My books

Keeping track of everything I've read!
Dare You To - Katie McGarry

This review is also posted on The Bookish Brunette.


I got Pushing the Limits in physical ARC form as a gift from a friend right after it came out. I read it immediately and loved it so much, and I knew I needed to read Dare You To as soon as I could get my hands on a copy.


Beth is just trying to do all the normal teenage things – get through school, hang out with friends, oh and that small detail of protecting her alcoholic and drug addicted mom from her abusive boyfriend. So it’s an easy decision for her when she chooses to take the blame for her mom during an argument with said boyfriend. She gets arrested, and is bailed out by her estranged uncle, Scott, who informs her that if she wants Scott to protect her mom as well, Beth needs to go live with Scott, and Beth’s mom needs to sign over custody. Which, Beth’s mom does.


When Beth moves into Scott’s house with he and his wife, Allison, she is resentful. Allison doesn’t like her, Scott is making her dress like a completely different person, and she isn’t able to see Isaiah, Noah, or Echo anymore. When Scott has Ryan, the star baseball pitcher, agree to show Beth around the school, Beth realizes she can use Ryan to her advantage. But what she doesn’t expect is for Ryan to be someone like-able.


For those of you who are hesitant to read this because it isn’t about Noah or Echo, breathe a sigh of relief. Katie McGarry still has them in this installment, although they’re more of secondary characters.


Beth was the girl I wanted to be in high school. The tough-as-nails, hard ass girl that nobody wanted to mess with. Granted, that was just the show that Beth put on, but still. Ryan was the jock who had more to him than what everybody saw. And I think, ultimately, that is what the Pushing the Limits series is all about – looking beyond what someone shows on the outside, and seeing who they really are.


The writing in Dare You To was just as amazing as I remember of Katie McGarry.

“And he wondered what happened to the world around him. Did it also collapse into chaos? Had everything ceased to exist as it was, just like how his life spiraled into nothingness? Or had the rest of the world continued on like normal, because in the end his position within it never really mattered? – Ryan’s short story


Overall, Dare You To was just a really fantastic follow up. I’ve already requested the third, Crash Into You, on Netgalley.

A copy of this book was provided to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way for this review.

Unremembered - Jessica Brody Review coming soon!
Day by Day Armageddon - J.L. Bourne 3.5 stars! Review coming soon!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home - Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty, Paul Lee, Andy Owens, Dave Stewart, Richard Starkings It should be stated first that I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I've been rewatching the series with my husband since he's never seen it before, and it is still just as good. I've wanted to read Season 8 for some time now, so I'm pretty excited that I finally did.

I'm going to be putting the next part of the review in spoiler alert, just in case you've been living under the same rock my husband has, so it doesn't ruin the TV show for you.

The Long Way Home opens up shortly after the series finale. Sunnydale is gone, there are thousands of Slayers now, Xander is missing an eye, Dawn is a giant, and Willow has disappeared for a little while. Buffy is still doing the Slayer thing, and is training new Slayers along with Giles. There were a couple huge surprises.

1. Buffy and Xander, together? What!? I told my husband and he didn't believe it either. It's an interesting storyline, although I was kind of confused by Xander's head popping off while they were kissing. I mean, I'm entirely sure that it was part of the dream state that Amy was keeping her in, but still. Bah!

2. Speaking of which, Amy! She's back! If you don't remember Amy, she's the girl from the first season whose Mom switched bodies with her so she could relive her glory high school days. Then again in season two, she helps Xander do a love spell on Cordelia that backfires. Pushing forward to The Long Way Home, she's basically insane.

3. Along the same vein of people returning, Warren is still alive!? What!? He was literally flayed alive by Willow. Granted, he's only kept alive by Amy's magic, but really!?

One thing I love about the Buffy show is that it contains a lot of dark material (vampires, demons, etc) but does it all with a sense of humor. I was extremely glad that the humor was continued into the comics.

The art was awesome. The cover alone, they all look like the actors/actresses who portrayed them. They lose a little bit of that in the actual comic, but they are still recognizable. There are also a couple really well-done portraits throughout the book.

