Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review of Being Nikki

Things aren't pretty for Emerson Watts.

Em was sure there couldn't be anything worse than being a brainiac the body of a teenaged supermodel.

But it turned out she was wrong. Because that supermodel could turn out to have a mother who's gone mysteriously missing, a brother who's shown up on her doorstep demanding answers, a former best friend who's intent on destroying Stark Enterprises to avenge the death of his lost love, and a British heartthrob who's written a song about her that's topping the charts.

How can Em balance all that with school, runway shows, and weekend jaunts to St. Johns — especially when she's got ex-boyfriends crawling out of the woodwork who want more than just a photo op; a sister who is headed to the high school cheerleading championships; a company she represents that seems to be turning to the dark side...

Not to mention trying to convince the love of her life that models aren't really airheads after all...especially one model in particular.

But then, nobody said it was going to be easy being Nikki.
[from Goodreads]

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Teens and Meg Cabot fans
High point:  Uniqueness of plot, more engaging than Airhead
Low point: Missing some of the pizazz that Cabot's other books contain
Reader maturity:  10+
Being Nikki is even better than the first in the series. I enjoyed Airhead, but I didn't enjoy it the way I do most of Meg Cabot's books...or the way I enjoyed Being Nikki.

Because the science and story have already been established, Being Nikki is free to indulge not only in guy-chasing, but family drama (from both of Em's families!) and the big, dark secret of Stark Enterprises. Nikki's life is transformed from one of luxury and great lighting to one of secrecy and intrigue, which makes the series much more interesting. Before, it was fun, albeit fluffy, but now it's taken to a whole new level of awesome with layers of mystery and romance.

The cast of characters in Being Nikki is awesome; I love how they react when they're thrown together. They're not a big, happy family, and yet they're a boisterous, entertaining mix. I can't say too much more on this point without there being MAJOR spoilers, so I'll just say that Meg Cabot did a great job with plot and character development.

Even though it's a touch more serious than its predecessor, Being Nikki had me laughing aloud more than once (which made me really glad I wasn't reading it in public). Em possesses great wit, and Lulu is the perfect counterpoint.

Now that I've read Being Nikki, I'm really excited about the Airhead series. Fortunately, I have an ARC of the third in the series, Runaway, tucked away that I can't wait to read. I want to know what happens next!

Title:  Being Nikki
Author:  Meg Cabot
Genre:  Teen Fiction,  Entertainment and Arts
Year:  2010
Book Source:  Borrowed from library

Friday, July 27, 2012

Review of Where I Belong

Corrinne Corcoran’s upscale Manhattan life is perfectly on track—until her father announces he’s been laid off and she’s shipped off to Broken Spoke, Texas, to live with her grandparents. All alone in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the glamorous life she’s supposed to be living. But as she grudgingly adjusts—making new friends and finding romance along the way—this city girl begins to realize that life without credit cards and shopping sprees may not be as bad as it seems....

In this sparkling debut that flawlessly balances romance and humor, readers will grow to love sharp and sassy Corrinne as she goes on her totally reluctant but completely irresistible journey of self-discovery.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:   3 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: City slickers
High point: Corrinne's natural transformation
Low point: The dialogue
Reader maturity: 13+

Where I Belong is the perfect book to curl up with on a summer afternoon. It's set during high school football season, but the warm atmosphere and slow drawls are perfect for relaxing.

Where I Belong chronicles the metamorphosis of Corrinne as she is forced from her spoiled city life into the heart of the country. Stubborn and prideful, she digs her heels in (so to speak) against enjoying anything related to Texas, but when she finally changes her mind, the transformation feels very natural. It's not rushed; it's all on Corrinne time. It's hard to say that I liked Corrinne since she spent most of the novel complaining about moving to (what she considered) the middle of nowhere, but after she accepted her situation and moved on with her life, her kind, intelligent side made an appearance and allowed her to shine. I really liked her no-nonsense grandparents, peppy best friend and sweet younger brother. They make things just the teensiest bit corny but in a warm-fuzzy, feel-good way.

The only complaint I have is that the dialogue of the Texans is very formal. I read it in every twang and drawl I could think of, and I never got it to sound quite right in my head. I don't know if the problem is on my end or if there really did need to be more contractions. Since the New Yorkers all sounded just fine, I'm inclined to lean towards the former possibility.

Where I Belong is a sweet, refreshing bite for a lazy afternoon in the sun. Lots of spice and a little sugar make it a great light read with enough substance to be satisfying.

Title:  Where I Belong
Author:  Gwendolyn Heasley
Genre:   Fiction - Contemporary
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Purchased

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Want to Read Wednesday: Breathe

Inhale. Exhale. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe . . .

The world is dead.
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.

has been stealing for a long time. She’s a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she’s never been caught before. If she’s careful, it’ll be easy. If she’s careful.

should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it’s also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn’t every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.

wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they’d planned a trip together, the two of them, and she’d hoped he’d discover her out here, not another girl.

And as they walk into the Outlands with two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?

[from Goodreads]

With Want to Read Wednesday, I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review of Across the Universe

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:  2.5  out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Sci-fi fanatics
High point: The workings of life on the ship
Low point: Amy
Reader maturity: 15+

Due to the beautiful cover and the glowing reviews of the book review bloggers I follow, I had such high hopes for Across the Universe. Longtime readers of this blog know my aversion to male POVs, and about 50% of Across the Universe is narrated by a teenage boy, Elder.

I liked Amy's point of view well enough, but Amy was something of blank canvas to me. I didn't get her. Elder and his friend, Harley, had much more interesting personalities.

As for the plot, it reminded me of Inside Out by Maria J. Snyder, and I had to actively refocus myself on Across the Universe as a completely different novel. (I realize that this isn't the fault of Across the Universe, but it may explain my feelings towards the characters.) I also figured out everything involving Eldest from the beginning, although it took me almost 75% of the book to figure out the rest.

Though I'm not a fan of Amy or the male POV, I have to admit that I'm interested to know what happens next. I didn't agree with Amy's decision at the end of Across the Universe, and I'd like to see how that plays out in the next part of the series.

Title:  Across the Universe
Author:  Beth Revis
Genre:   Fiction - Science Fiction
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Borrowed from library

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Supernatural Saturday Review: Hourglass

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents' death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back. So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he's around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?
[from Goodreads]
Rating:   4.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Ghost story fans, time travel fans, maybe even sci-fi fans (and anyone who likes reading YA ever)
High point: Emerson Cole--she's awesome!
Low point: Emerson Cole falling head over heels
Reader maturity: 13+

I love Hourglass!

Emerson Cole is one of my favorite YA characters ever. She's smart and funny and a little bit sarcastic but still sweet and thankful and well-adjusted, all considered. All those adjectives I just used combine to make a fictional teenage girl who could easily be a real teenage girl.

My only complaint (which I'll get out of the way first) is that I wanted to know more about Emerson's best friend, Lily. There's something going on there and Myra McEntire teases the reader and doesn't give up much in the way of information. I hope we find out more about Lily in Timepiece!

If you've been with me at Bookish in a Box in a while, you'll know that I have a few bookish pet peeves. One of them is when the characters (especially young ones) fall in love instantly. Em does fall head over heels pretty fast, but she regularly acknowledges that it was a) fast and b) potentially not possible. Her wonderment over this development occurs so frequently that I'm inclined to overlook it as a fault. At least she realizes it's not normal, right? (You know if someone can convince me to overlook insta-love, the book must be good.)

I also love Em's brother and sister-in-law (they're so supportive!); they're a refreshing change of pace from the absentee or absent-minded parents in most YA fiction. The villains in this story are a little cheesy, but they kind of rock the cheesy...AND I was surprised by the ending. If the villain has me fooled, I'm impressed, regardless of how melodramatic they are.

So there you have it! Hourglass is an all-around good book, with a solid (and surprising) plot, a love story, a great supporting cast and a main character that you'd want to be friends with. If you ever looked at the cover and thought, "Hmm, that looks like it might be good," please, please, please run out and get it right now because it's awesome.

Title:  Hourglass
Author:  Myra McEntire
Genre:   Fiction - Paranormal
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Purchased

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Want to Read Wednesday: Alice in Zombieland

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….
I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.

[from Goodreads]

With Want to Read Wednesday, I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:  4  out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Action, adventure and girl power proponents
High point: The lifelike characters
Low point:  Too much focus on Elisa's size
Reader maturity: 15+
Just so you know how I feel about it up front, The Girl of Fire and Thorns is awesome. When I found it on the shelf at my local library, I squealed and lunged. My spastic outburst was not in vain. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a swashbuckling (though not pirate-related) story of adventure and intrigue with a healthy dose of self-confidence and girl power added in for extra reading enjoyment.

The Girl herself, Elisa, starts out as a weak character (in personality, not in development) and experiences a unique journey to an appreciation of her abilities. The novel focuses on weight and size more than I would have preferred--the emphasis could have been on her cessation of stress-induced binge eating and an appreciation of her body's abilities in its current state--but Elisa is strong even before her adventures, whether or not she knows. Therein lies Elisa's magic. She discovers her strengths through her journeys, but she was already an incredible, if untested, person.

There are a lot of characters in The Girl of Fire and Thorns, but Rae Carson manages to make each one special and forge an emotional connection with the reader, however brief the encounter. Descriptions of scenery and legend thoroughly immersed me in each stage of Elisa's life. I could picture the castles and the desert as if they were right in front of me.

