Second Chance Sunday – Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

juliet

Title: Juliet Immortal (Juliet Immortal Series) [Amazon]
Author: Stacey Jay [website]
Publisher:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Retelling
Source/Type: Purchased/Hardcover
Stars: 5 of 5

Publisher Description:
The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn’t take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn’t anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she’s fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she’s forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

My Thoughts:
I don’t even know where to begin other than saying I loved, loved, loved this book! I know, eloquent right?! HA. But really, here’s the thing. I almost never read this book. And now your thinking I’m crazy. Well you see, I am not one for reading paranormalish books. I’ve done a couple and rally enjoyed them, but they aren’t my thing. In discussing this with a friend she said I was missing out on some great stuff. So being the trusting person I am I gave her free reign to pick a book I wouldn’t normally pick, and Juliet Immortal was one of her 3 picks for me. And now I must, with egg in my face, say a very heartfelt thank you to her because this book was flipping fantastic! It was one of those fantastical books that you want to take your time with yet you don’t want to put it down and the fact that I almost missed out breaks my heart.

Juliet Immortal is the story of well, Juliet, yes, that Juliet. But it isn’t the same old story you are used to. You see, this Juliet is dead, but she dead at the hands of Romeo. He made a deal in those ole Verona days that granted him immortality if only he would do dear Juliet in. What Romeo never considered was that there may be a deal on the table for Juliet as well. Now 300 centuries later these once star crossed lovers are battling on opposing sides in bodies that aren’t theirs. Juliet is sent to earth to protect the live of soul mates and to make sure their bond holds strong while Romeo is sent to destroy the powers of love. It has been this way for years, that is until Juliet is sent into the body of Ariel and everything changes. Not only does Juliet have a job to do, but she has a soul to heal, and it isn’t just Ariel’s soul that needs healing. Soon both Romeo and Juliet have to make choices that neither want to make, but sometimes making choices is the only way to live.

I know, amazing right?! Trust me when I tell you that not only is this story pure awesomeness, there is a ton more to it then I just described. The writing is stunning. It really is filled with some of the most gorgeous prose I’ve read and I don’t throw that our there lightly. I absolutely loved every character in the story even the annoying ones and that is a testament to Ms. Jay. You could tell that everything she did was well thought out and served a purpose. Nothing was predictable, okay, maybe one thing ones, but this is my gush review so I’m ignoring that.

Anyway, this book basically took an old familiar classic and made into something I could have never dreamed to love as much as I did. Just do me a favor, take a chance and read it. You won’t be disappointed, I can almost guarantee it.

Other Books by Author:
hysteria vengeance

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Second Chance Sunday – Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom

Second Chance Sunday – Ditched: A Love Story by Robin MellomDitched by Robin Mellom
Published by Hyperion Book CH
on January 3rd 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon, Goodreads

There's a girl.
Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. That said, she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.

And there's a boy.
Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat, handle first.
Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.
Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.

Then there's a ditch.
But when Justina is ditched, figuratively and literally, she must piece together--stain-by-stain on her thrift store dress--exactly how she ended up dateless...with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven.

To get the whole store, Justina will have to face the boy who ditched her. Can losing out at her prom ultimately lead to finding true love?

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Ditched had to be the most fun I have had reading a book since I read Lola and the Boy Next Door. The quirkiness of Justina and the relationship between her and Ian was truly enjoyable to immerse myself in. Seriously Justina was completely off her rocker and I loved every minute of it. She was exactly what all of us girls are when we like a boy and have no idea if they like us. We overreact, jump to conclusions, second guess everything and make general fools of ourselves. It is what a crush does and Mellom wrote that to PERFECTION.

The book starts off the Justina in ditch on the side of the road wearing her busted prom dress. Right off the bat you know you are for a story based on the stains, bruises and rips over her dress and body. Heading to a local 7-11 she meets the store clerk and one of the regulars and proceeds to tell them exactly how she ended up looking like she did a d just exactly how her night turned out so bad. In a mix of The Hangover and Whatever It Takes Justina’s stories go from bad to worse until finally the whole truth is unveiled and shows maybe everything isn’t as it seems.

In order for me to properly describe Justina, I am going to use a phrase directly from the book…she is completely CRAZY CRACKERS! The things that go through her head are equal parts hysterical and disturbing and I loved her to pieces. It has been a long time since a leading character made me giggle and shake my head at the same time. The logic she came up with half the time was pure comical. And the way she told her story was just genius. It was predictable but I don’t care because I loved it from beginning to end and I wished it was longer.

Please please please don’t wait to read this one! I was Crazy Crackers for it and I think a lot of you will be too. I can’t wait for more from Mellom. Fantastical!

