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Friday, September 28, 2012

Easy by Tammara Webber

Release Date: May 25, 2012
Publisher: Tammara Webber
Age Group: New Adult
(Mature Content Warning)
Format: E-book
Source: Purchased
Pages: 304
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Description: Goodreads
A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?

When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night--but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.

When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

What drew me to Easy by Tammara Webber initially was simply the fact that it is classified as “New Adult” – the characters are in college so technically speaking, it’s not YA (don’t get me started on this which is bullshit, to me this is older YA). The book starts with a pretty harrowing/traumatic scene where Jacqueline is assaulted and basically the subject matter centres around rape. This may sound like a bit of a spoiler but I think it’s important to know what you’re getting into, especially if that is something you would prefer not to read about.

I have to say that I thought the story was fantastic and very well written. It will shock you even more to know that Easy is a self published story which I would normally shy away from but I’d heard such good things about the book that I had to give it a try and I was uber impressed. This is the calibre of self published work I’d like to see more of!!

I thoroughly enjoyed slowly getting to know the characters, and I felt like their layers were being peeled back one at a time as the book progressed. Jacqueline makes a decision early on about what happens to her and I have to say that I didn’t fully understand why she made that decision and can only ascertain that perhaps she deals with stress and problems the same way I do which is to pretend it isn’t happening and hope it goes away (FYI just so you know, it never works!). The subject matter was dealt with tastefully and never shied away from conveying just how serious rape is. What I also liked was the fact that the book demonstrated very nicely that you really can’t tell who is a potential rapist.

Lucas is the hero of the story as he comes to Jacqueline’s aid in the beginning and then starts to feel protective towards her. They become fast friends but then there’s Landon, the guy that Jacqueline speaks to online and they have a really flirty relationship. They’re both so different and this confuses her at one point, I mean she has feelings for both but who will she go for? 

Don’t worry though, this is not a love triangle story and you’ll see why. What I will say though is that I loved Lucas, and I want to go on record as saying that lip rings are sexy. (I almost got one once but settled for a fake one which I didn’t use that much because it used to fall out.) He is definitely a tortured soul BUT he’s not a stereotypical bad boy. He rides a motorbike but other than not paying a lot of attention in class, he’s actually a really good guy and that’s sorta refreshing.

I LOVED this story and whilst the content was a little bit more serious than I’m used to, I liked reading something that I perhaps wouldn’t normally read. Easy was well written and flowed so well that I didn’t want to put the book down. I will definitely be watching this author with interest regardless of how she chooses to publish her books. Also, thank you to Tammara for making me realize that there are some good self published novels out there and sometimes you just need to take a chance on them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Literary Lures: Pixie from Page Turners Blog

Literary Lures is a new feature here at Wastepaper Prose that will run every Wednesday into the fall. Some awesome bloggers will be stopping by to tell you what hooks them on books and give some recommendations of books they love.

Pixie from Page Turners Blog is here today to talk about the types of books that hook her. Does she judge a book by it's cover? What compels her to read a book? She's about to tell all!

Where you can find her... 

List the top three things that hook you into buying a book.
  • The cover - I know, I know, okay! But if it doesn't interest me I am not going to pick it up. Creepy covers, always hook me. 
  • Strong female lead (which can usually be seen on the cover). But sometimes you get the girl in a dress so you have to read the synopsis and it will emphasize a kick ass heroine...more please!
  • Other bloggers raving about a book. Which isn't always a safe bet, but I can usually tell if I am going to like it, by which blogger is talking about it.
What type of storyline never fails to grab your attention?
Contemporaries that have a very tortured, soul wrenching story-line.  I like the cute romances, but the gritty ones like If I Stay are the ones I can't put down.

What kind of love stories do you always fall for? What makes you want to root for those couples?
I have a love/hate relationship with romances - I like for the romance to be built on something other than "those sexy, intense gazes". I want the girl to be happy, when she is with the guy, not second guessing herself. So, I am usually a best friend type of gal, and then my guys always get screwed in the end.

Some books get released as quickly as you snatched them up. What makes you put a book down and how do you know it’s time?
When I pick up a book, I want it to make me want to read it - so when I am dreading picking up a book or making myself read a few more pages...I know its time.

Books that have hooked Pixie: 

Contemporary or Historical Fiction
If I Stay & Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuman
Between Shades of Grey & Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Easy by Tammara Webber
The Duff by Kody Keplinger
The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg
13 Reasons Why (audio book) by Jay Asher
But I Love Him by Amanda Grace
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
Summer Series by Jenny Han
Live Through This by Mindi Scott
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen
Shine by Lauren Myracle

Razorland Series by Ann Aguirre
The Forest of Hands and Teeth Series by Carrie Ryan
Hunger Game Series by Suzanne Collins
Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
Anything I've read by Julie Kagawa
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Opell
Darkest Power Series & Darkness Rising Series by Kelly Armstrong
Soul Screamer Series by Rachel Vincent
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Mortal Instruments & Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare

    Waiting on Wednesday (27)

    Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine 
    that highlights eagerly anticipated books.

