Thursday, January 31, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Clayton Fall Series by Alyssa Rose Ivy (Review & Giveaway)

By: Alyssa Rose Ivy 
Review by: Kaede

Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 260
Series: Clayton Falls (#1)
Format: E-book Review Copy

Purchase: Amazon * Free to the end of the tour! 

When you're lost, sometimes the only place you can go is home.
Broken over the death of her fiancĂ©, Molly leaves law school to return to her childhood home in North Carolina. Expecting to lay low until she can figure out what else to do with her life, she finds herself in the arms of her high school sweetheart, the boy who represents everything from the past she tried to leave behind.
Looking for an escape, she instead finds a way back to the girl she almost forgot existed and a future she never dreamed possible.

I'm sure most of you have heard about it by now. The "newest hot and upcoming" thing since Young Adult. But if haven't, you're probably wondering what it is. So I'll tell you. 

New Adult. 

But what exactly is New Adult? Let's turn to the handy Wikipedia for help. 

"New-adult Fiction or post-adolescent literature is a recent category of fiction for young adults first proposed by St. Martin's Press in 2009. St. Martin’s Press editors wanted to address the coming-of-age that also happens in a young person’s twenties. They wanted to consider stories about young adults who were legally adults, but who were still finding their way in building a life and figuring out what it means to be an adult." -Wikipedia

And it's target? 

"This category is intended to be marketed to post-adolescents and young-adults ages 18 to 30. This age group is considered to be the lucrative 'cross-over' category of young-adult titles that appeal to both the young-adult market and to an adult audience. Publishers of young-adult fiction now favor this category as it encompasses a far broader audience. The chief features that distinguish this category from Young-adult fiction are the perspective of the young antagonist and the scope of the antagonist's life experience. Perspective is gained as childhood innocence fades and life experience is gained, which brings insight. It is this insight which is lacking in traditional young-adult fiction." -Wikipedia

Educational course aside, I'd been informed that Derailed and it's continuation falls under the classification of a New Adult novel. Now New Adult has always been a subject of curiosity, but I had never wanted to take the first step. While certainly it was a matter of intrigue, this category of New Adult isn't the most well-received. Some more renowned titles that are often brought up with the mention of New Adult are Easy by Tammara Webber, Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, and Slammed, Point of Retreat, and Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. And quite honestly, the only one I have remote confidence in is Easy. The books that I've seen pop up that are New Adult have blended together, and I really couldn't name more than 30 tops. It's almost as if every so called "New Adult" book is either the same or close to it. 


But while it seems not everybody is liking New Adult, there are more than enough of a fan base to have convinced me to give Derailed a try. And for the most part, I'm glad I did. 

Derailed is the story of a young woman named Molly who is grieving over the loss of her late fiancĂ©. With the decision to lay low and plan out what'll happen next, Molly returns to the home she left behind. Clayton Falls, North Carolina. 

Greeted by her best friend Kelly upon her arrival, Molly and her make their way to a bar. This also serves as the introduction of Ben, Molly's high school sweetheart. She left him once, despite still being in love with him back then. Molly never saw what came next. 

Now that Molly's returned, Ben isn't going to let her go again. Not everyone gets a second chance, and he's ready to do whatever he needs to win Molly over. 

But is Molly ready to start over? Is she ready to let Ben in again? Can she handle a relationship with a boy from the past she wants so badly to leave behind? 

I did have problems with Derailed, but mostly they ended up being minor issues. The writing didn't hook me from the start, it took time to ease into the story. I also didn't end up loving Molly, like I'd hope, but she did served as a decent main character. 

It was interesting seeing Molly and Ben's relationship develop. It was sweet and enjoyable, with hints of past and present grief and sadness mixed in to balance things out a bit. Both characters have their secrets and things they rather not remember, and I liked they were able to find comfort in each other. I liked that Ben tried to make up for what he's done, and wanted to show that he had his priorities straight and that he's grown and is no longer the boy he used to be. The boy who got high and stood up dates. Ben tries his all to prove that he deserves Molly's love. 

There is touched upon sex, but nothing of the very graphic sorts. If you can handle semi-vague scenes about sexual interactions, and you like the idea of New Adult but haven't actually ventured into it like me before, then I'd recommend you give Derailed a try. It convinced me that there is potential in these New Adult books, and I'll eventually continue to try new ones. 

