Back to the Books Giveaway Hop

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop ImageWelcome to our stop of the Back to the Books Giveaway Hop!

We’re giving away $15 at (for international folk) or or (for US folk).  You know the drill, fill out the Rafflecopter form and good luck to you!

To clarify: A book with a value up to $15 from BookDepository OR a gift card from or OR a book with a value up to $15 from one of those two.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Frozen by Mary Casanova

Frozen by Mary CasanovaTitle: Frozen
Author: Mary Casanova
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publication Date: September 1, 2012
Hardcover: 264 pages

Where’d Lindsay Get It:

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Sixteen-year-old Sadie Rose hasn’t said a word in eleven years—ever since the day she was found lying in a snowbank during a howling storm. Like her voice, her memories of her mother and what happened that night were frozen.

Set during the roaring 1920s in the beautiful, wild area on Rainy Lake where Minnesota meets Canada, Frozen tells the remarkable story of Sadie Rose, whose mother died under strange circumstances the same night that Sadie Rose was found, unable to speak, in a snowbank. Sadie Rose doesn’t know her last name and has only fleeting memories of her mother—and the conflicting knowledge that her mother had worked in a brothel. Taken in as a foster child by a corrupt senator, Sadie Rose spends every summer along the shores of Rainy Lake, where her silence is both a prison and a sanctuary.

One day, Sadie Rose stumbles on a half dozen faded, scandalous photographs—pictures, she realizes, of her mother. They release a flood of puzzling memories, and these wisps of the past send her at last into the heart of her own life’s great mystery: who was her mother, and how did she die? Why did her mother work in a brothel—did she have a choice? What really happened that night when a five-year-old girl was found shivering in a snowbank, her voice and identity abruptly shattered?

Sadie Rose’s search for her personal truth is laid against a swirling historical drama—a time of prohibition and women winning the right to vote, political corruption, and a fevered fight over the area’s wilderness between a charismatic, unyielding, powerful industrialist and a quiet man battling to save the wide, wild forests and waters of northernmost Minnesota. Frozen is a suspenseful, moving testimonial to the haves and the have-nots, to the power of family and memory, and to the extraordinary strength of a young woman who has lost her voice in nearly every way—but is utterly determined to find it again.

Lindsay’s ThoughtsI’m not really sure what drew me to this book as I’m not much on historical books, but I just had to read it and I’m not disappointed that I did.  It was fairly interesting and kept my attention.  The description says that the book is suspenseful, not sure I would agree with that, or at least it’s not OH MY GOSH, WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN NOW?!?!? suspenseful at any rate.

I liked Sadie Rose although she is extremely naive in this book and her “adventure” could have been a bit more adventurous.  Some things that happened seemed to be no big deal when I think had I been in the situation, they would have been huge deals.

The writing was good, the scenery sounds stunning, and I now want to go visit Minnesota, or at least Canada.

Rating: 3 of 5

Plan B by Charnan Simon

Plan B by Charnan SimonTitle: Plan B
Author: Charnan Simon
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Darby Creek/Lerner Publishing Group, Inc
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
eBook: 108 pages

Where’d Lindsay Get It: From the publisher for Review

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Is this happily ever after? Lucy has her life planned out: she’ll graduate and then join her boyfriend, Luke, at college in Austin. She’ll become a Spanish teacher and of course they’ll get married. So there’s no reason to wait, right? They try to be careful. But then Lucy gets pregnant. Now, none of Lucy’s options are part of her picture-perfect plan. Together, she and Luke will have to make the most difficult decision of their lives.

Lindsay’s ThoughtsThis was a super short book, more of an outline to what could have been a decent read if the author had put some kind of spin at all on the whole “I’m a teen and I got pregnant routine.”  There was just no meat to this story at all, and the ending was a terrible excuse for a cliffhanger.

If you have a boring half hour, pick it up at the library.

