October 31, 2012

Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill

Release Date: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 256
Series: n/a
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

My Thoughts:
‘Meant To Be’ really suckered me in with that cover, I’ll admit it. I also couldn’t resist an opposites attract romance set during a class trip to London, England (aka one of my favourite cities). Then once bloggers started flailing about it and calling it the next ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ I knew I had to read this one ASAP. Unfortunately ‘Meant To Be’ failed to meet my (admittedly high) expectations.

Julia, the main character, was just too rigid to identify with, which I found frustrating. I am suspect numero uno for following the rules and being a bit of a stick in the mud, so when I say that Julia was too much for me in this regard you know it’s serious. Similarly, with so many positive reviews about the epicness and swooniness of this book the reality just fell flat to me. I felt like the book was okay, but nothing that sticks out in my mind either. A few weeks after reading it I actually had to look up the main character’s name to complete my review notes. It just didn’t stick with me for some reason.

So, sadly, this book was just not for me. It was cute enough to read through once, hence the 3 stars. It’s not like I incredibly disliked ‘Meant To Be’, despite what it may seem, I just found it lacked the special romantic something that would garner it five, or even four, stars. An okay book to pass the time, but nothing to flail about.

The Cover:
Pretty much perfection. So freaking pretty!


Find Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

October 30, 2012

Top Ten Favorite Kick-Ass Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Favorite Kick-Ass Heroines

In no particular order...

1. Aura from Shade series by Jeri Smith-Ready:
Aura is smart, funny, brave, and just an all around great person.

2. Elisa from The Girl of Fire & Thorns series by Rae Carson:
Elisa is just so BRAVE and STRONG. She has been through so much, but she will do anything to protect her country and those she loves.

3. Anna from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins:
Anna is kind of an "every girl", but I love how she grows throughout the book. She has a vision for her future, and she learns to embrace her new situation.

4. Frankie Landau-Banks from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart:
There are very few characters that I adore as much as Frankie. I love her girl power and how completely brilliant she is, and I also appreciate how E. Lockhart has made her down to earth in so many ways (e.g. wanting her BF to like her, but to like her as a respected individual as well).

5. Raisa from The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima:
Raisa is so kick butt. She'll run away from a forced marriage, learn how to fight, and will protect her country with everything she's got.

6. Saba from Dustlands series (Blood Red Road) by Moira Young:
I absolutely love Saba. She's so prickly and unlikable to start with, but I love how as the book goes on she grows to care about others besides Lugh. She's so fierce, but she's kind of a marshmallow inside (though she'd probably kill you if you pointed that out).

7. Rose from Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead:
Rose is a kick-ass heroine who is physically strong, but is also funny, loyal, and smart. I feel like she defies a lot of the stereotypes that surround strong female characters.

8. Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore:
Man, Katsa is so fierce. She's been through so much in her life, yet she is still an inherently good person. She fights to protect those who have been wronged, and uses her grace to do so. I love how Katsa always remains true to herself.

9. Gabi from The River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren:
Gabi is intelligent and brave, and she faces her fears in order to save her sister and protect those she cares about. Gabi really tries to deal with the situation she's put in, while also making the most of it.

10. Ember from Article 5 series by Kristen Simmons:
Ember is a bit naive in the first book, but by the 2nd she's definitely come into her own. I love how strong Ember remains, and how she's willing to fight for the right thing, even after she's been through so much.

October 29, 2012

Sherry Soule's Favourite Moments from the Spellbound Series

Today I'm pleased to present a guest post special feature from author, Sherry Soule. She has compiled a few of her favourite moments from the first two Young Adult books in the Spellbound series, BEAUTIFULLYBROKEN and MOONLIGHT MAYHEM. pg numbers are from the mass-market paperback edition* Enjoy the excerpts!

Quote from BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN – pg 14 “Initial Glimpse”:
Trent turned his head, his gaze capturing mine. My face flamed, interrupting my ogling. His eyes widened, then narrowed. His arms dropped to his sides. Once those hypnotic green eyes seized mine, the atmosphere shifted, and for a moment, my heart ceased to beat. His gorgeousness silenced the thoughts and whirling emotions inside my head. The lingering anxiety from earlier vanished.
Finally, Trent turned away. I exhaled. He kept his head down like he had something to hide. Something he didn’t want people to see. Something he didn’t want me to see.

