Books and Boys: We all have “types”

A few days ago, after yet another Judith/Ellen books conversation, I realized something: I totally have a book “type”. Just like how I know that the tall, über-jock looking guy at the bar will be the one I go for (it’s a weakness!) there are some books that, no matter how bad they might be for me, I will buy. Doesn’t matter if they’re YA/NA/romance novels, or if the book has a zillion 1 star reviews on Amazon, I just can’t say no! So now, dear readers, Judith and I are joining forces for just the second time to discuss our book types. Do you agree? Have we missed any important ones? What are yours??? Please let us know we’re not alone! Read More

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Our Top 3 of 2012!

So if you’re like us, you have a couple books from this year that you just can’t get out of your head. I mean obviously you do since you gave us a HUGE list of your favorite books. I mean, it was so big we had to break up in two parts cause we couldn’t handle its enormity and awesomeness.

Well, Ellen and I would like to return the favor. We each picked three books from 2012 that we want you to read. We forced them on each other and now we want to force them on you. Don’t worry: it’s not like that. We promise that you’ll thank us for this.

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The Timber Wolves Extra: Interviewing Liam

Dear Readers, I have a completely unshocking confession to make: I totally have crushes on fictional characters. And I’m guessing, since you all seem pretty awesome, that (whether or not you admit it to your non-reader friends) you do too. I just cannot get enough of Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road and Liam Cole from Tammy Blackwell’s Timber Wolves series. You hopefully remember my gushy reviews of books 1 (Destiny Binds) and 2 (Time Mends) – I know I still have to post about book 3 (Fate Succumbs) but trust me: it’s seriously even more amazing than I hoped/dreamed/fantasized it would be.

So when Miss Tammy herself wrote about interviewing Liam I OF COURSE jumped at the opportunity (after I finished jumping up and down and yelling “OMG!” at the top of my lungs). Oh and it gets even better – while you can see the awesome interview here, if you go to her blog you’ll get to read an bonus short story written from Liam’s perspective!! I’ve gotten a peek and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Read More

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Three Things that Kick Butt: An Author Birthday Contest, One HUGE Contest, and the Comment Section

Hey guys! I’m super elated today! It could be the 4 cups of coffee I’ve had since waking up 2 hours ago…but I think it’s more because things are finally starting to get back to normal around here in Hoboken. Gone are the armored National Guard trucks patrolling the streets and here to stay is ELECTRICITY! I can sleep without needing 6 layers and 4 quilts! I don’t have to wear a headlamp to make my canned soup! Amazing stuff.

Now I have three very important things that I want to tell you about:

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Time Mends by Tammy Blackwell

Time Mends (Timber Wolves #2) by Tammy Blackwell

Publisher: Self-Published (December 31, 2011)

Format: Kindle

I know I’ve waited a while to write this review but it’s perfect timing since the next book comes out on September 11. WOOHOO!! I know you’re probably sick of this but since this is second book there will be SPOILERS from the first book. Please go read it!

Plot: Picking up just a few weeks after the end of the first book, the injuries Scout suffered aren’t healing and she has begun having dreams in which Alex is still alive and they are able to speak to each other. While dreaming during the full moon Alex tells Scout she needs to wake up and run outside…and it’s good he does because all of a sudden Scout transforms into a wolf. Which is shocking because she’s never done this before, none of her blood relatives are shifters, and even if she somehow got shifter mojo in her blood during the epic battle Jase is a coyote, not a wolf. Oh and to put even more pressure on her shoulders, not only is Scout in a difficult situation in relation to the Hagan pack (including Jase, Charlie, and Talley) but then the creppy dude from Alex’s funeral comes back to accuse Scout of all these crazy things…charges which could cost her life (duh duh duhhhhhhhhhh).

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Destiny Binds by Tammy Blackwell

Destiny Binds (Timber Wolves #1) by Tammy Blackwell

Publisher: Self-Published, 2011

Format: Kindle

It’s a well-known truth here at I Love YA Fiction that I’m generally anti-trilogies but as with all things in life there are exceptions to every rule and the Timber Wolves series is definitely one of my exceptions. I actually owe Judith for this one – I had seen it online but couldn’t bring myself to purchase it (shape-shifters are not usually my cup of tea) but then she loaned it along with a string of other books and I didn’t even realize what I was reading but I loved it! And then I found out there’s more!! And now I obsessively check the author’s blog at least twice a month hoping to find out when the third book will be released (September 11 is her latest prediction).

Plot: At the start of her senior year Scout (real name: Harper Lee) meets hottie hot hot Alex and his intimidating older brother Liam who have just moved to her town of Timber, Kentucky. For some reason Scout’s brother (well, step-brother) Jase is acting all weird around the Coles and orders Scout to stay as far away as possible. That’s a bit difficult since their journalism teacher decides Scout and Alex should do a series of point/counterpoint articles for the school paper. Through this interaction a friendship begins, which of course progresses into a romance, all of which is done in a sneaky way to hide it from Jase (side note: I now seriously want to start a secret club and name it the “Pretty Purple Unicorn Club” like Scout’s younger sister Angel [Secondary side note: my second choice will always be Lorelai Gilmore’s “Super Cool Party People”]). After the Coles leave town (they obvi come back) Scout decides to spy on Jase and his sexy cousin Charlie in order to find out the big secret about the Coles: they’re shape-shifters, wolves to be specific. The more shocking development: Jase, Charlie, and all the men in his family are also shape-shifters, but coyotes. Needless to say these groups do NOT get along and the need for secrecy between Alex and Scout increases. But can they keep their relationship secret forever? How can Scout even feel this strongly for Alex when she’s loved Charlie for years? And why the heck does John Davis smell like Play-Doh?? (This last one is never answered but I NEED TO KNOW!)

