MIAness lately. I went to the doctor twice, the urgent care center, and the emergency room twice, and no one could help me. So my mom had me shipped home early because she was so worried about me and I've thankfully gotten a lot better. But since most of my friends hadn't come home yet, all I did was watch TV and EDIT.

The first round of edits on The Shape that Breaks are COMPLETE. I'm so excited and ready to start with critique partners. I've never been this close to finishing a novel and I'm so freakin' excited I've been neglecting reading. Right now, I'm finishing up Ascendant by Diana Peterfreud (I always have to look up how to spell her name). Also, I got a couple of ARC tours coming up, which I'm super excited about, so hopefully I'll be more active this winter break!

I think about once a week or so, to help with the fact that I have no money, I'm gonna review an old favorite of mine. And I have a ton, so be ready!

Happy holidays, everyone!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Across the Universe Book Trailer

I know everyone and their mother is posting about this, but I'm so freakin' excited for this book that I had to post this.

A book trailer for Beth Revis's upcoming novel, Across the Universe!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sam's Ramblings (3)

I think I have mono. I have to go to the doctor tomorrow to confirm but I don't feel THAT crappy. That would be very bad, if I actually did have mono.

I'm here to talk to you about: WINTER.

I live in Florida. I've lived in South Florida for my entire life, with only vacations to places where it gets colder and there are mountains. (Lake Tahoe!) But Florida, for those of you who don't know, is a LONG state. It takes about seven hours to get from where I live to FSU, if that gives you a little bit of an idea. So, down south, there really isn't a winter. It gets in the 50s, maybe the 40s, everyone complains, and it's back to 80 for two weeks until the next cold front.

So, living in Tallahassee? Yeah, there's a winter. It was 30 degrees this morning when I left my dorm and even though I wasn't that cold, it's so weird to see people COMPLAINING about 50 degree weather. If it was 50 degrees, I could lay outside and read a book and not wear gloves.

This rambling today has no purpose. I'm reading, a review for Revolution to come in a day or so, and I'm getting through Ascendant! Hope everyone is doing well and had a great Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

In My Mailbox (11)

Got two books this week!


Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

Ape House by Sara Gruen

What did everyone else get?


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday!


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • 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!
This week I'm reading Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley!

"Senor Luis gives me a heartthrob smile. At my old school, he'd be T.M.F.G., Total Material For Gossip, and I'm sure some student would try to seduce him. Wait... that's one way to get myself kicked out of Texas, but I really don't want to be the subject of a Lifetime movie. At least not for that." - Page 54

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sam's Ramblings (2)

I go home for Thanksgiving break tomorrow! :) I'm so excited.

Today, I'm going to talk about REVISIONS.

This is in all capitals because I have never done serious revisions before. I'm a master at revising short stories, although I have yet to start in on my latest work that I finished in September, so approaching THE SHAPE THAT BREAKS is difficult. Usually when I'm dissatisfied with a draft, I rewrite it. But as I learned in NaNoWriMo this year, there isn't a point in rewriting the same thing if there will be the same things wrong with it. So I need to change them in this draft. But it's hard, opening up that document. It's like I don't know where to start. And it just brings about doubts that I've been having about it regardless.

It's also kind of heartbreaking to read through TSTB over and over again because I'm going through the same exact thing that Celeste was at the moment. It's funny - when I'd begun writing this draft, I'd never known heartbreak, but I nailed it. I've always been complimented on my ability to make things seem real, such as the issue of suicide in my a recent short story, so I guess I'm grateful for that. My former self must've known that this would be a kind of therapy for me.

But again, it's a daunting process. You'd think that writing the damn thing would be the hard part, and in many ways, it is. But revisions aren't nearly as fun as pondering plot points all day and being excited to get home, so you can work on the scene you've been playing with in your head for the past three hours you were supposed to be listening to your professor talk.

So, I'm diving headlong into this process. Wish me luck! :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

In My Mailbox (10)

This week I got a couple of AWESOME books:


Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund

What did everyone else get this week?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
WHEN A VIRUS makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents must pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they search for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

Sam's Ramblings (1)

So, I'm going to talk about The Shape that Breaks today.

For NaNo, I decided I wanted to rewrite TSTB once again, but about three days into it, I realized that it wasn't needed - the previous draft was a lot better than any crap I could crank out during NaNo. And even though I'd never experience heartbreak when I'd written that draft, I'd hit the nail on the head with how it feels. It's kind of funny, because I was just imagining it. Now that I've actually experienced it, I feel like I can relate to Celeste a lot better.

Anyways, last night I decided to finish the rewrite, which only had a few more pages to go when I'd stopped writing it. And even though the ending wasn't perfect, I really love how it turned out. Next step is to edit, edit, edit. I'm hoping I can get a bound copy to edit out of - there's a copy place down the street from me and it should only be like ten bucks (a lot less than a new black ink cartridge for my printer).

