12 Dec 2013

Review: Scorched by Mari Mancusi

Title: Scorched
Series: Scorched
Placement in Series: 1/?
Author: Mari Mancusi
Format: Hardover
Blurb:
Trinity
Don’t leave me here... It starts with a whisper. At first Trinity thinks she’s going crazy. It wouldn’t be a big surprise—her grandpa firmly believes there’s a genuine dragon egg in their dusty little West Texas town. But this voice is real, and it’s begging for her protection. Even if no one else can hear it...

Connor
He’s come from a future scorched by dragonfire. His mission: Find the girl. Destroy the egg. Save the world.

Caleb
He’s everything his twin brother Connor hates: cocky, undisciplined, and obsessed with saving dragons.

Trinity has no idea which brother to believe. All she has to go by is the voice in her head—a dragon that won’t be tamed.
Review:
I must admit, I'm a sucker for dragons. Scorched had a very interesting mix of contemporary, fantasy, time travel/futuristic, and semi-apocalyptic. Each genre is lightly incorporated, which I think worked well. There were a few parts that fell flat for me, but I put that blame in the fact that I let myself put the book down for a while once I got partway through, and so I became disconnected. I started reading Scorched in early fall and put it down for a while because I started to get lazy, then picked it up again a few days ago, so I didn't get as into the story as I would have liked. However, I still loved the story, and can't wait for the sequel. I'm curious to see the direction it will take (and what the cover will look like, because this cover was absolutely gorgeous!).

I don't think I'm the biggest fan of the love triangle in this one, but at the same time I myself am not sure which brother I like more. I think I prefer them as friends to Trin than as more, because I wasn't sold on the romance. It doesn't take away from the story, however, so I'm okay with it.

I'm very interested in seeing the brothers' relationship develop. Trying not to spoil here, but I do want to see how they get along/don't get along in the sequel, and how everything that happened affects their siblingship. I foresee some forgiveness, but lots of hostility and lack of trust, and am looking forward to reading how that all plays out.

Overall, a very fun book with quite an interesting premise

Rating: 4/5

24 Oct 2013

Cover + Blurb Reveal: Duality (Hitchhiker Strain #2) by Kellie Sheridan

You guys, I am SO EXCITED for this sequel, I cannot even!
And so I am SO EXCITED to share this cover reveal with all of you.

Back in August I read Mortality by Kellie Sheridan, the first book in the Hitchhiker Strain series. (You can read my review here.  Spoiler: I loved it!) And after that ending, I can't wait to read more!!

But without further ado, the reveal!


Title: Duality (The Hitchhiker Strain, #2)
Author: Kellie Sheridan
Publisher: Patchwork Press
Release Date: December 31st, 2013
Blurb:
The end of everything came quickly, but the road back is endless and full of heartbreak.

After months of only death and loss, Veritas may be the answer everyone has been searching for—a cure. Savannah wants nothing more than to begin rebuilding, but with both the Initiative and the United Militia vying for power, there are no easy answers. Ending the threat for good could mean becoming something far worse than the monsters she is fighting against.

The infected will not go quietly. For Chelsea, the choice to step back into the world of the living is anything but simple. No miracle can erase the memories of the things she saw or the people she killed. While the girl she was struggles against the beast she became, Chelsea must make a choice—succumb or fight.

Links:
DUALITY on Goodreads
Kellie Sheridan’s Website
Follow Kellie on Twitter
Like Kellie on Facebook

Duality is out December 31st, 2013, so if you haven't yet read Mortality, you have time!

1 Sep 2013

Review: Frostbite by Lynn Rush

Title: Frostbite
Series: Touch of Frost
Placement in Series: 1/3
Author: Lynn Rush
Format: e-arc
Blurb:
Amanda gives a whole new meaning to cool…

Amanda Smith is sick of getting chased from town-to-town. So when she lands in tiny Trifle, Arizona, she hopes it’s her last move for a long time. Despite hating the smallness of the town, she settles in and finds a best friend, and even a boyfriend. Normality at its finest.

But for a girl who can shoot snow from her hands and lift a two-ton truck over her head like a bag of feathers—normal is not an option.

