Monday, June 30, 2014

Review: The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett

Release date: June 24, 2014
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 272
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided through Netgalley
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
What really happened after the clock struck midnight?

Jane Montjoy is tired of being a lady. She's tired of pretending to live up to the standards of her mother's noble family-especially now that the family's wealth is gone and their stately mansion has fallen to ruin. It's hard enough that she must tend to the animals and find a way to feed her mother and her little sister each day. Jane's burden only gets worse after her mother returns from a trip to town with a new stepfather and stepsister in tow. Despite the family's struggle to prepare for the long winter ahead, Jane's stepfather remains determined to give his beautiful but spoiled child her every desire. 

When her stepfather suddenly dies, leaving nothing but debts and a bereaved daughter behind, it seems to Jane that her family is destined for eternal unhappiness. But a mysterious boy from the woods and an invitation to a royal ball are certain to change her fate...

From the handsome prince to the evil stepsister, nothing is quite as it seems in Tracy Barrett's stunning retelling of the classic Cinderella tale.
The Stepsister's Tale is a retelling of Cinderella that's almost gritty, almost rough in its interpretation of the well-loved fairy tale, and it works. It's a fairy tale that's so associated with beauty and magic, thanks to Disney, that you would think a touch of dirt would take away its luster, but it has the opposite effect. And instead of shining a light on the cruelty of others and true love taking Cinderella away, The Stepsister's Tale highlights familial (especially sisterly) love and duty and works to show that the value of a person doesn't lie in how they're born or their title, but simply in who they are and who they choose to be.

The novel follows a general path of Cinderella, though many of the details are turned on their heads. The stepsisters aren't evil, just hard-working and want a little help. The mother isn't evil, either--maybe she's a little out of her mind, actually. The prince is not the kind of man a self-respecting girl wants to marry. The ball isn't glittering and immaculate. And even our Cinderella isn't the cinder maid left out from the ball out of spite. Happily ever after just may not include a royal wedding. I thought it was such fun wondering how Tracy Barrett was going to make things work out, because I knew I couldn't just expect the ending the fairy tale gives. From the first page you can tell this isn't that kind of book.

And what worked really well for me, too, is that the story is slow and rather uncomplicated. There aren't bunches of bells and whistles added to the retelling to make it different, instead making it simply a look at the story from a new perspective, one we never thought we'd sympathize with. It is slower in plot, but it worked for me because there's a lot of development of the world and life of the family, weaving smaller interactions and moments into the larger story. Jane is a no-nonsense kind of girl who gets things done and takes care of people without them asking.

Jane and Maude's mother is obsessed with their lost wealth and fallen status, insisting that they are ladies and should act as such, even though the girls know they're far from the stations they were born into. Isabella (our Cinderella) believes she's above the girls because of their appearance and manners. Their neighbors believe the Montjoys all think they're above the common people because they formerly had wealth. But the story shows time and time again that those born into wealth and power aren't better than those born with nothing and that the prejudices people form based on these circumstances are flawed.

AND, the romance is adorable. And every word that means cute and sweet. It's one of those with moments that made my heart beat faster and left my face with the stupidest grin. It's all the more endearing for its innocence and its optimism. I don't know what it is about Jane and Will's romance, but I just couldn't stop that grin each and every time they talked. All books need this romance, because I don't often find myself reacting to scenes like I did here.

If you like (or can stand, at least) stories that take a while to work into the action, The Stepsister's Tale is really a lovely retelling. It's simple in form and in execution, but all the lovelier for it, allowing the story and themes to speak for themselves. It retains a fairy tale tone, even as it comes and contradicts its source over and over. I just really enjoyed reading it, all the way through.

About the author:

Tracy Barrett is the author of numerous books and magazine articles for young readers. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree with honors in Classics-Archaeology from Brown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Her scholarly interests in the ancient and medieval worlds overlap in her fiction and nonfiction works.