Rating: 2 of 5


Such A Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb

Title: Such a Pretty Face
Author: Cathy Lamb
Genre: Contemporary/Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: August 1, 2010
eBook: 694 pages

Where’d I Get It: Library

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Stevie Barrett is a 35-year-old legal secretary in Portland. She’s also literally half the woman she used to be. Bariatric surgery melted 150 pounds off her frame, and life is looking up. However, Stevie’s svelte physique carries its own baggage.

My Thoughts: This book is definitely not a page turner, it took a little bit of work to get through it, but maybe that was the goal of the author.  It wasn’t an unpleasant thing, some books are just that way.  I really felt horrible for the main character, Stevie, along with her two cousins who suffered such tragedies in their lives that they were having a difficult time growing up and making their own lives as adults.

We all have our own coping mechanisms and I enjoyed going through Stevie’s with her while she was on her quest to heal.  For some it’s a longer road than others and Stevie certainly had her own share of skeletons in her closet to overcome.

Ms. Lamb really did her homework on mental disorders in this book and her writing was beautiful.  I felt happy when the family was having a lighthearted moment and deeply sad and disturbed when Helen had an episode.  Therefore I was glad that the book ended the way it did.  There were some parts that were difficult to live with and that is reflected in my rating.

Rating: 3.5 of 5

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Hemlock by Kathleen PeacockTitle: Hemlock
Author: Kathleen Peacock
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
Hardcover: 416 pages

Where’d Ashley Get It: For review from the publisher.

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Mackenzie and Amy were best friends.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer:

A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome–also known as the werewolf virus–is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boy-friend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spell-binding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.

Ashley’s Thoughts: Hemlock introduces you to a world in which werewolves are real and everyone knows this to be true. But forget about full moons, silver bullets, or Native Americans with rock-hard abs. You won’t find that here. What you will find is a girl trying to come to term with the recent loss of her best friend, who was killed by a werewolf. When Mac decides to find Amy’s killer on her own, she discovers that almost nothing is as it seems. The story is captivating and filled with enough twists to keep you on your toes, but not leave you scratching your head. While it is ripe with political conspiracy, human rights and prejudices, the heart of the story lies with a clever and loyal girl, determined not to lose the two best friends she has left. However, Kyle and Jason are both keeping secrets that could ruin it all.

I thoroughly, albeit unexpectedly, enjoyed Hemlock! It pulled me in and I almost couldn’t put it down. I finished so quickly that, in the interest of a fair review, I decided to read it again and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. I’m looking forward to the next books in the trilogy and can’t wait to see what is in store for Mac!

Rating: 4 of 5

Ree’s notes: Wow, I just re-read Ashley’s review and saw that she read it TWICE! Oh my goodness, now I’m definitely going to have to read it myself.  This girl knows a good story when she sees it! :)

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuireTitle: Beautiful Disaster
Author: Jamie McGuire
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 14, 2012
eBook: 434 pages

Where’d I Get It: Lindsay’s NetGalley account.

Synopsis (From Goodreads): The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand. 

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

Lindsay’s ThoughtsUm…WOW!  I feel like  a tornado just blew through my mind!  This book was insanely addicting, the only thing keeping me from finishing the book in the first sitting was life (pfft who needs life anyways, right?).  I could feel the chemistry almost immediately between Abby and Travis and it kept building and building until both of the characters explode into some kind of frantic  and chaotic romance.  It was scintillating and disturbing all wrapped into one.

Travis does have a total lack of self control, which in some parts of the books make you want to grab a sedative and inject it into his arm, because he can clearly be destructive to himself and those around him.  While it makes for a interesting read, I’d never want to meet him in person.  The books starts to slack off when Abby’s past starts creeping up on her with her low life father and a one night trip to Las Vegas that ends on a crazy note.

I would give it five stars but after rehashing some of the violence in the book and the strange ending, I have to take it down a notch.  Worth a read, but not everyone will love it!

