Second Chance Sunday – Shiver, Linger & Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Second Chance Sunday – Shiver, Linger & Forever by Maggie StiefvaterShiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1
Published by Scholastic Press
Published: August 1, 2009
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five-stars

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Honestly I’m not really into the vampire/werewolf/supernatural kind of books, but this was suggested to me so I took a leap of faith and read it. Thank god I did! How could I not have fallen in love with this story?!? Between the amazingly creative descriptions that made you feel you were in Mercy Falls and the love story of Grace and Sam I was immediately sold. Stiefvater has created such great characters with such an amazing lanuage it was easy to forget it was a supernatural book. Sam was just so sweet and innocent not wanting to hurt Grace at all. And Grace was witty, charming and strong. She knew what she wanted and really wouldn’t let anyone stop her. Add in Jack, Beck and Isabel(who completely grew on me by the end) and you have a perfect Romeo and Juliette-esq story with a modern twist. Can’t wait to get lost in Stiefvater’s world again. Simply put…amazing!

Second Chance Sunday – Shiver, Linger & Forever by Maggie StiefvaterLinger by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2
Published by Scholastic Press
Published: July 13, 2010
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five-stars

the longing.

Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain.

the loss.

Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of being a human.

the linger.

For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life a constant struggle between two forces--wolf and human--with love baring its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?

I must start this review with saying again that for the record I am not a fan of “supernatural” books. I was never into the Twilight books or any of the other million vampire and werewolf books that can be found on any shelf at the bookstore. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it is a good subject to write. I’m more of the kind of person that likes realistic stories about love, friendship and romance. With that being said I have tried to broaden my horizons and step outside of my comfort zone. I’ve read books I never would have picked up in a million years and in all honesty, thank god I did.

I have never read a book that has such imagery as the imagery that Stiefvater creates in Linger with her words. You feel every single thing these characters are feeling, smell everything they are smelling and see everything they are seeing. The simplest thing as a leave on the ground is transformed into a work of art that should be on a museum wall. It truly is unbelievably refreshing to read an author with so much power that she can transform a “supernatural” book into a love story of beauty.

A definite must read in the unfolding and ever changing love story of Sam and Grace. The growth of Isabel and the addition of Cole(hotter then hot!) are welcome pieces to this story that just left me wanting more. You will not be disappointed if you take a chance on this book. I wasn’t. Can’t wait to read the last and final part of the series.

Second Chance Sunday – Shiver, Linger & Forever by Maggie StiefvaterForever by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3
Published by Scholastic Press
Published: July 12, 2011
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five-stars

then.When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love moved from curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.

now.That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.

forever.Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment--a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

Wow. How do you put into words the amazingness of The Wolves of Mercy Falls and give it the same justice that Stiefvater has? Truth is, you can’t. The story of Grace, Sam, Isabel and Cole is told in such a way that no review can actually convey what you think and feel about the books as a whole. Each book I found myself falling more and more in love with these characters and that is all thanks to Stiefvater’s amazing way with words. The way she described all the action packed adventure in Forever honestly made me feel like I was living the scenes myself. Every turn of the page made my heart pound faster. She turned what could have been an annoying trilogy about wolves into a masterpiece of art. By the time I finished Forever the story was more about the emotions, feelings and love then about the wolves of Mercy Falls. The trilogy became a love story of the greatest kind and I’m very thankful that I stepped out of my norm and read a truly phenomenal tale. The series as a whole gets 10 stars in my book.

 

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Second Chance Sunday: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Second Chance Sunday: Bumped by Megan McCaffertyBumped by Megan McCafferty
Series: Bumped #1
Published by HarperCollins
Published: April 26th 2011
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five-stars

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

It took a little while for this book to intrigue me before I actually decided to add it to my to-read list. I wasn’t sure if I would find the premise all that realistic. I thought it could be gimmicky. But after some small prodding and suggesting, I caved and added it. And then when I got a great deal on it for an eBook, I bought it right up. And so glad I did.

The story of Melody and Harmony isn’t one that is easily forgettable. Identical twins, separated at birth, sent to live in two different environments. The devil and the angel if you would. Harmony grew up very religious and God-fearing, while Melody grew up in a place that is full of teenagers getting pregnant for profit. Both girls are from opposite ends of the spectrum yet they share one thing in common, their face. After some initial awkwardness things happen between the two of them that will forever change the people around them and themselves for a long time to come.

When I first started this book I found Harmony over the top annoying with her preacher like attitude. But as the book progressed I actually became fond of her. I started to pay attention to what she was saying about Goodside and I started to realize how cult-like it had been. She was just behaving how she had been taught and there was nothing really behind that. And Melody I liked right away. She was a straight-shooting average teen that had made choices based on her parents and what they wanted her to do. Actually the more I examined the girls the more alike I saw them to be.