Derailed by Alyssa Rose Ivy was a good solid story. However, Veer, it's follow-up, I enjoyed slightly better. 

½ coffee cups!


Add DERAILED to Goodreads
Find Alyssa Rose Ivy on Goodreads | Website | Twitter


Veer (Clayton Falls, #2)
By: Alyssa Rose Ivy
Review by: Kaede

Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 286
Series: Clayton Falls (#2)
Format: E-book Review Copy

Purchase: Amazon

Only when you let go can you learn to live.
Between the death of her mother and pushing through law school without her best friend, it's been a tough year for Becca. Needing a break from Boston, she moves to a tiny coastal North Carolina town for a relaxing summer. After bumping heads repeatedly with a local cop, she realizes her summer will be anything but quiet.
Three years after a career ending injury ruins his chance to play Major League Baseball, Gavin has a distrust of northerners and lately girls in general. He wants nothing to do with a girl who is only in town for the summer.
When the two give in to their impossible attraction, they realize that they may just have found the key to freeing themselves from the ghosts of their pasts.
Veer is the second novel of the Clayton Falls series, which follows Becca as the protagonist. Becca is Molly's best friend back from law school in Boston, and recently was forced to come to terms with the death of her mother and the absence of her best friend. Tossed back and forth between not knowing what she wants anymore, Becca decides to take a summer trip to a tiny town in North Carolina. This trip is Becca's chance for time to think things over. To relax and slowly overcome her problems.

Until she crosses path with local cop, Gavin. Their attraction is immediate, their chemistry undeniable, and yet it seems it simply wasn't meant to be. Gavin has developed a supreme distrust of northerners, after the incident with his ex-girlfriend, and is determined not to feel any connection towards Becca. And Becca is more than happy to return his feelings. 

When I had first come across Gavin in Derailed, I'll admit that my censors did automatically go up. Jerk-alert, jerk-alert, the sirens kept ringing. But there was something about him that I couldn't put my fingers on in the first book. Something I thought wasn't quite right. I had a feeling that I should have liked Gavin more. Gavin, like Becca, is straightforward and to the point. They have no hesitation and don't think about holding anything back. Especially rude comments. But pasts are revealed, reasons are given, and eventually you'll begin to understand that these two characters are only trying to hide their insecurities. It turns out Gavin could be quite charming and romantic. 

Veer was composed of many reasons why I love contemporaries. It was romantic (but with it, drama and misunderstandings!), fun, and had a story led by characters who undergo so much they come up as a completely new person for the better. The writing caught my attention quicker, and Beth was somebody that I only grew to love more as we find out bit by bit who she really is. 

4 coffee cups!

Add VEER to Goodreads
Find Alyssa Rose Ivy on Goodreads | Website | Twitter


Watch the Derailed Trailer!


Alyssa Rose Ivy is a Young Adult and New Adult author who loves to weave stories with romance and a southern setting. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children, and she can usually be found with a cup of coffee in her hand.
Alyssa's Website | Twitter | Goodreads


Phew! I'm tired. But before I get to go and curl up with a book on the couch and watch some TV, I also have a giveaway for you guys! You know the drill. 

Now most of you guys probably know I'm not too fond of Rafflecopter, and only use it with it's absolutely necessary. I haven't had problems with the way I'm about to handle this giveaway yet, so I'm just going to proceed with it. 

The Prizes Are: 

• A e-book copy of Veer


Some bookmark/postcard swag

Rules & Info: 

• Giveaway ends February 8, 2013 at MIDNIGHT Eastern Time
• Prizes will be sent out during the third week of February [2/10/13]
• Please, no cheating. 

How to Enter: 

Leave a comment on the post telling me whether you'd like a chance to win a e-book copy of Veer or some swag. Also, please remember to leave a email address where I can reach you if you win the contest. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Normalish by Margaret Lesh [Review & Giveaway]

Hi darling! I am really excited to be taking part in the blog tour for the contemporary young adult novel Normalish by Margaret Lesh. If you're interested in following the rest of the tour to the end or even to the next stop, click HERE for the list of the awesome blogs participating. In the following you'll find my review of Normalish, a little about the author Margaret Lesh, and an international giveaway! 

Happy Reading! xoxo


By: Margaret Lesh
Review by: Kaede

Publisher: Musa Publishing
Pages: 175 (E-book)
Series: N/A
Format: E-Book Review Copy

Purchase: Amazon

Fifteen-year-old Stacy questions the strange world of high school, love, her role in a harsh universe, and life, in Normalish.

People tell you high school's so great and wonderful, but they're lying. It's mostly horrible and full of disappointment. It sucks. Your best friend abandons you. The jerk you're in love with pretends to be into you, and then the big dump. The boy you've really clicked with as a friend decides to go all crushy over you, so you break his heart just like yours was -- smashed into little pieces. Your sister goes mental, and you get involved with a guy who’s even crazier than she is (who you know is a very bad idea, but you do it anyway). Math only adds another stink of failure to the whole thing. High school blows. Just ask freshman Stacy. She’d want you to know.

Going into Normalish, I had no set expectations. If I liked it, then I liked it. If I didn't, then I didn't. Because I had somehow managed to formulate such a simple idea, I decided to go with it because I honestly wasn't sure what to quite expect, much less hope for. The cover leaves me with much to want, but the general synopsis made it seem like something that I could enjoy under most circumstances. And enjoy I did. 

One look at the cover should indicate some sort of sweet or fluffy read. In a way, I guess it is. But overall, most fluffy contemporary novels don't usually fall far from that spectrum. 

Normalish marks freshman Stacy York's transition into high school, which is, if Stacy is anything to go by - the oddest of things. Still trying to come to terms with her father's death and her former best friend just dropping her, Stacy isn't sure what she wants and what she needs. She's a lot more fragile that she'd admit, but she does manage to overcome it all. Even when the hot guy she is certainly not stalking isn't displaying the slightest interest in her. And the guy who was suppose to only remain a best friend is expressing interest that leaves Stacy unsure, because going down that route is not what Stacy had in mind for their relationship. 

Chad, who was said best friend that was in love with the main character, is slightly stereotypical. Being characterized as the semi-geeky sweetheart isn't going to do him much favors in my long list of hottest guys in Young Adult literature. However, it's clearly seen that he genuinely cares about Stacy, even if she isn't quite reciprocating of the same feelings. Even if she isn't always nice to him. But I liked that when she wasn't kind, Chad didn't let his feelings get in the way and let her walk all over him. 

In turn, Chad wasn't the only potential "love" interest of the story. There's also Bobby and Anthony, and both were essential to the story in their own ways. Anthony served as the popular major player jerk, who Stacy thinks she wants. She really doesn't. Because not only is he selfish, he's manipulative of girls' feelings. I don't like guys like that. Especially guys who do that for no reason.

Bobby, on the other hand, is remarkably intriguing. Like a unpredictable child, Bobby isn't exactly the calmest person you'll ever meet. He has his own set of problems, and certainly isn't perfect. He handles things differently than most people, but does that make him any less real? In fact, I think that attribute makes him only that much more human. Like he's someone that anybody could know. Somebody that people can love, even if he is a bit messed-up. 

While I didn't love Normalish, I did enjoy it. It wasn't Take-My-Breath-Away amazing, but it was a solid good read. There's much potential in Margaret Lesh's writing. While there's definite room for progression, I can still wholeheartedly recommend Normalish without hesitation. If you're a fan of cute contemporaries mixed with humor and tragedy, Normalish may just be the book for you. 
Overall, while this book isn't the most spectacular piece of writing I've seen, but it's worth the read. You're able to, if you read from beginning to end, witness the impressive growth of Stacy York from a vulnerable girl to somebody who's willing to accept what fate brings her. Things don't end off perfectly though. It isn't one big happy ending tied off with a bow, which I really liked. But, you know, things happen for a reason. 

And that's something Stacy York now knows.

½ coffee cups!


Add NORMALISH to Goodreads
Find Margaret Lesh on Goodreads | Website | Twitter



I'll bet you thought that was it, didn't you? A'ha! I knew it! Wait...what? You didn't think that was it? Ermm, well...err - JUST FORGET I SAID ANYTHING AND ON TO THE GIVEAWAY. 


• Contest ends January 28th, 2013 
• No cheating. Cheaters never prosper. 

• One $25 Amazon Giftcard
 • One e-book copy of Normalish 
Normalish bookmarks

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Contact Kaede: 
Goodreads: Kaede
Twitter: Kami178xx

Monday, January 14, 2013

Calling All The Bloggers: Yes, You!

Hi, hi darlings. x) 

We meet again. 