In general, this was a really great continuation of the TV show. I'll definitely be continuing on with the rest of this series, not to mention picking up the Spike, Angel & Faith, and Willow comics.
Tiger Lily - Jodi Lynn Anderson When I first heard that there was going to be a retelling of Peter Pan, told from the POV of my favorite character, Tiger Lily, I was excited. I rushed out to buy the book on it's release date, and then...never read it. But now that I'm on a Kindle binge, I saw it was on sale in the store, bought it, and read it right away. I know, it makes no sense.

Anyway, Tiger Lily was both exactly what I thought it was going to be, and nothing like what I thought it was going to be. I'm going to break it down into The Good and The Bad, because for some reason it's hard to organize my thoughts on this one.

The Good : The story. Tiger Lily and Peter Pan loved each other, in their own ways. It was beautiful in a non-conventional way. The lost boys were stellar, and I liked that there was more of a backstory to them.

The Bad : Despite what I originally thought, it wasn't from Tiger Lily's POV. It was from Tinker Bell's. But Tink could read minds, so the book switched back and forth from third person to first person, without any warning. It got confusing at points.

Overall, this was a really decent book. And I absolutely loved the cover. However, it did take me a little while to get through because of the switching POVs constantly.

Light (Gone, #6)

Light (Gone, #6) - Michael  Grant This review is also posted on my blog.

The Gone series is one that I've loved from the very first page of the very first book. There hasn't really been a point where I've thought about not continuing with the series. Now that the series is over, I'm more than a little upset.

Light picks up soon after Fear ended. The kids inside The FAYZ are now visible to the parents, media, police, and military that are stationed outside the dome, and vice versa. Children are communicating with their parents, telling them what happened for the past year. The gaiaphage now has a body, the daughter of Diana and Caine. The kids are tired, hungry, and stretched too thin. They don't expect to escape the FAYZ alive, but aren't ready to give up yet.

I found this book more graphic than the previous five in the series, if that's even possible. I didn't think it was. According to my Kindle, I was 10% of the way through when I had to put it down to take a minute and digest.

The characters that I've loved were all still huge players. Major characters died, ones that I've loved since book one. I think I actually teared up when two different people were killed.

Light was a really solid ending to a really fantastic series. It didn't have a "happily ever after" ending, because this wasn't a "happily ever after" series. It was a series of death, of fighting, of pain, of anger. I'm extremely glad Michael Grant didn't end it with something along the lines of "they all escaped the FAYZ, went back to school, and continued their lives without any problems" because it would have been unrealistic.

I'm going to miss this series. I'm going to miss buying each book on it's release date. The FAYZ was a fresh story in the YA world, where there's a lot of the same stories repeating themselves. If you haven't read Gone yet, I suggest you do, and continue it all the way through to the end, Light.
Breathless - Brigid Kemmerer This review can also be found on my blog.
When I was browsing Netgalley, looking for the next book to read, I saw this one and immediately requested it. Brigid Kemmerer is on my "Buy-ASAP" list, and anything she writes I will automatically get. I love her writing, and the Elemental series is one of my favorites by far.

Nick is yet another gorgeous Merrick brother. He's the twin of Gabriel, older brother to Chris, and younger brother to Michael. But he's been hiding a secret for years from his brothers, not to mention himself. In Breathless, he faces it head-on.

It's hard to write a huge review on this, as much as I'd like to, because it was a novella. There isn't much to write about that wouldn't give too many spoilers, and I don't want to do that. So here's what I can say...

THE GOOD : One thing I really love about the Elemental series is that, despite that each book is from a different brother's point of view, the other brothers are all a crucial part of the story. That continued here, into Breathless. Gabriel, Chris, and Michael were all characters who interacted with Nick, not just remained in the background.

I also really loved Quinn. I loved that she was hard on herself. It made her even more realistic and believable as a character.

And then the secret. WHAT!?!?!?!? And that's all I'll say about that, except that I might love Nick just a tiny bit more than I already did. You go, Nick.