    Bad Hair Day by Carrie Harris
    Release Date: November 13, 2012
    Publisher: Delacorte Press
    Pre-order: Amazon / IndieBoundBarnes & Noble

    Senior year is positively hair-raising.

    Kate Grable is geeked out to shadow the county medical examiner as part of her school’s pre-med program. Except when he’s arrested for murder, she’s left with the bodies. And when Kate’s brother Jonah stumbles upon a dead gamer girl, she realizes that the zombie epidemic she cured last fall was only the beginning of the weirdness taking over her town. Someone’s murdering kids—something really hairy. And strong. Possibly with claws.

    Is it werewolf awesomeness like Jonah and his dorktastic friends think? Kate’s supposed to be a butt-kicking zombie killing genius...but if she can’t figure out who’s behind the freakish attacks, the victims—or what’s left of them—are going to keep piling up.

    It’s scary. It’s twisted. It’s sick. It’s high school.
    Why can't I wait? 
    I absolutely loved Bad Taste in Boys and I'm dying to read the sequel. The first one had zombies, a ton of humor and the search for the lost foot. I can't wait to see what Carrie Harris has cooked up this time. 

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    Release Days Round-Up: September 23-29

    (Sorry this is a few days late! I had Internet FAIL on Sunday while out of town.)

    New Releases

    In Paperback

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

    Release Date: Oct. 1, 2012
    Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
    Age Group: Young Adult
    Format: ARC
    Source: Borrowed
    Pages: 245
    Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
    Description: Goodreads
    Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.

    After a scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won't turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys--a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far...especially when he starts flirting back.

    I really didn’t want to use such a pun in these circumstances, but I can’t help it—Miranda Kenneally has knocked it out of the park with her sophomore novel, Stealing Parker.  This is a contemporary that’s about more than romance.  It’s about choices, forgiveness, and being true to yourself.  And… yeah, okay, there’s also romance, and it’s both sweet and smoldering.

    After her mother ran away from her family to be with another woman, Parker Shelton felt the need to prove how different she really was.  She quit playing softball, lost 20 pounds, and started making out with just about any guy who would show her attention.  Her best friend Drew signs her up as manager for the baseball team, where she meets fresh-out-of-college-and-super-mega-foxy-awesome-hot assistant coach Brian Hoffman.  Ignoring the scathing comments of her former friends and teammates as well as the members of the baseball team (especially academic rival Will “Corndog” Whitfield), she decides to go after what she wants, even when it’s very much off limits.  In the process, she gets more than she bargained for.

    Parker is flawed, which makes her story believable, honest, and in all other ways worth your time.  She is aware that going after the baseball coach is wrong, despite the fact that there’s not an enormous age difference and that he obviously reciprocates the feelings.  The reader knows it’s not okay, but they get along so well and they have such great chemistry.  I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I thoroughly enjoyed following Parker through her journey of Brian vs Corndog.  She makes so many valid arguments for both sides, and they are truly teenage girl arguments.  Parker reminds me of me actually, and my friends from school, in countless ways.  Though you may never have experienced this, her struggle is universal.  However, my favorite relationship here isn’t between Parker and her love interests at all.  No, I’m totally Team BFF Drew.  I adore their Harry Potter movie marathons, specifically their commentary.  Any time there’s a reference to Oliver Wood, we all become winners.

    If I can bring up one teeny nitpick, it would be poor Will’s nickname. Corndog?  Seriously?  I just wrote this whole paragraph about how this is the silliest nickname I’ve ever heard, but then I remembered: I went to school with a boy we dubbed Cornflake.  Who am I to judge?  At least Will sounds like he can carry a crazy name like that.

    In all seriousness, Stealing Parker touches on loads of hot-button topics facing teens today— struggles with sexuality, identities, and religion, just to name a few—but it’s never heavy-handed.  It’s all presented as teens see it, which is refreshing.  Kenneally weaves another great tale around another strong heroine at Hundred Oaks High, and she can write the sexytimes like no one else.  I’m just glad I can go along for the ride.  I liked Catching Jordan but I loved Stealing Parker.

    Friday, September 21, 2012

    Ten by Gretchen McNeil

    Release Date: Sept. 18, 2012
    Publisher: Balzer + Bray
    Age Group: Young Adult
    Format: Hardcover
    Source: Purchased
    Pages: 304
    Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound Description: Goodreads
    And their doom comes swiftly.