While I'm in the works of trying to coherently form reviews for books I've read before and during my short hiatus, I thought I share some awesome news with you guys. Cause you know, all of you all awesome. 

Entangled Publishing, one of my favorite publishing houses as I've never disliked a book I've read of theirs, is looking for book bloggers to connect with. And that could mean you. Yes, you. Want to know if you could fit the requirements? Let's see! 

• Do you have a blog?

• Do you love to review books?

• Do you want access to books before they release?

Did you answer yes to all those questions? Yes, you did? Perfect. The next stop on the road to success is only a click away now! If you love to read, review, and talk about books, books, and more books; check out the lovely Kate and her call for bloggers HERE! Highly recommended, because as I've mentioned, I love Entangled. 

I'm not biased at all, pfft. Whatever do you mean? LALALALALALA. 




Sunday, January 13, 2013

Review of The Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

by: Sarah
Release Date: November 6th, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
Pages: 517 pages
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.
Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.
In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.
While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.
But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Would you believe it's taken me this long to suss out my feelings for this book? Surprisingly enough I've decided to up the rating to a full 5 stars because when all is said and done this book truly was amazing. If the story telling was colorful and vibrant in The Daughter of Smoke and Bone then in Days of Blood and Starlight it was a double freaking rainbow. This was the first time in a long time I actually had to pry myself away from reading a book and actually found myself itching to pick it up again as soon as I could. And the character development, my goodness, I can't even. It was stunning. I didn't really realized it at first it took some flipping through the first book to see how much Karou has grown. Also, there's nothing more I hate than a sequel that brings in a bunch of new throwaway secondary characters rather than spending time developing the pre-existing ones. At first I was a little worried that's what was happening here, but thankfully I was wrong. I don't know how Laini Taylor did it but she managed to make every character interesting to me. Everything was just so perfectly crafted; the action, the romance, the arching tension of imminent doom. The choice to take the love spotlight off Karou and Akiva and shine it on Zusana and Mik was amazing. The ever changing POVs wasn't my favorite thing in the world, but sometimes it's necessary and brings a book to life in a really beautiful way, it was a little reminiscent of the way Battle Royale was written, which is quite alright with me. The only thing that I have a real problem with, as I said after finishing the first book, is Akiva. If Akiva were to have kept a diary throughout this book it probably would have read something like this:

Dear Diary,
My life is a black abyss. I am so very very very very sad. Like, the saddest person that has ever felt sadness. Karou is so pretty when she sleeps. I'm not creepy though because. I think she likes someone else I WANT TO KILL MYSELF. UGH. But I want her to be happy actually I don't. I'm also really noble and stuff because. I wish Karou would love me again but also no I don't want her to love me I want her to hate me because I'm the worst. But I'm also the best.

P.S. I'm sad.

I'm exaggerating (a little). At the end of the day I do feel for him and he impressed me multiple times. I want Akiva and Karou to be together sometimes he just really needs to check himself because he already wrecked himself. 

Overall I'm just really damn pleased. Lately whenever I read a sequel it's just like filler bullshit and I'm like great I waited all this time for this book to come out and nothing even happened so now I'm waiting another year for the next book. This was absolutely not the case with Days of Blood and Starlight. This book is packed tight with everything I wanted it to be and more. A solid, gorgeous, heart-wrenching novel that let me wholly satisfied as much as it left me craving for more. I can't imagine what's in store for the next book but I'm insanely excited, though I have a sneaking suspicion it's going to make me wish I was dead. I have this crazy feeling someone in particular is going to be killed off. And if that happens that's it for me I'll be 7000% done with this world. But, I digress. If you haven't gotten into the DOSAB series yet and you've been on the fence about starting it, or you have but you're on the fence about continuing with the series, PLEASE slap yourself with the nearest fish and correct this error of judgement. This book will not disappoint! 

Side note: I just want to briefly mention how much I loved some of the characters this time around, like Ziri oh my God oh my GOD he was so incredible where has he been all my life lord help me I think I'm going to puke or die. And Jael what a FLAWLESS RUTHLESS DISGUSTING PERFECT VILLAIN. People sometimes tend to overlook the importance of a well written villain so when I see a good one it just sends me over the edge. Every time he was on the page it literally made my skin crawl. SA:KFHASKJFHADKJF. And Liraz oh man can she be my girlfriend please I'm so in love with her okay that's it I'm done.

5 out of 5 coffee cups!