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Tag Archives: publisher: katherine tegen books

18651924The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Audio from library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him. Over the course of the summer, Bettina falls in love with Brady . . . and with the new freedom that comes along with him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina, or “Beta,” as he nicknames her.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean losing her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that her breath catches when he smiles, or that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love. – Goodreads

Review:

I’m doing this thing where I’m trying to get caught up on reviews I have on Edelweiss and Netgalley. Through use of a random generator this book came up! Knowing next to nothing about it, I was excited to get my audio hold it.

Brady is the perfect boyfriend. Brady is the star basketball player and finds Bettina fascinating. Bettina comes from a very old world family and is shock that she’s even allowed to date Brady and Bettina is on cloud nine. Then he becomes abusive. While he doesn’t abuse her via his fists, he is good at emotional abuse and holding on to her a bit hard. Throughout The Things You Kiss Goodbye I never understood why Bettina stayed with Brady, even if you overlook the abuse (which I know, is problematic), he wasn’t a good person and he ultimately didn’t care about her. Yet. She stays with him.

This book is more about romantic relationships though. It’s about the relationship one has with themselves, it’s about the relationship that one has with their family. Even though I saw Bettina’s family as overbearing, they obviously love her. They love her in the way that they know to love her. They protect her.They just want to make sure they want her to be safe. What they don’t expect is the boy they love, Brady, to be the one to hurt her the most.

Bettina has a light throughout all of this, Cowboy, her friend Tony and Bonnie, her friend from clay class. All in their own way help out Bettina. Cowboy sees the real Bettina, Tony reminds Bettina about her past and Bonnie reminds her of her creative side.

This is not a light read. I’m honestly not sure what kind of read it is. It’s nothing like I was expecting, but it’s still a solid read.


18052929School of Charm by Lisa Ann Scott
Release Date: February 18, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: ALAMW2014
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Who’s got time for hair curlers and high heels when you’re busy keeping baby turtles alive?

Chip has always been a tree-climbin’, fish-catchin’ daddy’s girl. When Daddy dies, Mama moves her and her sisters south to Grandma’s house and Chip struggles to find her place in a family full of beauty queens.

Just when she’s wishing for a sign from Daddy that her new life’s going to work, Chip discovers Miss Vernie’s School of Charm. Could unusual pageant lessons and secrets be the key to making Chip’s wishes a reality?

Full of spirit, hope, and a hint of magic, this enchanting debut novel tells the tale of one girl’s struggle with a universal question: How do you stay true to yourself and find a way to belong at the same time? –

Review:

Although this book took awhile to get into, it quickly warmed a place into my heart. It is the story of Chip, who very clearly does not fit in. She is told this repeatedly by her mother, her older sister, her grandmother. Everyone spends their time around Chip telling her she shouldn’t be there. And while the book is painful, it is also real.

Taking place in 1977, Scott takes the reader to the 1970s. With Chip as a narrator the reader comes to see how close Chip was with her father, who died before School of Charm took place and how uncomfortable she is around the rest of her family; which includes her two sisters, her mother and now her grandmother. From the very first scene with her grandmother, we see that Chip and her will never get along. Chip’s grandmother wants Chip to be proper and Chip is a tomboy. Chip enjoys rivers, mud and bugs, something her grandmother does not seem to understand.

Someone who does understand however is Miss Vernie and her School of Charm, a school that Chip locates one day when she needs to take a break from her family. While her family is busy planning for pageants and the future of the family in the south; Chip wants to hang with her turtle and her father’s spirit. What Chip really wants is a sign that her father is there with her. That he’s listening. What Chip finds instead is Miss Vernie and two girls that Chip would have never talked to without the School of Charm. While Chip’s mother and grandmother are not necessarily the best role models out there, this little school is full of role models for Chip, even classmates Dana and Karen.

This book faces a lot of tough topics in a short period of time. Chip has to face racism and discrimination with her friend Dana who happens to be black in the South, in the 70s. Dana wants to compete in the pageant with everyone else in the community has a problem with this, including Chip’s grandmother who is the quintessential old school southern grandma. While I understand the grandmother had to be that way, she was a little too hard core for my taste in this middle grade novel. Yet, this was still an enjoyable novel that I would happily pass along to many.