It's just a strange feeling. Finishing TSTB was always put off because, for two years, I was in my own little story. I didn't have to write to imagine my love story coming true because I had my own. I feel like finishing it was kind of a catharsis, though.

So, anyone have recommendations for a first-time novel editor? :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Things I Don't Usually Talk About

So, I've failed NaNoWriMo, but, as people who follow my blog have probably seen, I've been under a super amount of stress anyway, so this doesn't come as a big surprise. I try not to talk about my personal life on here, just because I think a) no one really cares and b) I'd like to keep my blog as professional as possible. So no gory details. Sorry.

BUT, onto the good things:

I feel like Read Sam, Read! has lost some of its oomph. And I don't just mean in the sense that my reviews have slowed down or that my twittering has almost come to a halt. I've just felt a kind of lack of inspiration, of new things to write about. I don't like to have posts with me just blathering on because I think that gets boring, but I'm going to try to post at least once a week about something in the writing/blogging/YA book world that really interests me. Just word vomit, basically. I just want to see if this will help me get some of my oomph back.

I'm going to call this new feature: Sam's Ramblings! (This is where I would cue a graphic if I was artistically inclined to make one!)

Also, I know I've said this a million times, but I PROMISE my posts will get more regular. Right now, my life is still pretty hectic, but the crew season is over in about a week and then I have Thanksgiving break, finals, and then I'm done! And you can expect that between December 10th and January 4th (my winter break) I will be posting ridiculous amounts. Just FYI.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Author Guest Post: Denise Jaden

I'm super excited because today Denise Jaden, author of Losing Faith, has agreed to do a guest post for her blog tour!

What was the process of getting Losing Faith published? 
I’ve been writing seriously for about seven years. Although I have had no formal training, I have devoured books on writing craft and attended workshops and conferences since the day I became interested in stories.
I queried two other books unsuccessfully prior to the writing of Losing Faith. In November 2007 I made my first attempt at NaNoWriMo (writing a novel in a month) and had a first (really crappy) draft of Losing Faith in 21 days. I revised and revised and then revised some more, getting feedback from all of my many critique partners along the way.
I began querying in July, 2008 (paused querying to revise after getting some great feedback at a conference in October). I queried again in November and had offers of representations later that month. Even though I had a few different offers (which I’m still blown away by – it doesn’t seem like it could be real after enduring so much rejection!), that first offer is still saved on my answering machine. There’s nothing better than the first moment an industry professional validates all your blood, sweat, and tears.
My new agent, Michelle Humphrey, did a line edit for me over Christmas and we sent LOSING FAITH out on submission in mid-January. We had an offer by early March. The offering editor was from Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster, and she was one of the editors I had met with in the conference back in October. We had a phone conversation, with my agent listening in, so she could explain her vision for changes in the manuscript. When I agreed, she made an offer, and the rest is history!
I sold in March of 2009 and my book hit the shelves in September, 2010, so about a year and a half from sale to publication. It felt like forever at first, waiting for revision letters, cover art, back text copy. But then the last six months flew by. I’m still pinching myself that this is actually happening and my book is really out in the wild. Every time I walk into a bookstore and see it on the shelves, my heart stops for a few seconds.
Thanks so much, Denise!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Review: Losing Faith by Denise Jaden

Title: Losing Faith
Author: Denise Jaden
Page Count: 400 pages
Summary: When Brie's sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie's world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don’t know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but.

As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don't line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith’s final night...a secret that puts her own life in danger.


Review:
What I Liked:

  • Mystery! I really liked the story - I'm not so into books that contain mystery, so it's weird that I was so enchanted by this one!
  • Crazy girl! I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just leave it at that!
  • Religion. I don't normally read books that have inspirational, religious messages, which originally would've made me put this book down, but it definitely wasn't what I expected! It didn't take any kind of stance on religion, which I thought was great - not that there's anything wrong with that! Those kind of books just generally aren't my kind of thing.

What I Didn't Like:
  • Pacing. This might just be a me thing, but I felt like the pacing of the novel was really off. I thought it moved too slow when I wanted to figure things out, but the mystery of what happened seemed to be prolonged for a huge amount of time.
  • Characters. I wasn't really into the love story that accompanied this book at all. It felt a little forced and because of this, I couldn't really connect with Brie the way that I wanted to.
Romance: 2/5 stars
Overall: 3.5/stars

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNoWriMo!