Quote from BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN – pgs. 77 -78 “Meet the Kitten”:
I leaned out the window and lifted the kitten. She purred and I rubbed her soft fur against my cheek, tension that had snapped my spine straight when I’d heard the eerie cry easing with the each rumbling purr. “Ah, poor baby. Are you hungry?” She loudly meowed.
Trent returned with a bowl of milk and set it on the floor. I lowered the kitten and watched her greedily lap the milk.
“She’s cute,” Trent said. “What should we name her?”
The ball of fluff raised her head, licking white drops off her mouth.
“Charm.” I hoisted the kitten and cuddled her in my arms.
Trent scratched her under her white chin. “Charm?”
“Yeah. It’s perfect.”
He scratched the cat behind her ears. “I’d rather have a dog,” he teased.
“Shhh, Charm will hear you.” I covered the cat’s pointy ears with my hands.
Trent grinned, taking the kitten from my arms and surprising me by kissing Charm’s head.

Quote from BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN – pgs. 86 -87 “A Kiss”:
I went to snatch my hand away, but Trent caught my hand in his, startling me. I looked up to see warmth on his face. His smile held the promise of happiness. He scooted closer and held my gaze for a breath, glanced down. He leaned forward, as if he had no control over his actions. I inhaled his nice, soapy-clean scent, and all coherent thought left my head.
His hands gripped my waist and Trent yanked me against him, his mouth covering mine in a deep kiss. The caress of his lips was softer than I’d imagined. An unfamiliar rush of excitement engulfed my senses. My hands wrapped around his neck, fingering his silky tousled hair. His moist lips seared a path from my lips to my neck, igniting a blaze of desire that flooded my skin everywhere his lips and roaming hands touched. Boys had kissed me before, but not like this. Never like this.
Yes, yes…this is what I want and yearn for—affection. To fall in an impetuous head-over-heels kind of love. Let myself go. Surrender my heart…

Quote from MOONLIGHT MAYHEM – pgs. 85 -86 “Nervous Belly”:
Luna Pizza wasn’t super busy yet, when the door opened and swoon-worthy Trent Donovan sauntered into the restaurant with a guy I didn’t recognize, which meant I had no place to hide. I felt the air whoosh from my lungs. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. When I opened them, I swear my body froze. My heart stopped beating. A volatile, relentless thrill shot through my veins, and I shuddered. Messy blond hair, startling emerald eyes, cocky grin on his face…

Quote from MOONLIGHT MAYHEM – pg 224 “Hero Intercedes”:
His hands flickered upward, and before I knew it, they were cupping my face. So, damnably fast now. Demonic-like fast. Trent reeled me closer. Our foreheads joined. He held me, while I trembled in his arms. I was vaguely aware of Evans and Maxwell watching, although it didn’t seem important. Nothing seemed important whenever he did this. It felt like we were enclosed in our own personal bubble made only for the two of us. Trent murmured something in my ear. We stood like that until my shaky legs gradually regained strength. I shut my eyes and pretended my body wasn’t sizzling with heat because Trent stood so close. My hormones always decided to rebel whenever he put his arms around me. And it wasn’t totally awkward and uncomfortable. No, it felt like the best thing I’d experienced since before Dad’s death. And that’s saying a lot.

Quote from MOONLIGHT MAYHEM – pg 224 “Zombie Encounter”:
Her pale brow furrowed. Her skin veiny and colorless. Sheesh, she’s a hot mess. Zombie Girl tilted her head and raised her arms. “Ashley—hag!”
“What! Did that corpse just call me a hag?” Ashley sounded more like her usual bitchy self.
“No, I think she means hug. It’s zombie lingo. I’ve read online that zombies can be affectionate, but hugging one often leads to, well, having your brains eaten,” I said.
“Yuk!” Ashley backpedaled, scrunching her thin face. “Beyond gross.”
Zombie Girl giggled, but it sounded choked, a mere gurgling rumble in her throat. She had these nasty bloody scrapes on her arms and legs. Her right calf had deep teeth marks. Her feet were dirty and bare, her movements jaunty and slow.
I wanted nothing more than to hug Ashley and tell her everything would be okay, but I wasn’t sure it was true. I blinked several times. Didn’t help. Yup, she’s real.
“Nobody panic.” I tugged the cell phone from my pocket and dialed Evans. He answered on the second ring. “We have a situation. No, more like an undead situation,” I said, then listened to him bark orders. I hung up and faced the girls. “We need to go without being seen. ‘Cause Kayla will freak people out.”
“Ya think?” Ashley snapped.
“I’m hangrah.” Kayla patted her stomach. She had this whole pale Goth look going for her now. She needed a fresh spray tan—and quick!
“I bet she’s hungry. Zombies eat, um, flesh or brains, right?” I said. “God, I hope she wasn’t a vegetarian.”
Ashley made a face. “Morbid much?”

