Saturday, April 21, 2012

Review and Giveaway- Amy Clipston

Roadside Assistance

Roadside Assistance

A very bumpy ride.

Emily Curtis is used to dealing with her problems while under the hood of an old Chevy, but when her mom dies, Emily's world seems shaken beyond repair. Driven from home by hospital bills they can't pay, Emily and her dad move in with his wealthy sister, who intends to make her niece more feminine---in other words, just like Whitney, Emily's perfect cousin. But when Emily hears the engine of a 1970 Dodge Challenger, and sees the cute gearhead, Zander, next door, things seem to be looking up.

But even working alongside Zander can't completely fix the hole in Emily's life. Ever since her mom died, Emily hasn't been able to pray, and no one---not even Zander---seems to understand. But sometimes the help you need can come from the person you least expect.
I read Roadside Assistance sometime during the fall of 2011, but since I hadn't started the blog then I don't have a review up for it and I thought 'well, better late than never' because this is one of those books that REALLY deserves a review.
Coming from someone who's never lost anyone that close to them, I still found this to be a really emotional read. While I haven't been this unfortunate, there were plenty of other elemental levels I was able to connect with Emily on. 
The characters are SO well developed, and you can't help but fall in love with Zander(ahhh).
I really loved the originality of this book, because while it focuses on the struggle of overcoming the death of a loved one and finding a way back to religion, Emily's car obsession really puts a twist on things here. I have to admit, I don't feel too clueless about cars all that much anymore. 
Anyone looking for a light contemporary with a bit heavier themes, I recommend RA. Wait, scratch that, I don't care if that's what you're looking for or not. This book is a MUST READ. Just read it. Please. Seriously. 
5 stars for Roadside Assistance!
Now, I was lucky to get into contact with Mrs. Clipston, and she was kind enough to offer up a bunch of awesome swag for everybody, as pictured below...
So, I'm only showing one of everything in the picture, BUT we have 2 copies of Roadside Assistance, 2 copies of Reckless Heart, and too many pens and bookmarks to count.
This giveaways going to work a bit differently since Amy gave away so much. :) So, here's how it'll go:
If we get 100 entries, I'll be giving one lucky winner a copy of Roadside Assistance AND Reckless Heart, a few pens and a bundle of all those lovely bookmarks.
If we get 200 entries, We'll have that one lucky winner getting everything I guaranteed them right up there, but we'll also have a 2nd winner who'll have their choice of Reckless Heart or Roadside assistance and also a bundle of pens and bookmarks. 
If we get 300 entries, we'll still have our first and second prize winner, but we'll also have a third winner who will receive either a signed copy of Reckless Heart or Roadside assistance with pens/bookmarks. 
If we get anymore than 300 entries, same odds as if we get 300 entries BUT any pens and bookmarks left over will be raffled out to another lucky 15 winners.
So, your goal? Get as many people as possible to enter, because in some really weird way, your odds of winning just get bigger and bigger. I think? 
I'm making this contest extra long, just to help everyone out, so take a go at it and goodluck, guys!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review and Giveaway - Dan Wells

                                    Partials (Partials, #1)
Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out. 

When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask. 

Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar GalacticaPartials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival.

I'd go so far as to say I would vote Partials as the best sci-fi I've read this year. For those of you staring wide-eyed at your monitors, yes, I read my fair share of sci-fi. Hmph.
Like the rest of us, typical dystopians are starting to wear thin on me, and it's great to see something so firmly science oriented emerge from the pack.  
Dan Wells has managed to create an intricately woven sci-fi that actually gives you just what its genre promises: science.
*And an exceptional amount of kissing, contrary to popular belief.
Kira's dedication to those she cares about and the future of humanity is outstanding. It isn't often you stumble upon a heroine so willing to die for the sake of the next generation.
And put aside her longtime boyfriend for the cause, too.
That level of determination just makes for total and complete awesomeness. Not to mention, a really interesting MC. 
I find that most dystopian novels today like to leave out exactly how a certain civilization came to be at its current state by means of ignoring the question altogether or having the MC get the point across that "no one really knows". A big up to this one is that unlike most , a back-story is actually presented to make sense of the world as it stands at the time taking place of the novel. Even better? It's believable.**
Gotta thank science for that one. 
This mix of I,Robot , I am Legend, Battlestar Galactica, and - yes, I'm going to say it - Stars Wars is all kinds of fun.
*I recently had the pleasure of meeting Dan Wells at his Miami tour stop last month, and he mentioned readers complaining about the lack of romance scenes. Not to worry, though, he promised more of that in the sequel! 
The often humor you find in Dan books is evidently present through his personal character and despite what I thought prior to meeting him...he obviously didn't have to do much research for Partials. Really, he just comes off that smart. **

Partials gets 4.5 stars from me!

