Friday, October 26, 2012

Guest Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

 by Evelyn from Goodreads

 
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Release Date: October 1st 2012 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Add it: Goodreads
Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.

After her family's 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’ve always wanted to write a book blog, but working in the “glam” and demanding fashion industry I don’t have much of a social life and have never been able to commit to one properly. So when I saw Brodie’s post for guest bloggers, I literally screamed at the screen:


Thanks so much Brodie for the opportunity!

I luuurved Miranda Kenneally’s first novel Catching Jordan. It was witty, funny, and romantic, all the things I love in YA, so I couldn’t wait for Kenneally’s second novel Stealing Parker. I was so keen that I pre ordered it on Kindle, downloaded it they day it came out and read the first three chapters in the car on my way to work that morning!! (P.S Whilst stopped at traffic lights of course, I’m not totally irresponsible *shifty eyes*).

Basically, Parker Shelton is one of the smartest girls in her year and a star softball player, but everything changes when a family scandal rocks her world - her mom leaves her dad for another woman. I can only imagine how devastating it is when you’re parents split up, but for Parker this scandal is even harder to bear as her family are members of a close knit christian community who turn against her when she needs them most. Her so called friends distance themselves from her and like a typical mean girls, spread rumours and call her nasty names. This prompts Parker to radically change: she quits the softball team, loses weight to be less “butch” and makes out with a different guy every week.

In an effort to get Parker out into the world again, her adorable best friend Drew convinces her to manage the boy’s Baseball team. One baseball practice later and Parker doesn’t need any further convincing - the new assistant coach Brian Hoffman is drop dead GORGEOUS and the perfect distraction. I liked there relationship at first - I mean, who wouldn’t want attention from a super hot 20 something teacher?! But as it progressed into something a bit more hot and heavy, I’ve gotta admit it made me a bit uncomfortable. It wasn’t the age difference for me so much - I mean I’m 23, roughly Brian’s age, and I totally crush on One Direction (I'M NOT ASHAMED!!!!!). It was more the way Brian’s relationship with Parker evolved. I was surprised by some of the more raunchy bits and that’s coming from a girl whose read the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy *cringe!*. I think we’re meant to feel like that though, and without giving the story away you’ll understand what I mean by that when you read it.

Two relationships I really loved were Parker’s friendship with Drew and Corndog. Seeing how those friendships evolved was really enjoyable, particularly her friendship with Corndog. It was pure and honest and completely relatable. And I LOVED the cameos from Catching Jordan characters!! I also found myself really invested in Parker’s angst about her relationship with her mom. Their journey was one of the highlights of the book for me, and some of the most moving moments come from conversations between Parker and her mom.

I don’t think this book will be for everyone. Forget the fact that it’s a bit sporty - more pressing is that it explores two of the most debated and sensitive topics of all time: religion and sexual orientation. How you’ll feel about these topics will most likely define how you feel about this book. If I have any criticism, it that at some points I found myself slightly frustrated with the way these themes were explored - it felt a little stereotypical, a little too basic, but being a YA book I can understand why Kenneally might have pulled back in these scenes.

That being said, where Catching Jordan excelled in relationships, Stealing Parker did make me think. Maybe not as much as I would’ve liked, but it made me think not just about religion and homosexuality but also about family, friends, self esteem and self worth. There are plenty of light moments, but the moments I enjoyed most were those with more of a message, more of a moral, and that’s why I think Stealing Parker is definitely a book worth reading.

I rate this book 4.5 Golden Apples. And if you haven’t read Catching Jordan, PLEASE DO!! If Kenneally’s first two books are anything to go by, we are set to enjoy many more clever, funny, hottie filled novels in the future.

4.5/5 Golden Apples!

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | Fishpond

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Thank you so much for this brilliant review, Evelyn! Stealing Parker sounds fantastic!! I love hearing that there's a strong emphasis on mother/daughter relationship - sure beats the conveniently absent-parent syndrome all too common in YA! I'm also seriously curious how Corndog got the nickname Corndog... unless his parents are really that cruel :P 

What do you guys think? Have you read Stealing Parker? If not, has Evelyn convinced you to run like the crazy obsessive booknerd that you are to your nearest bookstore for a copy?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Books! Pen Pals! Brodies!