Places you can cyberstalk Sherry Soule:

Official Website: http://sherrysoule.com
Spellbound Series Universe: http://thespellboundseries.blogspot.com/
Twitter @WriterSherry: http://twitter.com/writersherry

Thank you so much for letting me chat up my YA series with all of you. It’s been an honor to share my favorite moments from the first two books in the Spellbound series. If you haven’t seized your copy of BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN yet, please do so. More thrilling and spooky adventures await you! I Hope you all enjoyed this post, now go feed your mind and read a book! Preferably mine.

Thanks, Sherry! It's always fun to see which parts of their books that authors enjoy the most.

October 27, 2012

The Lies That Bind by Lisa & Laura Roecker

Release Date: November 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 320
Series: Liar Society
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Just when Kate Lowry thought she had life at elite private school Pemberly Brown figured out, she cracks open a fortune cookie to find a message from her best friend Grace--who's supposed to be dead.

Another Sister Gone

A classmate has gone missing, and Kate soon realizes that the disappearance is tied to the secret societies that rule her private school. Her best friend died for their secrets, and there's no way she'll let them get away with it twice. It's up to quirky outsider Kate to get some answers, but in a school where every answer leads to more questions and nothing's as it seems, who can she trust?

My Thoughts:
I absolutely adored The Liar Society; I mean, it was Veronica Mars in YA book form: how could I resist? I definitely enjoyed this sequel as well. Bring in something secret society related and you have me hooked. This book was twisty and mysterious, which made for a fabulous reading experience. While I always had a good idea of who the culprit was, I was never entirely sure. I loved that there was this element of doubt and that the mystery was hard to completely figure out.

Kate is such a frustrating character in this installment, which was disappointing in some ways. She’s making decisions which constantly put herself in danger, and yet you almost can’t help but empathize with her. She’s been through so much, and her heart is in the right place, which keeps her from becoming completely unlikeable. Too often I think we expect a perfect heroine, when in real life none of us are perfect. Despite being frustrated with Kate and her lack of appreciation for her “sidekicks” Liam and Seth, I ended up being glad that Kate was a bit prickly. It made sense for her to be acting out after everything she’d been through.

Conclusion? I really loved the first book, and this one is almost as good. It features a fun mystery plot line where you’re never sure exactly what’s coming next.

The Cover:
Not so much. I definitely wouldn't have picked up this series at all if it hadn't been for awesome blogger reviews.


Find The Lies That Bind by Lisa & Laura Roecker on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

October 26, 2012

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

Release Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Pages: 368
Series: Edelstein Trilogy
Review Source: eARC for review from publisher via Raincoast Books

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed ‘Ruby Red’, so I was very excited to read this second installment in the trilogy. I love the 'secret time travel society' concept of this series, and I just adore all the details of this that are included in the book. There are secrets and prophecies, and historical elements from the time travel. I thought it was so cool how details from the first book came into play and started to make sense -- it’s great when authors can tie details together like that.

I love the main character, Gwen, because she’s so strong and intelligent. The author also lets her be a typical teenager girl who’s going through something insane and has a crush on a boy, which is great. Gwen questions herself and questions Gideon’s feelings just like any normal girl would. I also loved Gwen’s Nancy Drew-esque friend Lesley, and their friendship. So often strong friendship is missing from YA novels if the novel itself isn’t about that friendship, so I was happy to see a good example here.

While I adored the Gwen/Gideon dynamic from the first novel, I have to say that I wasn’t feeling it here. Some aspects of the relationship seemed to happen way too quickly, and Gideon drove me crazy. He was far too hot and cold with mixed signals for my liking.

Another minor negative point is that while everything moved forward a bit, it didn’t really feel like much actually happened. It definitely felt like a Book 2 that was leading into a Book 3, rather than a book that could stand on its own as part of a series. However I definitely liked this one enough that it makes me curse the fact that I don’t know German, because I’m definitely itching to find out what happens in the next and final installment of the trilogy. While not every element of this book lived up to my expectations, the awesome time travel society definitely makes this book (and trilogy) one worth checking out.

The Cover:
Love it! I'm confused as to what cover is the final cover, though. Is this the paperback cover & the one above the hardback cover? Inquiring minds need to know. Melissa at Raincoast is my hero because she's confirmed that the beauty up there is the hardcover cover, and the full body girl is the paperback cover... so yay, they all match.