    It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

    But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

    Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

    Tween Jessica was often spotted with a book in her hand, and the chances were quite high that it was written by R.L. Stine.  He was one of the very first authors to adorn my Always Buy list, and I blew through every Fear Street book I could get my hands on (though I never did get into Goosebumps). So, when I started Ten by Gretchen McNeil, I was immediately reminded of those Fear Street stories—their creepiness, their set-ups, their unputdownability.  The highest praise I can give Ten is that, in all the very best ways, it made me feel 13 again.  Also, it’s a wickedly creeptacular bonanza of suspense, romance, humor, and just the right amount of gore.

    Loosely based on the infamous novel And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, Ten begins with Meg and Minnie on their way to spend the weekend at a friend’s mansion on the almost entirely isolated Henry Island.  It’s February, it’s Washington State, and it’s storming like a mofo.  They arrive at White Rock House to find that their hostess missed the last ferry onto the island, and Meg’s (and Minnie’s!) crush T.J. is one of the other 8 guests.  The weekend takes a strange turn after the discovery of a cryptic DVD that ends with the threat, “Vengeance is mine!”  Of course, that’s when the bodies start piling up.  Meg doesn’t trust a soul, and it might be what comes back to get her in the end.

    This is not only a love letter to those Fear Street books of my youth; it’s also very reminiscent of the horror movies of the 90s like Scream.  Part of it is the fact that the main characters are teenagers, but also, it’s got that same kind of what’s-lurking-around-the-corner suspense.  There is something spine-chilling going on at White Rock House that gave me The Wiggins even more than McNeil’s first novel Possess.  I think it’s because there’s nothing supernatural at work here, nor does there need to be.  It’s terrifying to imagine a “normal” person becoming so hateful that they plot the elaborate murders of 10 people.  That is just brilliant.  And the deaths themselves?  Even better.  Each death is catered to the character specifically, and the reveals as to the reason behind the specific death add another level of creepy. 

    McNeil develops just enough of each character (with the exception of protagonist Meg) so that you’re constantly guessing as to the identity of the murderer, and Meg only stays innocent because you get the story from her point of view.  Meg establishes herself as a lone wolf writer from the very beginning, so I love that she picks up on clues that the others don’t notice.  Also, for a book where characters are dropping left and right, there’s a surprising amount of relationship building and development.  There are secret romances, furtive glances, and every Meg and T.J. scene is a little slice of happy, especially around all this horror.

    If you’re nostalgic for those slasher flicks from back in the day or just looking for something to give you the best kind of scare, I’d highly recommend Ten.  It’s got a little bit of everything, plus a lot of thrills and chills.  It’s the perfect book to curl up with on a VERY BRIGHT SUNNY DAY when there’s absolutely no darkness.

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    More Author Insight: Pieces of Publishing

     What is one thing you'd like the world to know about publishing?

    "I wish my mom would stop thinking my life is like the guy on Castle." - Barry Lyga, author of I Hunt Killers

    "Hmm. Publishing. That you are so lucky if your book is out there. That it’s a lottery. That editors really ARE looking for the next great book." - Huntley Fitzpatrick, author of My Life Next Door

    "That I feel privileged every single day to be a part of it." - C.J. Redwine, author of Defiance.

    "That it’s a great supportive group of people who love books. Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures) gave me a wonderful blurb for my book. Then the amazing Dean Koontz wrote that he loved it and said 'Starters is a smart, swift, inventive, altogether gripping story. The narrator, Callie Woodlawn, deserves a series.' It came in too late to put it on the first printing, but we plan to use it on the second. Book people are the best people." - Lissa Price, author of Starters. 

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Waiting on Wednesday (26)

    Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine 
    that highlights eagerly anticipated books.

    The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
    Release Date: October 23, 2012
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
    Author Website: http://michellehodkin.com/

    Two days after Mara walks into a police station in Miami at the close of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, she is committed for psychiatric treatment for what her parents believe is a mental breakdown. But what seems like a hallucination to everyone else is a chilling reality for Mara. Someone from her past has discovered her strange, disturbing secret and that someone wants her to pay. But she's about to discover that the price is more than she can bear.

    Dark and thrilling, suspenseful and passionate, The Evolution of Mara Dyer will have readers breathlessly turning pages to find out what will become of Mara Dyer next.
    Why can't I wait? 
    Last year's The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was one of my most recommended books to friends.  I loved the characters and the creepy twisty ride Hodkin created for them.  Now, we finally get to find out what happened after that crazy cliffhanger.  Also, Noah Shaw will be back in our lives, and everyone wins that game.

    Literary Lures: Katie from Mundie Moms

    Literary Lures is a new feature here at Wastepaper Prose that will run every Wednesday into the fall. Some awesome bloggers will be stopping by to tell you what hooks them on books and give some recommendations of books they love.