HI THERE! I've missed you! And you! And yes, YOU! Ugh, not you, but I'll pretend I like you anyway.

So. I'll hopefully be back in the swing of things toward the end of next week, when I'll have more time for reading, blogging and commenting on a gazillion blogs. I still have some upcoming guests posts, but fingers crossed you'll be seeing more posts/reviews from me again very soon. I KNOW YOU DIDN'T JUST GROAN. YOU'RE EXCITED, OKAY? EXCITED.

Anywho! I'm so insanely, squeefully happy about some of YA's newest books, that I needed to post their pretty, pretty faces here and quiz ya'll on what YOU'RE equally excited to be reading shortly. The only problem? DECIDING WHICH TO READ FIRST! :o

Final Installments:

I've been following each of these series from the start, so it's with some sadness that it's time to say goodbye, but I SO can't wait to see how they all end!! Are you hoping for a happily-ever-after or rip-my-heart-out-and-feed-it-to-a-crocodile conclusions?

Sequels/Novellas:

Self explanatory.

1. ROOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRR.
2. Noah F*cking Shaw.
3. Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.

Whatchooo all excited about these next few weeks? What have you been reading? How has your day been?!
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On an unrelated, the amazing Joanne from Once Upon A Bookcase has set up a fantastic Book Bloggers Pen Pal Scheme. Which is exactly what the title suggests: pen pal book bloggers! Sure, we have our twitter, facebook and email to catch up with one another these days, but doesn't anyone miss a good ol' handwritten letter? It's so personal and.... well... SPECIAL. Something physical you can KEEP. Connecting with someone with a shared passion, whether in your own country or international. And yet another thing to stalk your mailman for. Interested? Check out all the details HERE!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Guest Post: Converting a reluctant YA reader, Dr Seuss style!


by Alexandra from Alexandra Scribbles

A conversation. In homage of Dr Seuss’ classic Green Eggs and Ham.


Hey, do you like to read YA?

No I don’t, I don’t I say
Vamps and weres, assassins and kings?
I’d rather read of sensible things.

Would you read one about a girl
Who falls for the god of the underworld?
Or one about a girl whose touch can kill
Across the pages her hopes and heartaches spill.

No, I wouldn’t read those books
I’d rather read of chefs and cooks.

Would you read one about a guy
With long, long lashes, smile wide as the sky
And the girl who’s grieving her big sis
And growing up in all of this?
Another book, another sister gone
Another girl learning how to go on
She takes a road-trip to surf and sun.
There’s music, love, a concert – fun!
Or there’s the boy who makes sculptures of metal
Sees beauty in flaws, refuses to settle
For less than the truth, and the girl who finds
Forever in each moment, each moment of time.
Would you read any of those?
I just know you’d love whichever you chose.

No! If I wanted to hear teenagers whining
I’d flick on TV, and watch the shows lining
Cable channels, like MTV
YA is not, is not for me.

But won’t you even just give it a try?
This one has a romance that’ll make you sigh
Best friends turned a couple – and if that’s not enough
The girl solves murders and other cool stuff!
She’s got this gift – she can sense the dead
As an echo, a sense, inside her head.
Speaking of couples, you can’t go past
An über-hot brother ensemble cast
The Merrick boys – and Hunter too –
Will inspire some serious swooning in you
They wield the elements – earth and air
Fire, water and spirit – oh HELL yeah!
Or

NO!
Do you not hear me when I speak?
These books are simple and intellectually weak.
Insta-love triangles and issues you say?
I shall not, will not, read YA.

Just one. A tiny little look and see.
A page, a chapter? Please? For me?

