Review: Burn For Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Published September 18th, 2012
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
358 pages (Hardcover)


Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she's ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. And she's ready to prove it to him.
Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they each had a taste. (From Goodreads)

Burn For Burn is a great read with revenge, drama and just a little bit of mystery thrown in.

The story is told from three different perspectives.  At first I thought that this would be annoying, but the three voices actually worked wonderfully together and were pretty seamless.  The three main characters are all very different, and I loved that!  There is something there for virtually any reader, and most people can likely connect with at least one of our three main girls.  Mary is the quiet, sweet one with a darker past.  Lillia is beautiful, popular and rich, but feels disconnected with this.  Kat used to be popular, but since the death of her mom, has strayed to a less ideal crowd.  There is something in each girl that is so alive and true that they really come to life.  I loved all three, but definitely saw little pieces of me in Mary.

And who doesn't love a little revenge?!  This plot is so good and I like that not everything is what it seems.  Little twists pop up here and there, and then there is that one big question about Mary that left me confused and curious about her!  No spoilers, but I can't wait to see how this works out in Fire With Fire.  The ending is just right, leaving the reader curious about what will happen next in this whole quest for revenge, but not suspenseful enough to make you throw the book through the window (or, in my case, Kobo, which would have been very bad).

I figured I should finally read Burn For Burn in preparation for Fire With Fire next month (August 13th, 2013).  I did not expect to love it as much as I did.  Any fan of YA contemporary/drama/revenge should read this immediately!


"Waiting On" Origin

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating!

This week I am excited for...
Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.
After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.
All Katy can do is survive.
Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything. 
But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on? 

And will they even be together? (From Goodreads)
Words cannot contain my excitement, especially now that movies are in the works!  Seriously, if you haven't read this series, get on it.  There is no other option.  Origin comes our way August 27th, 2013.

Much love, Samantha


Review: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Published December 1st, 2011
Sourcebooks Fire
281 pages (Paperback)


What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.
But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line? (From Goodreads)

Catching Jordan mixes two of my favourite things: romance and sports.  However, there is also a love triangle and excessive teenage girl hormones.

Our main character Jordan is the quarterback on her high school football team.  Fantastic!  I love this.  Beating boys at virtually anything is one of my favourite hobbies.  When a new QB comes to town, it provides Jordan with a challenge.  Even better!  This story is really heading somewhere as Jordan tries to deal with being seriously attracted to a guy for the first time.  The first half of the book had some serious potential.

Then the love triangle, that I *really* should have seen coming, takes center stage.  This was the point that Catching Jordan lost momentum for me.  I get that Jordan had the blinders taken off, so to speak, and had to deal with emotions and hormones and all that.  Let's face it, any of us who have graduated high school/are currently in high school have dealt with this.  I just didn't enjoy reading it.  It became too much of the same page after page.

Characters make the story for me, and none of the characters here did much of anything for me.  I admired many of the qualities in Jordan, but Henry, Ty and the rest of the main characters were sort of meh and not memorable.  I did like the development with Ty, but honestly can't remember a thing about Henry beyond how badly I wanted to smack him one.

I didn't hate Catching Jordan, but I didn't love it either.  The excess teenage drama just didn't do anything for me.  I am hopeful about the "girls in sports" theme though, and will likely give Stealing Parker a read sometime in the future (y'all know I love my baseball).

Much love, Samantha


Book Review: Betrayals by Lili St. Crow

Published November 17th, 2009
304 pages (Paperback)
She’s no angel...

Poor Dru Anderson. Her parents are long gone, her best friend is a werewolf, and she’s just learned that the blood flowing through her veins isn’t entirely human. (So what else is new?)

Now Dru is stuck at a secret New England Schola for other teens like her, and there’s a big problem—she’s the only girl in the place. A school full of cute boys wouldn’t be so bad, but Dru’s killer instinct says that one of them wants her dead. And with all eyes on her, discovering a traitor within the Order could mean a lot more than social suicide...

