Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle

Title: The Infinite Moment of Us
Author: Lauren Myracle
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: August 20th 2013
Source: Borrowed ARC

My Rating: 3.5/5

For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now... not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn’t even know what they are?

Charlie Parker, on the other hand, is painfully aware of his heart’s desire. A gentle boy with a troubled past, Charlie has loved Wren since the day he first saw her. But a girl like Wren would never fall for a guy like Charlie—at least not the sort of guy Charlie believes himself to be.

And yet certain things are written in the stars. And in the summer after high school, Wren and Charlie’s souls will collide. But souls are complicated, as are the bodies that house them...

Sexy, romantic, and oh-so-true to life, this is an unforgettable look at first love from one of young adult fiction’s greatest writers. (Summary from Goodreads)

After reading and loving Lauren Myracle's novel Shine, I've been on the lookout for her next book. When I found out about The Infinite Moment of Us, I was overjoyed. A coming-of-age love story with gorgeously real characters, I knew it was going to be a stunner. And just like first love, it has its highs and it has it's lows but, overall, it was a joyous read.

This book is completely character driven. It is all about these two young people falling in love, about the ups and downs of relationships, and about learning to embrace who you are. Wren was a shy, compassionate young girl struggling to balance her desires and that of her parents. I loved getting to watch her fight to stand on her own, and to not be defined by the ideas of others. Charlie was in interesting character. He came from a pretty rough beginning and really strives to be a good, caring person. I wish that more of his background could have been delved into, but at the same time I was okay with just learning about him now. This story really emphasized, in a way, who we are now and living in the moment. The relationship between Charlie and Wren was romantic, and loving and I really and truly enjoyed it. I loved watching them learn about each other, watching them share those sweet, soulful moments. It was heart-warming, and often had me a bit teary. 

This book is definitely on the older end of the YA genre, which I think is kind of refreshing. Not that a lot of teen books don't talk about or even describe intimacy in some form or another, because they do. I just felt that the way it came about in Charlie and Wren's relationship was very organic and realistic. It explored all the ways that two people get to know and love each other.

I know a lot of people will not like this novel, and I can completely understand why. We are really thrown into this story, with not a lot of build-up or explanation. There were a bunch of little plots throughout, but they all took a backseat to the romance. I felt at the end that there were a lot of things left up in the air. A lot of questions I had that just simply weren't answered. This book could have had a lot of different layers and aspects and, although there were many, I felt they weren't nurtured enough. Plain and simple: if you don't like the romance, if you don't care about Charlie and Wren, you won't like the book. I did care, so I enjoyed it. I do wish there could have been more plot development and probably would have enjoyed the story more. I just felt like there was something missing that even this sweet relationship couldn't fill. 

One thing that is undeniable is that Lauren Myracle is a gorgeous writer. She really brought me into the story, and had me fascinated by the words on the page. They were magical and wondrous and ripped me to shreds then put me back together. They were amazing words from an amazing writer.

Overall, I enjoyed The Infinite Moment of Us. It wasn't as stunning as I expected, but it was still an interesting read.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Lauren Myracle's Website 

Friday, August 23, 2013

AUTHORS ARE ROCKSTARS TOUR: Nova Ren Suma


Hello everyone!

Today, I'm very happy to be a part of the fabulous AUTHORS ARE ROCKSTARS Tour hosted by Fiktshun, Two Chicks On Books, and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads! It is such a fantastic idea, and I am very grateful for having been selected to participate. Not only was I really excited to be chosen, I was ecstatic that I was paired up with the fantastic Nova Ren Suma! Sadly, due to unforeseen circumstances, Nova couldn't be on the blog this time around. I decided to still do a feature for her books though, because she absolutely is a rockstar author!

Nova Ren Suma author photo
Nova Ren Suma is the author of a few novels including Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone, both of which deal with heavy topics in stunning ways. One thing you know you're going to get when you pick up a Nova Ren Suma book is gorgeous prose. Words that will stun and amaze you. Her words will bury themselves in your heart and won't ever let go. I am blown away by her writing, and wish I could be as talented as she is. When I was reading 17 & Gone, I felt like her words had reached out and claimed me and there was simply no way I could stop reading them. That opening prologue is so beautiful I just want to hug it. 

Another thing Nova excels at is creating unique and intriguing concepts. Her books are filled with real people in magical and sometime terrifying places. The worlds she creates are so vivid and imaginative even though they are set in realistic circumstances. Her stories also feature powerful narration and really lasting characters. These aren't cardboard copies but rather real and beautiful people whose stories will mesmerize you. They will haunt you, inspire you, and make you remember them. Nova Ren Suma can write like nobody's business and that alone makes her a rockstar author.

