’89 Walls by Katie Pierson Book Tour!

book tour

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Title & Author: ’89 Walls by Katie Pierson89WallsCover

Publisher: Wise Ink

Release Date: June 5, 2015

Format & Pages: Paperback & 240

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Other Books By Katie Pierson: Debut Book!

My Rating: 4hearts

SYNOPSIS

College is not in the cards for Seth. He spends his minimum wage on groceries and fakes happiness to distract his mom from the MS they both know will kill her. It’s agony to carry around a frayed love note for a girl who’s both out of his league and beneath his dignity. 

Quinn’s finishing high school on top. But that cynical, liberal guy in her social studies class makes her doubt her old assumptions. Challenging the rules now, though, would a) squander her last summer at home, b) antagonize her conservative dad, and c) make her a hypocrite.

Seth and Quinn’s passionate new romance takes them both by surprise. They keep it a secret: it’s too early to make plans and too late not to care. But it’s 1989. As politics suddenly get personal, they find themselves fighting bare-fisted for their beliefs—and each other—in the clear light of day.

BOOK EXCERPT

Quinn used the three extra minutes before class that day to turn in her cap-and-gown order form at the office. She made sure no one was looking before skipping down the marble staircase like a little kid. She watched her light-green sundress rise and settle with each bounce. The translucent afternoon sun had managed to warm the foyer by the entrance doors as if spring might actually stick. A tiny breeze jiggled the branches of the narrow pine trees framing the building’s entrance. The stretch of blue sky spanning the transom window reassured her, like it was telling her that years of self-conscious high school angst were almost over.

Only Trish understood how crucial Quinn’s façade of success was to the fact of it. As long as she stuck to the script—Take the advanced placement classes. Study. Join the debate team. Perform.—she could hold herself together. She could no more drop the script than let her bones dissolve.

Quinn hated the debate team.

She stomped on the final step. As she rounded the bottom of the stairwell, she saw Seth walking to class from the opposite direction. His dark-blond hair looked like it wanted to cover his eyes but was failing at it. Even looking at him made her feel defensive.

He drew near enough for Quinn to read his T-shirt. A cartoon of Uncle Sam silk-screened in black-and-white on the front said, “Join the army. Travel to exotic, distant lands. Meet exciting, unusual people. And kill them.” On the inside, Quinn rolled her eyes; why did liberals like him act as though people like her invented war and they alone wanted peace, love, and teddy bears? Quinn read his shirt again. Okay, maybe it was kind of funny. But it looked out of place on a guy who never smiled.

They had less than a minute before the bell rang, and the hallway had emptied out. He probably wouldn’t acknowledge her; he never even said hi unless she said hi first. But he passed the classroom door. He was headed straight for her. His tan cheeks glowed bright pink, and his eyebrows scrunched together. Quinn felt her shoulders creep up as their eyes met. Was he going to call her out on something right now?

She saw Ilene slipping into the classroom and waved at her. Quinn tried to veer out of Seth’s path; if he wanted to tangle, he’d have to wait until class, when Mr. Levine could referee. But he sidestepped in front of her, forcing her to stop. What the hell? They stared at each other for several seconds. Quinn noticed that the dark brown of Seth’s eyes blended right into his pupils. He also had broad shoulders for a lean guy, but he was barely three inches taller than she was.

Seth started to say something but then kind of deflated. He pressed a limp, folded piece of notebook paper into her hand. Scowling at the floor, he mumbled something under his breath before charging into the classroom.

Quinn looked around in confusion to see if there had been witnesses. There hadn’t. She walked into room 105. She sat down next to Ilene and said hi back to a few people. Taking a huge, slow breath, she slid the letter into her folder and pulled a pen out of her backpack.

            Waiting for the slackers to trickle in, Mr. Levine strolled over to his desk and pried the lid off yesterday’s McDonald’s drink. He poured the light-brown liquid into the spider plant. Then he flipped off the lights and closed the door. He rubbed his hands together with that sinister glee that teachers saved up for things like pop quizzes. Then he slapped an outline on the overhead projector, on which he’d chicken-scratched the title “South Africa.” As the class groaned, Mr. Levine shrugged out of his sports jacket. He tossed it across his desk with one of the sleeves inside out.

As soon as he starting talking about apartheid, Quinn flipped open her folder to read the note.