Can Dru survive long enough to find out who has betrayed her trust—and maybe even her heart? (From Goodreads)
I read this book as part of an omnibus of books one and two.  You can read my review of Strange Angels here.

This is one of those book where I wanted o know what happened, without having to actually read it.

I really to like the blunt, to-the-point, snarky writing style.  If Dru and I were having a conversation, that is how it would sound.  However, if she refers to Christophe as smelling like apple pie one more f**king time...  That was almost enough to make me never look at the book again.  I get it.  Move on.  Geez.

Then there is the romance.  Okay, it's starting to build, but I'm still not impressed.  The love triangle feels weak, and is going nowhere fast.  Let's just pick Graves and move along.

Somehow, despite how many little things irritated me, I still wanted to know what would happen.  The premise of the book is interesting to me, but the less exciting scenes really drag on and on.  I want to read the next book, and find out what happens, but I don't want to actually read it.  Congrats Betrayals, you have successfully frustrated me.

Much love, Samantha


DNF: Velveteen by Daniel Marks

Published October 9th, 2012
Delecorte Books for Young Readers
464 pages (Hardcover)
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.

The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.


Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days. 

It’ll be brutal... and awesome.

But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her. (From Goodreads)
Gave up at: p. 276 (57%)

I tried really hard on this one.  I was sent this one from The Fake Steph as part of her monthy TBR Intervention giveaways, which makes it even harder to DNF, but I got too bored and too lost.

I was confused from the start, and not in the good way of plot-building.  This book just makes no sense to me.  It also doesn't match what I expected.  I'm lost on the characters roles and what the **** they are doing.  After a while, I got bored of being confused.

This is a book that I may try again, but there are just too many other titles that I would rather be reading to keep going here.

Much love, Samantha


Coffee Talk: Slumps

Slump.  That's the best word I can come up with to describe my mood currently.
I read a couple of awesome books to end June that were absolutely amazing.  Since then, I've had a hard time getting into anything.  I've picked up several books, and set them down.  I finished a book that I thought I would love, and struggle through it.  I even got a few awesome ARCs last week.  I'm having a hard time getting into anything.

I thought that maybe I just needed to read something that I knew I would love, so I picked up a favourite of mine and reread it.  I loved it, but ended up feeling worse than when I started.
I didn't post much this week.  This is actually the only post I've written this week.  Both my reviews were already written.

Part of this was an that I was away for a couple days, but I've also felt like I've had no creativity or motivation.  I just don't know what to write or talk about.  I even have a list of things already planned, and I can't get the words to come out.
Life has been hard on me for a couple weeks, too.  I've received not-so-fantastic news and felt like I have had very little support through it by those around me.  I'm having a difficult time being back home again, in the middle of nowhere, while all my friends have been moving on with their lives.  I'm really questioning the decision I made to move back home, even though I know that it makes the most sense right now.  

Work has also been awful.  To be frank, I have not been treated well by my coworkers.  I have worked non-stop since I returned, taking shifts for everyone, and no one is willing to help me back.  It's hard to feel completely unsupported at your job, especially when it's a crappy job.  I know it's just for the summer, but it's beginning to really wear on me.

So, yeah.  My life is in a little slump right now.  The blog may be slower for a bit, but the goods will still be going up.  Any words of wisdom on how to get up out of it?

Much love, Samantha


Review: This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Published April 2nd, 2013
416 pages (Hardcover)

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. 
Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs? (From Goodreads)

If you're looking for a light and breezy beach read, here it is.  If you want substance, pass on This Is What Happy Looks Like.

The setting of coastal Maine is great.  Coming from a small town, I love the small town feel here.  It reminded me a lot of Star's Hollow a la Gilmore Girls.  Add the beach and the water and BAM it's summer!

The characters are alright.  Graham and Ellie didn't feel like anything special.  They were very different and had their problems, but there was nothing there that made either of them overly memorable.

