Review: The First Lie by Diane Chamberlain

Prequel to Chamberlain's forthcoming novel Necessary Lies

Pub. Date: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
35 pages

The First Lie is a short story prequel to Diane Chamberlain’s new novel Necessary Lies. In The First Lie we are briefly introduced to thirteen-year-old Ivy Hart’s world.  Even though the short story is just that, short, the world that Chamberlain is able to create is vivid, round and extremely compelling. In just a few pages the reader learns a great deal about the Hart family dynamic through allusions to the many secrets that could potentially be revealed in Necessary Lies, as well as through the way that the Hart’s speak to and about each other. The voice of Ivy in this character driven short story is so clear and specific instantly. Before instances of racism and class dynamics are even introduced – major themes from the synopsis of Necessary Lies as well as in this short story - the language and the way that Ivy’s character is presented gives the reader a very clear idea what kind of character we are investing in, as well as the

Review: Kissing the Maid of Honor by Robin Bielman

A Secret Wishes Novel
Pub. Date: May 13, 2013
Publisher: Entangled
230 pages

If every wish we made came true, then we would miss out on some pretty great things. Case in point, Kissing the Maid of Honor. Before her best friend Vanessa’s wedding, Sela Sullivan drops a coin in a wishing well, wishing that Vanessa’s brother Luke would keep his distance throughout wedding festivities. Ten years before, when she was 15, and harboring a major crush on Luke - her best friends brother and her own brother’s best friend - she paid to kiss him in a kissing booth. It was everything she wanted her first kiss to be – until he absolutely humiliated her. Thankfully her wish doesn’t come true, Luke does not keep his distance, and both are ultimately very happy that they have had the chance to reconnect.

Switching the narrative between Sela and Luke’s perspectives works really. It allows a lot more insight into what both are thinking, and how genuinely concerned they are with how their family and friends will react to their growing relationship. The switching perspective really helps you buy the relationship, and root for Sela and Luke as a couple to finally get it together, and be together.

I found the majority of the novel to be fairly realistic. There are specific struggles and development that

Review: Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger by Beth Harbison

Pub. Date: July 9th, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
384 pages

With a title as funny, direct and entertaining, as this, how could a Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit reader resist? The best part, the entertaining title, perfectly represents the novel. When we are first introduced to Quinn Barton she is in a wedding dress, ready to walk down the aisle. Ten years later, Quinn is a professional success, designing one of a kind dresses and owning her own shop Talk of the Gown, but she has been in a romantic rut since leaving her fiancĂ© Burke Morrison at the altar. She has never been able to get over Burke’s infidelity, and she has never been able to understand why his brother Frank waited until the morning of her wedding to bring her into the loop. When Dottie, the Morrison’s Grandmother asks Quinn to design her a wedding dress, all sorts of shenanigans begins to ensue.

Faced with running into the Morrison brothers for the first time in ten years, Quinn’s friend Glenn takes it upon himself assign Quinn daily tasks like underwear free day and speed dating day, in hopes of getting her out of her romantic rut, and over the Morrison brothers. While Glenn is trying to get Quinn over Burke and Frank, Dottie does her best to push Quinn and her grandson together – which grandson Dottie’s pushing for, Quinn can’t be sure.

Filled with Harbison’s signature humour and calamity, Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger does not disappoint. Glenn is the shinning star of the novel. He is by far the funniest character,

Review: Imposter by Susanne Winnacker

Pub. Date: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
274 pages

Tessa can change her appearance to that of anyone she comes in contact with. She is a Variant – a person with an otherworldly ability. Two years ago, Tessa was offered the chance to leave her not so happy home to join the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities (FEA), a subset of the FBI. She along with the other Variants work at the FEA to hone their abilities, from becoming invisible, to reading minds, influencing emotions, and having super strength. It’s hard not to compare the Variants series to the X-Men, and the FEA to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. While a comparison to such a beloved series (franchise?) can be the kiss of death, at this point in the series I would say the comparison is warranted and deserved. 