Dear Quinn,

Here’s what I’ve wanted to say to you for a long time: I’ve liked you since the beginning of tenth grade. We haven’t had any big conversations, but I feel like I know you.

I know that you’re genuinely nice. Even though you have a lot of friends, you make a point of saying hello to people like me (the shy, antisocial types!). You’re really pretty, especially when you wear that green dress. You’re also smart. I hear George Washington University figured that out, too. Congratulations on getting in.

I wondered if you’d like to go to a movie sometime. I know it sounds weird coming from someone you’ve barely talked to (and especially from someone who would tease you about being a Republican), but I hope you’ll say yes.

Seth

BOOK LINKS

-’89 Walls is available on Amazon

-Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble

-Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Katie Pierson freelances for local non-profits, using her background in public policy and grassroots organizing to overthrow the patriarchy one introverted step at a time. When she’s not writing fiction, she returns library books, makes soup, and tries to be cooler than she really is by hip-hopping at the YMCA. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in American History from the University of Pennsylvania (where she dabbled briefly in being a College Republican) and a Master’s in American History from the University of Minnesota. She grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and now lives with her family in a suburb of Minneapolis. ’89 Walls is her first novel.

MORE INFORMATION

-Visit Katie Pierson’s website

-Connect with Katie on Facebook and Twitter

-Find out more about Katie at Goodreads

-Visit Katie’s blog

MY REVIEW

I’m not usually a fan of books that take place in the past, even if it’s only 26 year in the past. I usually stick to present/modern day stories. ’89 Walls though grabbed by interest from the summary and it sounded like a book I would enjoy, and it most certainly was. In all it took me two days to finish this book. I will admit I even read it while I was at work and supposed to be paying attention. I fell in love with the main characters and had to see what was going to happen between them.

The book brings up a lot of political references from 1989 and there are debates between the two main characters, Seth and Quinn, along with Quinn and her father throughout the whole book. While I could see why this may be a turn off to some readers, I actually enjoyed reading the debates and seeing both sides. It also gave me some insight to things that were going on in the few years before I was born that I had never heard or learned about before. It also made me open my mind at times during the debate and I myself not only enjoy a good debate but also love any book that can open my mind up to new thoughts and ideas.

I really liked both of the main characters, Seth and Quinn. They both had their flaws but that only added to their stories. Seth was such a kind and caring guy who not only tried to please Quinn, but also takes care of his mother who is suffering from MS. Quinn was a strong, independent female character who in the end stood up for what she believed in even if it was a different view than her parents. They both made their fair share of stupid decisions and mistakes throughout the book, but in the end that made them they characters they were. There were also quite the amount of minor characters including Seth’s mom, Quinn’s parents, Quinn’s ex-boyfriend Jason and her friend Trish. Some I liked more than others, Seth’s and Quinn’s mothers, some really annoyed me during their brief time in the story, Quinn’s ex-boyfriend Jason, and other’s I just ended up feeling bad/sad for, Quinn’s father. Although they were only minor characters, they gave a lot to the story.

Once I finished reading ’89 Walls, I was a little more convinced that it is probably geared towards the older side of the Young Adult genre for some of the topics discussed and actions that took place, even though the two main characters are both high school students. I think ’89 Walls is a great book if you’re looking for a young adult romance with some depth to it and one that will make you think (politically not romantically). It was definitely refreshing, although familiar to other young adult romances at the same time. I cannot wait to see and read Katie Pierson’s next young adult book.

“Still,” she said, “it’s kind of embarrassing to cry over a book.”

“I like people who cry over books. It makes me trust them.”

-Quinn & her father

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Swept Away by Michelle Dalton Blog Tour!

book tour

SWEPT AWAY 1

SWEPT AWAY 2

Title & Author: Swept Away (Sixteenth Summer) by Michelle Dalton

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: May 5, 2015

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Other Books by Michelle Dalton: Fifteenth Summer, Sixteenth Summer, Pulled Under (A Sixteenth Summer novel)

 My Rating: 4hearts

SYNOPSIS

Beachfront love blossoms in this refreshing summer romance, in the tradition of Sixteenth Summer and Seventeenth Summer.