Review: I love this book. I love Scout, I love Alex, I love Scout’s bff Talley, and for some reason I’m completely fascinated by Liam even though I don’t think he says a single word in the entire book (how is it that some characters are so compelling for no discernible reason?!). I even love Scout’s younger sister Angel, the evil genius. Shockingly enough I actually loved this book more after re-reading it, something that for me is a rarity.

Okay but none of that is a real review, is it? I thought all of the characterizations

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were well written, I loved all the little stories the author added (especially the one about Jace bringing Scout the sock monkey when they were like 3), all of the action was purposeful and had proper build-up, and even the shape-shifter stuff was interesting – possibly the first time I’ve EVER said that about shape-shifters. Oh and, unlike so very many first series books, the action is not repetitive, nor does it

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drag, and the fact that it’s a trilogy actually makes sense! It’s like my Holy Grail! (HA! Which makes me laugh because Scout further cements her awesomeness in the 2nd book by quoting one of my favorite movies – Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)

However, all this being said, this isn’t exactly the most light-hearted book of all time. There’s the feud between the wolf and coyote packs, Scout dealing with expectations from both Alex and Charlie, clowns (so creepy), and at the end of the book the death of one character (sob!) and serious injury to another – both mentally and physically.

In the end I’m going to give this one a 10 out of 10. And maybe write the author and ask her to be my bff because anyone who can write a character like Scout MUST be awesome in real life, right? (This is a woman whose blog slogan is “If you can’t say anything sarcastic, don’t say anything at all”. She’s my soul mate!!!)

Based on the following criteria:

How much did I like the heroine: 10+. Scout is funny, intelligent, make lots of pop culture references (Buffy! Fraggle Rock! One of my many tv boyfriends Dean Winchester!), is kick-ass at Tae Kwon Do, and handles a lot of freaky crap without losing her mind. I would have to say that Scout has actually reached a Katy/JJ level of adoration and want-to-be friendship in my mind. High praise indeed.

How much did I like the love interest: 10. Oh man the squee’s were flying left and right while reading this one. So technically there are two love interests (Alex and Charlie) but since the main romantical relationship of this book is Alex, and the Charlie adoration is set mostly pre-book, I’m going to focus on Alex. (Well, except to say that the whole Charlie prom/dance thing almost made my brain explode due to all the squee’ing going on.) Alex is smart, funny, amazing with the evil genius, and seriously loves Scout. I loved so many of the Scout/Alex interactions that I could write pages and pages. (One of my absolute faves was when Scout goes to see Alex shift and when he asks her if she brought anything to entertain herself she says “Oh, you know, frisbees, tennis balls, rawhides. I’m really excited. I’ve never had a puppy before” and Alex is horrified. Hehe.)

How believable is the plot: 5. I mean – shape-shifters? Not exactly believable. But who cares, the book was awesome.

How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. This is an author who knows how to edit. In ALL my readings of the book I’ve never noticed anything significant.

How much did I want to keep reading: 10. Are you kidding me? Serious warning: do NOT interrupt me when I’m reading this book or the sequel. I’ll be so mad. And while I’m not Scout-level amazing with Tae Kwon Do I did take 5 whole months in college AND I broke a board. Watch out!

Glasses of wine I drank while reading: 1. But only because the injury and death at the end were too much to handle!

Final Score: 10/10. Seriously guys – READ THIS BOOK. If you don’t love it then I’m sorry but it’s at the top of the top for me when it comes to YA novels. I’m literally about to start a countdown until book #3 comes out. (I’ll also be doing a review for #2, so be on the watch!)


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Ellen Is Back (again)! What am I reading?

Hello to all our wonderful readers! Just wanted to write a brief note letting you all know (since I have no doubt you’ve been anxiously refreshing the website wondering where I might be) that I’ve returned from my rather unexpected hiatus. If you follow us on twitter (me: @ellen4YA Judith: @iloveyafiction) you might have noticed us joking about my computer dying. Well here’s the honest to goodness truth: not a few hours after I finished my last review I was drinking some wine, playing an online jigsaw puzzle (love them) and watching Game of Thrones.  I lifted my head to yell at Theon Greyjoy (ASSHAT extraordinare) and when I look back down my computer screen is grey, and then just dies. So the next day I take it to my new bffs at Best Buy who tell me my hard drive is “corrupt” and there’s no getting back any of the stuff saved on my computer. They take it, tell me it’s fixed, but when I go to pick it up am informed something was “rattling around” and so now they have to replace my motherboard. But it’s a story with a happy ending because I FINALLY have my computer back and am ready to do some book reviewing!

Oh, and on a related note, I’m never EVER EVER EVER reviewing another book about angels. I just got my computer back, I can’t risk a negative angel review taking it all away again! (What, I’m Irish Catholic, we’re seriously superstitious.) I even joked with Judith that we might have to start a new area of the blog just for when I start a book but then there are angels involved and I have to put it down. Instead of DNF it would be TBA (There Be Angels) or something similar.

ANYWAY. I also thought I’d make up a list of the books I plan to review in the coming weeks. They probably won’t come in this order since I tend to review whatever I’ve just finished and I’m not very good at sticking to my own plans.

1. Rematch (The Vortex Series) by Janine Caldwell

2. The Timberwolves Series by Tammy Blackwell (hey! Those two last names are so similar!)

3. The Crimson Soul sequel by Tim Cody

4. The Covenant series by JL Armentrout

5. My own review of Easy by Tammara Webber

6. Other stuff I can’t think of right now.

7. Those frigging Christopher Pike books I’ve been planning to read/review for months. I need to get my act together!


Well there it is. Let’s hope nothing goes wrong this time and you can all enjoy my wonderful witticisms and deep thoughts about YA (see, this is why I need that sarcasm font).

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