Monthly Archives: December 2012

Stacking the Shelves (17)

Stacking the ShelvesStacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and is a great way to share your book haul with other bloggers. It’s been two weeks since my last Stacking the Shelves post, and here’s what I received since then (click on the book covers to go to Goodreads):

For Review from NetGalley & Edelweiss:

In The Shadow of BlackbirdsLinkedStarglass

In the Shadow of the Blackbirds by Cat Winters. Release date: April 2 2013 (Amulet Books). I’m thrilled to have been approved for this title! Although I was secretly hoping to receive a physical ARC in the mail, I’m not going to complain! This is a ghost story set in 1918.

Linked by Imogen Howson. Release date: June 11 2013 (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers). This creepy story is about twin girls who don’t know about each other, but are linked nonetheless. Government conspiracies and secrets?  This sounds amazing!

Starglass by Phoebe North. Release date: July 23 2013 (Simon & Schuster). This story takes place on a spaceship (yea!) and sounds really good.

Big thanks to Amulet and Simon & Schuster!

Indies for Review:

CrashersThe Ghosts of Nagasaki

Crashers by Lindy S. Hudis. Now available. A friend of mine referred Lindy to me, and I was happy to agree to read her book. This is a thriller about accident fraud, not really my normal taste in books, but I am curious to see how it translates into fiction.

The Ghosts of Nagasaki by Daniel Clausen. Now available. I was mostly interested in Daniel’s book because it takes place in Japan, a country that I love and a place I lived in for a year during college.

Won:

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Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool. Release date: January 8 2013 (Delacorte Books for Young Readers). I believe I entered a Publishers Weekly contest for this book.  I’ve never read Vanderpool, but I hear her books are pretty amazing. This one is geared more toward the middle grade crowd.

What’s on your shelves this week?

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My 2013 Reading Challenges

Reading Challenge 2013I have to admit, I’m a newbie when it comes to reading challenges. I’ve never done one before! So what does one do to remedy that situation? Why, sign up for four reading challenges! Yep, I’ve done it now…I’m committing myself to four different challenges (one of them being my own) for 2013. I think some of them will intersect, so I’ll be able to use the same books for more than one challenge, but I’m looking forward to completing all four next year. As I complete a book, I will highlight it in red. I will also link it to my review.  Selections subject to change! Click on the challenge buttons for more information on how to sign up. Here’s what I’ve signed up for:

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OK, this is my own challenge. I actually started it as a personal goal to play catch up with my TBR pile. Since I made it up, it doesn’t have very many rules (yet) and there aren’t even any minimum requirements for participating. If you’d like more info on my 2013 Catch Up Reading Challenge, click here to read more, and sign up if you’d like! I’ve chosen eight books to “catch up” on, which you can see on my post.

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Hosted by Hobbitsies, this is a well-established Reading Challenge that I’m excited to be a part of! The challenge is to read twelve YA or Middle Grade debuts during the year.  Here is my list, although it is subject to change, depending on my mood:)

1. Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
2. Insomnia by J. R. Johansson
3. The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
4. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
5. Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
6. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
7. The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
8. Linked by Imogen Howson
9 . Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
10. Pantomime by Laura Lam
11. In the After by Demitria Lunetta
12. Poison by Bridget Zinn

SARCThe 2013 Standalone Reading Challenge, hosted by Icey Books & I Like These Books, is asking us to read fifteen YA or Middle Grade standalone novels. I think it’s a great idea because I usually find series books very frustrating. Either a great-sounding book comes along but I haven’t read the first book in the series yet (and don’t have time!) or the second book in a series that I love comes out but I don’t have time to read it. Here’s what I plan to read for this challenge:

1. Invisibility by Andrea Cremer & David Levithan
2. Thin Space by Jody Casella
3. Control by Lydia Kang
4. Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
5. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
6. Poison by Bridget Zinn
7. The Gathering Dark by Christine Johnson
8. Transparent by Natalie Whipple
9. Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum
10. Starglass by Phoebe North
11. Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield
12. Absent by Katie Williams
13. Hysteria by Megan Miranda
14. Acid by Emma Pass
15. Arclight by Josin L. McQuein