Nova is also so appreciative of her fans. Back in March, I hosted 17 & Gone Week on the blog to celebrate the release of her sophomore novel. Not only did she offer up a signed copy for an international giveaway, she surprised me with a special package. In it, there was a signed copy of 17 & Gone, some bookmarks, and a thank-you card. To say the gesture brought me to tears was an understatement. It was an amazingly sweet gesture and one I will never forget. 


Nova also runs a blog called Distraction no.99. On it, she features debut authors, writing tips, and posts about writer life to help future writers and newbie authors. She also hosts writing workshops for aspiring novelists. I think it's fantastic that she would take the time to be so helpful and supportive of other members of the writing community.

In short, Nova Ren Suma rocks. And you really need to read her books.

Now! For a giveaway! Thanks to the awesome tour hosts (thank you Rachel, Jaime, and Mindy!) I am offering up the winner's choice of a Nova Ren Suma book to TWO winners!

Giveaway Rules:
- Must be 13 years or older
- Void where prohibited
- Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL
- We are not responsible for lost or damaged items
- Fill in the Rafflecopter giveaway to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

If you need more reasons why Nova Ren Suma is a rockstar author, check out these posts!


Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out all the other authors and bloggers on the tour!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Title: Nantucket Blue
Author: Leila Howland
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Source: Borrowed ARC

My Rating: 4/5

For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on--most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits--that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue. (Summary from Goodreads)

I went into Nantucket Blue knowing nothing about it. Seriously, nothing. From the title I got that it was set in Nantucket, and the cover looked exactly like the beach read I was craving. I went into it hoping I would get a light book, filled with fun, heart, and some romance and that's exactly what I got. Nantucket Blue was the perfect beach read.

I have put "spend a summer on Nantucket" on my list of things I need to do after reading this book. It simply sounds like such a stunning place. One full of possibility, opportunity, and lots of beaches. It was the perfect backdrop to this story all about growth and change. Cricket (besides being owner of an awesome name) was cute. There wasn't anything ultra memorable about her, but she was a fun character to narrate the book. I wanted things to work out for her, and she was a good person. Cricket was someone to root for and I really wanted to see how her story would play out.

Nantucket Blue had a lot of different plot points, and Cricket had to deal with some emotional and difficult issues. She had a very strained relationship with her mother, and found solace in Jules' family. But when they suffered their own crisis, and rejected Cricket in the process, she really had to learn to stand on her own two feet. Her friendship with Jules had me all over the place! I was sad and angry, then happy and laughing. They both dealt with their grief in very different ways and it was hard watching their friendship fissure because of it. There was a point in the book where I paused and thought "um, what plot am I supposed to follow?" There were so many different things going on and I could not figure out how they were all going to come together. Thankfully, I had an aha! moment and by the end, the plot had tied up in a neat little bow. And it was great! I really liked how everything came full circle and there weren't a lot of plot points left dangling.


Speaking of plot points, the romance itself was a bit unexpected. At first, I thought it was going to be with her school boy crush Jay. Then, when that seemed to not be the route, I thought maybe it would be an illicit romance with her boss. But no. The romance was, in fact, with the person I least expected. When we first meet Zach, he's that adorable quirky younger brother of Jules. I thought he was cute, the kind of guy that would grow up to be a heart-breaker. But, as the story progressed, I saw that my initial judgement of him was wrong. He already was pretty mature, and well on his way to being a heartthrob. The relationship he had with Cricket was sweet, and caring. They were a well-matched duo, that had me smiling throughout. It was a surprising romance, but one I really enjoyed.

Nantucket Blue was a fun, heart-warming novel about family, friends, and learning to stand on your own. Definitely a book to read this summer!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday (57): This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, in which bloggers talk about the books they are most eager for!

This Week's Pick: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: September 17th, 2013

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together. (Summary from Goodreads)
 
As someone who has had music change their life, this book is going to hit pretty close to home for me. I love reading about the power of music, and I'm a sucker for a coming-of-age story. From what I've been hearing about This Song Will Save Your Life, this book is fantastic. Stunning, and beautiful. I cannot wait to see for myself.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday (56): The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, in which bloggers talk about the books they are most eager for!

This Week's Pick: The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4) by Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: November 19th 2013

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

So, Richelle Mead is one of my all-time favorite authors. I will read (and have read pretty much) anything she publishes. The Vampire Academy/Bloodlines world is one of my absolute favorites and I have loved every single book of it. I didn't think I could be more excited for The Fiery Heart until Richelle Mead announced it was going to be told from both Sydney and Adrian's perspective. Then I may have flipped out. Until I heard she also compared it to Shadow Kiss. Then I nearly died of a heart-attack. 