This book was a story of figuring out what you want and making choices for yourself and not for anyone else. With the help of Jondoe and Zen, these girls did exactly that damn the consequences. In the end, I really found myself loving this book and I can’t wait for the next chapter for these two remarkable girls.

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Second Chance Summer – A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Today’s Second Chance Sunday is a book by Kody Keplinger. I’ve been a fan of her since I first read The DUFF many moons ago and it has lessened at all. I’ve read everyone of her books she has released and loved them. A Midsummer’s Nightmare was no different. As we change the calendars to September soon figured this was the perfect time to spotlight this gem.

midsummer

Title: A Midsummer’s Nightmare [Amazon]
Author: Kody Keplinger [website]
Publisher: Poppy
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Purchased/Hardcover
Stars: 4 out of 5

Publisher’s Description:
Whitley Johnson’s dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She’s just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée’s son? Whitley’s one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin’ great.

Worse, she totally doesn’t fit in with her dad’s perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn’t even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she’s ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn’t “do” friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn’t her stepbrother…at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

My Thoughts:
It pains me how amazing a writer Keplinger is at such a young age! She has this uncanny ability to tell the teenage prospective like it is. She did it with The DUFF(my fave Keplinger book) and with Shut Out. And yes, she managed to of it again with A Midsummer’s Nightmare. I waited along time to read this one and it was definitely worth the wait. Keplinger did not let me down!

A Midsummer’s Nightmare is about Whitley Johnson, a recent high school graduate that wakes up after a graduation party in bed with a boy she can’t remembers name. Not even bothering with pretenses Whitley chalks up the encounter as a one night stand and heads home to pack so she can spend the summer with her father, a time she has come to cherish since her parents divorced years before. Looking forward to a summer of hanging by the lake with her dad and drinking with him, Whitley is in for a surprise. Her dad has met someone and they have not only moved into a house together and are getting married, but her dad’s fiance has two kids, a young teenaged daughter and GASP, Whitley’s one night stand Nathan. Suddenly Whitley’s relaxing summer isn’t going as planned and soon she has to figure out not only where she fits in with this new family, but where she fits in with her own. And is it really a one night stand when the boy is suddenly living across the hall from you?

I just loved Whitley. She was so lost in the world. Her mother was a PITA that had no clue what end was up and only wanted to bad mouth her dad and her father was a selfish piece of work that used his teenage daughter more as a friend then his kid. No wonder Whitley turned to booze and boys to get some attention. All this girl wanted was someone to notice her, to yell at her, to punish her and her parents just didn’t seem to care. It really was infuriating because Whitley was really awesome! She was funny and charming and really sweet when it came to her soon to be stepsister, and yet her dad essentially wanted nothing to do with her. I mean she was being bullied and he still didn’t care. ARGH!!! I really couldn’t stand him. LOL

Who I could stand was Nathan! Man was that boy just beyond adorable! I loved watching him with Whitley and with Whitley’s new friend Harrison( yes, Harrison from The DUFF!!). He was so funny with both of them there was no way not to love him! He made Whitley be the girl she had buried just by being there for her and not letting her get away with her antics. He was kind and patient and just the complete package. There was a sweetness in him that he brought out for Whitley and it totally made me swoon.

This book was equal parts romance and a coming of age story like Keplinger’s books of the past. Watching these characters grow and transform was purely entertaining and a joy to do. Each page turn was better then that last and at the end I was left with wanting more. Well done Kody! I can’t wait for more from you. You have a fan in this girl for sure!

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Second Chance Sunday – Legend by Marie Lu

Later this week I will post my review for Prodigy, the follow-up to Marie Lu’s book Legend. Since that was scheduled I thought it would be a great idea to use today’s Second Chance Sunday to review Legend.

Second Chance Sunday – Legend by Marie LuLegend by Marie Lu
Series: Legend #1
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Published: November 29, 2011
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five-stars

Once unknown as the western coast of United States, the Republic is now a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors, the Colonies.Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a military prodigy. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country, she is being groomed for success in the Republic's highest circles.Born into the slums of the Republic's Lake Sector, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered, and Day becomes the prime suspect. Now, caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June tries desperately to avenge Metias's death.But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths to which their country will go to keep its secrets.Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, Marie Lu has written an exhilarating first novel that is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

Legend is a story about a girl and boy that have been living in two different worlds. One is the privileged, “smart” girl that is destined for a high ranking in the Republic’s government. The other is a street rat that does everything he can to take the Republic down and save his family who are the most important people in the world to him. He has been classified as “useless” while she is classified as “important”. They have no idea who the other is other than through rumors and gossip until there is an incident that will forever connect them. I know, I know, it sounds like it has been done, a cliché plot. But trust me when I tell you Legend is anything but cliché. It is a journey of discovery and love and family and truth.