She teaches Italian, Women’s Studies, English, and Humanities at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She occasionally manages to combine her two “lives,” as in her presentation at a conference on the Classics in children’s literature in Wales in July, 2009. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Stacking the Shelves {74}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

How was everybody's week? Mine's been good! :) I finished the first group of summer classes Thursday afternoon, so I'm now two classes from graduating! Woo! The better part is that I have nothing to do and nowhere to go until Wednesday. I've been enjoying doing nothing and will continue to do so. Otherwise, my mom and sister-in-law visited Monday through Wednesday so I ate too much food and had a great time with them. It's been a good one! :)

For review:

Jackaby by William Ritter
Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

The Fall by Bethany Griffin
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

A big, big thanks to Algonquin, Little, Brown, HarperTeen, Greenwillow, Edelweiss and Netgalley for these! :)

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Monday - Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Tuesday - Teaser Tuesday: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols
Wednesday - Waiting on Wednesday: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger
Thursday - Review: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
Friday - Let's Talk About... When You Don't Connect

Books I read this week:
The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett
Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace

I'm currently reading:
Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

So that's been my week! Serious happy dance for those books! These are some of my most anticipated reads of the year, so I was obviously crazy excited to get them. :) I can't wait to start reading! And hey! Today's the last day to enter my blogoversary giveaway! Do it while you still can! :D Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Let's Talk About... When You Don't Connect

I think most of us are guilty of "not connecting" to a book, more specifically and most often to characters. 

To me, it's kind of the worst thing when I start a book, continue reading a book, and finish a book without ever finding a connection to the main character(s). It's not even that I don't like the characters most of the time, but it's just that I can't find myself caring about a character. I can't find a similarity between us, I can't sympathize or empathize. 

So what does one do when you just can't bring yourself care about a character? I honestly don't know. Sometimes a book will have a fall back. Sometimes I find myself really into the secondary characters, the plot, or the world. Even so, I often find my ratings for those books being in the "meh" region. (I actually even have a meh tag, it happens often enough.)

And it's something I hate, but I can't help it! Characters that we can identify with and care for are pretty darn important, wouldn't you say? So, who are some of your favorite, most loved characters? :)

I will leave you will some happy Troy, because gifs are fun. :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Release date: June 11, 2013
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 373
Format: Hardcover
Source: Won
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Anna Van Housen has a secret. 

A gifted illusionist, Anna assists her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums, and mentalists in 1920’s New York. As the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini—or so Marguerite claims—sleight of hand illusions have never been a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her own gifts secret from her opportunistic mother. Because while Marguerite’s own powers may be a sham, Anna possesses a true ability to sense people’s feelings and foretell the future.

But as Anna’s powers intensify, she begins to experience frightening visions of her mother in peril, which leads her to explore the powers she’s tried so long to hide. And when a mysterious young man named Cole moves into the flat downstairs, introducing Anna to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, she is forced to confront her past and rethink everything she’s ever known. Is her mother truly in danger, or are Anna’s visions merely illusion? And could the great Houdini really be her father, or is it just another of Marguerite’s tricks?

From Teri Brown comes a world bursting with magic, with romance, and the temptations of Jazz Age New York—and the story of a girl about to become the mistress of her own destiny.
I knew I wanted to read Born of Illusion for a reason! It took me forever to get around to reading it, but if you're like me and been putting this one off, I'd recommend you stop that and pick this one up as soon as possible. It's set in New York during the roaring twenties, with all the glitz glamour, jazz, flappers, and fascination with the afterlife that it entails. Born of Illusion is an immensely fun and appealing read.

Anna Van Housen and her mother have a complicated relationship. Her mother is a "medium" who performs both shows and private seances, but Anna is the real thing. They've come to New York hopefully to settle down in a more permanent job, and all Anna wants is a normal life, away from the constant travelling and breaking her mother out of jail that permeated her childhood. This hard relationship between Anna and Marguerite and the idea of a performer's life versus a normal life form much of the foundation of the book, and ground it really well in the real world when most of the rest of the story is based in the spiritual world.