 

Mandy Sullivan isn’t exactly looking forward to the summer months as tourists invade her seaside hometown on the coast of Maine. Her best friend, Cynthia, has abandoned her for camp and her older brother just announced he’ll be staying at college taking classes for the summer, leaving Mandy with nothing to do and no one to hang out with. Hoping to keep herself busy, Mandy takes a volunteer job at the Rocky Pointe Lighthouse. On her very first day, Oliver Farmingham asks for a private tour. A new—and incredibly cute—face in Rocky Pointe, Oliver seems more interested in Mandy than the lighthouse and its history.

 

Without her best friend at her side, Mandy is scrambling to act the right way and say the right things when Oliver is around. Cynthia—not Mandy—has always been the confident, flirtatious girl that everyone wanted to be around. As Mandy and Oliver spend more time together exploring the coast, biking through the woods, and attending the local summer festivals, their budding friendship becomes much more. But with Mandy’s insecurities creeping to the surface, can she open her heart to someone who will only be in town for three months?

BOOK LINKS:

Goodreads l Amazon paperback l Barnes & Noble (B&N)

Bookdepository l iTunes l Kobo

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:

Sixteenth Summer (Book 1): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9091814-sixteenth-summer

Pulled Under (Book 2): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18248933-pulled-under

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle Dalton is one of the many names Carla Jablonski uses when writing. Her two YAs written as Carla Jablonski (published by Razorbill/Penguin), Thicker than Water and Silent Echoes, were included on the NYPL Books for the Teen Age list, and her graphic novel trilogy Resistance (illustrated by Leland Purvis, published by :01 Books) has won several awards, including the Sydney Taylor Silver Medal. In addition to writing novels she is an actor, playwright, and former trapeze artist. A native New Yorker, she is eternally grateful to her friends who invite her to their beach houses.

MY REVIEW

I have been a fan of Michelle Dalton since I first read Sixteenth Summer. I instantly loved the clichéd teen summer love story and continued to fall in love with each of her books after that. I love that when I read her books I am suddenly transported to a beach town that I have never been to yet am now so eager to visit. I love how you just fall in love with the storyline, the characters and the setting from the very first chapter. It is such a fun, light, enjoyable read that I could reread over and over again.

I loved the small beach town of Rocky Point and the way it was portrayed to the reader. It was so easy to make a mental picture of the quaint little town and made me want to hop into my car and take a roadtrip up the coast to Maine as soon as I finished reading. I also really loved the characters as I do with all of Michelle Dalton’s novels. They are easily likeable and you are rooting for them most of the book even though you know that their summer romance will likely come to an end. Mandy was so easy to relate to and I think any young girl would be able to see some of their own qualities in Mandy. Oliver was different than your usual summer love interest. He wasn’t the hunky jock out surfboarding on the beach. He was an artist and took the time to stop and admire things most other people don’t. He actually had some depth to him and that made me love him so much more. While some reader’s might not be into the insta-love, I was totally and completely into it and was hoping for the best between the two of them from the beginning to end.

I will definitely be rereading Swept Under (along with the rest of the Sixteenth Summer novels) while I lounge out on the beach this year. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a cute summer book, that also makes for a great beach read. It’s suitable in my opinion for tween and teen girls of any ages and I guarantee once you read Swept Away you’ll want to pick her other young adult books up as well.

MY DREAM CAST

These are some of the actors and actresses that I would match up to the characters in the book if it were being made into a movie.

Mandy Sullivan – Played by: Hailee Steinfield

SWEPT AWAY 8 MANDY

Mrs. Sullivan – Played by: Diane Lane

SWEPT AWAY 12 MANDYS MOM

Justin Sullivan – Played by: Taylor Lautner or Penn Badgley (it was a tie)

SWEPT AWAY 10 JUSTIN 

Cynthia – Played By : Lucy Fry

SWEPT AWAY 9 CYNTHIA

Joanna – Played By: Elizabeth Olsen

SWEPT AWAY 16 JOANNA

Patti – Played By: Sabrina Carpenter

SWEPT AWAY 15 PATTI

 Celeste – Played By: Jessica Green

SWEPT AWAY 14 CELESTE

Oliver – Played By: Nick Robinson

SWEPT AWAY 7 OLIVER

Alice (Oliver’s Mother) – Played By: Rachel Weisz

SWEPT AWAY 17 ALICE

Freaky Farmington – Played By: Tommy Lee Jones

SWEPT AWAY 13 FREAKY

So those are my top picks. I feel like they fit the characters really well in my mind. I really liked Penn Badgley for Justin but felt he might be too old looking for a college freshman/sophomore. Elizabeth Olsen to me looks like she could have an edgy New Yorker look/vibe.