In all honesty, I was skeptical going into this book. I had heard a lot of great things about it, hardly anything bad, and I was scared it was going to end up being like a hyped up movie that just didn’t live up to expectations, that the plot was going to be the same thing done a million times in a million different ways. That added to the fact that I had read a few duds prior, I was just waiting for disaster to strike. Luckily for me, Lu didn’t let me down and Legend was just what everyone had said it would be and more.

I must admit in the beginning I was reading it and hoping for failure. I was intrigued by the Republic (a variation on Los Angeles’ slum sections, rich sections and government sections) and found the setting to be very believable. Within its confines, though, I wasn’t all that inclined to care about Day and his problems or June and her poor little rich girl lifestyle. They seemed to be a little too contrived which didn’t go with the realism of the background. But true to life, the more I found out about both of these amazing characters the more I wanted for them. I wanted Day to be safe and to save his family. I wanted June to take her blinders off and see what was right in front of her eyes, that the Republic wasn’t what it seemed. I truly wanted them to succeed.

To me, June may have been 15 but she was a child. She believed in something with her whole heart because she was told it was true. She never questioned it or sought any kind of answers because what she was told was all she needed to know. That is until things didn’t start to add up, make any sense. Slowly the blinders came off and June blossomed before my eyes. She became a heroine and that made her even more likable.

Now Day, Day was a mystery to me. Like I said I wasn’t all that enthralled with him at the start. I didn’t really want to know his back story. He was an Aladdin type to me, a character that had been done. But as the book progressed he captured me. Because really all he was was a kid that loved his family and wanted them safe. He wasn’t some sinister boy trying to fool the government. He was just who he was. He was a smart boy with a goal.

The twists and turns in this novel had me riveted and at the end of my seat. My heart was pounding in my chest during the end and I wanted to finish and let the story last forever at the same time. Lu totally captured me with her incredibly woven tale of street punk meets a girl of privilege and made it seem like a story I had never read before. If you like action with a bit of mystery and a side of romance, this book is for you. I promise it won’t disappoint.

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Second Chance Sunday – When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

Today’s Second Chance Sunday may look familiar to you. I posted a review discussion that Michelle and I did on When You Were Mine a few months back. Having just been lucky enough to get to read Rebecca’s newest book The Edge of Falling(out March 2014) I thought it would be appropriate to post my review of When You Were Mine as this week’s Second Chance Sunday.

when

 

Title: When You Were Mine [Amazon]
Author: Rebecca Serle [website]
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Gifted/Hardcover
Stars: 4 out of 5

Publisher’s Description:
In this intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told, Romeo’s original intended—Juliet’s cousin Rosaline—tells her side of the tale.

What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything.

Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy…and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends….

My Thoughts:
Wow I loved this book! I’m a huge, huge, huge Leonardo DiCaprio fan and I have seen the version of Romeo and Juliet he is in no less then 100 times. Every time I see it I take notice of the mention of Rosaline, but have never really though much about her. That is until this fantastic book came about. Simply put When You Were Mine is kind of ingenious! Serle took a classic story, gave it a new POV with some modern twists to it and made it into a new story entirely. I apologize for any spoilers, but you guys know the story of Romeo and Juliet so I have a feeling you know where this book is going.

Basically the book is about Rosaline, the girl in love with the boy next door, her best friend Rob. When Rob comes back from his summer away it looks like things between him and Rose are finally going to take off, that they are on the road to coupledom. Every one is thrilled with this new development, especially Rosaline. And then her cousin Juliet shows up and everything Rose thought was hers is taken away from her. As Rob and Juliet heat up the reason why Juliet hates Rose starts to come into focus and a whole new scandal rocks the world of these high school kids. When all is said and done, who will be left standing.

I think what made this story really stand out and work the way it did was the use of Rosaline and this quote sums it up perfectly:

“They died together; they’ll always be remembered together. It’s decided, once and for all. He was hers. The rumors don’t matter; they’ll fade…People may remember it was suicide, but my name won’t be attached. It will just be two lovers, fused together forever.”

And that is exactly what happened. No one remembers Rosaline was even a part of the story. I mentioned to a friend and her exact words were, “That’s right, I forgot all about Rosaline.” And that right there is why this story was as good as it was for me. Rosaline is an unknown, a non-entity in Shakespeare’s play. And yet she seems to be the heart of it. By Serle taking notice of a barely mentioned character and giving her life, it really helped to take the reader on a truer journey. Now they were seeing what it was like to be the one left behind, how it feels when you have to deal with the aftermath. Like I said genius! And honestly, Rosaline was just plain likable. I thought Rob was obnoxious and Juliet, eh, don’t even get me started on her spoiled, selfish, self.

Basically Serle made her debut novel a must read and not just for Shakespeare fans. It’s a must read for the underdog, the girl stuck in the middle, the girl that is left to pick up the pieces of something she never wanted any part of. It’s a book for the fan of the girl that is left behind and must make a choice for herself and stop living in someone else’s shadow.

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