Monday, December 30, 2013

Sia by Josh Grayson

Title: Sia
Author: Josh Grayson
Published: November 20, 2013
Format Read/Pages: eBook/306
How I Acquired It: NetGalley

Date Finished: December 16, 2013

Forgetting was only the beginning. When seventeen-year-old Sia wakes up on a park bench, she has no idea who or where she is. Yet after a week of being homeless, she’s reunited with her family. At school, she’s powerful and popular. At home, she’s wealthy beyond her dreams. But she quickly realizes her perfect life is a lie. Her family is falling apart and her friends are snobby, cruel and plastic. Worse still, she discovers she was the cruelest one. Mortified by her past, she embarks on a journey of redemption and falls for Kyle, the “geek” she once tormented. Yet all the time she wonders if, when her memories return, she’ll become the bully she was before…and if she’ll lose Kyle.


To be honest, I had a lot of problems with Sai. The story is a bit overdone and unbelievable at times, but most of it I was able to get over, some not so much.

My first problem with it happened on page seven and made me really debate putting it down and not continuing. When Sia see herself for the first time to try and jog her memory this is expressed;
                “I am pleased to see I am an attractive girl.”
Really?! You have no memory!!! Does it really matter if you are attractive, if I was in a position where I was living on the streets I wouldn’t mind being as unattractive as possible, as to not call attention to myself. But in all reality, it really bothered me that she cared what she looked like.

Another thing that annoyed me was the fact that she didn’t find the nearest police station to try and find out if anyone was looking for her. She was wearing expensive exercise clothing, more than likely she is missed by someone. This all could have been taken care of a lot sooner if she just used her head and made the logical decision to look for information about herself.

The interactions between the girls made me feel as though Grayson did not have a real grasp on young female dynamics. It makes some of the conversations seem stiffer and laughable at times. I also feel as though he took every rich girl/kid stereotype and threw them all together to create the characters he had in Sia’s former friend group. I really highly doubt that all well off young adult are that haughty and unbearable to be around.

The overall story makes me want to believe something like this can happen, but I don’t think that it would have come at such ease for the characters. Something that I really appreciated about the story was that it showcased a great organization, The American Red Cross and Grayson depicted it in a way that I could actually see it operating.

As this is Grayson’s debut, I would be interested in seeing how he develops as a writer in the future and what else he has to offer the literary world. 

3 Stars

Friday, December 27, 2013

Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones

Title: Escaping Reality
Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Published: July 22, 2013
Series?: The Secret Life of Amy Bensen #1
Format Read/Pages: eBook/250
How Acquired It: NetGalley
Date Finished: December 11, 2013

Infinite possibilities….
Infinite passion…..
Infinite danger….

His touch spirals through me, warm and sweet, wicked and hot. I shouldn’t trust him. I shouldn’t tell him my secrets. But how do I not when he is the reason I breathe? He is what I need.

At the young age of eighteen, tragedy and a dark secret force Lara to flee all she has known and loves to start a new life. Now years later, with a new identity as Amy, she’s finally dared to believe she is forgotten–even if she cannot forget. But just when she lets down her guard, the ghosts of her past are quick to punish her, forcing her back on the run.

On a plane, struggling to face the devastation of losing everything again and starting over, Amy meets Liam Stone, a darkly entrancing recluse billionaire, who is also a brilliant, and famous, prodigy architect. A man who knows what he wants and goes after it. And what he wants is Amy. Refusing to take “no” as an answer, he sweeps her into a passionate affair, pushing her to her erotic limits. He wants to possess her. He makes her want to be possessed. Liam demands everything from her, accepting nothing less. But what if she is too devastated by tragedy to know when he wants more than she should give? And what if there is more to Liam than meets the eyes?


To be honest, I have no idea why I liked this book so much. I remember thinking to myself while reading that it was going to be hard to write a review because there really isn’t all that much development that happens, but I enjoyed it none the less.

The beginning was very captivating for me and left me with a ton of unanswered questions (as the story continued that seemed to be a common thing), like who was after Amy and what was the reason she was running from them. I honestly think one of the most appealing things about this story, for me, was how uninformative it was. That might sound weird, but it made me feel closer to Amy because she was just as in the dark as I was. So, when she discovered the few details that she did, it was like I could join in on the excitement of uncovering a clue to her past.

The relationship Amy and Liam have is a very odd one. She lets him take control over her affairs after only knowing him for a small number of hours. I think this may be because she is used to her “Guardian Angel” giving her direction on where to live and what to do, so it is natural for her to follow commands from a dominant male. Liam is a very alpha male character and is not afraid to show his controlling nature. Jared, Amy’s neighbor who we know very little about, really seems to bring out the worst in Liam as he is also a dominant male figure in her close proximity.

