Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review: The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik

Title: The Last Best Kiss
Author: Claire LaZebnik
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: April 22nd, 2014

Anna Eliot is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost the only guy she ever really liked, Finn Westbrook.

Now, three years after she broke his heart, the one who got away is back in her life.

All Anna wants is a chance to relive their last kiss again (and again and again). But Finn obviously hasn’t forgotten how she treated him, and he’s made it clear he has no interest in having anything to do with her.

Anna keeps trying to persuade herself that she doesn’t care about Finn either, but even though they’ve both changed since they first met, deep down she knows he’s the guy for her. Now if only she can get him to believe that, too....

With her signature wit and expertly authentic teen voice, Claire LaZebnik (the author of fan favorites Epic Fail and The Trouble with Flirting) once again breathes new life into a perennially popular love story. Fans of Polly Shulman, Maureen Johnson, and, of course, Jane Austen will love this irresistibly funny and romantic tale of first loves and second chances.

The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik is an utterly adorable contemporary take on Jane Austen's Persuasion. I've never read Persuasion—I keep falling asleep right in the beginning!—but this seems like a great retelling. It's fun, fast-paced, and makes its point about not letting others dictate your life and who you're allowed to like.

Anna Eliot is such a likable character which you wouldn't think she would be based on how she treats Finn in the beginning. She's embarrassed to admit she likes him and would rather hurt his feeling then risk not fitting in. But she's so forthright about it all that it's hard not to like her. She admits when she's wrong, for the most part (something few YA heroines seem to do). She cares about her friends and doesn't judge their choices even when she's worried they'll judge hers. She's an all around good person—with the occasional flaw of course—and that made her so enjoyable to read about.

Finn was pretty great himself. His excitement about something as simple as a picture of a flower or an animal or the stars was so incredible to read about. A lot of times romantic novels are just about romance. The characters seem to get caught up in this idea of love and flirting and completely lose any and all personality traits that aren't smooth or suave. But Finn babbles like a little kid when he discovers something new and interesting. And he's so supportive of Anna's paintings (which are totally cool, by the way, and I want one!). He's that nice guy that isn't too nice but just nice enough to be perfect. Although, I'll admit, he had his moments.

Anna's family is all sorts of dysfunctional. Her mom, who's really only mentioned pretty briefly, is possibly terrible. Her sister's are both older and away and a little emotionally stunted when it comes to familial bonds. And her dad is self centered to the point where it's sort of amusing. To be honest, I actually like Anna's dad. A lot. I think he's pretty adorable. He's not mean or terrible just because he can be. It's like he legitimately doesn't see how the things he does, or doesn't do more likely, effect Anna. That's not to say he's a good parent, he's not, but he is a parent. He doesn't want to get to know Anna not because he doesn't care, but because he doesn't realize he needs to. She doesn't find the same things interesting as he does. Not like Lizzie does. Lizzie and her dad are like the cutest BFF's ever. I appreciate their relationship, maybe more than I should, but still. I think they're cute. Their dad rarely mentions his older daughter Molly, but he cares about her the same as he cares about his younger daughters. He's not emotionally there for any of them, but he's physically there and that's more then their mother ever gave them.

I don't quite get the cover. It has nothing at all to do with the story aside from the kissing. But, whatever, I guess. It's cute and colorful and works. It just holds no meaning other than that it's a very contemporary cover. Not sure why this, of all things, bothered me, but it did a little. I enjoy a cover that means something to the story. The cover's really not important though, what's important is the amazingly sweet story inside.

If you're a fan of contemporary, an Austen lover, or a fan of LaZebnik herself, you're going to want to pick up The Last Best Kiss for your collection. It'll keep you up all night reading. Trust me, I know from experience!

Find out more about The Last Best Kiss at these sites!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Shuffle Saturday (62): Fader

Every Saturday I'll be posting a random song off of my iPod. Everyone can feel free to join in, just leave a link to your Shuffle Saturday post in the comments! This week's song is:

Fader by The Temper Trap

This is one of those songs that I didn't even realize I downloaded until I heard it playing a few weeks later. But then I totally fell in love with it. Now I have to check out more songs by The Temper Trap!

What are you listening to?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Read Georgetown Academy For FREE! #GTScandal

If you guys have been following me for a while then you know how much I love the Georgetown Academy series by Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz. Especially Brooks... just saying. Anyway, there is some MAJOR news about the series coming up soon (hopefully!) and if you haven't already read the books you should get started on this series. Especially since the first book is FREE! That's right, book one is free over on Wattpad, so get over there and enjoy! But don't forget to help spread the word using the hashtag #GTScandal!