THE BAD : It was only a novella. Seriously! If Nick doesn't get a whole book to explore what happened in Breathless, I'll be so upset. I need to know!
The Summer I Turned Pretty - Jenny Han This review can also be found on my blog.

Rah! I finally got a chance to start this trilogy!!! So excited.

Belly is a 16 year old girl who is head over heels in love with Conrad Fisher. Every summer, she, her brother and her mother go to Cousins Beach, and stay in a beach house with Susannah, Jeremiah, and of course, Conrad. Her mother has been going since before Belly was born, and together they've gone every year since. This year though, things are different. Conrad has changed, and Belly isn't the annoying little sister who wants to tag along anymore.

I really needed something light to read when I picked this up. I've been reading quite a few heavy, depressing books lately, and a palate cleanser was desperately in order. I felt like nothing could be happy again, ha. The Summer I Turned Pretty was just what I thought I needed - cheesy romance, summer vacation, and cute boys. While it did have all of that, it also was a lot deeper than I expected.

Jeremiah was probably my favorite character in this book, and I'm guessing that will continue through the rest of the series. He was likable, funny, and sweet. Conrad was a (for lack of a better word, so I apologize,) douche. Susannah was beautiful, and Belly was just....Oy.

Belly is what kept this book from getting a higher rating. Yes, she was 16, and Jenny Han did an amazing job with making her sound like a real 16 year old, not an adult woman posing as one. But Belly herself drove me nuts. It just seemed like she followed Conrad around like a lost puppy, and I just wanted to shake her and say "COME ON GIRL!" Then she loved Jeremiah, then she didn't love him, she loved Conrad, then Cam came into the picture, then she didn't like Cam anymore because she loved Conrad. I know that was a run-on sentence, but that's a bit how the whole book felt. I just got tired from the love...square? Rectangle? Diamond? Although it was a nice change from the YA love triangles, I must admit.

I touched on this briefly, but the writing and story-telling was superb. Jenny Han really knows how to "be" her characters, and make them come alive. Not only that, but you pick up this book thinking it's going to light and fluffy, and then BAM! You get hit in the face with Susannah's problems (trying not to give away any spoilers). Right in the feels, Ms. Han, right in the feels.

All in all, I will be continuing this series. Hopefully I'll see Belly grow as a person and won't be so irritated by her actions anymore.
All These Lives - Sarah Wylie All These Lives has been on my radar since about two weeks before it's release. When I was browsing in the library, I finally picked it up and decided to give it a try.

GOOD : Very interesting idea. I don't think there are any books with this sort of premise behind it out in YA right now, at least not that I can think of. Also, I really loved Jack as a character.

BAD : I hated Dani as a main character. I'd be fine with her being snarky or rude or sarcastic, but I felt she went overboard at times.

OVERALL : Mixed feelings. The characters (with the exception of Jack) just didn't do it for me, and the ending was too quick.

This review has also been posted on my blog, Booktacular.
Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble (Jolie Wilkins, #1) - H.P. Mallory This review can also be found on my blog.

I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. The synopsis sounded interesting, and I hadn't read much about witches lately, so I figured this would be a refreshing change of pace.

But it just didn't click for me. I couldn't really get into it and it just dragged on and on. The plot didn't really pick up until the last 20 pages or so, and even then, it only lasted about 5 pages.

The main character drove me INSANE. She had multiple guys falling all over themselves to be with her, and her attitude was "oh, I don't know why they like me I'm so average" and so on and so forth. And not only that but she had absolutely NO problem with changing in front of a ghost who was seriously one of the biggest creeps I've ever read about.

There was also the insta-love factor, not once, but TWICE. I don't know why that is present in so many novels now-a-days, but I'd really like to read a book where that's not in it.

Also, the writing was repetitive. The word "glittery" was on the same page three different times. And if I heard one more mention that Rand's aura had "tinges of purple," I would have screamed.

The story had the potential to be awesome, but instead it just fell flat. I don't think I'll be continuing with this series.
Kill You Twice (Gretchen Lowell, #5) - Chelsea Cain This review can also be found on my blog.