Something that made me laugh at the absurdity of it was their inability to use their brains when it came to unprotected sex. Not a good idea, but it happens. That does not mean that there are not further protection methods that would keep you from getting pregnant, there is no way a woman in her twenties has not heard of Plan B, also known as, the morning after pill. Now, if we continue with the other book(s) in the series we will likely have to deal with a pregnancy.  

While most of the book felt like filler with no real plot development I still found the story to be an enjoyable, fast read. I will more than likely continue on to the next book, if only just to see Liam’s reaction to Amy leaving. 

3.5 Stars

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Control by Lydia Kang

Title: Control
Author: Lydia Kang
Published: December 26, 2013
Series?: Control #1
Format Read/Pages: eBook/400
How I Acquired It: Penguin’s First to Read
Date Finished: December 19, 2013

*An ARC was provided by Penguin for an honest review. 

When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn't even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.


I was extremely excited when I was chosen by Penguin for an advance reader copy of Control. I had read a lot about it and it was a highly anticipated to-read for me. I was not disappointed and found an engaging and thoroughly thought out world within the pages. The story concept and technology introduced kept me questioning what it would be like to live there and how it would all shape a person in that day and age.

First, I must say, I really liked all the characters. I feel that they complimented each other in a way that made me eager to read the next interaction between them all. I would have liked to see more interaction between Zelia and Dylia before she was taken, but I understand to have the story we needed the catalyst of Dyl being taken for thing to get moving. One character that I did not really care for and not because it was expected because of who he is and what he did, was their father. I feel as though he was not fleshed out in a way that would make the choices, good and bad, he made have as much impact as they did. On the other hand, I really enjoyed Cy, but it may be because I am a sucker for ink. His story was one that really made sense as things went on and once we know his importance, the choices he makes at the end made even more of an impact and reaffirmed his need to take care of those he loves.

Some of the twists throughout the story were predictable, but they were combatted by the ones that came out of nowhere and left my mouth gaping. The truth about their father was, in my opinion, a bit obvious; I just could not fathom the extent of his involvement in the mutation of the children, especially that he would go as far as to do it to his own child. I also knew early on that it was Zel, not Dyl that was special. In some ways I wish this was not the case because I think it would have been just as good of a story to see a girl who has no extra power or special genes, fighting these extraordinarily gifted individuals to save her sister. But, as it was, I still loved what was written. The ending though, surprised me greatly when we find out who has been helping the other side.

An aspect of the story that I didn’t really care for, but was able to overlook, was the shared horror that Ana and Dyl went through. It just seemed like it was unnecessary to have that type of trauma happening to young teenage girls, Dyl was only thirteen. I understand that it was used as a way to incite hatred for Micah, but I feel as though it could have been done in a more tactful way.

I have seen some reviewers saying that they thought the middle was a little slow in places and I will have to agree, but it wasn’t so bad that I needed to stop reading or thought I would not get through it. The ending in comparison was very faced paced, but I found that the details in some places were a bit much and I found myself skipping through to get to the action and find out how everything played out.

Lydia Kang has provided a great first entry into an intricately woven new series. I will be looking forward to continuing on in this futuristic world with Zel and the others to see how life shapes up for them in a place where they are not accepted or understood. 

4 Stars 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Shadow Embraced by Cheree Smith

Title: Shadow Embraced
Author: Cheree Smith
Published: April 24, 2013
Series?: Haven #1
Format Read/Pages: ebook/234 pgs. 
How/When I Acquired It: NetGalley/April 2013
Date Finished: Dec. 6, 2013

No escape.

Those words haunt Scar's dreams. She thinks the creature that terrorises her while asleep isn't real, but when she's abducted and taken to a reform school meant to contain creatures too dangerous to function in society, she starts to wonder whether she isn't some monster.

She turns to an underground fight club full of vampires, werewolves and witches established by the students to control her urges, and who is she kidding, she loves to fight.
When fighters begin to disappear, turning Scar into the prime suspect, she must race to prove her innocence before her true nature is exposed.

The only problem is that she's not entirely sure she's innocent.


I really wanted to like this book. To be honest I did not go in with high expectations and I am glad I didn’t. The beginning started off with a bang, so that made me think that things were looking up, but ultimately I was disappointed.

The characters were one dimensional and there was not much development to be had with them. I don’t even think Scarlett, our main character, made any major developments, that in reality, she needed. Something early on that really bothered me was the fact that after she was taken she did not even think to ask about her parents and if they knew where she is or if she is okay.

I feel like when she gets to school we meet a lot of minor characters that really play no part in the actually story. The relationship she has with Daemon was laughable; it actually made me cringe at times to read it. I also start all my first dates with the guy attacking me in a way to “find out about me”. And don’t forget the kiss to make it all better and rip a shirt for good measure.