Find Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

October 24, 2012

Rebel Heart by Moira Young

Release Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Doubleday Canada / Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 448
Series: Dust Lands
Review Source: For review from Edelweiss

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
It seemed so simple: Defeat the Tonton, rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, and then order would be restored to Saba’s world. Simplicity, however, has proved to be elusive. Now, Saba and her family travel west, headed for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But the fight for Lugh’s freedom has unleashed a new power in the dust lands, and a formidable new enemy is on the rise.

What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants? In this much-anticipated follow-up to the riveting Blood Red Road, a fierce heroine finds herself at the crossroads of danger and destiny, betrayal and passion.

My Thoughts:
I freaking adored 'Blood Red Road'. It was one of my favourite reads of 2011, hands down. Needless to say, 'Rebel Heart' was one of my most anticipated reads for this fall. I was so completely excited for it, and I can honestly say it didn’t let me down.

The book is at a bit of a slower pace than 'Blood Red Road', and yet there is still tons of action. I love how these books are broken up by location and that in each place you can be guaranteed something exciting will happen. There’s something so perfect about Moira Young’s writing. She does exposition and description so well, and I love how it has that “unputdownable” quality where you just want to keep reading and reading. Even in quieter moments there’s always the sense of something about to happen.

Moira Young also writes characters so fabulously. Saba is someone who can definitely be unlikeable, and is more than a bit prickly, but she’s also grown so much since the beginning of 'Blood Red Road'. She’s incredibly strong and intelligent, and despite what she shows externally, she’s also deeply caring. She’s learned things about herself and about those around her over the past book, and she uses that awareness. Even when Saba is making decisions that we, as readers, think are absurd, you can always see her decision making process and understand it to an extent. Saba is a perfect example of a flawed character, and almost everyone in the book fits under this description. This really makes them feel all the more real, and you empathize with the characters, feeling their pain and loss, as well as their joy.

I really can’t say enough good about this series. I am already so incredibly excited for the third book to be released because I’m so wrapped up in these characters and the plot. I can easily list this series as one of my favourites, and as one that I will continue to re-read.

The Cover:
I'm still fond of the original Blood Red Road cover, but I do like how this one matches the PB theme. HOWEVER, I am much more of a fan of the Canadian cover (see above) than the American, because I hate how the US cover features the series title more than the actual book title.


Find Rebel Heart by Moira Young on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

October 22, 2012

Excerpt & Giveaway: Sheltered by Debra Chapoton

I really enjoyed 'Edge of Escape', Debra Chapoton's first self-published novel, and now she's back with another YA book -- 'Sheltered'.

Living together unsupervised, five troubled teens confront demonic forces and are compelled to deal with their problems in distinctly different ways. Paranormal meets psycho meets Goth in this story of a supernatural haunting and budding love.

High school junior, Ben, hacks into his step-father's real estate holdings and provides rooms in an old two-story house to various outcasts: the schizophrenic kid, the angry Goth girl, and the homeless girl who worships him. When Megan needs a place to live she comes to the rooming house with a different set of problems and the ability to confuse and attract Ben.

One by one strange and mysterious occurrences stretch the teens’ beliefs in the supernatural. How they deal with demons, real and imagined, has tragic as well as redeeming consequences.

Here's an excerpt from the book:

Prologue -- Next Wednesday

Emily knew the precise moment that Ben returned, she felt him in her scars. She watched him carry some things to the house, heard the door close; she smiled when she heard him call out that Santa was here. He did that once before, in early December, insisting that she accept the gift he held out, not wanting her to wait until Christmas to use the mittens he knew she needed.

She went toward her door now, wondered what he had brought, and then heard Megan’s voice below. Oh no, he probably brought something for her. She scuttled back to her nest by the window and stared outside, was still staring fifteen minutes later when she saw them walk down the street, Ben shouldering a shovel, his other hand knotted with Megan’s.

She touched the skin on her arms, lightly at first, making it tingle. The image of Ben with Megan multiplied across her mind in broken mirrors, a repugnant picture that reflected her own self-loathing. She scratched at her scabs, felt the pricks of pain force away the ticklish sensations. She closed her eyes.

When she opened them she saw a figure standing at her door.

“Who–?” she started, but the figment waned to less than a shadow. Still, though, there was something at her door.

She rose slowly and held her hand out.

Its face was more womanly now, friendly, motherly. Yes, she knew this face. Its pearly white skin so shocking against the ruby lips, the stringy hair a match to her own. Her mother.

