Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The A Circuit by Catherine Hapka and Georgina Bloomberg

Title: The A Circuit

Author: Catherine Hapka and Georgina Bloomberg

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The A Circuit is the top of the top when it comes to horse shows. It's a world with its own rules and superprivileged lifestyles. Teens travel the circuit all year, showing horses that cost as much as some homes.

Tommi, Kate, and Zara are all elite competitors on the circuit, but they come from totally different backgrounds. Tommi is a billionaire heiress trying to prove she has real talent (not just deep bank accounts). Kate puts the working in working student-every win has been paid for with hours of cleaning stalls. She's used to the grueling schedule, but Fitz, the barn's resident hot guy, is about to become a major distraction. And then there's Zara. She's the wild child of a famous rockstar, but she's ready to take riding seriously. Can a party girl really change her ways?

Readers who enjoy peeking into the elite world of Gossip Girl or The A-List will feel right at home in this new series with its friendships, drama, and privilege set against the backdrop of competitive horseback riding.

My Thoughts: They were right in comparing The A Circuit to Gossip Girl and The A-List. The A Circuit is full of rich girl drama and not a whole lot of substance, while still pulling the reader in.

The A Circuit is the perfect book for a quick read, especially if you love horses. It's very easy to get sucked into the world of horses and between the three main characters, there is someone for everyone to relate to. Even though I prefer barrel-racing and pole-bending to jumping and hunters, I still loved reading about the competition and the shows. Since Georgina Bloomberg is (or was, maybe) a competitor herself, everything is well-described and accurate, which makes it easy for those who don't know much about horses to still follow the story.

However, while I did honestly enjoy the story, there were a few things I had issues with. First off all, I read somewhere that this was for readers "beginning to grow out of the Canterwood Crest series" and while I do think that this series will appear to Canterwood Crest fans, I also feel like that is not necessarily for the younger fans. There is some drug usage and drinking that don't really serve a purpose and while I do realize that those things happen, I felt like it was just there to make the story more hip. Aside from that, there was some dialogue that made me roll my eyes because no one talks like that, ever.

Overall, though, I definitely enjoyed the A Circuit. It's not meant to be some in-depth and lifechanging book and it's not. It is a quick read and perfect for reluctant readers (especially horse lovers) or just the reader looking for something that's not heavy and dark. I definitely recommend it to other horselovers and will be looking forward to the next book in

Monday, June 20, 2011

Flawless Ruins by Kieryn Nicolas

Title: Flawless Ruins

Author: Kieryn Nicolas

Publisher: Echelon Press


In 2238 life in America is finally perfect. The Wars are over and the CommWall is in place, blocking communication with what remains of other continents. The women are content to have great education, choice careers, and glamorous hair. Best of all, when every girl turns seventeen she's given her Like; an adorable, perfect spouse tailor-made just for her. Everyone looks forward to the day she gets her Like, and Morgan Waters is no exception—until she accidentally stays out past curfew and stumbles across someone who appears to be a Like but claims to be a man. Morgan's perfect world crumbles around her in the midst of a forbidden romance, forcing her to deal with the realization that her life may not be so flawless after all.

My Thoughts: Flawless Ruins is just...flawless! I may be a little biased, as I was given the opportunity to critique a draft of it and help Kieryn make it so amazing but even previous versions were addicting.

There's other novels out there following a similar idea but Kieryn's version is exceptional. Her characters are unique and well-developed and the plot is fast paced and constantly leaving you at the edge of your seat. There were multiple times when I thought I had things figured out but the novel took me by surprise. The world that Kieryn built is so foreign yet realistic at the same time that it was almost scary. What if this is how our world ends up?

The characters were, by far, my favorite thing in the novel. I was extremely impressed by the emotion exposed by the characters, as well as their ability to change and grow with the novel. Plus, there was a certain boy I may have been crushing on. Morgan is one of my favorite female lead characters and I loved watching her grow with the story.

Overall, Flawless Ruins is probably one of the best novels I've read in a while. I highly recommend picking up a copy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Suzanne Young Guest Blog!

Today, as part of the A Need So Beautiful Tour, Suzanne Young has stopped by to talk about the difference between writing A Need So Beautiful and The Naughty List Series!


My first series, THE NAUGHTY LIST, was a ton of fun to write. My family and I would sometimes call out funny phrases like Great Caesar’s Ghost! for my character to say while we were at the dinner table. And although TNL had some sad moments, it was overall a very enjoyable experience.

A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL was very different in that I held on to the idea for a while, twisting it in my head, writing random scenes here and there and then telling my husband about it. It was a very personal story to me, the idea of a stranger being there to help you through a crisis, leaving you wondering if it was real at all. I loved the idea of this girl having the choice to give up everything or fight for her life. aNsB was definitely not dinner conversation. I wrote it very alone, very peacefully—sometimes crying.

But both experiences of writing stayed true to the mood I was conveying with the stories. Maybe I’m a method writer?

See the post below this for my review of A Need so Beautiful, out this month! Also be sure to check out this trailer:

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

Title: A Need So Beautiful
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

We all want to be remembered. Charlotte's destiny is to be forgotten.

Charlotte's best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she's cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what's really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become—her mark on this earth, her very existence—is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny—no matter how dark the consequences?

My Thoughts:

A Need So Beautiful is a very unique and very thoughtful novel. While it was not quite as gripping and emotional I was expecting based on the reviews I saw, it has left me thinking, even hours after finishing it, which is definite sign it was a good book.

Before I get to the things I loved, I just want to mention the things I didn't. First of all, I never really connected with the story - for most of the book, I couldn't feel the emotion, like many other readers said they did. I also never connected with the characters - I didn't feel like her best friend or Harlin were developed enough and I feel like Harlin especially could have added much more to the story.

That said, this was definitely one of the most thoughtful books I've read in a long time. It's a bit of a "quiet" book. There's a little action in it but it mostly focuses on internal changes and emotion and just gives the reader quite a bit to think about. I love the idea behind the Forgotten, even though it's horribly sad.

Even though I never attached to the book, there is just something drawing my mind back to it, making me think about it, and I love that. It's really hard to explain but there is just something really beautiful about this book. (Besides the cover, I mean!)

This is definitely a big change change from The Naughty List series but I loved it and I can't wait to read more of Suzanne Young's books!