Getting into the whole supernatural fight club aspect if the book, I thought it was a weak way to connect all the victims to Scar. It was a bit unbelievable how she got contracted into this underground fighting ring. There was no choice, she had to accept her position in this club or “suffer the consequences”.

Something that I wish was explored more or better explained was the Romanian background that gave the characters their supernatural abilities. In all, the story was just disappointing and was not well edited, making it an even harder read. I will not be reading further into the series. 

1.5 Stars 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fault Line by Christa Desir

Title: Fault Line
Author: Christa Desir
Published: Oct. 15, 2013
Format Read/Pages: ebook/240
How/When I Acquired It:'s 31 Days of Reading/ Dec. 2013
Date Finished: Dec. 7, 2013

Ben could date anyone he wants, but he only has eyes for the new girl — sarcastic free-spirit, Ani. Luckily for Ben, Ani wants him too. She’s everything Ben could ever imagine. Everything he could ever want.

But that all changes after the party. The one Ben misses. The one Ani goes to alone.

Now Ani isn’t the girl she used to be, and Ben can’t sort out the truth from the lies. What really happened, and who is to blame?

Ben wants to help her, but she refuses to be helped. The more she pushes Ben away, the more he wonders if there’s anything he can do to save the girl he loves.


This was a surprise read, through’s 31 days of reading, which I had to fly through to get to the end before the 24 hour deadline, so bear with me if this review is all over the place.

I really enjoyed this book, not that I enjoyed the subject matter, but I really appreciated the human feel all the characters carried. The story revolves around couple, Ben and Ani, from their first meeting to their uncertain fate at the end of the book. At first their relationship is great and they are having fun exploring each other, physically and emotionally. Then an unexpected and tragic event changes the course of their relationship, the story is mainly about how they deal with it.

The opening few pages had me hooked. It drew me in and I felt the need to know what the hell happened to make them get to that point (spoiler: Ani sucking off a teacher in a classroom at school and Ben reacting to seeing it happen.) We then go back sixish months, to the beginnings of their relationship. It all goes downhill when Ani goes to a party with a friend and is sexually assaulted. The remaining pages are spent with both Ben and Ani trying to deal with what happened in their own ways.

Some people are upset about the portrayal of Ben and the way that he seems to be making what happened about him and not Ani, but in reality, this is a completely logical and common reaction and in my mind it makes the character more realistic. He is a teenage boy who is trying to come to terms with the rape of his girlfriend who he is supporting through something he does not even really understand. At that age most kids do not have a handle on their emotions, nor do most have firsthand knowledge of something like this. Given that, his reaction is completely normal. I liked this better than if he was a perfect boyfriend who did and said all the right things, because then it wouldn't be real and have the raw feeling that it did.

Ben isn't without his flaws, he had ample opportunity to take help and advice that was offered to him and he waited until the last minute to really open his eyes and see the truth. By that time it was too late and had escalated past the point of return. My main issue with Ani was that she wouldn't let the ones that love her in at all. By not telling her mom what happened and resenting Ben for trying to be there for her she isolated herself. I understand that it would be hard to let others care for you, especially when they have no idea what it feels like to go through those ordeals, but she completely shunned any help that was offered and instead went down a darker road to cope with what happened.

Overall, Fault Line was a real and raw look into a subject matter that most people do not want to discuss. I found the story to be believable in a way that I could see it playing out in real life from the reactions of the two leads to the interactions that happen between the students in the high school. Ms. Desir did a wonderful job of keeping the characters human and relatable. 

3.5 Stars 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Shelter Me by Mina Bennett

Title: Shelter Me 
Author: Mina Bennett
Published: October 10, 2013
Format Read/Pages: ebook/218 
How/When I Acquired It: NetGalley/Oct. 2013
Date Finished: Dec. 11, 2013

*Book was provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

He's the only thing she has left to believe in...

Marissa was the first person to break Jacob's heart. When they were children, she made it very clear that she wanted nothing to do with him. She didn't mean to, but her mother had ordered her to stay away from her Sunday school crush: "He's a nice boy - don't you ruin him." So she kept her feelings hidden, telling herself that no matter how sweet he seemed, he'd still end up turning on her, like everyone else did.

Jacob never loved anyone like he loved Marissa. He knows he should try to forget about her, especially now that he's engaged and she's happily married - or so everyone says. Even though they've grown and gone their separate ways, in their tightly-knit community, that still means seeing each other at every Sunday service, church picnic and backyard barbecue. He swears that her eyes still have that sad, haunted look, but he manages to keep his distance.

Until one night, when everything changes.

With Jacob's relationship in shambles and Marissa pushed to the breaking point, they're drawn together by an unstoppable force. Temptation is irresistible. Giving in is unthinkable. But it soon becomes clear that nothing - neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation - can keep them apart.