The scientists who murdered her mother come barreling into Amanda’s quiet life. She must decide if she’ll run again or stay and fight. The price of either choice might be her life or the lives of those she’s come to love…
Review:
Spoiler warning: This review is only slightly spoilery. I promise I don't give anything big away

Okay, I really enjoyed this one. I was lucky enough to receive an e-arc copy of this book (the first of a new trilogy by Lynn Rush), and I was super excited to dive into it! A girl with super strength and ice powers? Sold! Add in an action-packed plot where the protagonist is always on the run from people who murdered her mother (who had the same powers as she does) and father, some incredible characters I can't wait to read more about, and plot twists that left me on the edge of my seat with my mouth on the floor, and I'll have devoured the book in no time. Which is exactly what happened with Frostbite.

The book begins with Amanda, our protagonist, and her brother Scott living in a small town in Arizona as they attempt to stay hidden from the Coats - the name they've given to the white coat-wearing 'doctors' that have been tracking them down since their parents died. In Arizona, Amanda has made one friend, Georgia, and is trying to keep out of trouble for the few weeks left until she can graduate high school. But it is not only her poor attitude toward school and multiple tardies and absences that threaten her from achieving this milestone - the Coats have found her again, and she must decide if she wants to run again and leave behind Georgia, who is like a sister to her, and Zack, an unexpected romantic interest.
(Slight spoiler alert:) Amanda decides to stay; she and Scott have been running for so long, and she is too close to graduation to mess it all up now.

I really enjoyed all of the characters, but Amanda's spunky attitude was fun, entertaining, and refreshing - not all female protagonists need to be scholastic role models! (I for one did not enjoy school, nor did I have the greatest grades, so reading a protagonist who also lacked the interest was nice - is it just me, or do a lot of YA students get B's and A's without really trying?).

Georgia's develpoment as a character was fun to read. Seeing her go from timid - around her parents, at least - to brave in the face of danger, had me cheering her on, and made me question if I liked her more than Amanda or not (I think I've decided it's a tie).

I am still not sure how I feel about Zack, Amanda's love interest. I like his character, but if something happened to him and/or if Amanda moved on, I could live with it. He's cool; I'm just not attached. Kudos to him for sticking with Amanda through everything, though. His loyalty to her is admirable and I hope he comes out of this trilogy okay.

And then there's Scott, Amanda's older, powerless (in terms of super powers, anyway) brother. I don't really know what to say about Scott. Except he can make a smoothie for me any day... :D I wish he had some powers; I feel bad for him that he's left out of everything, but he makes do. If anything happens to him by the end of this trilogy, well... Let's just not go there.

The twists in this book were unexpected (as they should be), to me at least, and I loved them. My favourite, of course, when we found the Blaze to Amanda's Kelvin. That was my favourite part of the book and I was grinning so hard. I love the suspicion the plot had me feel towards certain characters. I was wary of trusting them right up until the end of the book, and even then, Lynn Rush still had me guessing! I don't want to give anything else away, so *zips lips*

It seems Amanda's powers develop every day, and I can't wait to see them grow in the following books. I also look forward to more character development -  I definitely can't wait for more Georgia! I'd like to see some from Zack, especially. I want to like him, and I'm not going to say no to my fictional crushes list expanding, but he has some more convincing to do.

Overall, amazing story! It kept me engaged, laughing, and guessing, and I can't wait for people to read this book so I can discuss without spoiling anything! Can't wait to get my hands on the physical copy as well (and, of course, the sequel!). Can't wait to see where Absolute Zero (book 2) takes us! I had a lot of fun reading this one :)

Rating: 4.5/5
Recommended for: Anyone who loves action, characters with special powers, and a fun, exciting plot. Fans of Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me, Kathy Reichs' Virals series, and the Percy Jackson series will enjoy Frostbite.