As for reader maturity, there are some references to adult activities (Elisa gets married in the first chapter so...), but there's nothing vulgar or objectionable (or, SPOILER ALERT, really anything at all, just a discussion and Elisa's musings).

If you're looking for a solid adventure story with a satisfying emotional component, The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a great pick.

Title:  The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Author:  Rae Carson
Genre:   Fiction - Fantasy
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Borrowed from library

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Supernatural Saturday Review: Falling Under

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:  1 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  N/A
High point:  N/A
Low point:  N/A
Reader maturity: 15+

I didn't realize that this was a book with demons. I thought, from the cover and description, that it was about vampires. That misunderstanding, combined with the insta-love and "perfect"-type love interest would have made this a DNF (since, based on the paranormal creature, it's not my kind of book), except that I'm taking part in a challenge to read 100+ books this year. So I finished it anyway.

I think I summed it up pretty well above, but to expand a little bit, insta-love is one of my literary pet peeves. I don't understand the appeal of a character who falls in a love with a guy just because...He's there? He's attractive? He's dangerous? Theia didn't seem to care.

Haden was supposed to be dark perfection, but I found him grandiose and melodramatic. I didn't understand Theia's attraction to him, and their whole relationship, if it can be called that, was dysfunctional, if not emotionally harmful.

In short, due to the demon thing, this isn't a series I care to continue..

Title:  Falling Under
Author:  Gwen Hayes
Genre:   Fiction - Paranormal
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Borrowed from library

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review of Glamorous Illusions (Grand Tour Series #1)

It’s the summer of 1913 and Cora Kensington’s life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. Not only are the crops failing, but someone dear to Cora is failing as well.

In one fateful afternoon, a stranger comes to call, and Cora discovers a terrible secret about her past…a secret that will radically change her future.

Cora is invited to take the “Grand Tour” of Europe, a journey intended to finish a person’s eduction, to solidify an understanding of ancient culture and contemporary refinement. As she travels from England to France, with kin she’s never known, Cora encounters the blessings of a family name, as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love begins to form, she realizes the journey is only beginning…
[from Goodreads]
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Historical fiction buffs
High point:  Cora
Low point: I don't know if the next book is about Cora!
Reader maturity: 13+

I’m not a huge fan of Christian fiction (although I make an exception for Siri Mitchell’s work) so when I realized that Glamorous Illusions falls into that genre, I wasn’t sure I wanted to finish. Lucky for me, I gave it a chance because it’s one of the best books I’ve read in 2012!

First off, I love historical fiction, which is why I downloaded the ebook in the first place. The prewar 1910s are underrepresented (at least in the fiction I read) so I jumped on the chance to get to read about a Grand Tour in Europe.

Secondly, the heroine not only sounds cool from the back cover (farmgirl from Montana thrust into money and high society), but she’s actually pretty cool in the rest of the novel. Cora is a character that girls (and women) of today will be able to relate to with ease. She’s self-doubting but finds inner strength, cautious but ultimately unafraid and sensible (well…most of the time). She also has a solid moral compass that allowed me to enjoy the novel more fully. She was placed in a few awkward situations with eager suitors where, in my experience, most heroines would then succumb to the advances of the man in question. [Possible spoiler] What I like about Cora is that she doesn’t. She’s not judgmental or preachy about her morality; however, she knows that there is right and there is wrong and she lives it, without further ado.

Third, Cora tackles several hurdles in Glamorous Illusions. Betrayal, forgiveness and humility all play a strong role. Though there is a lot going on with Cora’s family and many emotions to process, they never become muddled or overwhelming. The references to faith are frequent, but the novel never proselytizes.

Fourth, the writing was fantastic. Not only is Cora a beautifully explored character, Will is, as well. He’s one of my favorite love interests in all of fiction, although I’m interested to see what becomes of another one, Pierre. Glamorous Illusions takes place in Montana, England and France so there are many mentions of foreign places, but it isn’t too heavy on description. The plot engaged me, dulling the outside world until I tuned everything else out, which is a rare and admirable quality in a book.

Whether or not you’re a fan of Christian fiction, if you like historical novels or light drama that’s all-age appropriate, then I highly recommend Glamorous Illusions. Since it’s referred to as Glamorous Illusions (Grand Tour Series #1), I’m hoping there are more novels to come. I’m eager to know what becomes of Cora (and especially Cora and Will) on the rest of her European Tour.

Title:  Glamorous Illusions
Author:  Lisa T. Bergren
Genre:   Fiction - Paranormal
Year:   2012
Book Source:  Downloaded free from Amazon.com

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Want to Read Wednesday: Velvet

Velvet is a laundress in a Victorian steam laundry. With both her mother and father dead, she is an orphan and has to rely upon her own wits to make a living. The laundry's work is back-breaking and Velvet is desperate to create a better life for herself. Then Velvet is noticed by Madame Savoya, a famed medium, who asks Velvet to come to work for her. Velvet is dazzled at first by the young yet beautifully dressed and bejewelled Madame. But soon Velvet realises that Madame Savoya is not all that she says she is, and Velvet's very life is in danger.