Fair warning, there is a love triangle kind of thing going on, but it's pretty obvious Anna's preference and it's completely and totally resolved by the end of the book. Otherwise, I thought the romance was really cute and appealing, even as it's not the most important part of the story.

And it's so cool that a book that is all about magic is so focused on character. Not only does Anna have a great progression both as a character and in her relationships, but we're given the growth of so many other characters and her relationships with them. Through experience she comes to understand her mother, their manager, Cole, her neighbor, and Houdini (Yes, we see Houdini! In the literary flesh!) so much more and is a much more compassionate and empowered character because of it.

Born of Illusion manages both to be exciting and interesting in the magic elements of the story and character-driven at the same time. It's such a fun read, too! If you haven't picked up and started this series yet, I urge haste, I really do. I know I'll be reading the sequel, Born of Deception, as soon as possible.

About the author:

Well behaved women rarely make history. Teri Brown lived that quote way before she ever even heard it. The two things she is most proud of, (besides her children), is that she jumped out of an airplane once and she beat the original Legend of Zelda video game. She is a novel writer, head banger, pet keeper, math hater, cocktail drinker, booty shaker, book reader, city slicker, food fixer, French kisser, rule breaker, wine sipper and word scribbler. She loves her husband, kitties and chocolate.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger {50}

Title: 5 to 1
Author: Holly Bodger
Release date: May 2015
In the year 2052, after decades of gender selection, Koyanagar--a country severed from India--now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, and women are an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of wedding their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife. But after fighting so hard for freedom against the old ways of gender selection, these women have become just as deluded as their male predecessors. 

Sudasa Singh doesn't want to be a wife and Kiran, a boy competing to be her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa's family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Kiran's family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, each thwarts the other until they slowly realize that they might want the same thing.

This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view—Sudasa's in verse and Kiran's in prose—allowing readers to feel both characters' pain and grasps at hope.
Did you read that synopsis? Can you blame me for being excited? I love the idea that it's told partially in prose and partially in verse, too. But May 2015? I'm crying. A lot.

So what are you guys waiting on this week? :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols {76}

Title: Biggest Flirts
Author: Jennifer Echols
Release date: May 20, 2014
Pages: 336
Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laidback swagger. 

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…

My teaser, from p.120 in the hardcover:
Or, he had. I could tell by the way he was looking up at the sky that he was angry. Angelica had turned her back on him because she didn't like her boyfriend being named Biggest Flirt with another girl. And that meant my delicious friendship with Will was about to come to a screeching halt.
I'm so SO excited to read this one! It just sounds so adorable, and it took a while for me to get a copy but now I have one and I'm happy! :D

I'll be visiting around and visiting back, so leave me links to your teasers! :) Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Release date: June 3, 2014
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 343
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern's insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.
Say What You Will is one of those books that it's very difficult for me to give a star rating. It's not that I don't see the value in the story and don't applaud how honest it is, not at all, but it's that I never especially connected to Amy and Matthew and that I couldn't glean enjoyment out of my reading experience. I didn't close the book and say to myself, "Wow, what an amazing book!" The fact that I never felt pleasure in reading the book makes it hard for me to give it a high rating, but the value of the story and characters is immense and deserves one, if that makes sense.

Amy and Matthew are high schoolers dealing with very different but very serious handicaps. Amy has cerebral palsy, so she can't walk without assistance, talks through a voice box, and her muscles even randomly twitch. One of Amy's aides is Matthew, who has obsessive compulsive disorder and who can't go down the hallways without tapping the lockers. As the school year progresses, the two find in the other a kindred spirit, not because of a handicap, but in personality and sense of humor, and they help one another come out of their shells and have a real friend.

Say What You Will is straightforward to the point that it's hard to connect, however. You're not spared any details. The third-person point of view keeps you at a distance from Amy and Matthew; it shows their stories, but it's hard to feel anything from them. Amy is smart and strong-willed, almost to a fault, and you just know she's fragile behind that, but you never feel that. You see it later on, but Amy from the first half of the book never connected to Amy of the second half, at least to me. And there were times that I couldn't help but feel like parts of the plot were created to make extra drama, because getting there would include a lot of stupidity from Amy that was just out of character.