The premise of this book is pretty cool.  Accidentally email someone to walk your pet pig and fall in love without ever meeting?  That's cute.  However, it was very light, as in not a lot of anything actually happens.  I found myself skimming over pages, which is never a good sign.

While it was a light, quick read, this book didn't feel like anything special, which is kind of what I had hoped it would be.  I'm not saying don't read it, because I did enjoy it, but don't expect a ton from This Is What Happy Looks Like.

Much Love, Samantha


Review: Fragments by Dan Wells

Published February 26th, 2013
Balzer + Bray
564 pages (Hardcover)

Kira Walker has found the cure for RM, but the battle for the survival of humans and Partials is just beginning. Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues to who she is. That the Partials themselves hold the cure for RM in their blood cannot be a coincidence--it must be part of a larger plan, a plan that involves Kira, a plan that could save both races. Her companions are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron, the Partials who betrayed her and saved her life, the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them?

Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what's left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira's journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of postapocalyptic America, and Kira and Marcus both will discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn't even know existed.
The second installment in the pulse-pounding Partials saga is the story of the eleventh hour of humanity's time on Earth, a journey deep into places unknown to discover the means--and even more important, a reason--for our survival. (From Goodreads)

To sum it up, this book had problems, but still managed to break my heart, throw me for a loop, and invest me even further into the series.  I should mention that I also threw my book at one point, which is the way you know that I'm into the story.

This book did start slow.  It took me a while to get back into the story and remember the complexity of this world.  As far as world-building goes, it only gets more complicated and confusing, so be warned of that.  However, that complexity was balanced by being interesting.  It became a mystery.

Not a lot of character development happened here.  Kira still sees her world as very black-and-white, refusing to accept any middle ground on anything.  Marcus becomes more of a secondary character.  The complete lack of emotion between the two was kind of sad, which leaves me with hope for my favourite character, good ol' supersoldier Samm.  We actually do see development in him, with the gradual increase in emotions and whatnot.  I loved him before, and I love him even more now.

After that slow start, the plot picked up with lots of twist and turns.  Some were expected, some weren't, and they ultimately set up for what should be a great third book.  The ending was my favourite part, and I really enjoyed the last about 100 pages.  This was the point when shit really hit the fan and my emotions got screwed with.  The ending will leave you pissed off and wanting more.

Fragments is a great sequel to Partials (review), and I can't wait for book three, Ruins.  I fully recommend this series, but will say this: a reread will likely be needed before Ruins comes out, simply as a reminder of the crazy science Wells has brought to life.

Much love, Samantha


Coffee Talk: The TBR Cup!

I was sitting by my bookcase the, completely unsure of what to read next.  I've given out a lot of five-star reviews recently.  I got into that mood where nothing could compare and I didn't want to read anything!  To help remedy this, I decided to create a TBR jar!  When I'm not sure what to pick up next, I can let the jar make the decision for me, and tackle my growing TBR pile, all at once!

Much love, Samantha


Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Published May 28th, 2013
Harlequin Teen
462 pages (Hardcover)

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.
But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all.... (From Goodreads)

Let's take a moment to admire this cover.  THIS COVER IS FANTASTIC!

I loved this book.  I loved everything about this book.  I don't know if I can say anything negative or constructive about this book.

The characters really drive this story, so it's a good thing that they are amazing!  I loved Beth in Pushing The Limit, and was pumped that this book was about her.  The development here is epic and we learn so much more about her and her past.  It's impossible not to feel for her and her story.  Then there is Ryan, the classic my-life-looks-perfect-but-really-isn't character.  He doesn't feel like a cardboard cutout character.  Again, his emotions are brought to life so vividly.  Their relationship is all over the place and brings ALL THE EMOTIONS!  The secondary characters are also very well written, which only makes the book even better!