So, I'm sure you guys have noticed my absence as of late. While it has as much to do with school and crew practice (I'm going to Tennessee this weekend to see a race - wish the varsity good luck!) as anything else, the thing that has been preventing me from blogging is the specter we all like to call:
NaNoWriMo
*cue the scary music*
This is my fourth year doing NaNoWriMo and I'm currently working on a rewrite of The Shape that Breaks. Hopefully, this will be the draft that I can get through revisions (since it is the second rewrite) and finally, maybe, get an agent with. I was originally going to work on something else, called Other, but I decided against it at the last minute. I have to say, I'm glad I did. TSTB is as close to my heart as anything can get - I started writing it as a fifteen-year-old, not knowing much about love or anything else, and now that I'm finally going to finish it, I've grown so much and so many things have happened to me.

I have a review coming up tomorrow as well as an author interview, so I'm not completely dead! I feel like my college is in the middle of nowhere, though - I have to order books instead of going to the bookstore all of the time, since the bookstore is so out of the way. 

I'm so excited to go to Tennessee - the bus leaves tonight at 2AM. Wish me luck on getting some sleep; the crew kids tend to be rowdy! 


Monday, November 1, 2010

Winner of the Jumpstart the World Giveaway!

And the winner of the Jumpstart the World giveaway is:
Lauren!
I've emailed you and you have until this Friday to answer, then I'll pick another winner! 


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Review: The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance by Catherine Ryan Hyde

To end my awesome week of Jumpstart the World, the awesome book by Catherine Ryan Hyde, I have another review of a book that she wrote: The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance! Today's the last day to enter my giveaway for Jumpstart, so go enter!


Title: The Year of Miraculous Reappearance
Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde
Page Count: 240 pages
Summary: Cynnie takes care of herself—and more importantly, she takes care of her little brother, Bill. So it doesn't matter that her mom is drunk all the time. Cynnie's got her own life. Cynnie's the one Bill loves more than anyone. Cynnie's the real mother in the house. And if there's one thing she knows for sure, it's that she'll never, ever sink as low as her mother.

But when things start to fall apart, Cynnie needs a way to dull the pain.

Never say never.

This unflinching look at the power of addiction is the story of one girl's fall into darkness—and the strength, trust, and forgiveness it takes to climb back out again.


Review: I'm doing a book tour for the awesome Catherine Ryan Hyde, who also wrote Pay It Forward, to promote her new book, Jumpstart the World. Her books are so inspirational - I love them!

Again, I'm not going to be able to do this review in my normal format, just because they get me so emotional and it's hard to whittle down my thoughts into bullet points.

Hyde's books are so raw and real - characters are definitely her strong point. You root for them even when you know that they are going to make bad decisions, and in this novel, Cynnie was such an awesome character. She was strong but she didn't know it and even when she turned to alcohol to solve her problems, I rooted for her the entire time to get better.

I could go on and on about how awesome this book is, but I don't think it was quite as awesome as Jumpstart. The characters were amazing, the story was amazing and heartwarming, and the reality of it sometimes astounded me. There wasn't anything that I disliked persay, but I think that, in comparison to Jumpstart, this one is a close second.


Overall: 4.5/5 stars

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sorry!

Sorry for my complete lack of posts! I've been swamped with school and I haven't been getting much reading done, although my review for another of Catherine Ryan Hyde's books - The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance - is coming up tomorrow or the next day. Coupled with homework and papers is the fact that I'm going home this weekend, so I'm frantically trying to get everything done! So, have no fear, I will be back!

Also - if you haven't already - enter my Jumpstart the World contest! :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Title: Jumpstart the World
Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde
Page Count: 192 pages
Summary: Elle is a loner. She doesn’t need people. Which is a good thing, because she’s on her own: she had to move into her own apartment so her mother’s boyfriend won’t have to deal with her.

Then she meets Frank, the guy who lives next door. He’s older and has a girlfriend, but Elle can’t stop thinking about him. Frank isn’t like anyone Elle has ever met. He listens to her. He’s gentle. And Elle is falling for him, hard.

But Frank is different in a way that Elle was never prepared for: he’s transgender. And when Elle learns the truth, her world is turned upside down. Now she’ll have to search inside herself to find not only the true meaning of friendship but her own role in jumpstarting the world.

Tender, honest, and compassionate, Jumpstart the World is a stunning story to make you laugh, cry, and honor the power of love.


Review: For this novel, I'm going to deviate from my usual format of reviews because I feel that this would do it better justice.

First of all, I loved Jumpstart the World! Loved, loved, loved it. There's something about the way that Hyde writes that is so authentic and real and raw that you can't help but love the characters - this happened in The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance as well. And Elle, she was so endearing. She said awkward things and then overexplained herself and ended up offended people more than usual, something that I tend to do a lot. She also didn't have a very good relationship with her mother - and for good reason!