My review might be a little biased because I've followed this series from the beginning and I love it. I've previously reviewed Heartsick, the first in the series, here. I think Chelsea Cain has created one of the sickest and most twisted villains in any book so far that I've read. Every new installment in this story makes me cringe, but I just can't seem to put it down.

Kill You Twice is, again, the story of homicide detective Archie Sheridan. Of course, Gretchen Lowell is again a presence, although she's not as major of a player as she has been in previous books in the series. She's imprisoned again but in a psychiatric ward. The medication they've been giving her has made her looks fail her, so she went from drop-dead gorgeous to a woman who is barely recognizable. Archie makes a serious effort not to visit Gretchen, but eventually breaks down when Susan Ward goes to visit her first. Gretchen wants to admit to yet another murder, and she gives Susan the information, knowing that Archie will eventually come to find out more, which of course he does.

I did figure out who the killer was about halfway through the book. That was something new to me, I've never been able to do that with a Chelsea Cain novel before. However, there were still some things that surprised me. Pearl's history and story line was something I would not have seen coming in a million years.

As usual, the characters were fantastic. I feel like I say that a lot, but Archie Sheridan, Susan Ward, and even Gretchen Lowell are all well-rounded and three dimensional.

There really wasn't much about Kill You Twice that I didn't like. I think, aside from the first in the series, this has been my favorite Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell book so far.

Murder for Choir (Glee Club, #1)

Murder for Choir (Glee Club, #1) - Joelle Charbonneau I'm going to divulge a little secret quickly, before I get to the review. I'm a total music junkie. I need to have some sort of music playing at all times, whether it's country, metal, rap, whatever. I listen to it and love it all. But my even bigger secret is that I love musicals. Go ahead, laugh. I can recite, word for word, Grease from beginning to end. Hairspray? Don't even get me started. When I found out my husband had never seen either of those, I almost went into shock and immediately pulled them off our shelf so we could watch them.

Now, when Glee came out, I wasn't really interested in yet - yes, it was a musical, but I wasn't really watching much TV at the time. My best friend said to me one day, "you know, I'm surprised you don't watch Glee, it seems like something you'd like." I simply shrugged it off. Until, one weekend, when I was doing a weekend-long babysitting stint while the parents were out of town, I was bored. The little one was asleep for the night and I needed something to do. So, I went on Hulu and watched one episode. The 'Furt' one, where Kurt's dad and Finn's mom get married. And from that point on, I became obsessed. I blame my best friend all the time, because I'm so in love with that show it's not even funny.

Anyway, when I got an email about the blog tour for Murder for Choir, my heart skipped a beat. Murder mystery. Glee club. Books. Three of my favorite things, all combined into one. Of course I wanted to be on that tour.

Paige Marshall is an out-of-work opera singer who takes a job at a high school teaching show choir. The kids aren't really big fans of her, she doesn't want to be a teacher, and she's living with her aunt and her aunt's poodle, nicknamed Killer. Basically, her life is nowhere near where she wants it to be. Teaching is supposed to just be temporary while she waits for an opportunity to get her career back on track. Until she finds the dead body of show choir coach at her school's biggest rival. From that point on, Paige becomes an amateur sleuth while she tries to figure out who killed him, all while dealing with her crazy aunt, putting together dance numbers, and trying to keep herself alive, because the killer wants her out of the way.

This whole book was just perfect. From the very first sentence until the very last page, I loved it. Paige was an awesome heroine, and I loved that the author didn't make her turn out to be some kick-butt lady out of nowhere. For me, that's always a huge issue with some mystery books - the main character is just an average person, but by the end turns out to be kicking rear ends and taking names. That didn't happen with Paige, she was even afraid of a dog. All of this made me love her more and more.

The plot was great. There was never really a moment where I said to myself, "come on, already, just figure out who the killer is!" Every part of the story was essential to keeping the whole thing together. And when I finally found out who the killer was, my jaw hit the floor. Totally unexpected, but once it came out, I started putting all the pieces together that had been there all along. I liked that I really couldn't solve the mystery until Paige did. The only thing I figured out was Devlyn's secret.