18599709Vivian Divine Is Dead by Lauren Sabel
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Source: ALAMW2014
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In this fast-paced adventure set in Mexico, teen celebrity Vivian Divine goes on the run after receiving a death threat, and discovers that everything she thought she knew about her charmed life—and the boy she loves—is a lie. – Goodreads

Review:

 This book ultimately had very little going for it, and I was super excited to read it. As in, I read it months before I should have because I was so excited to read it, and then halfway through it, I just stopped caring. Vivian Divine is an A list teen actor who has everything, including two famous parents and a teen heartthrob for a boyfriend. 

Then her mother dies, her father is on the verge of suicide, and her boyfriend cheats on her…with her BFF. There were many cliches throughout this novel, including three I just mentioned. Because she had a fairly cushy life the fact she finds her life threatened scares her, because doesn’t everyone love her? She ends up going to Mexico to find who is after her, and in Mexico she finds Nick. Nick is from Mexico, has had a truly hard life, and has no clue who she is. He calls her princess, because she is spoiled and can barely function. No really, she has problems doing anything without being told. Then, in the blink of an eye she falls in love with Nick. Nick, who I swear she hated one page before.

This was one of those books that went from boredom to quick pace fairly fast. I spent 90% of the novel bored out of my mind and the last 10% unable to put it down. Of course by then it was too late because I was too annoyed. There are a few twists and turns that I, unfortunately, did see coming. What I did not see coming was that this seems to be a stand alone and the ending is fairly cliffhanger-ish. While I went into this book wanting to love it, I ultimately was bored and had problems slogging through it; however, I did enjoy it by the end, I no longer wanted to slap Vivian Divine.


10222365Renegade (MILA 2.0 #2) by Debra Driza
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: ALAMW2014
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

There is no one left for Mila to trust. Except for a boy she barely knows.

But Hunter has no idea who—and what—Mila really is. She can’t bear to reveal her secret, even though he’s unwittingly joined her search for Richard Grady, a man who may know more details of Mila’s complicated past.

Yet the road to the truth is more dangerous than ever. With General Holland and the Vita Obscura scouring the earth for her whereabouts, Mila must rely on her newfound android abilities to protect herself and Hunter from imminent harm. Still, embracing her identity as a machine leads her to question the state of her humanity—as well as Hunter’s real motives.

Perfect for fans of I Am Number Four and Divergent, this action-packed and heart-wrenching second installment of MILA 2.0 will leave readers breathlessly awaiting the series conclusion– Goodreads

Review:

While I loved MILA 2.0 I never had a chance to properly review it as I was finishing up grad school and to busy trying to worry about sleep. I am however thrilled I’ve had proper time to review Renegade. I was lucky enough to meet Katherine Tegen at ALAMW2014 and her love of books makes me love these books (or want to love the books). This helped rekindle my love of Driza and Mila.

Renegade picks up right where MILA 2.0 left off. She is on the run with Hunter, the boy she knows little to nothing about and quickly he is calling her his girlfriend. The romance throughout the novel was a tad weak for me. It was fairly instalove in the sense that I just didn’t get it. I didn’t see how they fell in love with each other so quickly. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy Hunter and what he brings to the story but he knows nothing about Mila and she knows nothing about her besides the fact she asked him to go on the run and he said yes.

Mila, and Hunter, are on the search for clues that Mila’s mom (keeper?!) left before she met her untimely death. Of course obstacles occur and nothing is easy for Mila (or Hunter) who begin to fight for their lives through Renegade. Including Hunter finding more out about Mila. Where he is kind of freaked out by the secrets she has been keeping! (SHOCKED! I KNOW!) Between people chasing them and a lack of communication from Mila, Renegade is a quick paced novel that I could not put down. Between finding more out about Mila’s backstory and seeing her “droid” side breakdown and how when she lets her guard down people get in and is that a good thing? 

Never once while reading this did I feel that Renegade suffered from the dreaded middle book syndrome and as soon as I finished I became quite excited to see where the trilogy will end.


10616322Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth
Release Date: October 22, 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Book’s
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent– Goodreads

Review:

Although neither of her previous two books have been reviewed here, Tina and I are fairly big Roth fans. Tina and I both lucked out and met her about a year ago in September of 2012 in Las Vegas and it was a blast. Of course, that being said, from my point of view the hype started to ruin Allegiant for me. It was SO hyped up and SO shoved down my throat that by the time October 22nd came around I no longer truly cared.