Frank was another amazing character. I don't read much LGBT literature, but the way that the issue of him being transgendered is portrayed is as though it really isn't an issue at all, just a part of life, which I thought was really awesome. And I could tell why Elle loved him; he was just one of those characters that, like Elle, are so raw and real and even though they've been through crap in their lives, they came out of it a better person and just make everyone around them happy. It touched my heart.

I think the thing that made this book amazing are the characters. I cannot stop talking about them, I swear. I keep trying to write about the plot or something else, but it always comes back to them - Frank, Elle, Elle's friends, Elle's mom - they all just pop off of the page. And they have faults, yes. But it didn't make me dislike any of them because it just made them seem like real people.

Honestly, I don't have a bad thing to say about this book. It was really, really great and it touched me in a way that Hyde's books only can, in the same way that her other books have. I definitely think you should go buy a copy, if you haven't already! Also, if you haven't, you should check out my giveaway for the book! 

Overall: 5/5 stars

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jumpstart the World Blog Tour (Excerpt)


Hey everyone! I hope all of you have entered by Jumpstart the World giveaway! Today I'm going to be showcasing an excerpt from Jumpstart the World, Catherine Ryan Hyde's newest novel. The summary is in the post below, in case you're interested. Just a little background on the excerpt, just in case you're wondering: Elle has moved into her own apartment at the request of her mom, whose boyfriend didn't want her in the house. She has a cat named Toto and in the excerpt, the cat has become sick, and Frank, her next-door neighbor, is going with her to the animal hospital. Hope you enjoy!

"We walked fast to the subway together, and Frank held the carrier. I felt like I should, because he was my cat. But he was heavy, and it’s hard to walk fast lugging an extra fifteen pounds. I could barely keep up with Frank as it was.

The street was crowded with people, walking in both directions, and now and then someone wouldn’t yield, and I got separated from Frank and Toto, and had to run a few steps to catch up. Half the people who passed us were chatting on their cell phones, and their cigarette smoke blew back and caught me in the face, and I waved it away.

I felt relieved when we trotted down the steps into the subway. I like the subway. I’m not sure why.

Right away I could feel it get cooler. It’s always cooler down in that tunnel, and a little bit moist, like a cave.

I used to like to stand right by the edge of the platform and look down the hole, waiting to see the lights of the train. Back in the old days, when hardly anybody got pushed onto the tracks.

Without a word to each other, without any discussion of how we do these things, Frank and I took a spot with our backs up against the cool wall. I could feel the edge of an ad frame against my back. I could feel the wood of the bench we’d chosen not to sit on. It was right up against my left leg.

I thought about Frank’s friends from the party, then pushed the images out of my head again. But I kept having that constant feeling like there was something I was purposely not thinking about.

When the train came, the lightness of the inside of it seemed comforting somehow.

We sat on the hard plastic seat, the cat carrier between us on the floor. I was wondering why we weren’t talking.

Then I realized it was me.

I clam up when I’m upset. But realizing that didn’t exactly fix it.

I just sat there, stony, watching the lights flick off and then on again. Listening to the clatter of the metal wheels on the tracks. Feeling the rocking that is pure subway, that just doesn’t feel like any other transportation in the world.

Then I said, “I should’ve known he was sick. What was I thinking? Letting him sit in there for days. I never even looked around for him.”

“He’s a different kind of cat,” Frank said. “You expected that kind of remote behavior from him. If he ever came around on his own, I’m sure you would have missed him when he stopped.”

I wondered if that meant Frank thought it was Toto’s fault. I didn’t figure it could be. It was never the cat’s fault. That would be like blaming a three-year-old. I was the grownup in charge. The buck had to stop with me.

“Are you saying it was Toto’s fault?”

“I’m saying there’s no point blaming anyone in this case.”

We sat quiet a while longer, feeling the distinctive rocking. Comforting.

Then Frank said, “Nobody else would have taken that cat out of the pound, Elle. You know that. That cat would already be dead if it wasn’t for you. You’re taking the best care of him you can, and he doesn’t make it easy. Can you let yourself off the hook for this?”

“Yeah,” I said. “Sure. I guess.”

But I was halfway lying. Telling Frank what he wanted to hear. Maybe I could let myself off the hook. Eventually. But not just like that.

Another very long silence. But this one was more strained and painful. At least for me.

“What’s top surgery?” I asked.

I heard him pull in a deep breath. It was probably only a second or two before he answered. But it was the longest second or two in the history of civilization.
“It’s a phase of gender reassignment surgery.” A heavy, dead weight in my stomach. A little nauseating. “It’s a double mastectomy, but then also with some cosmetic surgery to give the chest more of a male shape and appearance.”

“I guess it’s none of my business,” I said.
The words sounded like they were coming from someone else. My lips felt numb. Also my brain.