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Second Chance Sunday – The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld

uglies

Title: Uglies (Uglies Series) [Amazon]
Author: Scott Westerfeld [website]
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Genre:  Dystopian
Source/Type: Purchased/Paperback
Stars: 5 of 5

Publisher Description:
Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that?

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. Not for her license – for turning pretty. In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to be pretty. She’d rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all.

The choice Tally makes changes her world forever…

My Thoughts:
Wow, wow, wow! A complete sit on the edge of your seat book. By reading the back I thought I had it all figured out but as the book progressed it got deeper and deeper and more uncertainty was formed and I love that.

Just like in The Hunger Games and Delirium, Uglies has a very strong female lead that you find yourself rooting for. Tally is just like any other 16 year old…she is desperate to turn 16 so she can be pretty. She is tired of being considered an ugly. She hates her eyes and her hair and her face and just wants to grow up and move to New Prettyville where everything is better and her best friend Peris lives now. But things don’t go as planned for Tally, she meets Shay and everything changes for her. She finds out things she never wanted to know, does things she never thought she would do and makes choices she never thought she would have to make. The book is a nonstop, action packed story about finding out what you thought was true may not be the case and figuring out how to live your life afterwards.

Westerfeld does such a good job in writing this that you feel every one of the characters emotions and the changes they go through. I’m seriously so ecstatic that I read this book as it was fantastic. Can’t wait to read the rest of the series. If you are a fan of The Hunger Games and Delirium, this book is for you.

pretties

Title: Pretties (Uglies Series) [Amazon]
Author: Scott Westerfeld [website]
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Genre:  Dystopian
Source/Type: Purchased/Paperback
Stars: 5 of 5

Publisher Description:
Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she’s completely popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted.

But beneath all the fun — the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom — is a nagging sense that something’s wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally’s ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what’s wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.

Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life — because the authorities don’t intend to let anyone with this information survive.

My Thoughts:
Westerfeld has done it again. He took what was a great story in Uglies and made it into an even more complex one in Pretties. The twists and turns in the second part of this trilogy left me holding my breath and sitting on the end of my seat. Honestly the way that he wrote Tally was pure genius. I couldn’t stand her as a vapid pretty, but I could also tell underneath the smoke and mirrors that the Tally we all know and love was still there and just needed to be pulled to the surface. And for that enter Zane. Zane was a very very welcome addition to this story about control and restraints. He was caring and loving and just as much stuck as Tally was living a life they didn’t want but had no real option. Westerfeld managed to weave everything so well together it made me want more, more, more. I couldn’t stop reading. And Shay?!?!?! Oh my! Nicely done Mr. Westerfeld.

specials

Title: Specials (Uglies Series) [Amazon]
Author: Scott Westerfeld [website]
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Genre:  Dystopian
Source/Type: Purchased/Paperback
Stars: 5 of 5

Publisher Description:
Tally though they were a rumor, but now she’s one of the them. A Special. A super-amped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.

But maybe being perfectly programmed with strength and focus isn’t better than anything she’s ever known. Tally still has memories of something else.

But it’s easy for her to tune that out—until she’s offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she’s programmed to complete. Either way, Tally’s world will never be the same.

My Thoughts:
What a fantastic end to the trilogy. Specials was so action packed I was holding my breath the whole time. The way that Westerfeld wrote Tally and Shay’s transformations was pure genius. He made you feel like you knew the characters, that you were a part of their lives. Watching Tally grow over these three very different parts of one story was an enjoyable experience. Her relationships with Shay, Zane, David and the dreaded Dr. Cable evolved as she did which made the story work all the more. Truly loved this series. Excited to read the final companion to the trilogy.

extras

Title: Extras (Uglies Series) [Amazon]
Author: Scott Westerfeld [website]
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Genre:  Dystopian
Source/Type: Purchased/Paperback
Stars: 2 of 5

Publisher Description:
It’s a few years after rebel Tally Youngblood took down the uglies/pretties/specials regime. Without those strict roles and rules, the world is in a complete cultural renaissance. “Tech-heads” flaunt their latest gadgets, “kickers” spread gossip and trends, and “surge monkeys” are hooked on extreme plastic surgery. And it’s all monitored on a bazillion different cameras. The world is like a gigantic game of American Idol. Whoever is getting the most buzz gets the most votes. Popularity rules. As if being fifteen doesn’t suck enough, Aya Fuse’s rank of 451,369 is so low, she’s a total nobody. An extra. But Aya doesn’t care; she just wants to lie low with her drone, Moggle. And maybe kick a good story for herself. Then Aya meets a clique of girls who pull crazy tricks, yet are deeply secretive of it. Aya wants desperately to kick their story, to show everyone how intensely cool the Sly Girls are. But doing so would propel her out of extra-land and into the world of fame, celebrity…and extreme danger. A world she’s not prepared for.

