Halfway Perfect by Julie Cross & Mark Perini

Halfway Perfect by Julie Cross

Halfway Perfect by Julie Cross & Mark Perini
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (381 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: Best Book
Review by: Quince

Bestselling author Julie Cross teams up with Ford model Mark Perini to pen a poignant and gritty YA novel about love and the dark side of modeling and the fashion industry

Eve had it all-emphasis on had. She was a rising star with a modeling contract destined to catapult her to celebrity…until the devastating night when she walked away from everything, everyone in her life. Eve’s worked hard to put her troubled past behind her, and photography’s given her a fresh start. She just never thought her dream internship would force her back into the industry that broke her trust and her heart.

Alex is a regular, good guy from Nebraska, but as an up-and-coming model, he’s learning that appearances are everything. The fake relationship Alex’s agent concocted for Alex and his underage costar? That’ll land them both the hot jobs. But Alex hadn’t counted on falling for Eve, the girl behind the camera.

Halfway Perfect is not a halfway, but all the way perfect story. This is one of the best stories I’ve read this year. So perfect that everything that I start to read after it pales in comparison.

One may argue that the author of Halfway Perfect did not bring anything new. Yes, that’s true. It’s known that fashion world is a cruel one. It’s known that people will do anything to get media attention and to succeed (even go into a fake relationship), it’s also known that in abusive relationships the victim is taking all the blame. Here, it’s not that the authors revealed something new to readers. It’s the way these already known issues are raised, processed, written, and delivered. How Julie Cross and Mark Perini did that is pure perfection.

The story is told in dual POV, and each voice is easily distinguished. Their writing is flawless. Due to that I was hooked from the first page. Another great thing in this story are the characters, both main and secondary, both heroes and villains. They are all so alive and written with so many details it was pure enjoyment to read. I like how both main characters (Eve and Alex) changed through the story, but I also like how the villain’s true face was revealed at the end. The authors did a great job in exploring Alex’s family dynamic. The bond between three brothers and little sister is done amazingly .

Halfway Perfect is not an easy read. It contains violence and it realistically portrayed the fashion world. But that’s only part of what drew me in. Its realistic descriptions of the fashion world, and a bad relationship is what I liked the most in this story.

Multi-layered, complex, realistic, that is Halfway Perfect. I highly recommend it.

Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone


Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone

Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (304 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by: Quince

For Trevor, normal was fast guitar licks, catching game-winning passes, and partying all night. Until a car accident leaves him with no band, no teammates, and no chance of graduating. It’s kinda hard to ace your finals when you’ve been in a coma. The last thing he needs is stuck-up Everly Jenkins as his new tutor-those beautiful blue eyes catching every last flaw.

For Everly, normal was a perfect family around the dinner table, playing piano at Sunday service, and sunning by the pool. Until she discovers her whole life is a lie. Now the perfect pastor’s daughter is hiding a life-changing secret, one that is slowly tearing her family apart. And spending the summer with notorious flirt Trevor Lewis means her darkest secret could be exposed.

What is normal? Is it a way we live at this moment? And what if that change? What is normal then? Is a new normal possible? These are questions that Some Kind of Normal is trying to answer. Please read this book, because it is amazing.

One summer, a year ago, everything changed for Trevor Lewis and Evelyn Jenkins. And now this summer they are suddenly forced to spend time together. They are complete opposites, but since opposites attract they soon start to feel something for one another. Besides dealing with their feelings they both have to deal with events that happened a year ago when their lives changed forever. For Trevor it was a car accident that put him in coma, for Evelyn that was a conversation she overheard between her father and somebody unknown.

I was immediately drawn into the story and I like everything about it; the pace, the characters, the dual POV, the issues, the end.

The characters are wonderful. Their emotions and actions are believable their pain and joy real. Both Trevor and Evelyn are full of fears, anger and flaws. They are also brave and full of love and hope. All of that mixes together and what makes them so alive. Secondary characters are additional great feature of this story. I especially liked Trevor’s father and sister.