I applaud Say What You Will for its honesty, and its message is important. I think this is a valuable book, too. Amy and Matthew's dual struggles into accepting who they are, finding friends who accept it as well, and seeking independence are lovely in theory, but they just never hit me like they should or could have.

(I'm forgoing a rating here, because I just can't give one. It wouldn't properly demonstrate how I feel.)

About the author:

Cammie McGovern was born in Evanston, Illinois, but moved to Los Angeles when she was seven years old. She is the author of three adult novels, The Art of Seeing, Eye Contact, and Neighborhood Watch. Say What You Will will be published by HarperTeen in June, 2014. She currently lives in Amherst, MA, with her husband and three sons, the oldest of whom is autistic.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Stacking the Shelves {73}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

How was everybody's week? Mine's been...filled with work. Yep! BUT, by the end of today my big research paper will be completely written and will only need a bit of editing. And that's most of my stress gone! :D I did take most of the week away from the blog, as you'll see on the recap. It worked wonders, too. I got a bit of reading done, though not much, but not having to write reviews saved so much time! I'll be back this week, however, like normal. :)

I also signed up for Kaye at Watercolor Moods' Support Strange Chem blog hop after the news that Strange Chemistry was shutting down, and I encourage you to do so too! It's not necessarily giveaways, fyi, only if you want to include one.

For review:

The Merciless by Danielle Vega

A big, big thanks to Razorbill and Netgalley for this! :)


Shift by Kim Curran
Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen (paperback but I'm too lazy to take pictures...)
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

What with Strange Chemistry shutting down I'm going to be working on picking up lots of their books so I don't miss out. Stolen Songbird is the only one my B&N had (and is seriously good!), and Shift is only $1.99!

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Monday - The Low Down
Tuesday - Teaser Tuesday: 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen
Wednesday - Waiting on Wednesday: Atlantia by Ally Condie

Books I read this week:
Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

I'm currently reading:
The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett

So that's been my week! I am back to normal this week, so I'm excited about that. This is the last week of the first half of summer classes, and two of my classes will be finished by Friday. One will continue and I'll start a new one next Monday. Woo? But that is MY LAST MONTH OF COLLEGE. How weird is that? And hey! Don't forget about my blogoversary giveaway that's still going on! There's still lots of time to enter! :D Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Atlantia by Ally Condie {49}

Title: Atlantia
Author: Ally Condie
Release date: October 28, 2014
Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

One of these days I'm going to find a mermaid book I love, I just know it! Until then, I'll keep trying them. :) I really enjoyed Ally Condie's Matched books (though I still have yet to read Reached...) so hopefully that bodes well for enjoying this. Plus, preeeeeeetty. :D

So what are you guys waiting on this week? :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen {75}

Title: 17 First Kisses
Author: Rachael Allen
Release date: June 17, 2014
Pages: 352
No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.

My teaser, from 22% in the egalley:
But he's looking at me with question marks in his eyes, and it seems so silly to say no, so I find myself nodding my head and following him up the stairs. Megan's mouth falls open.

I'm dead.

I mean, I am seriously going to catch hell for this later. I sneak a sideways glance at Luke's dimples. It's worth it.
Happy release day to 17 First Kisses! I'm hoping to get to reading this one soon, because I've seen some really raving reviews! :D

I'll be visiting around and visiting back, so leave me links to your teasers! :) Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Low Down

If you read my Stacking the Shelves post yesterday, I mentioned that I might be taking some time away from blogging (a week or two, no more) to focus on my classes, since I'm about to have a whole lot to do for school.