GIVEAWAY:

Prize: Win (1) finished copy of SWEPT AWAY by Michelle Dalton (US Only)

*Click the Link Below, My non tech-butt cannot figure out how to embed the Rafflecopter*

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9681b86103/?

SWEPT AWAY 3

Monthly Wrap Up – September 2014

monthly wrap up

For me personally, September has always been a month that just flies by and this year was no exception. This past month has been crazy with the fall semester starting back up and my professors are just giving out assignments like crazy. I was able to read a decent amount of books this month despite the craziness of all things college. I also was accepted for a huge amount of ARCs from HarperTeen this past month, so you will be seeing a good amount of ARC reviews in the weeks to come. I also apologize for not posting any reviews since Friday morning and not doing Top Ten Tuesday this week. I went to the Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull concert on Friday night and I have a concert hangover, very similar to a book hangover. It was so amazing and since Friday night I have sort of been in a trance just listening to their music over and over again. Now that the school week has started up I’m snapping out of it. (And if the concert is coming close to you I would recommend getting tickets if you like them. It was amazing and everyone was on their feet dancing the entire time.)

When I first started my blog I didn’t even know what an ARC was. When I first found out I was probably like most people and wanted many. I never intended on having my blog be mainly ARC reviews, but I apologize because lately it has. I’m not as crazy about getting as many ARCs as possible anymore. If I see some I am really interested in, I will request them though. My next five reviews will be ARCs from book tours I was on. After those five, I am going to switch back and forth between an ARC and a published book because I have a pretty big pile in my room from the library, along with about twenty books I bought over the summer that I have yet to read. I don’t want my reviews to only be ARCs because I want to be able to also post reviews on books that are currently published so if you are interested in it you can get it right away from your local library, Barnes and Noble or Amazon rather than wait a few months.

So here are the books I read (and reviewed) this month:

– 09/03/14 Death Date by Victoria Laurie 

– 09/04/14 Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

– 09/08/14 Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas

– 09/10/14 No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown

– 09/11/14 Appaloosa Summer by Tudor Robins

– 09/12/14 Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas

– 09/15/14 Easy by Tammara Webber

– 09/18/14 Tease by Amanda Maciel

– 09/21/14 The Bargaining by Carly Anne West

– 09/26/14 The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

– I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (Review coming October)

– Dead to Me by Mary McCoy (Review coming October)

– All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (Review coming October)

So thirteen books overall for this month isn’t too bad. I had only expected to read up to two books a week and I just under double that amount so I won’t complain. The last three books on my list I have finished between last week and the weekend. I will have reviews for the first two up this week, and a review for All the Bright Places will be posted at the beginning of next week.

Unfortunately I did not buy any books this month 😥 However, my mom did preorder a copy of…They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Claire! I am super excited about that coming in the mail this month. It is at the top of my most anticipated YA novels of 2014 and I cannot wait to finally read it. It has been on my TBR list since this summer so now after months of waiting I will finally get to read it (as long as she doesn’t decide to hold onto it until Christmas). So, even though I didn’t buy it myself, I will count it under books bought this month.

Once I get a job, which I am actually waiting for a call back from a hospital, I will begin buying books again. Also later this month is a used book sale at my library. It lasts 3 days and there is tables and tables full of books and none are higher than $3, so hopefully they have some YA books I can buy and add to my shelves. 🙂

I guess that’s it for the month of September and I am certainly ready for October to begin. I am one of those people who cannot wait for the chilly weather, crunchy and color changing leaves, bonfires and of course Halloween. The past few days have actually been unseasonably warm so I have not been very happy about that because I would prefer it to be 65 degrees outside rather than 80.

No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown

No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown

Expected Publication: December 9, 2014

How I Acquired This Book: ARC Tour

4stars

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Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.

When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.

Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.

(Summary from Goodreads)

Oh my goodness, when I began reading this book I thought it was going to be light story about a small town girl who falls in love with her best friends brother. It was much better and more intense than that. I love storylines where the main character falls in love with their best friends brother, not quite sure why that it but maybe because the relationships are so much deeper since the characters have known each other for so long before they get together. Anyhow, I loved the whole storyline. There was a ton of family drama, but it didn’t really kill my mood overall for the book. I felt like the family drama actually added a lot to the book and the reader a good insight on Amber and why she makes the choices she does.