Some Kind of Normal is well balanced story with very realistic and satisfying ending. One line of the story follows Trevor and Evelyn’s relationship; and the other the issues they have to deal with. Both of these narratives are so structured and well combined. They complement each other magnificently (just like Trevor and Evelyn).

Readers looking for good young adult novel that deals with some serious issues should look no further.

Ten Things Most People Don’t Know About Rin Chupeco – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Welcome to Rin Chupeco as she visits with us as part of her virtual book tour organized by the publisher promoting her debut novel The Girl from the Well, a retelling of the legend that inspired The Ring, told from the point of view of the murdered spirit. Leave a comment for a chance to win a print copy of the book (US/Canada only)

10 things most people don’t know about you
1. I have the weirdest fandoms. I’m a huge Phil Harris / Cornelia Marie fangirl, for instance. (bonus points if you know which fandom this is). I have an odd fascination with Louis XV of France, and I’m not sure why. And despite the popularity of the books, I’m having trouble finding a fellow Discworld fan (short anecdote: one of my friends from the UK wanted to meet up for teatime, and I said “It’s pronounced ‘teah-ti-meh’.” and giggled for a solid five minutes while everyone stared). Even harder to find: Dirk Gently fans. Mike Wolf and Frank Fritz fans. (I watch The Pickers all the time.) James Spader fans. Night Vale podcast fans. And is there an Anthony Bourdain or Gordon Ramsay fanclub that I can join? I like my fandoms eclectic, it seems.

2. I never had a Barbie doll. I had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, and Ghostbusters action figures instead. My love was so great that I had the Ectomobile, my very own lifesize photon pack, and a huge turtle lair. I was naturally upset when my parents bought me a dollhouse for staying on the honor roll back in elementary. (My sister, on the other hand, was thrilled – until I started moving my G. I. Joe dolls into the house and informed her that Flint and Shipwreck had declared martial law).

3. I can fold my hands length-wise, and it has grossed out a lot of people in the past, husband included. (Let’s just say that diving into the shallow end of community swimming pools is a Very Bad Idea.)

4. Recently, whenever I feel the need for inspiration, I take a break and play Cards Against Humanity for an hour or so.

5. I am an avid gamer. How avid? My three-month-old son is named after a fictional assassin from a ridiculously popular game. (It’s worth mentioning that hubby is also a gamer.) We go on gaming dates, because that is how we roll.

6. My first childhood memory was watching Remington Steele at two years old. My dad says I used to point at the TV screen whenever Pierce Brosnan was in a scene and screech, “THAT’S MY BOYFRIEND!” Even as a kid, I had pretty good taste.

7. In a lot of ways, TV was my babysitter growing up. I was fortunate to have a television set in my room, and I would wait until the house was quiet before sneakily turning it on and watching my favorite shows, which were for some reason always shown past my bedtime. I remember watching David Letterman and Conan O’Brien and not always getting their jokes given my age then, but those two eventually helped develop my sense of humor. And then there was the MTV Oddities series, back when MTV actually thought about the kind of programs they had instead of the crappy reality shows they’ve got on now. My love for the very weird started with Oddities, particularly Aeon Flux, The Head and The Maxx.

8. Several people have asked if I’d had any experience with the supernatural, given the subject matter I write. I can honestly say that despite my fascination with ghosts I’ve never actually believed in them, or seen any evidence for them – it’s just something I love to read about. That said, I’ve had a workmate who claimed that she’d seen a woman dressed in black looking over my shoulder once (it was early morning and I was the only one in the office when she’d arrived). She assumed it was another co-worker, until she saw said co-worker only just entering the premises. She was a bit more freaked out about this than I was, especially since I didn’t feel anything strange at that time. I’m happy to report though, that the alleged ghost never bothered me at that job aside from that incident.