My Thoughts:
This book really bummed me out. I loved the Uglies series to pieces with each book being better than the one before. But with Extras I felt it was just that…it was extra. It wasn’t needed and it took away from the amazing trilogy instead of adding to it. It was said to be a fourth book in the series, but it really wasn’t. Sure Tally, David and Shay made appearances but that was the only connection to the Uglies. I honestly didn’t enjoy the main characters, the story or the new people we were introduced to. Tally and David were the only small bit of light in this one. I wish Westerfeld just stopped at the trilogy. It would have been so much better that way.

 

 

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Second Chance Sunday – Fracture by Megan Miranda

 

Second Chance Sunday – Fracture by Megan MirandaFracture by Megan Miranda
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA
on January 29th 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon, Goodreads

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

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I’m not sure what compelled me to move this up on my to read list. There wasn’t anything that stood out about the book in my memory. It may have been because it was a debut author book that fit into my challenges for the year, or it could have been dumb luck. Whatever the case, I thought it was completely fantastic. I mean there wasn’t anything over the top amazing about the plot that bowled me over or some shocking twist that brought me to my knees. It was simply a great character book.

I flipping loved Delaney and Decker. Simple as that. The two of them brought a life to this story that felt real. I could actually feel the push and pull of their relationship and I wanted more. The way things went from being completely easy between them to awkward and strained and then to a thick sexual tension is what had me riveted. Thy both knew what they wanted but had so much outside stuff getting in the way so it was virtually impossible for them to grab what was just out of reach. Even Troy, who I found insane, and Tara, who was annoying, added to the story of Decker and Delaney and I found myself grateful for them.

There were two things I didn’t like though. The first was Delaney’s mother. She was over the top overbearing and mean. Everything she said she did was out of love, but I thought she was wrong with every decision she made. She was trying to be this amazing parent and really she sucked. She has harsh and abrasive and borderline abusive and that was never really dealt with. I also didn’t like the part towards the end with Janna. I understood her reaction, but that was it, just a reaction with again no follow up. I just didn’t understand the point of including it if there was no plan of a revisit. Just seemed out of place,

Other than those two things I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I actually found myself wishing it were a series. 😀 Can’t wait for more from this author.

otherbooks
hysteria vengeance

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Second Chance Sunday – Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols (discussion)

such

Title: Such a Rush [Amazon]
Author:  Jennifer Echols [website]
Publisher: MTV Books
Genre:  Contemporary
Source/Type: Own/Hardcover
Stars: 5 of 5

Publisher Description:
When I was fourteen, I made a decision. If I was doomed to live in a trailer park next to an airport, I could complain about the smell of the jet fuel like my mom, I could drink myself to death over the noise like everybody else, or I could learn to fly.

Heaven Beach, South Carolina, is anything but, if you live at the low-rent end of town. All her life, Leah Jones has been the grown-up in her family, while her mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend, letting any available money slip out of her hands. At school, they may diss Leah as trash, but she’s the one who negotiates with the landlord when the rent’s not paid. At fourteen, she’s the one who gets a job at the nearby airstrip.

But there’s one way Leah can escape reality. Saving every penny she can, she begs quiet Mr. Hall, who runs an aerial banner-advertising business at the airstrip and also offers flight lessons, to take her up just once. Leaving the trailer park far beneath her and swooping out over the sea is a rush greater than anything she’s ever experienced, and when Mr. Hall offers to give her cut-rate flight lessons, she feels ready to touch the sky.

By the time she’s a high school senior, Leah has become a good enough pilot that Mr. Hall offers her a job flying a banner plane. It seems like a dream come true . . . but turns out to be just as fleeting as any dream. Mr. Hall dies suddenly, leaving everything he owned in the hands of his teenage sons: golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson. And they’re determined to keep the banner planes flying.

Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business—until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers—and the consequences could be deadly.

My Thoughts:
Michelle: Hottie Hot HOT!!  That’s what this book was.  Oh.Em.Gee there was so so much for me to love here.  Angsty drama, good smokin’ romance and a bad boy with a heart of gold.  You know how I adore me a boy who’s misunderstood!  Echols has been called the Nora Roberts of YA Romance and boy does Such a Rush prove that point and then some.

Andi: OH.EM.GEE is right!!!! Holy hotness batman! What a great, great, did I mention GREAT, story! This was by far and away my favorite Echols book to date. I will admit that I had a little trouble in the beginning with all the flying talk, but once the boys were completely introduced to the story and the spiciness abound, I was in a free fall of love! Those Hall boys are two for the record book for book boyfriend! YUM-MY!

M:  Yea, the very first chapters were a bit slower but I’ve found most of her books take a few to ramp up.  But when they do, OHHHH boy you best be ready for the love.  I have to agree with you on the favorite status.  This one might be right up there for me too.  It’s definitely a tie between Such a Rush and Love Story.