Now, I know the real reason everyone's here...

That's right. I know.

                               The Hollow City

Thanks to Dan and his generous assistant Chersti, I've been graced with an advanced reader copy. :)
Now, now, settle down. I know you want it. 
Soooooo, here's all you gotta do:
Fill out the doohickey!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Desperately Wanting Wednesday

Desperatly Wanting Wednesday, hosted by Parajunkee's View

Desperatley Wanting Wednesday is a great post done weekly at Parajunkee blog, and I'm proud to present it for the first time here at Read and Whine!
Each week, there's also a new question
to be answered.
This is the question for this week:
Which do you prefer,
reading series,
or stand-alone books?

I'm personally a fan of series, because it gives me more time to fall in love with a character/story!

This week I'm DESPERATELY awaiting In Honor by Jessi Kirby
                                       In Honor
Here's the description from Goodreads:
Hours after her brother’s military funeral, Honor opens the last letter Finn ever sent. In her grief, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously decides to go to California to fulfill it. 

Honor gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen Rusty in ages, but it’s obvious he is as arrogant and stubborn as ever—not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. Despite Honor’s better judgment, the two set off together on a voyage from Texas to California. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn’s memory—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

Who can resist that cover? I can't. LOVE the boots! 

The summary is just delectable
Death, love, California, dry humor? Gahh! But then again, I'm probably just a sucker for the idea of scandal going on between a girl and her brothers best friend. *sigh*

The book actually has some pretty notable author recc's, which means it's GOT to be good.

A devastating loss leads to an unexpected road trip in this novel from the author of Moonglass, whose voice Sarah Dessen says “is fresh and wise, all at once.”

Sarah Dessen? Instant win.

In Honor will be released May 8th, 2012. Just in time for Summer! Can't help but fangirl over this one!

Until next time~


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Review and Giveaway! - Sticky Fingers by Niki Burnham

Sticky Fingers

Paperback288 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Simon Pulse
Bulletproof, that's how Jenna Kassarian sees herself. It's all about control: As long as she works hard, nothing can hurt her. So Jenna constantly pushes -- for perfect grades, the ideal boyfriend, the best, best friend. 

The only problem is, she doesn't know if she can stop. If she relaxes even for a second, she's afraid she'll lose control completely. 

Then Jenna decides it's now or never. She goes to a party and has one drink. But one drink is all it takes for her perfect facade to shatter. Suddenly she realizes straight A's can't protect you in the real world.

This book starts off during the point in Jenna's life where she's worked her butt off to get into Harvard and finally got that acceptance letter she's been waiting for since she understood what the word college even meant. Her hard-working boyfriend, Scott, also applies but gets rejected. Throughout the novel, we continue to see Scott, the straight-A, "perfect" boyfriend, begin to pressure Jenna into doing what some would call premarital things. 
Scott starts to get frustrated with the fact that Jenna won't take things as far as he'd like, and then one way or another, Jenna goes through something that is, sadly, not so uncommon in our world today.

I've read a few books by Niki Burnham, all good, but none have impacted me like this one has. I originally picked it up because I thought "well, that Jenna girl sounds a lot like me." Plus, my mom said it might help with my abnormal amount of school-stressing levels. *sigh* 
I gave it a shot and got more than I bargained for. 

Putting aside the fact Jenna's constantly being pressured by her boyfriend, she faces a huge turmoil with her best friend, who may or may not have a shoplifting fetish. I think all of us can say that at least once in our life we've faced a time where we've seen a good friend throwing their life away and haven't been so sure what to do about it, and that made it all too easy to relate with Jenna.
I think that's what helped her(and us, maybe?) to learn how to confront people, including herself. 

There's so much you can take away from Sticky Fingers...friendships, relationships, moral. 
SF really helped me recognize that there's a time and place to let loose, its okay every now and then to make a mistake or two, and that aside from all of that, we need to be prepared for unexpected mishaps. 