9. I am also an avid crime junkie. I love Forensic Detectives and the Crime Investigation channel. I have a million books about serial killers, notable crimes, Mafia books, and the like. I have a large collection of detective fiction, from Doyle to Chandler to Akunin to Christie to Rankin. It’s a weird interest for a kid, but I think my main enjoyment was reading about how these criminals and get caught
– if I didn’t want to be a writer I would probably have seriously considered being a cop / homicide detective.

10. There are three kinds of food that I can’t turn down: crab, fresh raw salmon, and truffles. I once ate three plates of truffle-oil pasta once because I couldn’t bear to see it going to waste. My mother also claims my love for crab stems from her own craving for it when she was pregnant with me – it was about the only thing she ate.

Watch the book video:

About the Author:9_17 rin Despite uncanny resemblances to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco has always maintained her sense of humor. Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She’s been a technical writer and travel blogger, but now makes things up for a living. The Girl from the Well is her debut novel. Connect with Rin at http://www.rinchupeco.com.

9_12 book coverThe Ring meets The Exorcist in this haunting and lyrical reimagining of the Japanese fable.

Okiku has wandered the world for hundreds of years, setting free the spirits of murdered children. Wherever there’s a monster hurting a child, her spirit is there to deliver punishment. Such is her existence, until the day she discovers a troubled American teenager named Tark and the dangerous demon that writhes beneath his skin, trapped by a series of intricate tattoos. Tark needs to be freed, but there is one problem—if the demon dies, so does its host.

With the vigilante spirit Okiku as his guide, Tark is drawn deep into a dark world of sinister doll rituals and Shinto exorcisms that will take him far from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Japan. Can Okiku protect him from the demon within or will her presence bring more harm? The answer lies in the depths of a long-forgotten well.

Boys Like You by Juliana Stone

Boys Like You by Juliana Stone
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Lupine

One mistake.

And everything changes.

For Monroe Blackwell, one small mistake has torn her family apart –leaving her empty and broken. There’s a hole in her heart that nothing can fill. That no one can fill. And a summer in Louisiana with her Grandma isn’t going to change that…

Nathan Everets knows heartache first-hand when a car accident leaves his best friend in a coma. And it’s his fault. He should be the one lying in the hospital. The one who will never play guitar again. He doesn’t deserve forgiveness, and a court-appointed job at the Blackwell B&B isn’t going to change that…

Captivating and hopeful, this achingly poignant novel brings together two lost souls struggling with grief and guilt – looking for acceptance, so they can find forgiveness.

Though both of the main characters have suffered through great losses in their life, both are struggling to tough through it…together.

Meet Monroe Blackwell, city girl, who, in the midst of a breakdown of sorts, goes to Louisiana to spend time with her grandmother. She might appear angry and distant at first, but her heart bears a heavy weight that she believes no one will be able to lift. Guilt crushes her everyday, and she never lets it show. At least, not until she’s alone…but when her walls come down, she is a shell of her former self. I admired the fact that she wasn’t being a trouble to her family, no matter what she had done.

Nathan Everets might have caused his best friend to be hospitalized, and yes, he may never wake up, but Nathan doesn’t deal with the pain as well as Monroe does. His scorn and the obvious amount of guilt he carries is much more noticeable. He’s blind to what people see in him, and won’t accept their offers of forgiveness. I thought his growth of character was the most interesting, because he seemed to have the farthest to go, and was able to pick up on old habits again without feeling badly about it.

I liked the plot itself; I found it to be touching and sweet. However…the use of profanity and crude words did not go unnoticed; plus, I found the pastimes of Nathan’s friends to be disturbing and the sexual content is most definitely not for younger readers, despite the publisher’s age recommendation (with which I disagree — and I think it’s important to note that I am in the targeted age range).

Overall, though, I liked what Monroe and Nathan went through together. The growth of character was interesting to read about and certainly kept me turning pages. And one more note? The cover is awesome. 🙂