“Well, you’re my friend,” he said.

Which I took to mean I could ask more questions. If I wanted to. But there was only one more question I could think to ask.

I didn’t want to."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jumpstart the World Giveaway!


Elle is a loner. She doesn’t need people. Which is a good thing, because she’s on her own: she had to move into her own apartment so her mother’s boyfriend won’t have to deal with her.

Then she meets Frank, the guy who lives next door. He’s older and has a girlfriend, but Elle can’t stop thinking about him. Frank isn’t like anyone Elle has ever met. He listens to her. He’s gentle. And Elle is falling for him, hard.
But Frank is different in a way that Elle was never prepared for: he’s transgender. And when Elle learns the truth, her world is turned upside down.  Now she’ll have to search inside herself to find not only the true meaning of friendship but her own role in jumpstarting the world.

Tender, honest, and compassionate, Jumpstart the World is a stunning story to make you laugh, cry, and honor the power of love.

Hey everyone! This week is super exciting because not only am I participating in the Jumpstart the World blog tour - I'm also hosting a giveaway of the book! Catherine Ryan Hyde also wrote the super-famous Pay It Forward, the  book that inspired the movie, and I got a chance to read not only Jumpstart the World but also another awesome book of hers - The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance (review to come this week!)

Anyway, the way to enter this giveaway is super easy and simple! The entries are:
+1 for email and name
+1 for Tweeting about the contest
+5 for blogging about the contest
+1 for adding all your entries

Leave all of  your entries in a comment and the giveaway is set to end at 12AM on November 1st, so get all of your comments in by then! This giveaway is not international, unfortunately, but I promise the next one that I have will be! I'm so excited for this giveaway and this blog tour - I love Catherine Ryan Hyde's books! :) This giveaway is not international, unfortunately, but I promise the next one that I have will be!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Title: Firelight
Author: Sophie Jordan
Page Count: 326 pages
SummaryWith her rare ability to breathe fire, Jacinda is special even among the draki—the descendants of dragons who can shift between human and dragon forms. But when Jacinda’s rebelliousness leads her family to flee into the human world, she struggles to adapt, even as her draki spirit fades. The one thing that revives it is Will, whose family hunts her kind. Jacinda can’t resist getting closer to him, even though she knows she’s risking not only her life but the draki’s most closely guarded secret.

Review: I've heard such good things about this book and I was so excited to read!

What I Liked:

  • Sex! Alright, there was no actual sex in this book. But Jacinda getting all worked up at the sight of Will? It got a little steamy. And I loved that! Teenagers + hormones + Jacinda being a dragon = some hot times.
  • Jacinda's struggle. I felt so bad for Jacinda. She messed up once and almost died, so she has to suppress this whole part of herself? It just sucked, really really badly. I wanted to throttle her mother sometimes. It just wasn't fair at all. And even though this is a book about a girl who can turn into a dragon of all things, it really resonated with me. Sometimes your parents are unreasonable and even if it makes you angry and it makes you want to throw a temper tantrum, you still have to listen.
  • Will! Oh god, there is something about how forbidden this is that just makes me want Jacinda and Will together! She tries to fight so hard against it because she knows what he is and it just, argh. It kills me! I can't even describe it.
What I Didn't Like:
  • Dragons? Well, I knew this going in to the book - the people can turn into dragons? Dragons? For real? And it worked, but only somewhat. Maybe it was more a me thing than a bad thing about the book, but that seemed far-fetched.I know it's fantasy, I know, but sometimes my disbelief was not really suspended.
  • Pacing? It got a little slow at times. I read most of it on the bus to Tampa and I had to put it down and do other things sometimes. It just didn't drag me in. 
Overall, I really enjoyed Firelight, although not as much as some other reviews have said. I was a little let down by the pacing, but I did love the sexual tension between Will and Jacinda - it was so strong you could feel it! 

Romance: 4.3/5 stars
Overall: 4/5 stars

(Sorry for the lack of reviews lately. Stress + relationship drama + midterms = not very much reading. Hopefully things will be a little better after this weekend, but I'm not sure. Over Thanksgiving and Christmas break though, I'll be posting all the time!) 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Teaser Tuesday!

Instead of a teaser from my current WIP, I'm here to give you a little teaser from the book I'm currently reading, Losing Faith! 


"Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


  • 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!"



This is from page 192: "I wonder what happened to make Dad freak this way. Did he suddenly just decide that it's time for Mom to get over her daughter dying, and that's that? And shouldn't the solution be for us to talk about it?"


I'm loving this book so far! It's mystery and grief, all rolled into one! 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

In My Mailbox (9)

This week, I didn't get much, probably because I didn't let myself buy a lot of books. :) 


Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Losing Faith by Denise Jaden

What did everyone else get?