[from Goodreads]

With Want to Read Wednesday, I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Supernatural Saturday Review: Hereafter (Hereafter #1)

Can there truly be love after death? Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life--or her actual death--she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but "will" him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their new-found happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world... forever.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:   1.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Ghost story guzzlers
High point:  The descriptions
Low point:  The characters
Reader maturity: 13+

I'm a huge fan of ghost stories so I set the bar high, even higher than I do for most books, which means I'm less likely than normal to be satisfied. Though I tried not to compare it to my other favorites in the genre, Hereafter didn't quite reach my expectations.

The writing, on the whole, is pretty good. The descriptions really brought the scenery and otherworldly beings to life. I could picture High Bridge Road and Joshua's house with ease. However, the dialogue seemed stiff and unnatural. At first, I passed it off as a consequence of Amelia wandering the earth alone for years after her death, but when Joshua entered the picture, he, too, spoke in a manner uncharacteristic of a high school guy.

Regarding the characters, Amelia's powers come too easily. I never felt that there was a struggle or that there was anything I should be rooting for. At the point when Amelia comes into her powers, I didn't feel excited or relieved or, really, much of anything. As for Joshua, he's too perfect. I think characters need flaws or conflict to seem real, and while he does have a point of conflict in the novel, it's not deeply explored. He accepts everything completely and immediately, with no internal struggle or difficulty, which doesn't seem realistic to me.

Title:  Hereafter
Author:  Tara Hudson
Genre:   Fiction - Supernatural
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Purchased

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review of Bright Young Things

The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.

Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star. . . .

Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will.

The only person Cordelia can trust is ­Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets.

Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the ­illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls' fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe comes an epic new series set in the dizzying last summer of the Jazz Age.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:  4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Historical fiction and fashion fans
High point: The multi-POV format
Low point: Serendipity
Reader maturity: 15+

I love historical fiction, and when I saw the spate of Jazz Age themed fiction published in the last few years, I knew I needed to get my hands on it. Fast forward to 2012, and I've had a few run-ins with less-than-captivating 1920s fiction. But when I saw this one the shelf at the library, I just couldn't resist...and I'm so glad I didn't try! Bright Young Things had me intrigued from the last paragraph of the prologue.

Some readers may find this off-putting, but I loved the fashion descriptions included about the characters, male and female. It really helped me put together a picture of the girls' transformations from country bumpkins to city slickers and gave me a snapshot of the bootleggers and gangsters of the period.

Astrid was my favorite character. Although the most spoiled of the three, she had the most conviction and spirit. Cordelia was pretty selfish, and Letty didn't have much force of personality. Together, however, they create a compelling story, and even though I liked Astrid the most, I enjoyed the other girls' stories because they show three different views of the era. The girls are the most developed characters, although they still feel fairly shallow. After some thought, I've decided that this was purposeful. The rest of the story is too well thought out and executed for shallow characters to be anything other than intentional. The reader gets to know the girls and secondary characters only as well as the characters allow and certainly no better than the girls know each other. They do, after all, have to keep up appearances, regardless of their personal trials.

My only issue with Bright Young Things is that an awful lot of things seemed extremely serendipitous, but I guess that makes for a more interesting story, right? What fun would it be to read about girls who ended up slinking home in shame because they couldn't make it in New York?

While reading it, I didn't realize that Bright Young Things is the first in a series (it's complete enough to work as a stand-alone novel), but I was really excited to discover it while preparing this post. I can't wait to find out what happens next!

Since it's set during the Roaring '20s, there are frequent mentions of alcohol and loose living, but there's nothing explicit. Keep in mind, though, that the entire book revolves around speakeasies and bootleggers so it may not be appropriate for the youngest YA readers.

Title:  Bright Young Things
Author:  Anna Godbersen
Genre:   Fiction - Historical
Year:   2010
Book Source:  Borrowed from library

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Want to Read Wednesday: Because It Is My Blood

Since her release from Liberty Children's Facility, Anya Balanchine is determined to follow the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, her criminal record is making it hard for her to do that. No high school wants her with a gun possession charge on her rap sheet. Plus, all the people in her life have moved on: Natty has skipped two grades at Holy Trinity, Scarlet and Gable seem closer than ever, and even Win is in a new relationship.But when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is thrown right back into the criminal world that she had been determined to escape. It’s a journey that will take her across the ocean and straight into the heart of the birthplace of chocolate where her resolve--and her heart--will be tested as never before.

[from Goodreads]

With Want to Read Wednesday, I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.