What I truly adore about this book (and pretty much all of Echols work) is that she creates such awesome characters.  I mean, I love absolutely all of them.  None more than Grayson (hubba hubba!) but even the most annoying jerk-offs *cough* Mark *cough* had some sort of value.  He was detestable but not entirely despicable when it came down to it.

Leah was amazing.  Her low impression of her worth was in such contrast to her relatively high self-esteem.  She knew who she was and accepted it.  Sure, she wanted to change her life for the better but he didn’t wallow in her less than ideal circumstances.  She just worked her ass off to get closer to what she wanted.  Mad props to her.

A: Exactly! Echols knows how to write her characters in a way that they are so deep and complicated but it comes off flawlessly. Like Molly for instance. Here she was a side character, not really in the main action, but just as important as Leah and Grayson. She is what made Leah have heart a lot of the time and to show emotion which she worked so hard to hide. And yet Molly was jealous of everything Leah was because Leah just put it out there. It all worked and you don’t even think about it when reading it and that is a sign of talent.

And I loved Leah’s relationship with Mr. Hall too. It was somewhat more important than her relationship with the boys because he gave her a feeling of self worth. He basically gave her a reason to not give up on herself and become her mother (ARGH don’t even get me started on her). Like you said Leah’s self worth was so low and yet she worked to become more no matter what.

Now can we talk about Grayson?! **PLEASE**!!!! I waited two whole paragraphs to ask!

M:  Grayson was fantabulissimo!  As we’ve already established I love me a “bad boy” with a heart of gold and Mr. Hall fit right into that mold.  He was deeply flawed but his cocky demeanor allowed him to play it off.  He just needed that one person to cut through the bull and see him for who he was to make it all crumble.  Oh how I love the crumble!!

Not only that but the family relationships he had to navigate added a whole other level of complexity.  He never really had that one person who got him, the one person who he could rely on totally until he met Leah.  He wanted to be more than the family disappointment and he was so dedicated to keeping all of them together after his Jack and his dad were gone.  He was just an all around stand up guy.

A: He really was completely amazing. Here was this “screw-up”, trying to hold everything together after an unthinkable tragedy that fell on his family. All of a sudden he had to be the one with the head on his shoulders or he may lose something else he cared dearly for. And his relationship with Leah was so amazingly awkward and slightly twisted, but it worked completely for the two of them. They had this amazing push/pull thing going on. He would make all these generalizations about her and then lean on her when he needed someone to just be there for him. Watching their story unfold was truly enjoyable. It added something to Grayson. Instead of him being a, for lack of a better term, dick, through Leah you got to really get to know him and the love he really had for his family.

M:  Leah was such a fantastic character too.  All she wanted was to have important connections in her life.  But she got stuck with a selfish mother, no father and judgmental kids at school.  The one true connection she finally had was with flying and as a result with Mr. Hall.  He understood her in a way that a father would understand his child.  I do truly think Mr. Hall considered her one of his own.  It was a sweet relationship that sparked a deeper love between she and Grayson.  I wish we would have gotten to know Mr. Hall a little better because I can totally see he and Grayson being very similar.

A: Leah really was a great character. She was developed so well you couldn’t help but love her. She was focused on two things and two things alone…survival and flying. And because of both those things she had a hard shell around her. She knew what people thought about her, what they said behind her back and in some cases, to her face, and she took it. But because of that she was also hard to thaw and Grayson certainly didn’t make it easy with his snark and rudeness. But underneath the toughness you really could see she was just a kid that wanted to be taken care of and loved and thank goodness for Mr. Hall. He really was the one and only parental like unit she had and he did love her like family. I completely agree there. And like you I too wish we had more of him. He was so integral and yet not around for long enough.

But I guess that was par for course with Leah. I mean her mother wasn’t really around either. What did you think of her? I wanted to run her over with the trailer by the end.

M: I do think the way the mother was written was pretty convenient.  Leah needed to be parentless and somewhat downtrodden in order to open up the rest of the story.  Her mother was definitely cliche in that woman who needs to have a man take care of her and a crappy man at that.  Add to that the abandonment of her child to keep those types of relationships with men alive and you have a pretty open opportunity for Leah’s story to move in the direction it did.  The mother was loathsome to be sure but I did like that their relationship allowed for Leah to be independent and ultimately shrug her mother off in the end.

A: Oh, her mother was definitely plot driven. She had to be that way to make Leah so independent, but it still made me want to run her over with the trailer no matter.

What I really liked most about the whole story in general was the message. Because really it doesn’t matter where you come from or what kind of means you have available to you. If you want to make something of yourself you can. You just have to work for it. Leah had next to nothing. No money, no parental support, no core group of family/friends and yet she went after what she wanted and she did it the right way. She was driven and independent and smart and that is all it takes to make a dream come true.

Other Books by the Author:
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