She stretched her fingers toward the face. The hallucination faded then sharpened. The eyes began to blaze. She drew her hands back to her own face. What’s wrong with me? The delusion grieved Emily; all around her fluttered a longing.

And a deadly fear.

You can check out 'Sheltered' on Goodreads, Amazon, and B&N.

Find Debra at Edge of Escape or Big Pine Lodge Books. Also be sure to like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.


Open 10/22 to 12:01 am EST on 10/27. International. Winners name & email will be provided to Debra, who will then send you the eBook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 21, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (12)

"Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers can share the latest books they've received and discover new titles while visiting other blogs.

It's been a while since I did a STS post, mostly because of being on vacation, and also because of being lazy. ;) So here's what I can remember receiving over the past month or so...


(Sorry this is massively blurry; I already had the books put away when I looked at the pic, and well... see above re: lazy)

- The Girl of Fire & Thorns (#1) by Rae Carson (My Review)
- The Crown of Embers (#2) by Rae Carson
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (My Review)
- Amplified by Tara Kelly (My Review)
- Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols (My Review)
- Soulbound by Heather Brewer

- Simply Irresistible by Jill Shavis
- Destroy Me (Shatter Me #1.5) by Taherah Mafi
- Decked With Holly by Marni Bates (My Review)
- Losing It by Cora Carmack (My Review)

Experiment in Terror series by Karina Halle
1) Darkhouse
2) Red Fox
2.5) The Benson
3) Dead Sky Morning
4) Lying Season
5) On Demon Wings
5.5) Old Blood
5.7) The Dex Files

These were all free or 99 cents on Kindle, and I scooped them up based on Kristilyn's recommendation. I ended up reading them all super quickly, and I have to agree that they are pretty fab (they keep getting better, too!). Check here to see if they're still on sale.

- Major Crush by Jennifer Echols
- Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols (My Review)
- The Boys Next Door by Jennifer Echols
- Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
- Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard
- Hell Week (Maggie Quinn #2) by Rosemary Clement-Moore
- Highway to Hell (Maggie Quinn #3) by Rosemary Clement-Moore
- Deception by Lee Nichols
- When It Happens by Susane Colasanti
- What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
- Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsay Leavitt (My Review)
- Abandon by Meg Cabot (My Review)

Bought these all for $9 total, at my library's annual book sale. (!!)

Borrowed from Avery:

- The Diviners by Libba Bray
- The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
- The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna


- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (My Review)

Thank you SO MUCH to Chandra for going above & beyond and getting me a signed copy of this amazing book!

Won from Zahida:

- Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez (My Review)

I loved this book, so I'm happy to finally have a copy of my own. Thanks again, Zahida! =)

For Review:

Massive thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada:
- The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
- The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus #3) by Rick Riordan
- What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton (My Review)
- The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4) by Cinda Williams Chima
- Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone (My Review)

Thanks to Raincoast Books & Tor Teen:

- Breaking Point (Article 5 #2) by Kristen Simmons

October 19, 2012

Samantha Durante 'Stitch' Blog Tour

Thanks so much to Ashley for hosting the Stitch Blog Tour today!

Below is a post from Isaac, one of the stars of Stitch, talking about his feelings for Alessa, the main character of the book. Readers have been appreciative of Isaac and Alessa’s unique bond, built on friendship, shared hardships, and the irresistible physical pull between them (no InstaLove here!). Since many readers following the tour have asked to hear more from Isaac, I thought this would be a good opportunity to let him tell more about you how he feels, in his own words. So here you go!

“What I Love About Alessa” by Isaac

Wow. What I love about Alessa… I don’t even know where to begin.

I guess let’s go with the beginning. Alessa and I didn’t have the most conventional start to our relationship. She’s two years older than me, and when we originally met, she was already developing strong feelings for someone who was very close to me. So Alessa was always off-limits and seemingly out-of-reach. I appreciated her from afar for a long time, but never allowed my feelings to go beyond that. It just wasn’t an option.

And so Alessa spent around five years hovering at the periphery of my life. We knew each other only as acquaintances, and only through our mutual connection. I knew from what he said about her that she was smart and dependable – and I could see with my own eyes how beautiful she was – but besides the occasional waved hello or moment of small talk in the common area while we waited for the others in the evening, we kept our interaction to a minimum, both choosing instead to focus the majority of our attentions on the person who connected us.

My memories of finally becoming close to Alessa are bittersweet; we were brought together by tragedy, when we lost that person who meant so much to us both. I was… beyond devastated.