Frostbite by Lynn Rush is out September 17th, 2013

12 Aug 2013

Review: Mortality by Kellie Sheridan

Title: Mortality
Series: The Hitchhiker Strain
Placement in Series: Book one.
Author: Kellie Sheridan
Format: e-galley

Quick Synopsis:
The first book in the Hitchhiker Strain series, Mortality tells the story of what happens when a virus wipes out most of the population, turning humans into zombies. It is told from two very different perspectives. We are first introduced to Savannah, who is living in her school with what is left of her community. The virus has already wiped out the city, and those who survived are doing whatever they can to fight back against the new strain of zombies - ones who seem to be capable of intelligent thought. When Savannah and her friends are sent on a mission for medical supplies, their 'camp' is attacked my a zombie hoarde, forcing the four teens to track down their friends, families, and neighbours. Zarah's story starts from the beginning, showing how the zombie strain began, separating her from everyone she loves. She and her school crush are surviving on their own until they hear of a cure, and seek it out, only to be separated (and I will leave it at that because spoilers). Savannah's and Zarah's stories intertwine as they both seek out the rumoured new cure to the virus.

My Thoughts:
This book is seriously amazing. It really drew me in right from the start. The POV switch worked really well as the stories of Zarah and Savannah slowly (but greatly paced) intersected. I did not realize how attached I was to the characters until the spoilery spoiler spoils I will not detail because spoilers. ;)

Savannah's story took up a good chunk of the book as she and her friends fight zombies, track down their community, and are separated a few times. I really enjoyed her character; Savannah is first introduced to us when she is bored of being stuck in the school, and wants to put her training to use. She is a very strong character with incredible loyalty to her friends. What drives her throughout the book is her attempt to find and save one of her friends. Though she could be incredibly impulsive, I really admired her determination and her focus. She never allowed herself to be swayed from what she wanted. She stuck to her plan, even if it went against what her companion wanted.

Zarah's story was equally interesting. I don't want to talk too much about hers, because it is very spoilery. Her character was great as well, though. She was not as impulsive or as kick-butt as Savannah, but when things got tough, she did everything she could to fight against forces out of her control. I really felt for her, and felt myself drawn to her story slightly more than Savannah's. Her story took a turn I did not expect, and I commend the author for the direction Mortality went towards the end. It was amazing, and very well-executed! I'm intrigued to see where book two takes us.

Definitely a book I would recommend! Especially if the whole apocalyptic/ zombie/ virus strain medley of genres is something you enjoy. Lots of suspense and action in this one, and the pacing and writing was fantastic! I look forward to reading the second Hitchhiker Strain book!

Fun fact: Mortality is a self-published book by a new Canadian author, which I found out after I read the book. So, bonus!
Thank you to Kellie Sheridan and Netgalley for providing me with an e-galley for review.

Rating: 
5/5 - Full of suspense, adventure, and action. The well-executed ending twist and cliffhanger has me looking forward to the sequel!
Recommended for anyone who loves post-apocalyptics - especially the zombie/virus types.

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You can visit Kellie Sheridan's website here.
Buy the e-book and paperback of Mortality on Amazon here or the Kobo e-book here.

7 Aug 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #11

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly blogger meme started by Breaking the Spine. If you want to check this meme out at its origin and particpate, just click here.

It has been a ridiculous amount of time since I have done a WoW post! I went a little meme crazy a few weeks ago, and then the meme train ran out of gas, I guess, haha. But here it is! Waiting on Wednesday post #11.

This week I am waiting on . . .

Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Fire & Flood is the first book in an upcoming trilogy by The Collector author, Victoria Scott.

Goodreads Blurb:
A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Add Fire & Flood to your Goodreads by clicking here

Fire & Flood is right up my alley with the adventurous appeal and high stakes! Also, animal companion? :D If anyone knows what kind of animal (I've heard it's a genetically engineered one), I would love to know. <3
Also, that cover. The fire and the gray. . . Simple yet very eye-appealing (at least to me. I might have this thing for fire . . .) Love it! ;)

Sadly we will all have to wait until February 2014 before this book hits shelves, but I'm sure it will be well worth the wait!

4 Aug 2013

Plethora of Reviews #2

Welcome to the second installment of Plethora of Reviews, where I post a handful of short book reviews all in one post!