I'm definitely going to be raving about this one for a while. It's currently sitting on my shelf with my favorite books, where I imagine it will sit for quite a while. This is definitely a book I can see myself re-reading - a rarity with mysteries because I already know how it ends. Murder for Choir was good enough that I just don't care, I'll read it again just to visit with all the characters again.

More reviews can be found on my blog, Booktacular
Timepiece - Myra McEntire I had never read Hourglass until I saw Timepiece on Netgalley. It was on my mountainous TBR, but I had just never remembered to get a copy. Once I got auto-approved for this, I requested it from my library, waited (im)patiently, and read it within a day. Then read Timepiece the very next day.

I don't want to do a synopsis because I feel like anything I write will be very spoiler-y. So I'm going to skip that part and just write my opinions on the book, hopefully without telling anything about what's going on.

Hourglass, the first in the series, was written totally in Emerson's point of view. With Timepiece, the point of view switched to Kaleb. I had mixed emotions on this. On one hand, I was super excited, because I fell in love with Kaleb in Hourglass, but on the other hand, it left me a bit disconnected. I felt emotionally pulled in with Emerson, and opened Timepiece expecting to continue reading from Emerson right where we left off at the end of the first. I got confused for a bit until it finally connected with me that it wasn't Emerson talking. Once I understood that, it made things a bit easier. From that point on, I liked Timepiece a lot more.

In Timepiece, Kaleb really grew as a character. He went from a womanizing guy to a man who fell in love with Lily, Emerson's best friend. In such a short amount of time, he became someone that made me love him even more. I really loved his relationship with Lily and how he didn't get her easily. She actually made him work for it, which he had never had in the past.

The time travel in this series is still my favorite by far. There's a ton of rules to it, which is hard to keep track of, but the intricacies and twists and turns make it so much more fun. It continuously grows and morphs into something new, so it makes each page have an unexpected twist.

Timepiece was a great book, and I loved everything about it. It's going to be a book I buy an actual physical copy of once it comes out.

More reviews can be found on my blog, Booktacular
Collateral - Ellen Hopkins Ellen Hopkins hosted a contest a while back for photos of military families. I sent one in of Mike and I, just for the heck of it. I didn't think I'd be one of the winners, but when she contacted me via email, I was so excited. I love Ellen Hopkins. I've read every one of her books, with the exception of Triangles. I'm a huge fan of her writing style.

Collateral is the story of Ashley, a 20-something year old woman who meets a Marine named Cole and falls in love with him. She is a bit apprehensive at first, but eventually falls head over heels in love with him. She sticks by his side through everything, including multiple deployments. Eventually though, she starts to re-evaluate her relationship with Cole when she realizes just how hard being a military wife/girlfriend can be.

Have you seen those memes that say "NAILED IT!" on them? There needs to be one of those for Collateral. It was so bizarre reading the words that I've been saying since Mike joined the military. I remember when he first left, and not hearing from him for weeks at a time. It was scary, it was upsetting, and it was so hard to explain the rollercoaster of emotions to people who hadn't personally dealt with it. I always said that unless you've lived the military lifestyle, you can't even begin to understand how hard it is. Ellen Hopkins proved me wrong with Collateral.

Ashley and Cole's story is filled with ups and downs, just like any real relationship. On top of the normal struggles of being young and in love, they're dealing with long-distance. On top of that, they're dealing with the military.

The characters in Collateral were all supremely realistic. I know women like Ashley's friends, who assume that because they're husband/boyfriend is gone, they can flirt with other men. I was furious at the way Derian treated Spencer, but I know it happens.

And Cole. Cole, Cole, Cole. My heart broke along with Ashley's by the end of the book. What an ass.

It was so great to read a book that recognized the struggle that those left behind by military members face. I can't compare what I've gone through to those overseas, and I'm not going to try. But I loved that for once there was a character in Ashley that I could identify with. Someone who I could say "YES! I know exactly how that feels!"

Ellen Hopkins created an amazing novel with Collateral. I think this has been one of my favorite books written by her to date.