Rating: 4 of 5


Top Ten Tuesday #14

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created & hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Posts…
That Give the Best Picture of ME 

Hrm. This is a hard one. I’ve got a fairly bold personality and it seems to, at least most of the time, show in my posts.  But, well, let me see what I can pull up.

  1. Any post about the Thirst series by Christopher Pike - Since this series is probably one of my favorite of all time (partially because of pure nostalgia but mostly because it’s just awesomesauce vampire yumminess) and is one of the series of books that got me interested in Fantasy sorts of stories, I feel like my fangirl giggliness over this series is a fairly accurate picture of the Ree.
  2. My review of The Selection by Kiera Cass – Because I am a blunt, honest person and sometimes my snark gets a little out of control. I’m also OCD and I tend to write things down as I’m reading if something annoys me enough. This review is a prime example of how nitpicky I can get.
  3. The post about the super-pretty Penguin classics covers – I’m a tomboy, but I have some serious girlie girl moments. These incredibly gorgeous froo froo covers make me gleeful and happy.
  4. This post about YA love triangles – Because, yeah.  Ugh.
  5. Any Banned Books Week post – Mmhmm. I am passionate about this.
  6. Where I announce the arrival of Baby Literary Obsession – Do I need to explain this one? ;)
  7. My “Why I Don’t Like Twilight” post of doom – This post used to get me a lot of hate mail. I haven’t gotten any in a while, though…how odd!
  8. This review of Speak – It’s a powerful book. It touched me, and I say as much in my review.
  9. This speaking up for Speak post – This kind of ties into my review of Speak, and the Banned Books Week posts.
  10. For the life of me, I cannot find a #10.  Oops!
Leave me a comment with a link to your Top Ten list…I’ll pop by and have a look!  :)

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle HodkinTitle: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Hardcover: 464 pages

Where’d I Get It: Purchased

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

My ThoughtsYou know those books that are talked about and spotlighted and there’s so much hype that every time you turn around you’re hearing about the bloody thing…so you buy it because OHMIGOSH everyone loves it…and then it SUCKS?  Yeah, this isn’t one of those books.  The hype was there, the twittery fluffy hyper flurry of crazy talk was there, and the book kind of lived up to it.  Was it perfect? No.  Was it pretty awesome, anyway? Yes.

The funny thing is, I didn’t buy this book until I received an ARC of the second one.  I kind of felt like I might as well read the first so I could read the second, and, well, here we are.

To be honest, I had some mixed feelings about the book as I was reading it.  There’s a lot of backstory, but not a lot of action. However, Michelle Hodkin’s writing is such that I really didn’t care. As a reviewer, I was aware of the lack…but as a reader I was engaged enough with what I was reading that it just didn’t affect the experience.  I wanted to know more, I wanted to keep reading, and I got frustrated every time I had to put the book down.

As a busy woman with a 14 month old little boy who is constantly on the go and a house that seems to always need cleaning and errands that always need running…for me to want to just block everything out and read is pretty rare nowadays.

One of my favorite parts of the book is that the story is so FRESH.  It’s not just the same old YA story parroted back in a slightly different style with renamed characters and a few frilly details tossed over to camouflage the lack of creativity – it’s ACTUALLY a good, new, exciting story. Yay!

This book makes you run the gauntlet of feelings and I sympathized with Mara so.very.much. as we got further into the book.  I became invested in the characters and in the story and boy was I glad that I had the second book in the series to start immediately after.

As I write this, I’ve already finished the second and I am wishing I’d waited to read both of them til the third was out..but, alas, I did not. And I will have to sit and stew and think and wait…

You can better believe, though, that if I don’t receive an ARC, I’ll be buying it the day the thing’s available. This story rocks.

Buy it. Buy 2 and give one to a friend.  Just make sure you read it.

Rating: 4.5 of 5

SeriesMara Dyer, Book 1 | Second: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Review To Come)| Third: TBR November 4, 2014 The Retribution of Mara Dyer