Once a Variants training is complete, the FBI can use them to assist during special assignments. But, even though Tessa’s training isn’t done, her specific Variant is needed now. She is assigned to take over the body and the life of Madison, a high school senior, and the fourth victim of a small town serial killer. Tessa is not only unsure if she can maintain her Variant for days or weeks at a time, but she is also unsure how to integrate herself into a family and a group of friends that

Review: Deeper We Fall by Chelsea M. Cameron

Book #1 in the Rise and Fall Series
Pub Date: January 25th 2013
All Night Reads
280 Pages

New Adult is a genre that I can definitely get behind. But I hadn’t read an NA title I really loved until Deeper We Fall. Lottie (Charlotte) Anders is by far one of the most flesh and bone characters that I have ever read. She is so vividly created that you feel you are going through every experience, emotion and conversation with her. From the first chapter you understand Lottie in a deeply profound way, and you wish you had her gumption, or in the least, you wish you could know her.

Leaving the party should have been easy. But that was when Lottie’s best friend Lexie was going to drive her own car home, instead of getting a ride from Zack Parker. Their was no way Lottie was getting in Zack’s truck, even after Zack’s much more sober brother Zan decided to drive, and their was no getting Lexie out. Two years later, Lottie and her twin brother Will are moving into their college residence when they come face to face with the last two people Lottie ever wanted to see again – the Parker brothers. While Zack seems unaffected by the permanent mental and physically damage the car accident caused Lexie, staying the cocky asshole he was two years ago, she can’t say Zan is the evil person she built him up to be.

Review: The Favor by Megan Hart

Pub. Date: June 25th, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
384 pages

The Favor is a captivating, thought provoking, and at times heartbreaking, work of literary fiction. I have to admit I was apprehensive given what I know about some of Hart’s other novels in a different genre, but this novel completely blew me away.

When Janelle Decker’s uncle calls, asking if she, along with her son, could move from California to Pennsylvania to look after her terminally ill Nan, the proposition is both daunting and surprisingly welcome. Having lived with her Nan during the ‘vacation’ times she was supposed to be spending with her dad, and permanently during her rebellious alcohol and drug fueled senior year of high school, St. Mary’s is in some ways home, and in other ways representative of parts of the life she tried to leave behind.

Having once been the one tucked into bed and looked after by her Nan, and now having the tables turned, seems to be the only thing that has changed in St. Mary’s. The house is virtually the same, as are the neighbors, including Gabriel “Gabe” Tierney, Janelle’s first love. Seeing Gabe again is exciting,

Review: Touching Melody by RaShelle Workman

Pub. Date: May 14th, 2013
Publisher: All Night Reads
Format: ebook
161 pages

When Maddie Martin sees two men leaving her house, one her best friend Kyle Hadley’s police officer father, the other man with a gun, she would never have believed that she would find her parents shot to death inside. Forced by her strict Aunt and Uncle to keep quiet about Hadley’s involvement, Maddie becomes reclusive. She throws herself into music, becoming an accomplished pianist, earning a full scholarship to the University of Bellam Springs. As devastating as it was to lose her parents, never hearing from Kyle after the murders hurts her more, and makes her believe that he is just as bad a person as his father. What Maddie and Kyle don’t know is that her Aunt and Uncle intercepted all of letters Kyle wrote, in an attempt to keep the two apart.

At Bellam Springs, Maddie and Kyle are reunited. Maddie is surprised by how strongly she is drawn back to Kyle, given how firmly she believes that he is not a

Review: All I Need by Susane Colasanti

Pub. Date: May 21st, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Format: Hardcover
240 pages

Skye spends summer after summer hoping to fall in love and find a life changing connection. Enter Seth. Spending only a few days together before Seth has to leave for college, the two talk and connect in the way that Skye has always hoped for. But, when Seth leaves Sea Bright before they have a chance to exchange contact information, Skye is left wondering what happened. The novel takes place over the next two years of Skye and Seth’s lives, and is told through their alternating perspectives.

By the time I finished All I Need, I left with – and I hate to say it - a feeling of ‘so what’. I have enjoyed other books by Colasanti, but I found the relationship between Seth and Skye to be somewhat immature, and not authentic, which was especially disappointing considering the novel is entirely character and relationship driven. From their first interaction, through the end of the novel, I did not find that the characters voices reflected typical teens. They talk philosophical, and unrealistically wise beyond their years, similar to