Saturday, August 10, 2013

{Review} Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Wild Cards
Series: Wild Cards #1
Author: Simone Elkeles
Release Date: September 24, 2013
by, Walker Books for Young Readers
Pages: 288
After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?{Goodreads}
 Holy flipping cow!!!! I can't believe I even got this book! Simone Elkeles is a really well known author thanks to her Perfect Chemistry series. So when I found I had this book in my possession post release I about freaked!! I did a happy jog and everything.

  Now, that being said I still haven't read the Perfect Chemistry series yet but it's another one I have been dying to read! I will get to it soon enough I promise! Now to talk about Wild Cards. I really liked it. It was cute and it was funny! Derek is an absolute dream boat and Ashton is snarky and independent. The banter between these two was delightful. I enjoyed the multiple POVs. It's always nice to know what is going on through each characters head as they start to fall. Ashton was probably the most stubborn about it. I loved it. ;) Ashton is the star kicker...on the boys varsity football team. How great is that!? The last book--and only other book--that I read with a girl on a boys football team was Catching Jordan. I liked that one but I think I liked this one more....sorry Miranda Kennealy! Even though they were similar I liked Elkeles version better because of the family she put together. The boys on the team looked out for Ashton but they also respected her. I also liked how the verbal language was considerably higher in decency. There weren't as many cuss words as there were in Catching Jordan. I don't mind it often because hello! We are teens and this day in age swearing is about as normal as breathing. But there is respect in words. Elkeles gives that respect. Ashton is beyond independent and even more stubborn. She has the will of--of I don't know (running short in comparisons) but she has a lot of will and determination. She doesn't like things being handed to her. She likes to work for her earnings. I love that about her. She has her quirky habits. She plays to win and she wins because she plays....hard.

  Derek is a bad boy. Whoopdey Doo! Isn't it always a bad boy!? Yes. Am I complaining? No. ;) Derek is more of a punk than a bad boy. He is witty and charming and likes to grease pigs and set them loose during graduation ceremonies. Haha ok so he is trouble with a capital T but he is harmless. He isn't the roofing bad boy. He is the prancing bad boy. Ultimately he has a great heart. He fixes up sheds and mows lawn with no ulterior motive. The boy just has a serious mouth and prank problem.

  Put the two together and you got one heck of a couple. Goodness these two were making me laugh! They are both incredibly stubborn. It was like watching those goats with the horns ram each other over and over again. Haha lets just say when the first time a couple meets ends with a pitch fork in a's bound to be interesting. It was. I read this book pretty fast. The stuff that both Ashton and Derek had Togo through had my full attention. This isn't a light read. It had more depth. Both characters had struggles they had to deal with. This wasn't a heavy read either. It was a light heavy? I don't know don't ask.

  Simone Elkeles righting is nice. It flows easily. Each words slides into the next and before you know it you have read half the book. She has a nice sense of humor being able to commit to the snarky replies Derek and Ashton throw at each other. Ultimately Derek and Ashton were adorable especially at the end. Oh my goodness that end was adorable!! I can't wait to read the next one! There was only one thing that bothered me about the book. There was some round about incest. It wasn't true incest but it was enough to make me not jump on the TeamDerekandAshton boat. Derek's stepmom is Ashton's sister. So basically Ashton is Derek's aunt-in-law. No blood ties but I don't know I like to stay away from that stuff. Ya just weird to me. There are so many different ways you could come about a couple meeting and I prefer to stay away from instances like this. Eventually I kind of just ignored that little fact as best as I could and enjoyed the story for what it was.

  Wild Cards was an enjoyable read. I loved Simone Elkeles writing style and the story she created. The characters were well developed and the love was adorable. I can't say it was a favorite but it was well worth the read! I would recommend it to all contemporary fans! Like I said before, I haven't read anything else's from Simone Elkeles so I can't compare it to her Perfect Chemistry series. Bottom line: Wild Cards was good..great even! It was fun, funny, and really cute. I really liked it! Give it a try when you got the chance. Borrow it, buy it. However you see fit but I do think it is worth the shot. :)

4 of 5 stars!

*a copy was provided for review purposes*

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Friday, August 9, 2013

{Blog Tour} Canary by Rachele Alpine

Author: Rachele Alpine
Release Date: August 1, 2013
by, Medallion Press
Pages: 288
Staying quiet will destroy her, but speaking up will destroy everyone.
Kate Franklin’s life changes for the better when her dad lands a job at Beacon Prep, an elite private school with one of the best basketball teams in the state. She begins to date a player on the team and quickly gets caught up in a world of idolatry and entitlement, learning that there are perks to being an athlete.

But those perks also come with a price. Another player takes his power too far and Kate is assaulted at a party. Although she knows she should speak out, her dad’s vehemently against it and so, like a canary sent into a mine to test toxicity levels and protect miners, Kate alone breathes the poisonous secrets to protect her dad and the team. The world that Kate was once welcomed into is now her worst enemy, and she must decide whether to stay silent or expose the corruption, destroying her father’s career and bringing down a town’s heroes.

Canary is told in a mix of prose and verse.{Goodreads}
  What is this!? Did someone send out a letter saying that depressing, struggling, coming of age stories were in? I've read so many it feels like this year! I sure didn't get the memo. Now, I am not in any way saying that is a bad thing. I like these stories best. I like the broken being fixed. The struggles it takes for someone to find themselves. It's real and  true.