I remember in the immediate aftermath just feeling crushed by loneliness, my chest practically caving under the weight of knowing that he would never return. And that it was my fault. But somehow in those darkest moments, I looked up and found myself in Alessa’s arms. I couldn’t stop myself from crying, and she simply cradled me until the tears subsided, promising all the while that it would be okay. She came out of nowhere, to save me from my own despair, even while she was drowning in her own. She was my rock, and I clung to her, desperately.

Those were not proud moments for me. I wanted to be strong, wanted to fight, wanted to persevere. But I couldn’t. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. And instead of looking down at me with pity or shame or unease, Alessa showed me only compassion. She understood. She propped me up instead of turning away, reached out instead of collapsing in, and I knew suddenly that I wasn’t really alone – that I would never be again.

From that point forward, Alessa was the best friend I ever had. We joined together to fight back against the forces that had taken our loved one from us, and we learned together and taught each other and relied on each other to be there when no one else could. I quickly fell for her intellect, her confidence, her quiet courage, her loyalty. Not to mention her long limbs, her emerald eyes, her thick gleaming chestnut hair. She was just… she was just something else.

To this day, I’ve never met anyone as capable as Alessa. She’s resourceful and quick and brave. Yes, she can be moody, sometimes doubting herself and sometimes a little overconfident, and as a result, sometimes she makes mistakes. But she also takes responsibility for those mistakes, and does what she can to set them right. She steps up when no one else will, and she’s brave when no one else can find it in themselves to be. She has an amazing spirit, just unbreakable, like a diamond. I love Alessa, but I also admire her. She’s everything I ever wanted to be.

I guess what it comes down to is that Alessa makes me feel secure in a world where nothing is really safe anymore. I trust her more than I’ve ever trusted anyone – more than I even trust myself – because I know she’s always looking out for me first, the same way she did the very first day we embraced. She’s just absolutely stunning, inside and out, she makes me feel alive, and she reminds me every day that there is something out there worth fighting for. There’s nothing I would not do for Alessa. And I know she’d say the same for me. She’s just it – she’s all I’ll ever need.

Aww... gotta love a guy who knows what he feels and isn't ashamed to share it. Samantha has let me know that there's an accompanying piece from Alessa's perspective on Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy, so be sure to check that out if you're interested.

Samantha Durante lives in New York City with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. Stitch is her first novel. Learn more about Samantha at www.samanthadurante.com.


Release Date: August 1, 2012
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 314
Series: Stitch Trilogy
Review Source: eBook from author for review

Synopsis: (from author's site)
Her heart races, her muscles coil, and every impulse in Alessa’s body screams at her to run… but yet she’s powerless to move.

Still struggling to find her footing after the sudden death of her parents, the last thing college freshman Alessa has the strength to deal with is the inexplicable visceral pull drawing her to a handsome ghostly presence. In between grappling with exams and sorority soirees – and disturbing recurring dreams of being captive in a futuristic prison hell – Alessa is determined to unravel the mystery of the apparition who leaves her breathless. But the terrifying secret she uncovers will find her groping desperately through her nightmares for answers.

Because what Alessa hasn’t figured out yet is that she’s not really a student, the object of her obsession is no ghost, and her sneaking suspicions that something sinister is lurking behind the walls of her university’s idyllic campus are only just scratching the surface…

The opening installment in a twist-laden trilogy, Stitch spans the genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi to explore the challenges of a society in transition, where morality, vision, and pragmatism collide leaving the average citizen to suffer the results.

My Thoughts:
What really attracted me to this story to begin with was the new adult/college angle. I love those types of settings, so I was interested in that, and I was also curious as to where things would go from there, since I was promised a story that wasn’t what it seemed. I have to say I loved how interesting and twisty this book is. It starts off a bit like a paranormal romance might, but you’re never quite sure what’s going on. Slowly the book transforms into something entirely different, and it was both surprising and awesome.

While I liked the book, I can’t say I’m in love with it, mostly because I wasn’t wholly invested in the characters. I think it’s because of a lack of background; as a reader we’re sort of just thrown into a situation with them, which is exciting, but doesn’t necessarily create an emotional connection. Despite the fact that I didn’t fully connect with the characters, I do really love the concept of the book. It was inventive and unique, which isn’t something that you can say very often. If you’re looking for a cross-genre book that offers something fresh, then be sure to check out ‘Stitch’.

The Cover:
Not my fave, but it is interesting.


Find Stitch by Samantha Durante on Goodreads, B&N, Smashwords, & Amazon.


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