The story as a whole is well developed and well written.  It helps that I love books that incorporate sports, but the addition of baseball and competitiveness brings a flare that really appeals to me.  If you don't know baseball, some of the lingo may throw you off, but none of that is essential to the story.

The book progresses in a way that really makes you understand Beth.  Her story is so complex and, at first, I couldn't undersstand her actions.  They will make sense though.  You still may not agree, but it does all come together to make her reactions understandable.

I give this book a must read.  Seriously, go buy it now.  Dare You To is heart-wrenching and wonderful.

Much love, Samantha


"Waiting On" Deception

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating!

This week I am excited for...
Baalboden has been ravaged. The brutal Commander's whereabouts are unknown. And Rachel, grief stricken over her father's death, needs Logan more than ever. With their ragged group of survivors struggling to forge a future, it's up to Logan to become the leader they need—with Rachel by his side. Under constant threat from rival Carrington's army, who is after the device that controls the Cursed One, the group decides to abandon the ruins of their home and take their chances in the Wasteland.

But soon their problems intensify tenfold: someone—possibly inside their ranks—is sabotaging the survivors, picking them off one by one. The chaos and uncertainty of each day puts unbearable strain on Rachel and Logan, and it isn't long before they feel their love splintering. Even worse, as it becomes clear that the Commander will stop at nothing to destroy them, the band of survivors begins to question whether the price of freedom may be too great—and whether, hunted by their enemies and the murderous traitor in their midst, they can make it out of the Wasteland alive.

In this daring sequel to Defiance, with the world they once loved forever destroyed, Rachel and Logan must decide between a life on the run and standing their ground to fight.  (From Goodreads)
I had extremely mixed feelings about Defiance (see my review here!).  I loved parts and hated others, but the series did have potential.  I'm interested in giving Deception a read, which will hopefully throw me of the fence!  Deception is out on August 27th, 2013.  Plus, I still like the covers.

Much love, Samantha


Top Ten Tuesday: Intimidating Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful ladies over at

This week, the topic is...
Top Ten Most Intimidating Books
All I Did This Week Was Cheat but It's Still On Topic...

Hello friends!  Once again, I have waited to the last minute to write this post, and rather than provide nothing, I have decided to mangle this post into something I could handle while sleep deprived and dealing with itchy eyes (thanks, hayfever).

As I was thinking about this topic, I thought of three things that make a book intimidating to me, and have added a few examples of each.

Size!  I like big books, but they definitely intimidate me!

Classics!  The writing style of older works throws me off.

Emotions!  Sometimes the content itself scares me.  This doesn't mean I won't read it, but it's intimidating.

Much love, Samantha


June Recap and Happy Canada Day!

To all my fellow Canadians, I just want to wish you all a Happy Canada Day!  Have a drink for me while I work a 9-hour shift!

June has come and gone.  Guys, 2013 is half done!  This just seems like madness to me.  June was another month of summer courses and working.  My hours at work will likely be going down for July, which means more time to spend with you guys!  I hope that excites at least one of you as much as it does me.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (action-packed awesome)
Obsession by Jennifer L. Armentrout (excellent adult addition)
Dare You To by Katie McGarry (Bring me Ryan)
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (great character development)
Until I Die by Amy Plum (original, but lacking)
If I Should Die by Amy Plum (felt Breaking Dawn-esque)
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith (kind of predictable)
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (too many hormones)
Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood (F**k you Maura)
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (tears falling everywhere)

--- June brought my 21st birthday, filled with good times and delicious waffles.  My coworkers even bought me flowers!
--- June meant lots of working and more summer school.  I finished my first class of the summer, and stared my second (still not exciting).  Goodbye Child Development, Hello Family Development...
--- June actually saw an impressive amount of reading!
--- June rained.  Our real summer can start any time now.
--- June brought good and bad, but I still love you.

 In all honesty, I have no idea what I'm actually going to read this month...  (More coming about this on Saturday, if you happen to be that curious.)

That's all for June.  Happy July everyone!

Much love, Samantha