Looking back I really should have picked up on it sooner that this was in some ways Christian fiction. Now, I don’t have anything against religious fiction or books that have religious undertones, but it is just not something I really seek out in my day to day readings. And this book is a prime example of why. It was a huge disappointment and I am having a hard time writing this review because I did not connect with the story or characters at all and I feel as though this will not be very thought out or coherent, for that I apologize.

At first glance, or reading of the description, it makes you believe that Marissa is a highly troubled youth who has seen untold horrors in her short life. That is not the case at all. She was a quiet child, in a town and family that seemed to condemn it. She eventually grew up to become a quiet and reserved young woman and to be honest; I am not surprised by it at all. I would have kept to myself as well if I had to deal with her mother. Her father is a spineless man that does not in any way speak up for his daughters and lets his wife lead him around as though he is on a leash. The only real comfort she has ever had growing up is from the family cat.

Fast-forward to her marriage and the sort of love triangle that develops with her, her husband and kind of childhood friend Jacob. It was all ridiculous. Jacob had bad feelings about Mark from day one; did he say anything to anyone about them? No. If he had there would have been no story. I just really don’t know how to feel about this and I feel like Marissa was a complete idiot for not picking up on the warning signs that Mark was clearly exuding.

Shelter Me, as a whole, was all over the place and the flow made it very hard to get into. Combining that with the terrible editing made for a rather unenjoyable read.

According to the about the author section at the end of the novel, Ms. Bennett has written other books under the name Melanie Marchande, which seem to have been a bit better received. I may check them out, but after this disappointing read I feel as if I should take a break from her right now.

1 Star 

Sunday, December 8, 2013's 31 Days of Reading

For my first non-review post I wanted to showcase an awesome opportunity happening right now until the end of the month., which is an online community geared towards teen book readers, is a site that has a new book available to read every week. Some past titles include, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, and The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls. I highly suggest that you sign up for this site, it is a great way to discover old and new titles alike.

The best thing that is happening on it right now is that instead of doing one book a week, they are doing a 31 Days of Reading extravaganza. This means one book a day for the whole month of December. While, that is a lot of books that are readily available, there is a drawback to this, you only get that day to read the assigned book. So, for fast readers, or people, like me, who have some time on their hands, this is a great opportunity. The most frustrating part of it is that if you do not finish the book within the 24 hours available, then you are unfortunately out of luck.

But, I think that this is still a great opportunity for people to discover new reads that they might not have thought of or known about. If you know that you will not be able to read whole book in the time allotted, I suggests still checking it out. Maybe read the first few chapters to see if it is something you are interested in, if it is there are other ways for you to find the books. I know that when I saw the list I checked to see if my library system had any of the books available. I was in luck! I was able to find 27 out of the 31 books in the system. If that is not an option for you, by reading the first chapter, or five, you can get an idea of whether or not the book is worth purchasing.

To have access to the 31 Days of Reading extravaganza you will need to sign up here, it is very easy and totally worth it!'s #31daysofreading schedule:
  • December 1: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
  • December 2: Precious Blood by Tonya Hurley
  • December 3: Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
  • December 4: The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
  • December 5: Unwind by Neal Shusterman
  • December 6: Blood Red Road by Moira Young
  • December 7: Fault Line by C. Desir
  • December 8: Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
  • December 9: Linked by Imogen Howson
  • December 10: Crash by Lisa McMann
  • December 11: Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
  • December 12: Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
  • December 13: Winger by Andrew Smith
  • December 14: Wither by Lauren DeStefano
  • December 15: Golden by Jessi Kirby
  • December 16: Letting Ana Go by Anonymous
  • December 17: Haven by Kristi Cook
  • December 18: Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti
  • December 19: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
  • December 20: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
  • December 21: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
  • December 22: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  • December 23: Changeling by Philippa Gregory
  • December 24: Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
  • December 25: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
  • December 26: The Program by Suzanne Young
  • December 27: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
  • December 28: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
  • December 29: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  • December 30: Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young
  • December 31: Read The Bane Chronicles: What Really Happened in Peru by Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan & enter to win The Shadowhunter's Codex by Cassandra Clare & Joshua Lewis
So, there you have it. Leave some comments if you partake in any pulseit reading, I know I will, and let me know what you think of everything.

Happy Reading!


So, I have been a terrible reviewer for the past year. I have been doing plenty of reading, but very little posting of the reviews that I have written for the books. For that I apologize. From now on, I am going to try and get back to my original objective of spreading my thoughts on the books that I have been reading and ones that I am looking forward to!

I will be trying to add a few other features to the site, wishlists and the like, as well as sharing ways to find new books to read. So, please stick with me and I promise it will all get better from here on out.