OK, FINE.
*mutter mutter the things I do mutter mutter*
Hmmm.
Actually, this is not quite so bad.
I can kind of identify with the struggles she’s had.
And him – I know how outsider feels.
And um, will you judge me if I squeal?
It’s just it’s so hard not to get invested
Especially when I see my team being bested.
Team Adrian – or Dimitri! Team Xander – or Ky?
And oh, when Mia’s grandfather gives her the OK to die!
OMFG, I BAWLED MY EYES OUT.
And oh holy crap – what’s next for Tris and Four?
And I want more of Jace – lots, lots more!
Holly Black’s fey are delightfully dark
Kagawa’s too are no walk in the park
And a vampire with her own personal GA?
I have to finish this series today!
But I also have to, have to find out
What Hannah’s manuscript is all about.
And how it relates – and who is who
In relation to Taylor and the rest of the crew
So many books, and not enough time
Cricket – forget Lola and please be mine.
I take back the ridiculous things I did say
And solemnly swear that I love YA.


Books mentioned –

Everneath by Brodi Ashton, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Saving June by Hannah Harrington, The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, The Body Finder Series by Kimberly Derting, The Elementals trilogy by Brigid Kemmerer, the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, Matched by Allie Condie, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Insurgent by Veronica Roth, the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and/or Falling to Ash by Karen Mahoney, the Tithe trilogy by Holly Black, the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa, the Tantalize series by Cynthia Leitich Smith, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins)

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Isn't this girl crazy talented?! Thank you so, so, SO much for sharing this absolutely BRILLIANT piece with us, Alexandra!! I am honoured to be posting it on my blog for everyone to read. Every time you made reference to a novel I read and loved, I squealed with delight. And oh, it's just so perfect and true and isn't it the BEST feeling ever when you're successful in converting a reluctant YA reader? <3

You can find Alexandra at 
Blog | Twitter
 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Guest Post: Gifting Books

 by Joanne from Once Upon A Bookcase


Christmas isn’t too far away now, and I’m one of those people who at least starts thinking about buying Christmas presents quite early – if not buying them. Being such an avid reader, I’m a big fan of giving people books as presents.

Most of the people I buy books for tend to be family members and the odd friend, and more often than not, our reading tastes differ, so half the time I won’t have read the books I’m giving as gifts. But there are a few occasions when I read a gem of a book I know my Mum, Dad or best friend will love. But other times, I’m giving more than just a book. Sometimes, a book will sneak up on me and wow me in ways that take me breath away. I mean it goes beyond having a fantastic plot, awesome characters, and, depending on the genre, great romance/action/twists/cliff-hanger ending.

As well as reading simply because I enjoy it, I’m also an escapist reader; if I have a problem, or I’m not feeling too positive about something, I use reading as a way to put my thoughts aside for a while, an enjoyable distraction. But I don’t expect – even though it’s happened a few times now, I never expect – a book to remind me instead. These books can be about something completely unrelated to what’s going on in my own life, but a certain passage or a certain sentence might as well be printed in bold with multicoloured letters for how much it stands out to me in relation to what’s going on in my life. Each and every time, it knocks me for six.

More often than not, these passages or sentences are about romance – problems between a couple, one character’s thoughts about another, or simple expressing what’s been going on in their heads. In context, it’s romance, but that’s not what it is for me, what it means to me. I think it’s the serious discussions or thoughts that come about when love gets involved that has these books saying something that turns on the light bulb above my head. But it’s not always the romance aspect; it can be anything where the books turn a little more serious, a little heavier.

In context to the story, the passage or sentence doesn’t relate to me at all, but on its own, it’s almost like the book is a mind reader and is dishing out some advice, or just something I need to hear. These books have said the right thing at the right time and boom! My eyes are opened, my perspective changes, or it makes me think. It can completely change the way I was viewing things that are happening in my own life. I can feel a whole lot better about something, or I finally understand exactly why someone has made a certain decision. Or it could even be something that relates to a friend’s life, and suddenly I understand what they’re going through a little better. For that moment, I completely forget about the story, and just re-read those words over and over as things click into place for me. Everything changes. And the epiphany can bring tears to my eyes.


There are a number of books that have caused me to have such insights. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry is one of these books; there is a certain part that opened my eyes to the reasons behind the actions of someone I know. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan is another, so many different parts of this book spoke to me about so many different things. If I was a believer in such things, I’d be tempted to say it’s my own oracle - like one of those books where you think about something hard enough, open the book to any random page, and it says something relating to what you were thinking. Seriously, it said so many things on so many different levels, it left me reeling.