Did that stop me from reading? HAHA OF COURSE NOT. It also didn’t stop Tina from emailing me going “HEY YOU I READ SPOILERS. ANGST! ANGST! ANGST!” Because if we have made anything known during our time as book bloggers it is that Tina is my Queen of Angst and I am her Queen of le Fluff. Of course after reading the first two books I should have known going into this that it would be full full full of angst and oh how it was. HOPES AND DREAMS YOU WERE DAAAAASHED.

This book picks up right where the second book, Insurgent, left off but what is different is it is now told from two points of view: Tris and Four. I was a fan of this brilliant move by Roth, I feel I got to know more about both characters through this technique. That being said, a lot of this novel felt like a giant info dump for me. I personally felt like half of it could have been erased and I wouldn’t have missed a thing. Plus, by the end Tris and Four sounded exactly the same to me. I flipped back multiple times to see who’s POV I was reading because through context I truly had no idea.

Also, and I cannot believe I’m saying this (and oh Tina won’t either), I was sick of Tris and Four. They were just…blah. One wanted to talk, the other wanted to make out. There was a huge lack of communication between them to the point I wanted to slap them more than I cared to do anything else.

What Roth did have going for this novel was the twist and turns. Which Roth has gotten major flack for, (SPOILERS AHOY THERE IN THAT LINK) but by the time the twists and turns happened, I really, sadly, no longer cared. I just wanted the series to be done with at that point.

While this book, and this series, had a lot going for it, it also had a lot going against it which ultimately affected me more than what was going for it.


16065521Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
Release Date:May 28, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:

1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen:

1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy. – Goodreads

Review:

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this novel, but I did not get it. It was rough, it was gritty, it was almost impossible to read at points. Kiri Byrd is a girl whose sister died when she was 12. Kiri is in a band with her friend Lukas, who she happens to have feelings for. Their band is entered into a battle of the bands while Kiri is also practicing a big piano piece for an upcoming recital. During this time, her parents are out on a cruise and her brother is at college, but she has made it clear to the reader this is fine, she stays home alone all the time.

What isn’t fine is when Kiri gets a strange phone call involving a person who knew her sister. This escalates the spiral Kiri was already on. Her parents are extremely neglectful, her sister’s death affects her in ways she has never touched upon and now this stranger is calling saying he knew her sister and he has a box of her shit. During this time pe1148067_10102788992049471_1856267276_oriod, she has a falling out with Lukas, finds a new love interest and has an extremely dark time period in her life.

The problem I have with this book is not the typical problem I’ve seen in reviews. The problem I’ve seen in reviews is the heavy drug usage. That did not faze me because it suited the character. Hi, it’s pot usage, whatever. This part to the right made me LOL, mostly because I know that person.

But there was a deep, dark portrayal of not only her character, but those around her, including a new love interest, Skunk, that never really got handled. Plus, when her parents do come back they’re like “oh, yeah, we should have told you. MEH! LETS PUT YOU IN THERAPY BUT NEVER REALLY TALK ABOUT IT” The problem I ultimately have with the novel is that it didn’t leave me fulfilled. I left with more anger than anything else.

While I recommend this book, there are some strong reservations.


drinkNot a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: ALA 2013
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own– Goodreads

Review:
This is one of the It Books of 2013. I was thrilled when I snagged an ARC of it at ALA. Sadly, I could not get into this book. I did not devour it, I trudged through it. I read my friends’ reviews convinced that something would happen.

I never found that something.

Lynn’s whole life is about survival. Lynn has water. In her time water is a hot commodity. While she is supposed to fear for her life, because of the water she protects, I found it hard to care about her. I found the characters in this novel flat. While it is true, this is a story about survival, I spent most of the novel wanting to shake the characters into relatable ones. And maybe that is what McGinnis was going for, unrelateable characters in this time of warfare.

The book was a good reminder however about humanity and what one does when they are forced to. While it made me think, I continued to have problems enjoying it no matter how hard I tried. There were aspects I enjoyed. I think Lynn is a brilliant character. I think the world that McGinnis created is genius. It just fell flat for me. Maybe I’m no longer into dystopians?

Oh this book. Everyone loved and adored you. I know I should have. Really, I do. You were even published by an imprint I adore. Sadly, I did not adore you. At all. I struggled through this book when all the rest of my friends breezed through it. I felt like I was in school again. WHAT WAS I MISSING?! No really, what was I missing, will someone please tell me?