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Teaser Tuesday! :)

Sorry if I've been a little dead on the blogosphere - my boyfriend and I broke up last week and thankfully I had all my posts for last week scheduled so I didn't have to stress about that as well as homework, so that's the reason for my absence. I'm trying to get back on track but it's kind of hard with all my schoolwork/crew practice/friends. However! I have been writing, or rather rewriting, TSTB. I'm not sure if I'm actually going to overhaul the whole thing and do another epic rewrite for NaNo but I definitely have been sympathizing with Celeste as of late. Anyways, here's a brief little snippet!
“I need to tell you something.” He kept staring at the comforter; he didn’t even raise his eyes when he said it.
I sat down next to him, thighs touching through our jeans. “What’s up?” I asked, leaning over to kiss him on the cheek. He turned his head at the last moment and I caught his lips. And he kissed me, hard, but only for a moment. Quick and passionate.
I’d forgotten to breathe when he pulled away. He looked into my eyes as I tried to catch my breath. “Celeste…” he said, my name like a sigh.
He stood up, pushing himself up off of my bed. And the sentence, the one that broke me, came out of his mouth: “We have to break up.”
I blinked, not comprehending. “What? Why?”
“I’m moving,” he said, not meeting my eyes. “On Friday.”
“Friday? What? When were you going to tell me this?”
He shoved one hand in his pocket and shrugged, but I could tell it was forced. “Now. I told you now.”
I think the fact that he hadn’t told me hurt me more at that moment than him saying we had to break up. Because I could fix a break up, because we could get back together, but this? Out of my power. And he’d waited until the last moment.
“Where?” I felt like a reporter, ‘Who? What? When? Where? Why?’
“Seattle,” he replied, leaning on my bed post.
“Well,” I said, “We can handle long-distance. Seattle’s only a few hours away.”
He shook his head. “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, Celeste. And I don’t think we should. I think it would be better to do this now because neither of us have cars and it’s not like your mom would drive you to see me.”
“Are you serious?” I asked and I wanted to yell, but I could feel the tears starting behind my eyes. I could feel that catch in my throat, that bitter taste in my mouth, and I knew I was going to cry. “Alex, we’ve been together for a year. A year. Are you really going to do this?”
He shrugged. “I still want to be friends. You’re my best friend.”
Something snapped inside of me when he said that, like I could be his friend after going out with him for so long. Like he hadn’t just broken my heart a moment ago. “Get out, Alex,” I said.
The worst part? He listened.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

In My Mailbox (8)

I went to visit my boyfriend last weekend in Tampa, where he goes to college. Technically, I bought these all last week, but we won't worry about semantics. We went to this really awesome used bookstore and I got a couple of classics along with a newer YA book.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti

I've been in love with Steinbeck ever since I read Of Mice and Men and I read East of Eden last year as well. I've seen Les Miserables the movie a million times and I loved it, so I figured the book should be even more awesome. The other books are just ones that I've wanted to read for a while! 

What did you guys get this week? 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Review: The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Title: The Duff
Author: Kody Keplinger
Page Count: 288 pages
Summary: "Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.


But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.


Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone."

What I Liked:

  • SEX! Maybe just because I'm still a teenager, but I love that this book didn't edge around the fact that teenagers do have sex. This always gets a big star from me because a lot of YA books like to think that the most teenagers do is kiss, which is obviously not true! 
  • Ugly Ducking Narrator? The main character isn't a beautiful girl who just doesn't know it, although she does realize near the end that she isn't as ugly as she thinks she is. I just liked that she wasn't absolutely gorgeous and just had low self-esteem like everyone else on the face of the YA-verse. 
  • Mmm, Man Whore! Enough said, Wesley sounded pretty gorgeous.

What I Didn't Like: (These are a little spoilery!)

  • Wesley? Although Wesley did sound pretty hot, I did not believe his transformation at all. I just felt like I didn't get a very good handle on his character and because of that, him liking Bianca besides what they had going on didn't make much sense to me. It seemed like a little fairytale.
  • Ehh... I'm hesitant to say this, but this whole book just seemed like a fantasy for the author. I know it's been said that it's awesome that Keplinger wrote the book in high school (go her, by the way! I wrote some but none were good enough to get published, not that I tried.) but it seemed like something that someone in high school would write. I don't mean to attack the author but that's just my point of view on it. I know the first novel I wrote was pure fantasy-fulfillment. Those are the best kinds because they're just for you! :) 
  • I just couldn't get into it! There are some books that just absorb you completely and you can't wait to get back to reading them when you're away from them. The DUFF was not one of those books. I wanted to read it, but I didn't have any sense of urgency.