This change stays with me long after I turn the last page. I’m happier, I feel lighter, I worry less – and I am so unbelievably surprised. I am so wowed I want to tell the world about this book, but not just the world, but those who are someway involved in the not-so-great things the books have helped me with. I give them the book as a present. Now, I know not everyone goes through exactly the same things I do, nor do they think like me or react to things like me. It is actually highly unlikely that the people I gift these books to will have the same reaction to the books I did, that these books will speak to them like they did me, but there is the hope that they will finish those books feeling a little better, a little enlightened, a little less lost.

So when I’m not gifting books for pure entertainment, that’s what I’m giving to people, my hope that they’ll experience a similar feeling of peace.

Thank you, Brodie, for allowing me to guest post on your amazing blog!

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And thank YOU, Jo, for your beautiful post that I feel really speaks to the heart of every reader out there <3

Are there any books that speak to you in the same way the likes of Will Grayson, Will Grayson has with Jo? Do you give books as gifts in hopes of sharing that incredible journey with another?

You can find Jo at: 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Owl Post #15


Inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox, Owl Post allows me to excitedly share all the yummy books I get in the mail each week! Owl's are much faster and more reliable than sneaky postmen, and the common way for magical folk to send and receive letters and parcels.

 E-galley:

I've read quite a few amazing reviews for this and the idea behind it is SO fascinating. I can't wait to crack it out and hopefully love it. Also, the AUS/UK cover trumps US with the pretty hint of colour!

This is based on the movie starring Jennifer Lawrence. I don't often read books written from movies (it's usually the other way around), so I'm curious to see how this will compare. Anyone read it yet? Seen the movie? Sounds like a creepy mystery. Me like!

Well, since I picked these up from my library, they're sort of cousins to the almighty book, therefore I feel okay including them :) Offspring has fast become a favourite show. It's not even my usual flavour of tv, but it's so quirky and addictive and you grow SO invested in these characters lives! I'm FINALLY, for the FIRST TIME watching Lord of the Rings!! I watched the first movie a week ago and... why? WHY didn't anyone force me to watch earlier?? So excited to continue, aswell as check out X-Men: First Class!

I've already started this and really enjoying it so far!! I loved Article 5 and Kristen is an absolute SWEETHEART, so I've been so excited to finally read this. If you live in the US or Canada, I'm giving away a print ARC HERE!

What have the owls delivered to you this week?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Giveaway: Win an ARC of BREAKING POINT (Article 5 #2) by Kristen Simmons!


The second installment in Kristen Simmons's fast-paced, gripping YA dystopian series.

After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.

Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….

Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself.

Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways.

With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back?


It's all happenin' in the month of October. Halloween, Oktoberfest, Apple Day, Haunted Refrigerator Night and Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work Day. Can it really get any better?

WHY, YES. IT CAN. Kristen Simmons, author of ARTICLE 5, has decided to treat all the good boys and girls of United States and Canada with an early Christmas present. She's offering up TEN chances to win an ARC of BREAKING POINT, the i've-been-dying-to-read-this-for-so-long-squeeeeeeeeee sequel to the amazing YA dystopian, ARTICLE 5. It's not released until February 2013, so this is your chance to read it super early!

Besides questioning why I don't jump in a canoe and travel to Canada to enter myself, what does this have to do with me? WELL. Kristen is allowing me the opportunity to host one of these smoking hot giveaways! So if you live in the US or Canada, I'M YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND (hi, I love you!).

How do you win? Short of tracking down a real life Chase and delivering him to me, then all you need to do is fill out the simple form below. Your name and email earns you an automatic entry, but you can gain extra chances to win by advertising, commenting and adding Breaking Point to Goodreads!

Giveaway ends Halloween (31st October 2012)
So if you're into making deals with devils, I'd consider this a worthy cause.

 US/Canada ONLY.
(AUSSIES: I'm in a giving mood this month, so stay tuned for an upcoming giveaway that will include ARTICLE 5 as one of the prize choices!)


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