I've given that some thought, and that's not exactly what I'm going to do. Instead of formally saying I'm going to be gone for the next week or two, I'm just going to leave it up in the air. I'll definitely be posting memes this week (Teaser Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday, Stacking the Shelves), but I'm not going to be focusing on getting books read and writing reviews. I will be focusing, however, on getting comments returned in my spare moments. I might get a review up this week, I might not. I'm not putting any pressure, just going with the flow and seeing what my work load allows.

So, that's not the most informative post, but I just want y'all to know I'm not going anywhere! It'll be quiet, but I'm here, and I'll be on Twitter all week to chat, but I won't be doing the work-intensive posts. Hopefully by next Monday I'll have the bulk of my work done and will be back on my normal schedule!

Have a great week y'all! :D

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Stacking the Shelves {72}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

How was everybody's week? Mine's been pretty good! I came home for the weekend, since it's Father's Day and all, which is a nice break from school, but it's also making me realize how much work I've got to do in the next two weeks and completely stressing me out--and I'm not someone who stresses easily. I'm contemplating putting the blog to the side for the next week or so so that I can get things done without worrying about reading and posting, but we'll see. Anyways, I finally got those packages that have been waiting for me! :D

For review:

The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien
Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore

A big, big thanks to Macmillan, Bloomsbury Children's, and Netgalley for these! :)


The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes + swag (signed!), from the awesome Paula Stokes--and this book is seriously so good, read it!

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Monday - Review: Cinderella's Dress by Shonna Slayton
Tuesday - Teaser Tuesday: Born of Deception (Born of Illusion #2) by Teri Brown
Wednesday - Waiting on Wednesday: The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
Thursday - Review: Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn

Books I read this week:
Cinderella's Dress by Shonna Slayton
The Alchemist by Ben Jonson
The Man of Mode by George Etherege
Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn

I'm currently reading:
Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

So that's been my week! I'm seriously behind on comments, and I'm hoping if I do take a bit of break in the next week I'll spend a little time catching up without having new comments on new posts piling up on me. I'm still not sure, but expect a post tomorrow about it if I do. And hey! Don't forget about my blogoversary giveaway that's still going on! There's still lots of time to enter! :D Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Review: Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn

Release date: May 13, 2014
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 339
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided through Netgalley
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Summer, boys, and friendships gone sour. This new series has everything that perfect beach reads are made of!

Gemma just got dumped and is devastated. She finds herself back in the Hamptons for the summer—which puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friend that she wronged five years earlier. Do people hold grudges that long? 

When a small case of mistaken identity causes everyone, including Hallie and her dreamy brother Josh, to think she’s someone else, Gemma decides to go along with it.

Gemma's plan is working (she's finding it hard to resist Josh), but she's finding herself in embarrassing situations (how could a bathing suit fall apart like that!?). Is it coincidence or is someone trying to expose her true identity? And how will Josh react if he finds out who she is? 

Katie Finn hits all the right notes in this perfect beginning to a new summer series: A Broken Hearts & Revenge novel.
Based on the cover, title, and synopsis, Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend sounded like the perfect fun, summer beach read... But if that's what you're expecting, you will be disappointed. Instead, we get a story that, by the end, is like a teenage version of Revenge, that pulpy TV show that I avoid watching because it's not really the kind of thing I like. There's a certain appeal to this, but it's simply not what I expected coming in--and it's not even how the book feels at the beginning.

While an enjoyable enough read, with lots of cringe-worthy but mostly fun moments where Gemma's life careens into disaster, it's hard to really get into Gemma's situation. Her unexpected breakup with her boyfriend Teddy made me feel bad for her and root for her trip to the Hamptons to escape, but not long after she's telling all about how she destroyed her father's relationship with a woman he was involved with, along with that woman's career. How do we come back from that? You get that she was young and upset, and I was glad she was trying to make up for it somehow, but why would you ever think lying to those people you wronged was a good idea? Oh yes, I destroyed your life, but I'm going to make you like me as someone else, only to pull the rug out from under you by then telling you I'm actually that girl who ruined your mom's life a few years ago and expect you to think I'm a great person now. Sounds super effective. I found it hard to be on board with Gemma's plans, since they never exactly included telling anyone she was sorry for what she did, just manipulation.