2013eclecticreaderThe 2013 Eclectic Reader Challenge, hosted by Book’d Out, sounds like a blast! Simply read twelve books from twelve different categories. Some of them are harder than others, but the goal is to push yourself to read things you normally wouldn’t read. Here are the books I’m going to read:

  1. Translated fiction – Revenge by Yoko Ogawa (Translated from Japanese)
  2. Historical mystery – Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
  3. Romantic suspense – Thorn Abbey by Nancy Ohlin
  4. Made into a movie – Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
  5. New Adult - Easy by Tammara Webber
  6. Urban Fantasy – Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone
  7. Dystopian – Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  8. Memoir – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
  9. LGBT – Blood Oranges by Kathleen Tierney
  10. Action Adventure – Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines
  11. Humour – Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore
  12. Published in 2013 – The Archived by Victoria Schwab

What reading challenges are you participating in? I’d love to know!

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SPLINTERED by A. G. Howard – Review

SplinteredSplintered by A. G. Howard

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: January 1 2013

Pages: 384

five stars

What if Wonderland was real, and Lewis Carroll’s story was only a skewed version of the truth? Imagine a more twisted and terrifyingly strange Wonderland than the one we are familiar with and you will have an inkling of what’s in store for you between the pages of Splintered. I honestly couldn’t have chosen a more wonderful book to end the year with (or begin the new year, if you want to look at it that way, since Splintered hits stores on January 1st).  From beginning to end I was enthralled, enchanted and in awe of the magical and frightening world that Howard has put to paper. The modern spin makes it even more appealing, and I have to say I even loved the love triangle!

Alyssa is descended from the original “Alice,” Alice Liddell, the girl who inspired Lewis Carroll to write Alice in Wonderland, a fact she feels very uncomfortable about and tries to hide. And she’s got good reason. Her mother, Alison, is mad and has been living in an asylum for most of Alyssa’s life, due to a terrible event from her childhood that she can barely remember. And just like Alison, Alyssa can hear the whispers of bugs and flowers, proof that she herself is going crazy, just like her mother. But on a visit to the asylum one day, Alyssa gets some very important clues to her past from her crazed mother, and thus begins her adventure. Accompanied by her secret crush and good friend Jeb, Alyssa is beckoned into Wonderland through a mirror by a mysterious boy from her past, a boy who tells her that the only way she can get back home is to help him fix the mistakes that Alice made when she visited Wonderland many years ago. What follows is a wild and circuitous path through a Wonderland far more dark and dangerous than even Carroll could imagine.

And yes, there is a love triangle, but honestly, it’s a good one. Jeb is the boy who Alyssa is secretly crushing over, a boy she’s been good friends with ever since she can remember. He and Alyssa both hang out at the town’s underground skate park, Underland, which is one of those modern twists that I love so much. But when Jeb is thrust into Wonderland, he seems to be a fish out of water, a fact that makes him even more human and likable. Morpheus is Alyssa’s childhood pal from Wonderland, a creature with wings who can turn himself into a moth, a boy who has grown into a very sexy man who Alyssa has a hard time resisting. I loved the parts where Jeb and Morpheus fight over Alyssa, and I especially loved that Alyssa is torn between the two, almost as if she needs both Jeb’s lightness and Morpheus’ darkness to feel complete. Alyssa describes Morpheus like this:

“He’s a contradiction: taut magic coiled to strike, gentleness at war with severity, a tongue as sharp as a whip’s edge, yet skin so soft he could be swathed in clouds.”

And later in the story when they inevitably kiss, Alyssa has this reaction:

“His lips are salty-sweet with yesterday’s laughter…”

(For some strange reason I kept imagining Morpheus as Q from Star Trek. Their speech patterns were so similar that John de Lancie’s voice popped into my head every time he spoke!)

Alyssa herself is a wonderful character, a girl who doesn’t want to admit that she might be going crazy. She stays true to her desire to save her mother, even with all the craziness of Wonderland trying to throw her off course. She’s quite a quirky character and creates beautiful mosaics with dead bugs and flowers, which is her way of trying to block out the voices she hears. When she gets to Wonderland, memories from her past start to return, and Howard brilliantly drops these memories into the story in just the right places, slowly revealing the truth about her past with Morpheus. And as for the two boys, well, you’ll just have to see for yourself how that turns out.

Although this Wonderland is slightly off-center from the one you may be familiar with, the story is populated with many familiar, if distorted, characters. The White Rabbit is really named “Rabid White,” the Mad Hatter appears as Herman Hattington, and the Cheshire Cat is also in the story, but weirdly enough, has lost his head and is trying to get it back. Howard also uses certain recurring themes throughout, my favorite being the appearance of roses, alluding to the rose bushes in the Queen’s gardens from the original story. Every detail is carefully plotted and every word perfectly chosen to bring this version of Wonderland to life. Howard’s writing is truly exquisite and her dialog is beautifully timed. She’s either an extremely gifted writer, or she has an amazing editor (although I suspect the truth is some of both!). Here’s an example of her whip-smart dialog, when Alice meets Humpty Dumpty (or Humphrey as he’s actually called):

“What glory is there to be had in bettering an egg, hmm? Will you make of me a soufflé or perhaps have me coddled?”

“Coddled?” I ask, confused. “You mean like a parent coddles a child?”

He wriggles in the chair until his short legs almost dangle over the edge, causing the new cracks to stretch farther yet. “Coddled in water, you speck. Cooked just below boiling until my brains are scrambled. What sort of empty-headed rot are you? Do you not have a proper vocabulary? And why are you even here? Don’t see any cracks in your shell.”

There are marvels galore to be discovered in Splintered, and strangeness around every corner. The true beauty of this book is that it isn’t a rehash of Alice in Wonderland at all, but a unique story that perhaps explains some of Alice’s mysteries. According to A. G. Howard, of course.

Many thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.

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Introducing the Stephen King Library

SK calendar 2

A long time ago I was a member of Book-of-the-Month Club, and over the years I purchased many of the annual Stephen King Library Desk Calendars. They were filled with interesting King trivia, quotes from his many books, and beautiful artwork. The 2013 Stephen King Desk Calendar is no exception. I was approached by Leah Moss, who works for the Stephen King Library, and asked to give a shout-out to this lovely calendar, as well as the Stephen King Library, where you can purchase affordable editions of King’s most popular books. Leah was kind enough to send me a sample of the calendar, and I was so happy to receive it! I know many of us these days have resorted to scheduling our lives on our smartphones and computers, but there’s nothing quite like a paper and cardboard calendar that you can write in. This one is sturdy and contains lots of King info that every die-hard fan will eagerly inhale! Plus it’s spiral-bound and easily stays open on your desk. Every weekly layout contains Stephen King gems that are exclusive to this calendar, and for this year’s theme, the creators of this yearly calendar are celebrating milestones in King’s publishing career.

Want your own copy? You can get one for only $7.99 if you sign up for membership in the Stephen King Library. All the details are right here. Start 2013 out right with your very own copy! Thanks Leah:)

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Waiting on Wednesday (38) ACID by Emma Pass

Waiting on WednesdayWaiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is a fun way to share upcoming book releases that we bloggers are excited about. This last week in December is all about reading for me: catching up on my December books so I can dive head first into 2013, a year that is sure to be an amazing one, at least in regards to book publishing.  Here’s what I’m waiting on this week:

Acid - Emma PassAcid by Emma Pass. Release date: April 25 2013 (Corgi Children’s Books/Random House Children’s Publishing) I’ve had this on my Goodreads list for some time now, but with a blank cover. This incredible cover was just revealed recently, so now I can feature Acid as a Waiting on Wednesday! Here’s the Goodreads description:

ACID – the most brutal police force in history.
They rule with an iron fist.
They see everything. They know everything.
They locked me away for life.

My crime?
They say I murdered my parents.
I was fifteen years old.

My name is Jenna Strong.

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OK, that is seriously not enough info for me, but it does make you want to know more about the book, right? I personally cannot wait:) What are you waiting on this week? Leave me a comment or a link!

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Congrats to My TOUCHING THE SURFACE Winners!

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As a special Christmas gift, I wanted to announce my winners for Touching the Surface today, on Christmas:) I still need to email everyone, but I will get to that by tomorrow at the latest. So here we go:

Winner of a hardcover copy of Touching the Surface & *swag*

Lisa F.

Winners of a bracelet, bookmark and origami crane:

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Antonia

Lucy T. &

Sarah!

Congrats to everyone! After I confirm your mailing address, I’ll ship your prize out. Thanks for all your hopeful, happy and sometimes sad comments:) Enjoy the rest of your Christmas Day!

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Tammy’s Top Ten Indie Books of 2012

Top Ten Tuesday2

Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my friends who are celebrating this day! At this moment I am probably opening presents with my family, including two very excited children (ages 12 and 13), but I wanted to post a Top Ten for The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday Freebie today. I read so many indie books this year, and I wanted to highlight my favorites.  In trying to narrow down the list, I came up with eleven titles, and I just couldn’t eliminate one, so my Top Ten is actually a Top Eleven:)  Here they are, in alphabetical order:

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1. A Dark Time by Dennis E. Bradford.  This unconventional murder mystery stood out for its atmospheric quality and stellar writing, not to mention some very interesting characters. You can read my review here.

2. The Accordo by Roberta L. Smith. This ghostly tale is filled with complex characters and carefully researched details that make for a page-turning story of revenge and terror. You can read my review here.

3. Auraria by Tim Westover. Technically, Auraria is not an indie, but the small and quirky Q&W Publishers fits into my definition of indie, so I wanted to add it to my list.  Westover’s imagery is evocative and magical, and this is one tale that needs to find more readers. You can read my review here.

4. The Destroyed by Brett Battles. Brett is such a prolific writer, I’m amazed that he can keep the quality of his writing at top form, book after book. But he manages to do just that, improving with every book he writes. The Destroyed is a Jonathan Quinn thriller, and one of my favorites. You can read my review here.

5. The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry. I loved this coming-of-age story about a young girl whose less-than-perfect life causes her to run away from home, chasing after a man who plays a big part in her awakening sexuality. It is filled with characters that you will grow to love, and Lowry’s writing is exquisite and spare, a perfect style for this unique tale. You can read my review here.

6. The Gateway to Hell by Ray Mileur.  I loved this thriller with strong characters and lots of police action. Mileur has created one of my favorite fictional characters in PI Mike Shannon, and I hope to read another story about him soon. You can read my review here.

7. The Jesuit Papers by A. B. Fowler. This story surprised me. From the cover I expected something more scholarly and dry, but it had romance, action and mystery, as well as an exotic setting, all elements that made The Jesuit Papers a winning story. You can read my review here.

8. The Messiah Matrix by Kenneth John Atchity. Carefully researched and full of dramatic action, this indie deals with a controversial subject matter, but Atchity keeps the action going and the reader will not be able to stop turning the pages. You can read my review here.

9. Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo. This page-turner police procedural is unique for the relationships among its characters. Giammatteo jumps back and forth from present to past to tell the story of how some friendships can stand the test of time, and what happens to them when promises are broken. You can read my review here.

10. Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance by Terry Stanfill. I love when authors go back to the past to add depth to a story that takes place in the present, and Stanfill does this wonderfully. This story is full of carefully researched details about archeology and was not only fascinating to read, but a delightful romance as well. You can read my review here.

11. Scars on the Face of God: The Devil’s Bible by C. G. Bauer. My first love is horror, and this book delivers it and then some. Bauer’s tale is well-paced and filled with creepiness, and its 1960s small town setting makes it even creepier. You can read my review here.

I’m looking forward to reading more indies in 2013!

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Waiting on Wednesday (37) IN THE AFTER by Demitria Lunetta

Waiting on WednesdayWaiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is a fun way for book bloggers to share the books they are excited about. This week I’m waiting on:

InTheAfter - hi-res

In the After by Demitria Lunetta. Release date: June 25 2013 (Harper Teen). I love this slightly creepy and disturbing cover. I wanted to focus on a book that deals with The End of the World, since it’s almost upon us (!) I love that this horrific-sounding story deals with the relationship between a teen girl and a toddler. Very unusual! Here’s the description from Goodreads:

They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you’ve ever seen.
And They won’t stop chasing you…until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.

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Doesn’t that sound scary?? Seriously, I can’t wait. What are you waiting on? I’d love to know!

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Tammy’s Top Ten Books I Read in 2012

Top Ten Tuesday2Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)  is definitely my favorite of the year! And what a hard Top Ten to narrow down…I read so many wonderful books this year. Every book on my list received a five-star review, but many of my five-star reviews aren’t on this list. Cutting the list down to ten was very painful and agonizing, but in the interest of keeping this a true “Top Ten” list, I did just that. It was interesting to discover that eight out of the ten are adult books, which surprised me since I read a lot of YA as well. So here they are, my faves from the past year! I’m listing them in alphabetical order, so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings:) Oh, and I’m trying out WordPress’ new slide show feature, what do you think?

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1. 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Yes, this book came out in November of 2011, but I didn’t get around to reading it until January. And I’m so glad I did! Although long (849 pages), I loved every word. King writes a tense and engaging time travel novel about the repercussions of changing events in the past (like for example, JFK’s shooting). But it’s a lot more complicated than it seems on the surface. One of my all-time favorite King stories.

2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  I love fairy tale re-tellings, and this has got to be one of the most enjoyable ones I’ve ever read. Cinderella as a cyborg?? Yes! This imaginative story is only the first of four books in the series, the next of which comes out in February. So if you loved Cinder, you have a lot to look forward to. You can read my review of Cinder here.

3. Edge of Oblivion by J. T. Geissinger. Wow, this book took me totally by surprise! It’s published by Montlake Romance, a publishing arm of Amazon, and I really wasn’t expecting the quality of writing and story building that I found in this amazing book. Not for kids, though! I’d rate it NC17 if it were a movie:) You can read my review here.

4. The Reckoning by Alma Katsu. The second book in Katsu’s The Taker Trilogy did not disappoint. It was a lush and dangerous descent into the minds of some very fascinating characters, and I can’t wait for the third book in the series, which will hopefully be published in 2013. You can read my review here.

5. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley.  This adult paranormal story was funny, entertaining, confusing, surprising, and amazing! It was one of the most unique stories I read all year, and it has been compared to Harry Potter, X-Men and Ghostbusters. It’s really none of those, but something completely original. I look forward to reading more from this talented writer.

6. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. I read this for book club back in March, and was blown away by the violent, gritty and unexpectedly funny Eli and Charlie Sisters, two outlaw killers that seem more human than many of the “good guy” characters I’ve read in other books. Reading this book has given me a fondness for westerns, and I hope to read more like it soon.

7. Something Red by Douglas Nicholas. I don’t usually seek out historical fiction, but this book seemed too good to pass up.  Something Red has some of the best characters I’ve read all year. Mysterious and epic and filled with action as well as tender human moments, I hope more readers discover this amazing book. You can read my review here.

8. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff. It’s hard for me to describe how much I loved this book. Oddly, I’ve read some really mixed reviews, and I think the reason some people just didn’t get it was that it wasn’t what they were expecting. It’s a beautifully written fantasy with a lovely relationship between a girl and a griffin, but it’s set in a harsh world where lots of bad things happen. Just read it already! You can read my review here.

9. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. Gladstone is a master of world-building, and the odd but compelling city of Alt Coulumb has wonders to spare. I was completely immersed in the story of Tara, Abelard, Cat and Raz and I can’t wait for the sequel next year. You can read my review here.

10. Velveteen by Daniel Marks. I just managed to squeeze this in before this post was due to go up, and I’m so glad I did. Wow. Marks’ wonderful but horrifying depiction of purgatory is tempered by some pretty awesome characters, especially Velveteen, a very angry girl who has died horribly and now wants nothing more than to take revenge on the madman that killed her. Oh, and to get to know the newest and hottest soul in town, Nick. Look for my review coming soon.

I’d love to hear what your top ten books are! Please link me up, or just let me know in the comments! Next week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie, and although it’s Christmas day, I’ll be posting my Top Ten Indie Books of 2012. I read some amazing indies, and they deserve some love as well:)

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TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini – Review + Giveaway!

Touching the Surface2Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini

Genre: YA Paranormal

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: October 30 2012

Pages: 352

five stars

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in a story is to find an author who knows how to slowly reveal her story’s secrets.  Kimberly Sabatini does this by taking our hands and leading us into a strange and wondrous version of the afterlife, a world where the dead are trying to figure out what comes next, and the answers are not at all clear-cut. This is the type of book that really makes you think. Through story the author is asking each of us to take stock of how we live our lives, and evaluate whether or not we’re on the right path. But don’t be scared off by this seemingly heavy subject matter; Touching the Surface is also a funny, romantic, and nail-biting story full of quirky characters and gorgeous imagery.

When the story begins, a girl named Elliott has just been pulled out of a lake, and moments later realizes that she is back at the Obmil for the third time. Elliott, you see, has just died again, and the fact that she’s here in this familiar place tells her that something has gone wrong in her previous life.  We are introduced to a host of characters who are also trying to work out their issues and who all seem to be connected to Elliott in one way or another. Elliott is especially drawn to two boys, Oliver and Trevor. Oliver is sweet and friendly and seems to have had a positive relationship with Elliott in her last life. Trevor, however, is an angry young man who despises Elliott and tries to avoid her, despite the fact that he cannot stay away from her. But the relationship among the three of them is much more complicated that you think, and Sabatini uses all 300+ pages to slowly peel back the layers of their stories, only revealing the truths near the end. Mixed in with this drama is a girl named Julia, a girl who has traveled with Elliott through all three of her lives but decides it might be for the best to leave Elliott behind and find her path without her friend, a decision that confuses and hurts them both.

Elliott and her friends must participate in “delving,” a way of reliving a past life in order to remember significant moments. But she is terrified that whatever event caused her to end up here will be too painful of a memory, so Elliott tries to avoid delving as long as possible. It is only with Trevor’s help that she finds the courage to face the past and move on. This is not a story that is easy to predict. More than once I fell into the trap of thinking I had things figured out, only to be surprised when events unfolded quite differently than I expected.

One of my favorite parts of Touching the Surface is the way the Obmil constantly shifts and changes. Residents are able to project and create whatever reality they want or need, and so the scenery and weather are always in flux. (It reminded me a bit of the individual “heavens” in The Lovely Bones.) Each physical reality a character creates not only adds an interesting layer to the story, but works as a metaphor to describe what that character is trying to work through. And speaking of characters, I loved all the complicated but ultimately satisfying relationships between Elliott and her friends in the afterlife. You might not understand them all at first, but Sabatini gets to the bottom of each character’s soul in surprising and revealing ways.  I also loved Kimberly’s writing, which is lovely and poetic and full of emotion. After all, souls at the Obmil are working through some pretty disturbing memories, and the prose lets the emotions of the characters shine through.

Kudos to Sabatini for being brave enough, in a very crowded YA market where many books are starting to feel the same, to break the mold and write a story with depth and heart, a story that makes the reader think about things like soul mates, heaven and hell, and whether or not the path you take in this life will have repercussions in the next.  I suspect that everyone who reads this book will take away something different from it, which is exactly the way it should be.

Kimberly SabatiniAbout the author (from Goodreads):

Kimberly Sabatini is a former Special Education Teacher who is now a stay-at-home mom and a part-time dance instructor for 3, 4 and 5 year olds. After her dad passed away in 2005, she used writing as a way to make sense of the experience and discovered that she’s full of questions that need to be answered. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and three boys. Kimberly writes Young Adult fiction and is represented by Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary Agency. She is thrilled to be part of the “Wolf Pack.” TOUCHING THE SURFACE is her debut novel.

Find Kimberly:  * Website * Goodreads * Twitter * Amazon * Barnes & Noble

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This giveaway is now over. Giveaway Time! I’m thrilled to be one of Kimberly’s “hotspots” to help her promote Touching the Surface! She has sent me a bunch of goodies, some of which I’m giving away right here! One lucky winner will receive a hardcover copy of Touching the Surface, as well as a signed bookmark, bracelet and some lovely paper cranes (which figure into the story, so if you want to find out the meaning behind them, you will just have to read the book!). Four additional winners will receive a signed bookmarkbracelet and a paper crane. This giveaway is super simple! For a chance to win one of these prizes, simply leave a comment below, telling me whether or not you think you’ve met your soul mate. In the spirit of the holidays, I’m opening this giveaway up to EVERYONE, which means it’s international. Giveaway will run until December 24, at which time I’ll pick the winners using random.org. Many thanks to Kimberly for supplying the bookmarks, bracelets and cranes:) Good luck everyone!

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