Something the youth of today likes to ignore is the ever-present use of drugs in society. Most of us say things like, "It won't ever happen to me" and have other ignorant thoughts, when in reality, it very much can be you. As a teen myself, I know what it's like when your parents warn you about date rape and other drugs that can be easily slipped into drinks or food at events so innocent as birthday parties. We laugh at the silliness of it all because we think the chances are close to none. 
Well, here are the odds:
Date rape takes up 80-85 % of the rapes that happen every year in the U.S.
Date rapes also account for an estimate of 70% of all sexual assaults. 
More than 75% of college students who experience unwanted intercourse are under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time.
80-92% of victims are close and comfortable with their attackers.

The bottom line is, is can be you, it might be you, and if you aren't careful about your surroundings and the choices you make, it will be you.

There are plenty ways to take precautions against date rape and the most common are:
Don't go to a club/party/event without someone you would trust with your life. Taking a sibling/best friend/family member with you lessens your chances by at least 50%. 
Bringing your own bottled water. In the case of going to a club, a bartender may even be one to slip you an unwanted drug.
Once you've left your drink unattended, get a new one.
NEVER let anyone else get your drink for you.
Never go off alone with someone you've just met to a place that you may not be familiar with. 
Don't take a ride from a stranger. 88% of DR happens on the way home. 

If you're searching for a quick read with a few good lessons, then I think Sticky Fingers is the book for you. Niki also has plenty of other great reads, and if you're looking for something a little more light than SF, I highly recommend Royally Crushed!

My rating for Sticky Fingers by Niki Burham is 5 stars !

I was luckily able to get in contact with Niki and she gladly offered up a copy of Breaking Up is Hard to Do, a collection of stories from Terri Clark, Ellen Hopkins,Lynda Sandoval and herself! It's off the shelves for now and pretty difficult to find, so make sure to thank Niki IMMENSELY in the comments below for her gratitude. :)
Everyone has till next week to enter. Goodluck!
Breaking Up is Hard to Do

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Review and Giveaway! - Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook

Unraveling Isobel

Hardcover304 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Simon Pulse
Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.
But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.
When I picked up Unraveling Isobel, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into considering
1. I don't usually like books about people who see dead people.
2. I don't usually read about girls who dig their stepbrothers. 
But, Unraveling Isobel ended up being a superfantasticallyamazingstupendouslyawesomesauce kind of read. 
Seriously, that good.
Let me start off with saying this is probably the funniest book I've read in the past six months. From page one, I was sitting there in Spanish class trying not to giggle loud enough for anyone to think I was completely crazy. At first I thought, "Well, maybe it's just easy to make me laugh..." So I handed the book over to a friend or two, and quickly found that I'm not all that loopy. 
The mystery in this book is crazy goodno pun intended. There are a fair amount of twists and turns, and no lie, I gasped two or three times. And when I gasp, we know it's serious. 
An issue I have with a lot of novels is the incapability to breathe due to suffocation of romance. For those of you staring at the screen and blinking repeatedly in confusion, I'm talking about those books with so much cheesy romance you can't help but feel you're suffocating due to lack of actual story line. Eileen did a wonderful job of keeping romance alive while also keeping the story moving. Love, love, love that. 
The character development was something else I really adored about Unraveling Isobel. Lately I've been reading too many books where scenarios are rushed into, or characters who who've known each other for less than twenty-four hours are openly admitting their undying love. UI's pace was impeccable and gave me just what I wanted: enough time to fall in love with a character. 
It was fairly easy to sympathize with Isobel, considering she'd been uprooted from her home on short notice and would be living with two dudes she'd never met before. She goes from being the big city girl to the small island kind of lady, and I can just imagine how torturous that can be coming from someone who's lived in Miami all her life.
Nate was just great. There's no other way to describe him. He's every girls favorite kind of guy: tough on the outside, soft on the inside. ;) While his bad boy facade only lasted a good 75 pages or so, it was enough for me to fall in love with him on spot. *sigh*
There's a lot I can say about Dick-the-dick. I mean-em. Right. Mild spoiler. There goes my attempt of a spoiler-free review. *cries*
So, here is my final verdict:
5 stars to Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook! Congrats!
Now, thanks to the ever-awesome Eileen, we'll be having another giveaway!
Ms. Cook has generously offered up The Education of Hailey Kendrick, which is pictured as below. 
The Education of Hailey Kendrick
Goodluck everyone! You all have till next Monday to enter!
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