Below by Meg McKinlay

10:50 PM

Title: Below
Author: Meg McKinlay
Publish Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 224
Buy the Book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Received: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★

Secrets have a way of floating to the surface.... Mystery, compelling characters, and an abandoned town beneath a lake make for a must-read adventure. 
On the day Cassie was born, they drowned her town. The mayor flipped a lever and everyone cheered as Old Lower Grange was submerged beneath five thousand swimming pools’ worth of water. Now, twelve years later, Cassie feels drawn to the manmade lake and the mysteries it hides — and she’s not the only one. Her classmate Liam, who wears oversized swim trunks to cover the scars on his legs, joins Cassie in her daily swims across the off-limits side of the lake. As the summer heats up, the water drops lower and lower, offering them glimpses of the ghostly town and uncovering secrets one prominent town figure seems anxious to keep submerged. But like a swimmer who ventures too far from shore, Cassie realizes she can’t turn back. Can she bring their suspicions to light before it’s too late — and does she dare?

This book surprised me, which is something that rarely happens and it is typically something small. However this book was an all around surprising book for me and I definitely wouldn't have been able to guess how it ended, let alone what happened in the middle. Trust that it has a happy ending. Truthfully I hadn't realized that the town was legitimately submerged underneath water and so was the town's secrets. The plot flowed easily which made it that much easier to slip into the life of the main character as she struggled between who she is and the past that she didn't have a chance to be a part of. 

Cassie, the main character, was born early - that much was made clear. Perhaps, she shouldn't have been born at all or so some people believe. It would be hard to tear your family away from the triumphant moment when the town sunk beneath the water especially when it seems to haunt you since you were born. Despite all of the things that seem to be against her, she is amazingly smart and she has a vast knowledge about the town that she never saw - a town she never got the chance to know. Her lungs, under developed from her early birth, only seems to encourage her desire to see the town even if it is just from the surface of the lake as she swims across. Her intuitive nature and her desire for answers are what drives the whole story and it definitely brings about answers that will shock people. 

I was actually surprised with Liam, simply because he became a character that was so different from what I had conceived he would be. His life is what I would think would be the definition of hard, at least for me. He was born along with his twin brother in the original town, awhile prior to the idea of drowning the town was discussed. However he became deformed when his family got in an accident which killed his twin brother and forever changed his father from the man he once had been. Liam partly blames himself and because of that Cassie was able to form a connection with him. I think he has a crush on her though and in many ways I think they are perfect for each other. He is a great kid that loves his family and looks out for his dad. Not what I expected but something I definitely loved. 

Her parents are polar opposites from each other and yet they both attempt to show Cassie love in their own unique way which sometimes only seems to hinder their relationship with them. It's clear they didn't want another kid and didn't need one, so how can they have some deep bond that most claim to have with their kids? Her mom is a history teacher, who had taken off time to raise a family and once the two older kids had gotten older, returned to work. She practically raised Cassie in the class room. She is overly protective of her and certainly treats her other kids different. Cassie sees that it is unfair. Her dad is the artist of the family and a free spirit. He doesn't see the world like everyone else and he takes a more gentle approach with how to love his youngest child. He allows Cassie to watch him create and shares secrets with her that he would not share with anyone else.

Her siblings always seem to be miles away from her as though they realize they have a younger sibling and yet sometimes refuse to acknowledge the bond that definitely could've formed between them. Her sister is perhaps the toughest one of all to understand. She works for the mayor, a character that has a great deal of charisma and has an addiction to his power, and doesn't question everything - not like Cassie. She is always trying to make the city government look better and I can't decide if that is admirable or annoying. She is the sibling that constantly rains on Cassie's parade and point out that when important things had happened, Cassie wasn't alive. Her brother tries to be supportive of his sister and not make things so awkward for her. He realizes that she is struggling with the age gap so he just doesn't push like her sister does. He manages to bring humor to some of the hardest moments. He helps Cassie find her place in the world, even if it is not with their family.

I really liked this book. So check it out!


Snowed In? So Read - Giveaway Hop

1:39 PM

I am going to start flooding my blog with reviews starting today but I thought I would start out the fun with another giveaway which is being hosted by Stuck In Books since my last one just finished. The winners will also be chosen today and the emails will be sent out!

I have so many books finished, some of which I completely adore with all my heart, and I can't wait to share all my fangirling over some of things that happen. So, because I wanted to support one of my new favorite books, I am giving away Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano. First I love my ARC cover for this novel. Second I hadn't known what I would think of it. Third it is not really about romance, which was a big contrast to the book I had been having a book hangover with. 

 Perfect Ruin (Internment Chronicles, #1)
Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.

So, here's the details - this giveaway is international (something I absolutely adore being able to do) and it will end on January 15th. There are five entries with varying values on the point system and one is required but lucky for you, it's entirely on me!

Feel free to comment below with any ideas for future giveaways or what you think about Lauren DeStefano's novels especially if you've had a chance to read this book!

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There are a bunch of other blogs participating in the hop, so check 'em out!


Midwinter Eve Giveaway Hop

10:42 AM

I know, I know... it seems like all I post is giveaways but here's the deal. I am going to start posting reviews shortly and catch up on blog tour posts. I've been pretty sick plus putting my dog down has made my past two weeks pretty crappy. So, my lateness in all of the required stuff is entirely my fault. Anyway, here's what I've got going on for this giveaway:

This is hosted by Bookhounds and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.

I have two awesome books up for giveaway and three chances to win one of these books. I have read both of them and I think that they are awesome. These are the options:

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. 

One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House ( and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

A trio of today's bestselling authors - John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle- brings all the magic of the holidays to life in three hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and kisses that will steal your breath away.

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors ofNick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

So, which one do you want? Enter below!
Check out the other blogs in this hop!

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Dystopian December

10:50 PM

Oh, to end one giveaway and begin another. I seriously need to actually start posting all of the reviews I have almost ready to post... sort of. But then Thanksgiving hit and the turkey mixed with seeing family nevertheless makes me lazy. Anyway, beyond my awesome excuses and my unintended absence, here is the latest and greatest from my side of the computer.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email about this opportunity to participate in this giveaway and I was pretty much thrilled at the prospect! There is one particular dystopian that I fell in love with earlier this year, Stung by Bethany Wiggins, and I knew that I had to put it on the list of books to win (although it isn't the most epic prize on the giveaway list)!

So here's the deal. Rather than have you hop around to all these awesome blogs, you have the chance to win any of the awesome books through a single Rafflecopter and all you have to do is have your Twitter account at the ready to follow these awesome blogs. 

If I could somehow follow myself and enter this giveaway, I would because these books are awesome! I hope you enter and may the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway