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S.L. Naeole

    Desert Island Books

    This week The YA Sisterhood blog has asked a few of us bloggers if we’d like to play Desert Island Books. And of course I couldn’t say no!

    The rules of the game are simple – By some strange twist of fate you know in advance that you’re going to be trapped on a desert island. You’re allowed to take a bunch of stuff with you – in this instance books – and nothing else.

    Thankfully the rulemakers of this game have allowed us to choose five adult and five young adult books or series to bring with us. (I’m so glad they said a series counts as one book or I think I would have fought my way off that island after about a week.)

    So, here are my picks, in no particular order. And don’t judge me too harshly for not picking the classics – after all, there aren’t too many classics with books in a series.

    And all my favorite debut YA authors please understand, I am going for quality AND quantity, so until that third book in your series is published I can’t take all of you with me.

    My Five Adult Books/Series

    The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

    (my favorite series of all time)

    The Long Walk by Richard Bachman a.k.a. Stephen King

    (I’ve read this at least seven times and could read it a million times more)

    Paint It Black by Janet Fitch

    (a book that will remind me that things could be a lot worse than being stuck on an island)

    The Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris

    (the longest series I know that I adore – why not grab as many books as possible)

    Unbound series by Rachel Vincent

    (currently my favorite new adult book and if I’m island-bound I’m hoping book 2 will be out )

    …and yes, the Unbound series has officially knocked Ken Grimwood’s Replay off the list!

    My Five Young Adult Books/Series

    The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

    (do you really expect me to be stranded on and island without Clary and Jace?)

    The Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent

    (I wasn’t Tod’s advocate for no reason. But If I Die better be released or I’m so not going)

    The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

    (Rose, Dimitri – hello?!? have you met me before? – “Love fades. Mine has.” Um, yeah…)

    The Grace series by S.L. Naeole

    (I can’t head to an island without having read Grace of Day – plus each book is super long with tons to read)

    My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking

    (so I can keep re-reading in the hopes that things turn out differently for Peter)

    …so, how many people want to shoot me for not bringing the Harry Potter books? And I can’t know that I’d want to bring the Hunger Games trilogy since I haven’t actually read them yet.

    In three years time, this list will look very different – by then I’ll have read all three books by Karsten Knight, Leah Clifford, Scott Tracey, Josephine Angelini, Jeri Smith-Ready, Amy Plum,  and goodness knows what else by Melissa Marr, Carrie Jones, Lisa McMann… Not liking this island game so much anymore.

    But if you want to check out who else is playing this week, be sure to stop by…

    …to see just what books make it to the island.

    (All images link to the books on Goodreads if you want to add any to your TBR lists.)

    What books would you bring to the island?

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    Heartbreak Row #1

    As I mentioned in my Crush List post, there are books that you fall in love with, that leave you breathless and sobbing your eyes out. Books that take your heart and stomp on it, leaving you completely destroyed.

    Thankfully there aren’t too many books that shatter your heart into a million pieces. But, here are five that have earned their place on Heartbreak Row.

    As some of the reasons they are so heartbreaking would involve spoilers, I will be slightly cryptic with my answers as to why I’m heartbroken. But if you’re willing to risk a broken heart, definitely check these books out.

    (Also, I could have called this Devastation Alley instead of Heartbreak Row, but that just sounds too over-dramatic, now doesn’t it?)

    If I Stay has earned a permanent place on Heartbreak Row. I still can’t even think of this book without tearing up. As much as I want to read it a second time, knowing how affecting it is, I just can’t quite willingly put myself through that again at the moment.

    And, this is one of those books that is just so powerful the first time around that you have to think about whether or not a re-read will take away from the experience.

    Why I’m heartbroken: It’s just so, so sad. The writing makes it impossible not to feel the depth of pain, the incredible loss, and the difficult choices that the main character is faced with.Delirium earned a spot on Heartbreak Row that I hope is not permanent. As it is the first book in a trilogy and I haven’t a clue as to what is going to happen next, I am keeping hope alive that things will be less devastating in the second and third books in the series. Of course, having now read two books by this author I don’t think that will be the case.

    And it is definitely possible that either of the next two books will be even more heartbreaking, but for now, Delirium is right where it should be.

    Why I’m heartbroken: The ending. And that lead up to the ending. Crushing. A complete tear-jerker ending. Shocking. Sob-inducing. The writing throughout is absolutely beautiful. It lulls you into a state of calm and then the floor drops right out from under you.

    Black Halo has a permanent place on Heartbreak Row. I have not yet read the last book in the series, Grace of Day, but that wouldn’t matter, although I have a feeling that it might be right up here with Black Halo when I do get a chance to read it.

    The series itself tugged at my heart multiple times in each of the books I’ve read. There are just so many moments that squeezed my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

    But none come even close to the one scene in this book which had me crying out loud without even realizing I was.

    Why I’m heartbroken: The scene between Robert and Grace – the one in which Grace puts her love for Robert above all else. My heart is breaking right now thinking of it. The scene was so raw, so real, so powerful and so unbelievably heartbreaking. Oh yeah, and then there’s the last page of the book.

    Shadow Kiss is another permanent fixture on Heartbreak Row. I was completely annihilated by the events that transpired in this book. Spirit Bound was a contender, but as it only had the one line which crushed me, Shadow Kiss was way more deserving of a spot. It is an absolute heartbreaker.

    Now, this is not to say that my heart wasn’t shredded a little bit in every single one of these books. But Richelle Mead reached in, grabbed my heart, ripped it out, and played football with it in Shadow Kiss.

    Why I’m heartbroken: For Rose. For what happens toward the end of this book. For having to walk away, completely helpless, unable to do anything even though it’s killing her. Rose’s heart was broken, so was mine.

    Absolution – and really the entire trilogy – caused me enough heartache, suffering and anguish to have earned a prime spot on Heartbreak Row.

    Every book in the trilogy lifts you up, gives you hope, and then smashes you to pieces. But as Absolution is the final book in the series, it’s the ending that kills – when there are no more pages to keep hope alive, when the story wraps up and you realize that the once possible future is no longer.

    Why I’m heartbroken: Because it had the right ending, even though it wasn’t the ending I had hoped for. Because I could see happily-ever-after being ripped away. Because I continued to hope until the very last possible moment. Because I fell in love with the idea of something impossible.

    ***

    So, this is just a peek at five of the books I have on Heartbreak Row. Books I’m glad that I’ve read without an audience. Books that make me glad I keep a box of Kleenex handy.

    And books whose pages deliver pain, sorrow, anguish and total heart-stopping devastation. Stories that are just as beautiful as they are cruel. Books that I will remember always.

    What books have you read that left you heartbroken?

    As I’m a total heartbreak junkie, I’d love to know!

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    The Extras: Teasers

    There are so many amazing books out there – released or soon-to-be-released – that have certain passages that just captivate.

    Here are just a few of those that caught my attention.

    From the thoughts of Ellie Monroe: (Note, this is from an electronic review copy and may not appear in the finished book.)

    Fresh, relentless, warm tears rolled down my cheeks. His promise melted through me, and my heart ached for everything that I wanted and couldn’t have. In the end, he was all I had. Through each lifetime, every last thing that I came to know and love in the world changed or vanished completely except for him. He was the only thing permanent in all of forever.

    I had to throw in one quote amongst all these passages, but it’s so true. This one from Ellie’s Mom regarding love:

    “It doesn’t make you blind. You’re very, very aware of everything about the one you truly love, whether you know it from what your eyes tell you or your heart. So no, love doesn’t make you blind. It paralyzes you until you can’t breathe or run away from it.”

    Ethan’s thoughts about Lena:

    I pulled her closer, until our hair was full of ash and grass, and the bitter lemon was lost somewhere beneath our feet at the bottom of the blanket. The heat was on my skin, like fire. Even though all I could feel was a biting cold whenever I held her hand lately, when we kissed – really kissed – there was nothing but heat. I loved her, atom by atom, one burning cell at a time. We kissed until my heart began skipping beats, and the edges of what I could see and feel and hear began to fade into darkness…

    From the thoughts of Lena Haloway:

    This is what I want. This is the only thing I’ve ever wanted. Everything else–every single second of every single day that has come before this very moment, this kiss–has meant nothing.

    AND

    I know that life isn’t life if you just float through it. I know that the whole point–the only point–is to find the things that matter, and hold on to them, and fight for them, and refuse to let them go.

    Varen Nethers writing to Isobel:

    In the shadows of the dreamland, he waits. He watches the gaping window to the world he had so longed to open. Now flown wide, bleak and empty, ravaged–like him–it grants his wish. He belongs.

    AND

    My beautiful, my Isobel. My Love. You ask me to wait. And so I wait.

    For all of this, I know, is but a dream.

    And when, in sleep, at last we wake,

    I will see you again.

    Grace’s thoughts (about Robert):

    My arms lifted and wrapped themselves around him. I brought him close against me, as close as I could, and he let me. He allowed me to bring him into the embrace, and he kissed me with a need that was beyond description. I knew it, I felt it; I breathed it in because I needed it, too.

    My heart was racing against time itself inside of my chest, and the voice inside of my head, the name that signified everything that mattered to me right then and there, blurred into peaceful hum that harmonized with the song that sang in my blood as I tasted the fire and everything it touched.


    Kylie’s thoughts from Born at Midnight: (please note that this passage is from a review copy and may not appear in the finished copy):

    Because as much as she liked kissing Trey, it was as if this was her very first grown-up kiss. Her first real taste of passion. This kiss, the thing she’d felt was somehow more. And God help her, because while she wasn’t ready for “more,” she still wanted it. And that, she supposed, was the true meaning of passion.

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    Review: Falling from Grace

    Falling from Grace by S.L. Naeole was published in November 2009 as an eBook and in June 2010 as a paperback. Falling from Grace is the first book in the Grace series by author S.L. Naeole. The fourth book in the series, Grace of Day is due out this month.

    Grace Shelley is an outcast. Having lost her mother to a car crash as a child, one she managed to escape without a single scratch, made her an oddity to her peers and neighbors. Through this she’s always had her best friend Graham Hasselbeck at her side. Graham who is handsome and popular and who would defend her against their cruelty.

    But Grace committed the ultimate friendship “no no” and revealed her hidden love for Graham. Right before the beginning of senior year. Now she’s left to face her final year of high school completely and utterly friendless. That is until she meets Robert.

    Robert is immediately drawn to Grace. He notices something in her that no one else has before. Something that allows her to let down her defenses not only with him but with her family and with a new friend. Something no one else has ever been able to do. No human anyway.

    Robert is an angel. While his friendship is all that is saving Grace, his beauty not only begets jealousy but also danger. Befriending an angel may be more than Grace ever bargained for. And falling in love with one could cost her her life.

    Falling from Grace was simply wonderful. A suggested read by Amazon due to the genre of books typically purchased, it was such a surprise to find a self-published book that hit all the notes, and then some, of the fully vetted and marketed novels being published.

    Grace is such a sympathetic character – a young girl grieving the loss of her mother, the loss of a best friend, her father’s new relationship and being a misfit in school and in life. And the author has created a friendship, and more, between her two main characters that is tender and heartwarming and devastating and heartbreaking. This angel-themed story has definitely creative and distinct ideas and a storyline that is intelligent and magical.

    While Falling from Grace and the next books in the series, Bird Song and Black Halo, are not short in length, they are all very quick reads with each book getting just a little bit darker and more tragic as the story of Grace and Robert continues, culminating in Black Halo with an absolutely heart-rending scene.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    Grace of Day should be out for release this month.

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    Random Thoughts: Amazon Recommends…

    This post is not meant to act as an advertisement for Amazon.com and I am certainly not their spokesperson, but as it is my primary source for online book purchases (due to Kindle ownership) it is Amazon that gets the mention, versus Barnes & Noble, Apple, or other online bookseller. (Although I buy books from each of these types of sellers, too.)

    As a voracious reader, I have to thank Amazon for their recommended reads. As there are so many authors and so many books out there, and so little time to peruse, Amazon’s recommended reading – based upon some odd formula of what I had previously purchased – has allowed me to discover new authors that I might never have come across before. And, almost all of the recommendations have been spot-on. There have been maybe two, of the at least 50 recommendations I’ve chosen this past year, that have caused me to shout, “Why? Why, Amazon? Why have you let me down in this way?”

    There have been times where I’ve tried to ignore these recommendations – just trying to tackle the ever-growing list of authors I must follow, books I have purchased and are yet to read, books I’ve downloaded and are in my cue, et cetera – but after awhile I cave. After all, if Amazon thinks I’d like them, I must … right? But of course!

    And so, thank you to Amazon for introducing me to a few authors I might never have come across, being a fairly new follower of Young Adult fiction. Some of these authors are: S.L. Naeole, author of the Grace Series; Jennifer Laurens, author of the Heavenly series; Abra Ebner, author of the Feather book series; Kelly Creagh, author of Nevermore; Kirsten Miller, author of The Eternal Ones; Amanda Hocking, author of the My Blood Approves series; Sarah Rees Brennan, author of The Demon’s Lexicon trilogy; Alyxandra Harvey, author of the Drake chronicles; and Lesley Livingston, author of the Wondrous Strange series. I could go on, but I shall digress.

    Even though each recommendation gets Amazon a few more dollars (and perhaps a few less dollars for the poor Indie bookseller) to stuff in their pockets, without these recommendations I might never have found these authors, never have supported them by buying their books, and never have been introduced into the wonderful, exciting, dark, disturbing, heartbreaking, gripping, or terrifying worlds they have created.

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