It’s the beginning of a new political administration. That might not mean much at most high schools, but at Georgetown Academy, Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, January 20th means new alliances, new flings, and new places to party.

While freshmen—nicknamed “interns” for their willingness to jump into bed with anyone higher on the D.C. totem pole—navigate the not-so-friendly halls of GA searching for Algebra and Bio classes, the school’s lifers have other things on their minds.

For self-proclaimed D.C. royalty Brinley Madison (of those Madisons), the first day of school is all about establishing the social hierarchy and playing the part of perfect political wife to her boyfriend, the outgoing Vice President’s son. Too bad he has a wandering eye that puts Bill Clinton’s to shame. Can she keep him, and her own secret vice, in check?

Ellie Walker, Brinley’s best friend, floats through the halls on the arm of golden boy Hunter McKnight (the JFK of GA). But when her ex-boyfriend, Gabe, returns to town and her Senator mother’s political nemesis is reelected, Ellie’s life starts to snowball out of control.

Shy, quiet Evan Hartnett is more into books than beer, and her closet is full of t-shirts and jeans instead of Jason Wu and Jimmy Choo. No one’s ever really noticed her—but she’s been noticing them. When her star rises as an intern at D.C.’s most-watched political news show, she soon finds the two worlds colliding in ways that make her question what’s secret and what’s fair game.

New girl Taryn Reyes is all laid-back, California cool; with a father who’s in line to be the first Hispanic president, she’s ready to dive into the D.C. scene with an open mind. But when her fellow students turn out to be more interested in spreading rumors than making friends, she realizes that forging a drama-free path might be a lot harder than she thinks.

With so many new friends and former flames in the mix, things are bound to get a little heated. And while diplomatic immunity might keep the cops away, there’s not much it can do about the press.

In a town where one teenage misstep can turn into a national scandal, the students at Georgetown Academy will have to be on their best behavior—or, at least, they’ll have to make the world believe that they are.

Because there’s only one rule: whatever you do, don’t get caught.

Read Georgetown Academy and Share!

Georgetown Academy is a juicy series about the politics at D.C.’s most elite prep school. A cross between Scandal and Gossip Girl, it’s fans include Eva Longoria and nearly a million Wattpad fans.

To celebrate the series’ success, we’ve put together an amazing campaign that involves and benefits readers—the more participation, the more we’ll give. Here are the steps:

Book One is currently being featured on Wattpad. Add GTA to your public Wattpad reading list: http://www.wattpad.com/story/8095946-georgetown-academy-book-one

Share Book One’s Wattpad link via twitter (Using #GTScandal)
• If GT fans hit 1k tweets by Wednesday, April 23, we will release Chapter 1 of Book 2 on Wattpad 
• if can hit 1.5k tweets by Sunday 4/27, we’ll release another Book 2 chapter (from the POV of a an unknown character) on Wattpad 
• If we hit 2k, the price of book 2, across all platforms will be dropped to $1.99 
Join our Twitter Party! On Tuesday 4/22 @ 9 pm EST authors Jessica and Alyssa will answer all readers’ questions! Find out if Taryn will stand between Ellie and Gabe, and maybe their parents’ careers. Use the hashtag #GTScandal to participate. Follow us @GTownAcademy.
Other ways to participate in the campaign and spread the word:

Add the books on Goodreads! Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4

If you've already read and loved the books, consider posting your review on Amazon.

So will you be attending the chat? Let me know in the comments :)

For more about the Georgetown Academy series check out our reviews!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

FREE for Kindle: Everville series by Roy Huff

Today Everville: The First Pillar by Roy Huff is free on Amazon!  If you haven't checked out this fantasy adventure series get the first two books for free during this promotion and the third is on sale for only $0.99 during the event!

The First Pillar

Owen Sage is the emblematic college freshman at Easton Falls University. With all the worries about his first year in college, he was not prepared for what would happen next. His way of life was flipped upside down when he mysteriously crossed into another dimension, into the beautiful land of Everville. His excitement was abruptly halted when he discovered that there was a darkness forged against both the natural world, which he knew well, and the new land which he discovered, Everville. He must devise a plan to save both worlds while joining forces with the race of Fron and The Keepers, whom both harbor hidden secrets he must learn in order to gain power over the evil that dwells in The Other In Between. With a race against time to save both worlds, his short time at Easton Falls did not quite prepare him for the evil, dark forces he must fight in order to conquer The Other In Between.

FREE from April 15th - 18th!

The City of Worms

College freshman Owen Sage has just started to understand the darkness trying to overtake Everville and the earthly realm. With the help of The Keeper and the Fron army, Owen has managed to buy some time, but new problems have already emerged, new secrets need to be revealed, and the race against time to stop Them from conquering both dimensions has only just begun. The Keeper, Owen Sage, and his friends at Easton Falls University must now battle threats from within. To do it, they must reunite with familiar creatures and join forces with new ones as they navigate their journey to the truth that awaits them in Everville.