    Katie from Mundie Moms is here today to talk about the types of books that hook her. What are the top three things that draw her in? What kind of romance does she love? Why does she put a book down? Katie's about to spill the beans.  

    Where you can find her... 

    List the top three things that hook you into buying a book.
    Great question. The synopsis, the author (if I've read their book previously and know their style of writing), and I know I say I don't judge a book by it's cover, but sometimes the cover is what hooks me.

    The Author: For example, I know that anything Ally Carter (The Heist Society series) , Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series) and Lisa T Bergren (River of Time series) write I'll love, and I will up their books without even worrying about weather or not I'll enjoy it.

    The Cover: Some of my favorite covers are middle grade covers, which to me is fitting since kids are very visual. For example Lisa McMann's The Unwanteds Series, Colin Meloy's Wildwood, and Shannon Messenger's Keeper of the Lost Cities have some of my favorite MG covers. If I was browsing the book store looking for books for my kids, I'd pick these books based on the cover alone.

    What type of storyline never fails to grab your attention?
    A historical romance, and a fairy tale retelling. Having a bit of a paranormal element to it doesn't hurt either.  More often than not you can't go wrong with either of these. For example Robin LaFever's Grave Mercy and A.C. Gaughen's Scarlet are books are fabulously written YA debuts this year. One has an awesome historical, romance, paranormal twist to it and the other is a suburb retelling of a children's classic, and given a fabulous twist. When you read these two books you'll know why I'm head over heels in love with their story lines.

    What kind of love stories do you always fall for? What makes you want to root for those couples?
    There's all sorts of things I look for, but over all I root for the couples I can relate to on some sort of level. It doesn't matter if they're paranormal characters, or from a contemporary. There's something to be said about an author who creates a believable love story and makes me fall in love with her characters, no matter how realistic or make believe they are. Once I feel a connection to them, I want to root for them to get through whatever it is they're dealing with. Prime example of that is Tessa, Will and Jem from The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare and Jace and Clary from The Mortal Instruments series also by Cassandra Clare. She puts her characters through so much, as well as me the reader. There's heartbreak, hope, love, loss, happiness, humor and everything found within these books. Not everything works out the way I want it to, which is one of the things I love, because it mirrors real life in that aspect.

    Some books get released as quickly as you snatched them up. What makes you put a book down and how do you know it’s time?
    I hope I'm answering this question correctly... if you're asking what makes me pick up a book as soon as it's released or what makes me wait, then my answer is: If it's a book I've read an ARC for and I loved it, I'll go pick up as soon as it's out. If it's a book a few of my close author friends have written, than that book is either pre-ordered or picked up the moment the book store is open on their release day (sometimes it's pre-ordered and picked up). For the books that have been on my radar for awhile, but I've not actually read them, I depend heavily on what a few of my trusted blogger friends have thought about that book before I rush out to pick it up. If it's a book that they didn't love, than I'll wait to pick it up or borrow it. For example, Jennifer Echols's Such A Rush was just released in July. Based solely off of what my blogger friends have said about this book is the deciding factor in why I'm picking this one up now.

      Tuesday, September 18, 2012

      Author Insight: Pieces of Publishing (and the giveaway!)

      What is one thing you'd like the world to know about publishing?

      "It takes FOREVER. No, wait, imagine FOREVER and then add six months. That’s how long publishing takes. There are reasons, I’m sure, but I’m not very good at articulating them. And you know what makes it seem longer? When people ask why it takes so long!" - Lauren Morrill, author of Meant to Be.

      "That it’s bloody hard work and you shouldn’t think you can take it up just-like-that." - Margo Lanagan, author of The Brides of Rollrock Island

      "Agents and editors are people, like you, with real lives. They go home at the end of the day. Sometimes they don’t work on weekends. Act accordingly, and they’ll like you more." - Dan Krokos, author of False Memory

      "I'd like the world to know about bookstores and how wonderful they are to browse in the real world. If you have a bookstore in your town, visit it … before it disappears!" - Martha Brockenbrough, author of Devine Intervention

      Monday, September 17, 2012

      Uncovered: Solstice by P.J. Hoover

      “Solstice is one red-hot read—it intrigues, sizzles, and satisfies.” —Cynthia Leitich Smith, New York Times bestselling author
      Solstice by P.J. Hoover
      Release Date: June 21, 2013
      Publisher: Tor Teen

      Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.

      Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.

      An imaginative melding of mythology and dystopia, Solstice is the first YA novel by talented newcomer P. J. Hoover.

      P. J. Hoover first fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing kung fu, solving Rubik's cubes, and watching Star Trek.

      Where to find her...