More reviews can be found on my blog, Booktacular
The Wishing Spell - Chris Colfer, Brandon Dorman This review can also be found on my blog.

I'm a Gleek. Let's just throw that out there right now. That being said, I'm normally a little hesitant on picking up books written by actors/musicians. I feel like sometimes they piggyback on the success of their TV show, movies, or music, and the books end up being on the not-so-great shelf. But when I saw that Chris Colfer was writing a book about fairytales, I was intrigued. Especially since it was all the fairytales in one book. And, ya know, it's Chris Colfer. I'm a Gleek. It was kind of a given that I'd be reading this at some point.

Alex and Conner are twelve year old twins who live with their mother after their father dies. Alex is unhappy and a bit of a "teacher's pet." Conner on the other hand, is popular, lazy, and would rather sleep through school than pay attention. On their birthday, their grandmother comes to visit, and gives Alex a book of fairytales that was read to them when they were younger. But when the book starts glowing, Alex becomes curious about what the book really is.

Eventually, Alex's curiosity gets the best of her. She leans too far over the book, and falls in. Conner sees her go, and follows. They wind up in The Land of Stories, where all the fairytales are real, and the characters actually exist. But how are they going to get home?

For some reason, I'm on a retelling kick right now. Mythology, fairytales, anything. I love seeing the stories that I know, twisted into a newer version. But I haven't read one yet where all the characters interact with each other, and Colfer did that perfectly here.

The Land of Stories was divided up into sections based on different fairytales - Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, trolls and goblins, etc. I loved traveling through all of them with Alex and Conner.

One of the things I liked the best about The Land of Stories was the way Colfer continued the fairy tale. The Evil Queen (from Snow White) is in jail, Snow White is happily married. Cinderella is pregnant and has a beautiful castle with Prince Charming. And of course, not all the endings were happy - Goldilocks is a fugitive. That story line had me cracking up.

This was a really solid debut novel, and I can't wait for the rest of the series.
Monstrous Beauty - Elizabeth Fama Okay, so I'm new to the whole mermaid thing. I've never been a really huge fan of them, they just sort of bored me. But I really had been wanting to read Monstrous Beauty, so I decided to give it a try.

Syrenka, a mermaid, and Ezra, a human, meet and fall in love. They would spend time together, Ezra in his boat, and Syrenka in the water. They knew it was frowned upon, so they kept it secret. Until Syrenka decides she wants to risk everything and become human. Over 100 years later, a teenage girl named Hester meets a stranger on the beach named Ezra. She had sworn to never fall in love because of a history of women in her family who fell in love and then died soon after. She decides to look more into her family's story and find out exactly what is causing these mysterious deaths.

Elizabeth Fama made me a fan of mermaids. All I want to do now is read about these creatures from under the sea. Monstrous Beauty was so creepy, so weird, and I loved every moment of it. The mermaids were so strange, definitely not the "Little Mermaid" vibe that I thought it would be. When I read the synopsis for this, I instantly was reminded of Ariel - mermaid meets boy, falls in love, gives up everything to become human. I was so happy that Fama took that story line and made it twisted.

I LOVED Syrenka. What happened to her was so depressing but so beautiful at the same time, if that's possible? It's hard to write without giving too many spoilers away, but I wanted to cry for her. Not to mention she was such a well-rounded character, which may seem strange if you've read the book, but she was. She loved Ezra enough to do whatever it took to be with him, but also did some horrible things. She wasn't good, but she wasn't evil either. She was a character that you wanted to root for, but at the same time condemn her for some of the decisions she made. It's normally very hard for me to feel that way about a character - usually, I either love them or hate them. But Syrenka provided me with an up and down rollercoaster.

I also really loved Fama's writing. Normally I don't comment on writing, because I feel that I'm not a good judge of it, but everything about it was just beautiful in this novel. It wasn't repetitive, it didn't drag on and on.

All in all, Monstrous Beauty was an awesome read. It was mysterious, twisted, creepy, and everything I needed in my first mermaid book. I only wish it was going to be a series.

More reviews can be found on my blog, Booktacular.