I did like the romance. It was cream-filled doughnut sweet, and I'll definitely be rooting for it in the later books. (Because yes, this is a series. I was surprised too!) I also liked Gemma's relationship with Sophie, her best friend. I always love best friendships that are so ingrained in a person that they can't hide anything from their best friend, and that friendship seems integral to who they are, and this is totally the case with Gemma and Sophie.

Part of the twist at the ending is super predictable (I mean, you could call it just from reading the synopsis), but the other part did surprise me. While Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend wasn't what I was expecting, it's still an enjoyable, light, and quick read. Just know what you're getting into when you pick this up!

About the author:

Katie Finn grew up in Connecticut, in a town that looks an awful lot like Putnam. During high school, she was a total theater devotee (like Madison) and never dreamed she’d be a writer. But lots of Katie’s high school misadventures have made it into her books…which just goes to show that you never know!

She currently lives in Los Angeles, California, in a house she wishes was a lot closer to the beach.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters {48}

Title: The Cure for Dreaming
Author: Cat Winters
Release date: October 14, 2014
Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

I loved Cat Winters' first book, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, so I knew I wanted to read any book by her, but then the synopsis and cover were released--and oh my gosh! This sounds so good, right??

So what are you guys waiting on this week? :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Born of Deception (Born of Illusion #2) by Teri Brown {74}

Title: Born of Deception (Born of Illusion #2)
Author: Teri Brown
Release date: June 10, 2014
Pages: 336
Budding illusionist Anna Van Housen is on top of the world: after scoring a spot on a prestigious European vaudeville tour, she has moved to London to chase her dream and to join an underground society for people like her with psychic abilities. Along with her handsome beau, Cole Archer, Anna is prepared to take the city by storm.

But when Anna arrives in London, she finds the group in turmoil. Sensitives are disappearing and, without a suspect, the group’s members are turning on one another. Could the kidnapper be someone within the society itself—or has the nefarious Dr. Boyle followed them to London?

As Cole and Anna begin to unravel the case and secrets about the society are revealed, they find themselves at odds, their plans for romance in London having vanished. Her life in danger and her relationship fizzling, can Anna find a way to track down the killer before he makes her his next victim—or will she have to pay the ultimate price for her powers?

Set in Jazz-Age London, this alluring sequel to Born of Illusion comes alive with sparkling romance, deadly intrigue, and daring magic.

My teaser, from 21% in the egalley:
I melt. I have no defenses against someone who is so very handsome and so very sincere and who cares about me so very much. But I can't help but feel that coming to London has somehow changed our relationship, and not necessarily for the better.
Happy release day to Born of Deception! Admittedly, I haven't read the first book (I KNOW, shame on meeee), but I'll be reading it later this week and then I'll be on to this one! I love this teaser too, because I started reading the paragraph and thought, "Awww," but then it changed. Awesome. :)

I'll be visiting around and visiting back, so leave me links to your teasers! :) Happy Tuesday!

Hexed by Michelle Krys Release Day Celebration + Giveaway

Author: Michelle Krys
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 384
Release Date: June 10th, 2014
If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.

Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.

About the author:

Hi there! I'm the author of the YA novel HEXED, slated for publication with Delacorte Press/Random House Children's Books Spring 2014. I'm repped by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary Services. Visit me at or follow @MichelleKrys on Twitter.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: Cinderella's Dress by Shonna Slayton

Release date: June 3, 2014
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 340
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided through Netgalley
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Being seventeen during World War II is tough. Finding out you’re the next keeper of the real Cinderella’s dresses is even tougher.

Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she's working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella’s dresses, life gets complicated.

Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart, Johnny, stuck in the middle of battle, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.