Overall, I did enjoy The DUFF because it didn't skirt around the subject of sex and the narrator wasn't a gorgeous Mary-Sue. However, the novel did feel a little like fantasy fulfillment and I couldn't get into one of the main characters.


Overall: 3/5 stars

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Review: Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Title: Going Too Far
Author: Jennifer Echols
Page Count: 256 pages
Summary: 
All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far... and almost doesn't make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won't soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won't be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge - and over...


Review: We all know of my epic love to Jennifer Echols, as evidenced by my post a few days ago. So it's no surprise that I loved this book.

What I Liked:





  • STEAMTASTIC! I've mentioned this numerous times before, but I'll mention it again - Echols has this power to make sexual tension just leap off the page. When I'm reading a book and I get to the parts where it's all tension-y and it's really good, I know because I get this feeling in my stomach. I guess it's kind of similar to the feeling you get when you're about to kiss someone you like except not quite as awesome. Almost the entire book gave me that feeling, so, it's a winner!
  • Meg! I loved Meg. She was such a bad ass but you could totally tell that something had happened to her that screwed her up, really bad. Same with John, but I pretty much guessed what had happened near the middle of the book. 
  • One sitting? Okay, I didn't read this book in one sitting, but it was close. The only interval was sleep. I just couldn't stop reading! I don't know what Echols has done to me - she sucks me in!
Overall, I lovedlovedloved this book, unless that wasn't obvious. I cannot think of anything I didn't like, but my favorite book by Jennifer Echols still continues to be Forget You, which is a ten on the awesome scale of awesomeness. Go! Read this book! :)

Overall: 4.4/5 stars

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday!

No writing to share this week! So:

"Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • 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!"

Currently, I'm reading Firelight by Sophie Jordan. Here's my little teaser from page 128:
"His words echo inside me. You should stay away from me. Something I already know, but sitting in the front seat of his car, I'm not quite succeeding at that."  

Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Page Count: 479 pages
Summary:
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: Jem, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa.

As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.



Review: I read City of Bones a few years ago and borrowed its sequel from someone after that, but my interest in the series kind of petered out after I learned of the whole controversy surrounding Cassandra Clare, so I never got around to reading the last one. That, however, didn't hamper my enjoyment of Clockwork Angel. 


What I Liked: 



  • Steampunk FTW! I don't read many paranormal fantasy or whatever this genre is called, lol. But steampunk is always awesome, no matter how little I read of it. And I feel like this was starter steampunk - not too in-depth and not confusing at all to follow, like some that I've tried to read. 
  • Will? Wow, Will was an asshole. But he was so entertaining that I couldn't help but like him! By the end of the book, I was kind of on the fence about liking him, though. We'll see what happens in the next book with him!
  • Betrayal! All I'm gonna say, for those of you who haven't read the book. I don't want to reveal anything, but it stings!
  • Worldbuilding! I gotta say, Clare is an expert on her world, which I think is totally awesome. A reason why I don't like to write fantasy is because I can never get so in-depth with the world and remember all the details I need to, so I commend her!
What I Didn't Like:
  • Length, urgh. I love me some thick books and Clare tends to write some that are pretty huge. While I felt like there wasn't anything that I could've picked out and said, this wasn't needed, I did feel it got a little overlong. That's why it took me more than a week to finish!
  • Cliffhanger? I HATE CLIFFHANGERS. That is all.
Overall, I'd definitely recommend this book to fans of The Mortal Instruments - you'll even recognize some of the characters! I think the world that Clare has created it awesome, although I did find Clockwork Angel to be a little long. 

Overall: 4/5 stars

Sunday, September 26, 2010

In My Mailbox (7)

I really think I need to get a Kindle or a Nook - maybe I'll ask for one of them for Christmas. I think it would take a while, but it would be less expensive to get one because all I buy lately are hardcovers.

Anywho, this is my awesome pull this week:

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick


The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

What did everyone else get this week? 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Another little hiatus!

Sorry I've been pretty dead lately! I've been busy with school and rowing and all that other good stuff. And I don't want Read Sam, Read! to suffer because I'm busy. So I'm gonna take a week or so, probably until the Monday after next, off from the whole blogosphere. I'm going to visit my boyfriend in a week anyways.

Sorry, guys! Read Sam, Read! will come back better than ever!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

NaNoWriMo?

Okay, so I'm aware that it's September. I'm also aware that delaying something for as long and you possibly can can only make it better when it actually happens. So, I've started to plan for my novel for NaNoWriMo.

Is it sad that two out of the three novels that I've finished were NaNo novels? I'm bad without a definitely deadline and thousands of other people trying to do the same thing, I guess.