Basically, this book is going to break me in half, have me bawling, swooning, and laughing and I am going to love every single second of it. November, get your awesome self here already.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Books of 2013, Part 8: August

Well, August is here! I feel like this summer has flown by and it, sadly, hasn't felt very much like summer! I'm hoping to spend this last month before school starts making the most of my free time and reading. August also happens to be my birthday month so hopefully that will be fun. Here are the books I'm excited for releasing this month!

August 1st

- Canary by Rachele Apline: Sounds really tragic and tough but a book that needs to be read.

August 6th



- Biting Bad (Chicagoland Vampires #8) by Chloe Neill: I LOVE this series. Merit is one heck of an awesome protagonist and I can't wait for more of her! (This is an ADULT book)
- Infinityglass (Hourglass #3) by Myra McEntire: I adore the idea of this series, and am hoping the last installment lives up to my expectations!
- The Uprising (The Forsaken #2) by Lisa M. Stasse: Action, adventure, and rebellion. My kind of book!

August 13th

- Fire With Fire (Burn for Burn #2) by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian: Burn for Burn was such a great read, and I am dying for more.

August 15th

- Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Between #1) by April Genevieve Tucholke: Sounds like a really intriguing book and has one AWESOME cover!

August 20th

- The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle: I have already read this one and man, it's a heart-squeezer!
- Omens (Cainsville #1) by Kelley Armstrong: I'm such a huge fan of her novels, and am really excited about her new series (This is an ADULT book)

August 27th


- Just Like Fate by Suzanne Young & Cat Patrick: Awesome premise and awesome authors!
- Deception (Defiance #2) by C. J. Redwine: Despite buying Defiance the day it came out, I still have yet to read it. Hoping to do so now that the second one is out!
- Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout: I just need this book like RIGHT NOW. Please. I mean, PLEASE.


- Descendant (Starling #2) by Lesley Livingston: Another series I need to pick up now that the second on is out!
- The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider: Have an ARC of this and I am SO excited to read it.

August 29th

- Untold (Lyburn Legacy #2) by Sarah Rees Brennan: This seems to be the month of sequels releasing of books I own but haven't read yet! Upping Unspoken on my TBR!

What books are you guys looking forward to this month?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Review: The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

Title: The Forsaken (The Forsaken #1)
Author: Lisa M. Stasse
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 4/5

As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway. (Summary from Goodreads)

I still feel dizzy from The Forsaken. Reading this book was like being on one crazy roller-coaster that had my adrenaline going like nobody's business. Just when I thought it was safe to let my guard down, I was hit with another twist that had me reeling. The Forsaken was one crazy ride that I would gladly go on again.

The best way to describe this book is to call it "action-packed". It was one battle after the next, one twist after another. I think this kind of fast-paced plot can be detrimental to a novel but in The Forsaken's case, it was exactly what the story needed. It kept me on my toes. I never knew what was going to happen next! My jaw fell open countless times, and I kept flipping the pages faster so I could see how it would all play out. 

As for the characters, I liked them well enough. Since the book was so plot-focused, the characters were pushed to the side a tad. We got a general feeling for them, but I didn't feel like I was super invested in them. More invested in the idea of them. Gadya, though, was a stand-out for me. Although she drove me a little crazy with her jealousy sometimes, I loved her passion and her drive. She was a fun, interesting character, and one heck of a bad-ass. She was the person I hoped Alenna would emulate (and was happy to see that she did). Alenna herself, I thought, was a great narrator. She was a character that the reader could relate to and one that we could cheer for. I liked that she pushed herself to become a strong person, even when she was petrified. Alenna is going to be one to watch out for!

One of the coolest and most interesting parts of this book was the idea itself. I haven't read a lot of dystopian recently, but this book reminded me why I love the genre.  There's so much passion, and growth in dystopian and always a really intriguing premise! I was a bit wary when there was a info-dump right off the bat. I like to be slowly introduced to the world, not have it shoved at me in the first couple pages. Regardless, the idea I was being introduced to was really interesting. The all-controlling government, the thought pills and earpieces, the test that is supposed to determine criminal tendencies and, of course, the wheel itself. I knew this was going to be a world that would keep me interested, and that would set itself up for one crazy rebellion. 

The Forsaken was a great dystopian adventure! I'm looking forward to exploring more of this crazy world soon.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)