I really liked the two main characters, Amber and Devon. Amber is determined and although she made some not so smart choices in the book, I really liked her. She seems super sweet, caring, and like your typical teenager. Like I said, she made some not so smart choices, but she always has the best intentions at heart. Her best friend Devon gave me mixed feelings, but in the end I really liked him. He is like a typical teenage boy, putting his love interest before many other important things. When he was in that stage he got on my nerves a few times, but he soon realized and changed his ways. Amber and Devon together made a great pair of friends. Devon supported Amber even in some difficult times.

There were other characters that I didn’t care for as much, but the story would not have been the same without them. Two of the characters were Amber’s sister and her sister’s husband who is a local drug dealer and has her sister under his control to do what he wants and when he wants it. Amber tries to be there for her sister, but her sister constantly pushes her away even after she is arrested and child protective services comes to investigate. The other character was Devon’s love interest, the new boy at school, whose name I cannot remember at this time (opps :-/ ). He seemed like your typical high school jocky, douchebag. My only wish would have been for Amber to sock him real good in the face and put him in his place.

In No Place to Fall, so much was happening at once and the story never had a chance to slow down to a boring speed. Whether Amber was dealing with her family, her singing, her confusing relationship with Devon’s brother Will or just typical high schooler issues, the story was always interesting. I finished this book in a day which surprised me. It was a bit lengthy compared to the last book I finished and I don’t have as much free reading time as I did before. Granted I did stay up way too late and was super groggy in class the next day, but it was so completely worth it.

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

I know practically everyone says, don’t judge a book by it cover, yet I feel like we all still do it. I will be the first to admit that 9 times out of 10 I pick up a book or click on a book online because I like it’s cover. From there though, the summary is the ultimate deciding factor if I will actually read the book or not. Belzhar was included.

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Expected Publication: September 30, 2014

How I Acquired This Book: ARC Tour

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If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be  at home in New Jersey with her sweet British  boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching  old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing  him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.

(Summary from Goodreads)

The first few times I scrolled past Belzhar on both Goodreads and Edelweiss, I never once clicked on the title to find out more about this book. At first glance the title made it seem like it would be a strange book and the cover itself didn’t grab my attention. Thank goodness I finally clicked on  it (after seeing it pop up several times) because Belzhar was absolutely, without a doubt amazing. It took me a few hours to read this book from cover to cover. It was so much better than I ever could have expected. I’ve called other books I have read and reviewed original before, which they were, but I feel that Belzhar was original on a completely different level. First, it dealt lightly with some difficult topics that a lot of teens in our society go through everyday/year. Second, the added “magic” I guess you could call it just took the story so much further.

I enjoyed that although the book was focused around one main character, Jam, the reader got to know the other four students in the Special Topics in English class as well. We were able to learn all of their stories and knew them as well as we did Jam. Out of all the characters in the book, there were only two I did not like. One was a very minor character, while the other was pretty important but my dislike was not present until some of the final chapters. The rest of the characters I fell in love with. I loved seeing them open up to the other students and deal with their pasts with the help of their journals. When beginning this book, I have no idea the power of these journals that each student had.

It’s hard to go into too much detail without giving anything away. There are a few surprising moments throughout the book and it will have you unable to put the book down. I really, really love Belzhar and cannot wait to buy my own copy when it is published later this month. I am also really hoping that the author writes a sequel to follow up with the students during their winter break and spring semester. In a way the ending was left open where a sequel could definitely be possible, but at the moment I do feel like this was written as a standalone novel. I cannot wait to see what other young adult books Meg Wolitzer writes in the future.

Death Date by Victoria Laurie

I was really pleased with Death Date by Victoria Laurie. I haven’t read any young adult thrillers lately and her book definitely satisfied my needs for one. Death Date was also one of the better young adult thrillers that I have read this past year.

Death Date by Victoria Laurie

Expected Publication: January 13, 2015

How I Acquired This Book: ARC Tour

4stars

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Pretty Little Liars meets Medium in this fast-paced thriller and fantastic YA debut from a New York Times bestselling author

Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.

Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client’s young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.

Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who maybe connected to it all, Maddie’s whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it’s too late?