This discussion happens with writers all the time: Are you a plotter or a pantser? And now, pantser's don't pants people: they just have an idea and go wherever it may take them! Plotters, on the other hand, plot every detail they can out until they know exactly what is going to happen, exactly how their characters would act, etc. Me, I've always been a pantser. I treat my first draft like my outline, just using it to get to know the characters and what parts of the plot work and don't work. A very, very long outline.

Yeah, most of the time I don't have the patience for this. Like last year, with TUON. I wrote it, hated it because I was a pantser and now I hate the story even more with the second draft. Maybe because people keep telling me, "THIS IS SO CLICHE. LIKE A SOAP OPERA. Blah blah blah." You're not supposed to listen to those people, but they've wormed their way into my head. So, TUON is on haitus.

And the rewrite of TSTB? Well, I like that one. But I can't get over the idea, once again. Celeste is so whiny. And I didn't really understand heartbreak when I started writing it because I'd never had a boyfriend.

And now, we have my NaNo novel. The idea itself has been puttering around in my head for a couple of years but I'd never fleshed it out enough to make it make sense. But! I've been writing notes!

So, I've totally been productive. And since there's a month and half left until November, maybe I can actually outline! For once!

Is anyone else doing NaNo? Started planning yet? 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Love Letter to Jennifer Echols

No teaser this week - I haven't written anything worth showing off!

Dear Jennifer Echols,

At first, I wanted to dislike you. You had a book about amnesia that featured a character named Zoey, for God's sake! Everyone would think I copied you or something. But then I gave Forget You a chance. And I fell in love. Forget You and me, we had a love affair, but as always seems to happen, it was over far too quickly.

Then I got Endless Summer. Then Going Too Far. 


It has been decided, Ms. Echols. You have surpassed Sarah Dessen on the YA contemporary scale that I hold so dear. And that's mighty hard to do - Sarah and me, we were going strong for at least two years.

Never stop writing books! You have a way of describing characters and sexual tension that makes me swoon like none before.

Love,
Sam

:) Creepy or what?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Review: The Boys Next Door and Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

Title: The Boys Next Door & Endless Summer
Author: Jennifer Echols
Page Count: 587 pages
Summary:
 The Boys Next Door: Lori lives for summertime on the lake. She spends all season wakeboarding, swimming, and hanging with her friends—including the two hotties in the house next door. With the Vader brothers, Lori's always been one of the guys.

But while Lori and the "baby" brother, Adam, are inseparable friends, she can't deny a secret crush on Sean, the older Vader boy. This year Sean's been paying Lori a lot of attention, and not in a brotherly way.

But just as Lori decides to prove to Sean she's girlfriend material, she realizes that her role as girl friend to Adam may be even more important. And by trying so hard for the perfect summer romance, she could be going way overboard....


Endless Summer: The sequel to The Boys Next Door sees Adam and Lori happy together - until they fall asleep in his truck for an entire night. Lori and Adam can't stay away from each other, but they're forced to because of Lori's dad, who absolutely forbids it after they spend the entire night together. To make things worse, Adam will be sent to military school if he can't stay away from Lori. Told in alternating viewpoints, we get a peak into both character's personalities.


Review: Sorry for my craptastic summary of Endless Summer - I couldn't find an official one and I didn't want to copy another reviewer's! I'm gonna review these two books as one because they were packaged that way.

What I Liked: 

  • Swoon! I don't know what it is about Jennifer Echols, but she makes me swoon like no other! Adam is gorgeous and he and Lori's scenes together have sparks absolutely flying off the page. It's rare that I get that dropped-out stomach feeling so many times in a book, but this one takes the cake!
  • Characters! Again, I don't know how she does it, but Echols makes characters so real! They are so genuine and you can't help but like them - they seem like real people! Her characters are maybe some of the most believable that I've ever read.
  • Adam. This part should probably be in the swoon category, but Adam get's his own, haha. I loved him, although he did get a little jealous and controlling in the second book, but I could totally look past that because that's how he is! Same with Lori - she's always making stupid plans that are so over the top but I think it's the flaws that made me like her.
What I Didn't Like: 
  • Plot of Endless Summer? It was a little flimsy - I think this was just more to play with the characters than anything else, but that doesn't excuse the fact that the plot was just - Lori and Adam can't see each other! Ah! It kept me captivated because the writing made me swoony, but I was a little eh about the plot
  • Adam being Adam! I know, I know. I was almost certain I wouldn't mention this, but Adam frustrated me so much! I can totally get where he was coming from, but sometimes he had these blinders that were all LORI LORI LORI and it made him jealous and overprotective. Lori can take care of herself. Well, kind of. But it just bothered me to see him get to jealous and then doubt her. 
Overall, I recommend Endless Summer but I liked Echols's other book, Forget You, more than this one. If you're gonna start with any one, start with that one! 



Romance: 4/5 stars
Overall: 3.8/5 stars