After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve.
Cinderella's Dress is such an interesting take on the Cinderella story that it's one I knew I needed to read as soon as I saw it. And it's got a lot going for it past that selling point: the time period, Polish culture, the cute romance (though calling it slow burn is an understatement, but understandable, I suppose), and Kate's interest in window displays. The only real problem, however, is that these elements are all introduced only to develop so slowly it's hard to keep your attention on the book until the point something actually happens with any of them.

It's 1944. The United States is finally part of the war, and rationing is in full swing. Kate works at a department store in New York City with her mother, and sometimes models--her mother's dream, not hers. Kate only wants to design the elaborate and breathtakingly beautiful window displays that go up overnight at the store. When her great aunt and uncle show up at their door, refugees from war-torn Poland, Kate's family takes them in. Soon her aunt is spinning stories of Cinderella, her famous dress, and that Kate's family is somehow descended from the Keeper of the Wardrobe, the woman entrusted to protect the princesses magical and precious gowns. But with the men in her life off to battle and her ambition to dress windows in full force, Kate worries little about these dresses and her aunt's stories--until the descendants of Cinderella's stepsisters appear and will stop at nothing to find those dresses, dresses Kate just happens to have in her possession.

And this all would have been wonderful had a big chunk of the novel been compressed, so I didn't have to read about so much time in which nothing was happening. Large chunks of time were actually skipped, with letters between Kate and her father, her brother, and Johnny showing that time had passed, but that only works to pass through the rest of the war itself. When the plot really kicks in, with, gosh, twenty percent of the novel left, it's interesting, but then that has to be rushed over because the book is already over three-hundred pages long!

But see, I was so interested in the dresses, in Elsie and Adalbert (Kate's great aunt and uncle) and their story, in the romance, in Kate's pursuit of securing a place in a male-controlled field, all of it. And maybe the problem is that there's so much packed into the book. We deal with World War II and the story of Cinderella's dresses, which really should be enough for one book, but there's also bits and pieces about the beginning of a real woman's movement, mentions of the monuments men, even the political climate in Poland. These are fun to see, but they distract from the story, and because they're not really fleshed out, I felt a little cheated to get the mentions but not a lot of substance behind them.

I don't know if I've made it clear that I really did enjoy Cinderella's Dress. To be clear, I did! The story is really interesting and creative, and I liked Kate's relationships with her family and her best friend Josie. I like the romance, though, like I said, slow burn, but you know it's there and Kate and Johnny's flirtation is really cute. I liked it, but it simply didn't live up to its potential. If you're interested, I'd definitely say give it a shot, just be warned that it took till about fifty percent for me really to get into the story--but it was worth it once I made it.

About the author:

SHONNA SLAYTON is the author of the YA novel Cinderella's Dress, out June 3, 2014 with Entangled Teen. She finds inspiration in reading vintage diaries written by teens, who despite using different slang, sound a lot like teenagers today. While writing Cinderella’s Dress she reflected on her days as a high-school senior in British Columbia when she convinced her supervisors at a sportswear store to let her design a few windows—it was glorious fun while it lasted. When not writing, Shonna enjoys amaretto lattes and spending time with her husband and children in Arizona.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Stacking the Shelves {71}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

How was everybody's week? Mine's been fine. School is getting into the real swing, and I've got lots of homework and reading to do. It's not awful, but it's weird to be doing homework in summer, you know?

For review:

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas
Perfected by Kate Jarvik Burch

A big, big thanks to Bloomsbury Children's, Entangled Teen, and Netgalley for these! :)

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Monday - Attention Email Subscribers! (I changed my email subscription service!)
Tuesday - Teaser Tuesday: Hungry by H.A. Swain
Wednesday - Blog Tour: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings {Review + Giveaway} and Waiting on Wednesday: Magnolia by Kristi Cook
Thursday - Blog Tour: Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore {Review + Excerpt + Giveaway}
Friday - Blog Tour: My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal {Review + Giveaway}

Books I read this week:
My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Epiocene by Ben Jonson

I'm currently reading:
Cinderella's Dress by Shonna Slayton

So that's been my week! Only two books, but HEIR OF FIRE. It's mineeeee! :D Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!