FREE from April 19th - 22nd!

The Rise of Mallory

As the epic journey continues, a victorious Owen Sage stands undefeated against his enemies. His last battle in Everville gave rise to a new insidious evil, Mallory; whose determination to defeat him opens an unexplored Pandora’s box. Owen's search for truth will unveil the mystery and surprising insights surrounding himself and his friends at Easton Falls University. New creatures will be uncovered and the true value of friendship will be tested, as Owen embarks on yet another battle in Everville.

On sale for $0.99 from April 15th - 21st!

For more about this event check it out on these sites!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Forever Song
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publish Date: April 15th, 2014


Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster?

With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.


Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost—the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie.

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa provides an epic ending to an epic series. With heart pounding danger around every twist and turn, you won't be able to put this apocalyptic masterpiece down until the very last page.

Kagawa seriously writes the best fight scenes into this series. It's one of the reasons I can't stop reading these books once I pick them up. They're filled with action and packed with twists and turns. The action did get more than a little gruesome at times. This series isn't for the weak stomached. There is a lot of blood and death and dismemberment, so if that's not your thing, you might be skipping great chucks of The Forever Song. I feel this was the goriest book in the series, but I felt it was necessary to the story and really showed just what the risks were for Allie, Kanin and the rest.

The romance in this was as good as it was in the first two books. I don't want to give anything away, but Zeke is still Allie's nĂºmero uno and I still like them, but not in an overpowering they-need-to-be-together sort of way. I said it in my review of The Eternity Cure, I would love to have seen the romantic interest be changed up a little, and I guess it sort of was in a way, but not the way I wanted. I feel like Zeke and Allie together come off a tad self-righteous. They both see each other as so perfect and everyone who doesn't think exactly like them just has to be wrong. That annoyed me majorly since I'm super in love with Jackal who is so great in this book and gets almost no credit. In fact, all he usually ever gets is a sneer from Allie, even when he's right. Ugh. I'm a little bitter about that, if you can't tell. It's the only thing that really irked me about Allie this time around.

But anyway, back to Jackal who is just amazing in The Forever Song. I'm so in love with him, I could read about him forever. And yeah, I get it. I know Jackal and Allie are just blood siblings, but their chemistry is off the charts. Not in a romance-y sort of way, much to my dismay, but in a platonic way that makes me silly-grin whenever I read about the two of them bickering. It's adorable and I just wish Allie could have given him some more credit. Then there's Kanin. Oh, Kanin. Best mentor ever. I've always loved Kanin, but he, like Jackal, is just so perfect in The Forever Song. Allie, Jackal and Kanin make this perfect, completely dysfunctional family out to save the world and that is the reason I fell so hard for this series. No matter how hard things get, or how much they irritate each other, or whatever their individual beliefs, they want to do the right thing and come together despite all their differences.

If you've been following this series, fear not. Kagawa manages to outdo herself with The Forever Song, creating the perfect ending for these characters and the whole apocalyptic world she's created. If you still haven't picked this series up, you have to get on that. Now that it's over there will be nothing to keep you from devouring all three books one after the other, which is what you'll do the moment you start the Blood of Eden series.

For more about The Forever Song check out these sites!


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Shuffle Saturday (61): Working Man

Every Saturday I'll be posting a random song off of my iPod. Everyone can feel free to join in, just leave a link to your Shuffle Saturday post in the comments! This week's song is:

Working Man by Imagine Dragons

I am so in love with everything about this song. I've listened to it more times than I care to admit. It's just so catchy and spring-y and I'm obsessed.

What are you listening to?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spotlight: Sapphire by Sarah Fay Olson

Today we're spotlighting Sapphire by Sarah Fay Olson! Sapphire is a fantasy full of adventure and romance. Check out the synopsis:

In the kingdom of Asteria, Layla has dreamt of nothing but royal balls and falling in love. On her sixteenth birthday, she receives the invitation to the annual Autumn Ball and it doesn't seem like life could get any better when the Prince falls for her. But the fairy tale is short-lived as Layla soon learns the truth about her murdered parents and is given a sapphire that changes her life.

About the Author:

Sarah Fay Olson is a native Floridian that began writing her debut novel, Sapphire, during her senior year in high school. She enjoys reading young and new adult books whether they are dystopian, fantasy, adventure or romance. When she is not reading or writing, Sarah enjoys horseback riding, playing the violin, and watching movies.

For more about Sapphire check out these sites!

AmazonChristopher Matthews PublishingGoodreads

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