  Rachele Alpine does not disappoint. Like I said before, it seems as if I have read these types of stories back to back, and again, I am not complaining. Mrs. Alpine tackled the story of teenage life and it's ups and downs, high school's hierarchy and the struggle to "be on top", the everyday life struggles that mold us teens into the adults we can become and might I say...she nailed it! Now, high school isn't like the movies. Most of the time you don't get a raging bitch who runs the school. You do get bitches and asses but...well, you get those everywhere. I think when Mrs. Alpine was portraying the high school heirarchy, the elites, the rulers of campus, whatever you want to call them she was just giving a bigger picture of how tough fitting in can be. You want to be recognized, loved, adored. You don't realize just how slippery of a slope that can be.

  We are given the character of Kate to take the dark road for us. Man, my hear actually physically hurt when reading this book. The things she had to go through was rough. She was strong because she feared, be cause she loved and lost, because she lost sight of what was important, because she lost herself. Strong because despite all that, she made it through, she found herself, she found what was important and lost what was not. She was strong because she survived. Not survived as in fought an army with one a pin and needle but survived what might have other's cracking. I loved her. She is a protagonist worthy of the term "heroine". Sometimes society distorts all of what we hold dearly and we are temporarily blinded by it all. We cause our own pain, our own destruction. This is what Rachele shows us. This is why it was so devastating...because whether we want to see it or not...its all true.

  Canary is a powerful read. It takes you on a journey filled with loss, heartache, betrayal, and the road that leads you to finding yourself, voice, and fully accepting who you are. It was not an easy journey. That's what I loved about it so much. These days so many stories (books, movies, etc) show the bad and the outcome being completely unaffected by it. That's not true and that's not real. We have to struggle to get to the top. We have to make mistake after mistake until we finally get it right. Sometimes we have so many problems that your drowning in them and you think you will never catch your breath but when you finally do....its worth it. It doesn't seem like it at the time but its true. As they say: "A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor." This is true in Canary.

  I was hooked from page one. The writing of Rachele Alpine is intoxicating. She pushes the boundaries. She pushes herself. She pushes Kate. The most unique thing about this book is the daily blog entries. Kate's "Daily Truth". Yes, Kate keeps track of everything in a blog. She writes all the happenings of her day, every day. The way she writes them is so beautiful. Some are so heart-wrenching but they are beautiful. They are lyrical, poetic, inspiring. So not only does Rachele write a book but a blog in a book, talk about talent. I haven't read something like that. It was unique and captivating.

  The amount of talent Rachele Alpine is unbelievable. She has truly made a fan out of me. I will read anything and everything by her. I can hardly believe that she was the one coming to me at the beginning of the year asking me if I wanted to read her book. That she was giving me and my blog compliments. That it was an honor of hers if I would read and review her book. All along it should have been me begging her for a chance to read her book. The honor is truly all mine. It was an absolute pleasure to be gifted with an advanced copy of her book. To get a chance to read the greatness that is Canary. My emotions ran wild with this book. I teared up, I got angry, I got depressed. Rachele has your emotions in the palm of your hand and she will own them. You will not be in control of them when reading this book. I wasn't..that is for sure.

  So all in all, when this book comes out, read it. It is a book that will capture you from the beginning leaving you breathless at the end. It's not one with a happy ending waiting at the end. It's not terrible but the road to the end is torture. You will be reading Kate's snowball effect and have no power over it. All you can do is continue reading and anticipate the end. You watch that snowflake touch the ground and start rolling, picking up speed and increasing inside, seeing Kate at the bottom in direct line of impact. You can scream, you can shout warning after warning but you are powerless. The outcome is inevitable. And you want to save yourself the horror but you can't because you are so hooked. Canary's got its claws hooked into your heart, its song singing for you to continue while also voicing a warning. I felt as if I was in one of those sound proof glass boxes with the one way vision except you got the vision and no one can see you...seeing and hearing everything but having no one hear or see you. Its torture and again, I couldn't stop. It was amazing. By the end I was truly breathless. My heart hurt and all I could do was lay down for the night and think it all over.

  Read it, hate it, love it. ;D Those are the three steps to an amazing book. The books associated with the word "great" are the ones that aren't perfect. They don't have the indestructible heroine with the fearlessness and courage to feed an army of thousands, they have the rough and the tough that is all too true. Those are the books I find to steal my heart and Canary is one of them. The one's that are 5 star worthy. It's one I will swear up and down on. Keep with me as a reminder, as a source of inspiration. I will encourage this book to all.


5 of 5 stars!

*This review is a part of the Canary Book Tour hosted by AtomR Tours*

~The Author:
  Rachele Alpine is a lover of sushi, fake mustaches, and Michael Jackson. One of her first jobs was at a library, but it didn’t last long, because all she did was hide in the third-floor stacks and read. Now she’s a little more careful about when and where she indulges her reading habit. By day she’s a high school English teacher, and by night she writes with the companionship of the world’s cutest dog, Radley, a big cup of coffee, and a full bag of gummy peaches. Rachele lives with her husband in Cleveland, Ohio, but dreams of moving back to Boston, the city she fell in love with while attending graduate school there.
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