(Summary from Goodreads)

Not only do I enjoy a really great young adult thriller, but I love when they involve ghosts, spirits or psychic abilities. When requested to read and review this book as part of an ARC tour, I had honestly been expecting a lot from Death Date. I have to say, Victoria Laurie definitely delivered. While the plot line itself was a bit different from what I had been expecting from the summary, I couldn’t help but turn page after page until the book was finished. I loved how original the idea for this book was and the idea that someone could see people’s death dates just by looking at them. I also loved how completely shocked I was when I was reading the final few chapters. All throughout the book I constantly thought I knew who the murderer was and every single time I was proven wrong and left guessing again. It’s a personal pet peeve of mine when you can easily out who the murderer is a couple chapters into a book. In Death Date, I didn’t know until Maddie herself knew and I liked the element of surprise that came with it. In the final chapter, I liked how the author tied everything together in a way I also wasn’t expecting.

As for the characters, I liked some and didn’t really like a few others. Without giving too much away, there are a few characters you will get serious mixed feelings for. You go from liking them to disliking them within a few chapters or opposite. I really liked the main character Maddie. To me, she seemed like a strong female lead character. She put up with a lot throughout the book and never once backed down. She was determined to prove her innocence to everyone and no matter how rough or scary things got, she kept going. I also felt sympathy for her as she often blamed herself for her father’s death and would ask herself the infamous question numerous times throughout the novel, “What if?”. In a way I would say Maddie was easily relatable, but in other ways I would say she isn’t (obviously because I don’ see people’s death dates and have never been the suspect of a murder investigation).

Overall, I really enjoyed Death Date; it pulled me in and grabbed my attention from the beginning. It was a quick read for myself since I was unable to put it down for more than a few minutes at a time. Death Date is also original and unlike any other young adult thrillers I have read before and definitely makes my top ten young adult thriller list.

Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Rites of Passage was exactly the book I needed. After not being too happy with the past couple of books I have read, I absolutely loved Rites of Passage and devoured the book in 1 day. This is a book I will be able to read again and again and enjoy it every single time.

Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Expected Publication: September 9, 2014

How I Acquired This Book: ARC Tour

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Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty…no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust…and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

(Summary from Goodreads)

When trying to find a good book, there are always certain things you look for and Rites of Passage had all of them and more. For a debut novel, this was absolutely amazing and really delivered a great, original story. I have never felt so many different emotions when reading a book and am not sure if I ever tore through a book the way I did with this one.

I loved the main character Sam. She is determined when she sets her mind to something and never once gives up. She is such a strong, female character and I think more books need characters like her in them. The rage and hatred I felt towards the antagonists of the book were on a whole new level from any other antagonist in any other books. You wanted to see them get what they deserved and then some because of how they behaved and treated Sam. There were a few other characters I really enjoyed, including Sam’s drill sergeant, his brother, and Sam’s mentor. A couple other characters I had mixed feelings about, which is what I am thinking the author wanted. They had some good moments and some bad ones, and sometimes they surprised you when you least expected it.

I loved the setting of the story. I myself never had any interest in joining the service or going to a military school like Sam attended, but it was actually really interesting to see what it would be like for new recruits during their first year. Plus, there was a secret society and I mean come on, secret societies always make the book better and more interesting. While generally most secret societies seem to not usually have everyone’s best interests at heart, the secret society in Rites of Passage takes it to a whole new level and made the book more thrilling. There were times when my heart was racing because I had no idea what was going to happen next or even what to expect. I love when a book has the power to do that to me.

This has definitely been one of the best books I have read so far this year and cannot wait for it to come out in September so I can buy my own copy to add to my bookshelf. I seriously urge everyone to go get a copy and read it. If you’re unsure, rent it from the library because I promise you will fall in love with it and want your own copy to reread over and over again. It’s so different from many of the young adult books out there and it has an original story with such a strong, female lead character which we don’t get to see too often. I would love to see a sequel to Rites of Passage to see what the following year has to bring for everyone and of course I would love to see where Sam and her love interest (because I’m not going to name names and spoil the story) are now. If I wasn’t able to convince you to read it with my 5 star rating and amazing review, so far there is over 200 ratings on Goodreads and Rites of Passage has a whopping 4.14 stars. Pretty sure that has been the highest of any book I had read to date. So seriously, go read it when it comes out and you can thank me later! 🙂