Review #1: Losing It by Various Authors, Edited by Keith Gray

Quick Synopsis:
A complilation of short stories about losing 'it'. Characters share their stories about their first times. No, not kisses. I mean going all the way. The big s-e-x. The stories are by Keith Gray (also the editor), Jenny Valentine, Melvin Burgess, Patrick Ness, Mary Hooper, Sophie McKenzie, Bali Rai, and Annie Fine.

My Thoughts:
To be honest with you, the only story that stuck with me was Patrick Ness' short story, Different for Boys. It featured a gay male teen and his struggles with  you'll have to read the story      and   to find out   ;)                    . I found it to be extremely interesting and very well-written, despite the black boxes (which were frustrating at times because I wanted to know what was supposed to be behind them, but stylistically they worked and left just the right amount to the imagination). Ness' story is a solid 5/5 for me, and makes me want to read more by him.

As for the other stories? I skipped most because I quickly became bored with them. The ones I did read all the way through were not memorable in any way. There was one where a great aunt or grandma told her niece/granddaughter what her first time was like, and it was told through the eyes of the girl's younger brother, who was sitting at the table with them. The whole situation was odd. Why did no one tell the younger boy to leave? It was a very awkward conversation for the girl to be obviously interested in while her parents and younger sibling were there, and I just did not like it. The rest were not great. They were not even good.

Rating: 5/5 for Patrick Ness' story, but the rest I am not even going to rate. I would say the ones I read entirely average 2/5 stars or less. I received this book as an e-galley from the publisher through Netgalley, which I am grateful for. It makes me want to read more by Patrick Ness (someone remind me to pick up his Chaos Walking series, already!), but I would not buy this book solely for that story.

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Review #2: Our Song by Jordanna Fraiberg

Quick Synopsis:
Protagonist Olive Bell had a great life until she nearly died in a car accident. Said accident killed her boyfriend, and now Olive must pick up the pieces of her life. Strangely, she is haunted by a melody that she cannot place. Olive goes to a support group to appease her mother, but there she meets the mysterious and seemingly haunted Nick. A romance blooms between the two teens, and Olive feels a connection between them that she cannot explain. Olive's story is about love and solving the mystery of the melody she hears, as well as trying to heal the ghosts of her past.

My Thoughts:
Some parts of this book I liked, some I didn't. I could not bring myself to side with or relate to Olive; I just did not understand her and she frustrated me. I wanted to slap her and yell: goddamnit! Listen to your best friend!! The ending was also too perfect. It was all tied up in a neat little bow. Suddenly Olive's mother was cool and understanding when before she was hardly even close. I also did not understand how renting a hotel room for three hours a night is enough to sleep away nightmares. I have never gone through anything like Olive has, but that whole situation made little sense to me. It was like a problem created for no realistic reason. It took me until about halfway through the book before I started to think I would enjoy it. Olive seemed very childish to me, and it was not until halfway that she began to grow up a bit more. I did not, unfortunately, like Olive. I mostly tolerated her.

However, I really enjoyed the character of Nick (although I was expecting more out of his back story than what we got). I really wish Olive did not rely on boys so much to 'save' her. I wanted to see some character growth there, but alas, that did not happen. And when she -spoiler alert. Highlight to read the following text- went back to Derek so easily after she was supposedly over him, I wanted to scream. Overall, not a story I see myself re-reading, but it was okay. I think I just expected more from the secrets everyone was hiding than what was really there.

Rating: 
3/5. Not bad, but not something I would re-read. It's tough when you spend the entire book wanting to crawl through the pages and slap the protagonist until he/she stops being ridiculously infuriating. But not bad.

What Happened to July?

I am not dead! And neither is this blog!

I feel I should specify that since for the entire month of July, there were no posts. Terrible! On my part, that was incredibly terrible. July was a really weird month. My work schedule was very wonky and the time I did find to write I spent trying to keep up with my Camp NaNoWriMo word goal. I failed badly, but that's another post for a different blog. And then I went on vacation!
My work schedule for August is pretty full, but I am going to try to post more on here. Especially more than zero times. I can do that, right? Of course! In fact, I have a second Plethora of Reviews post coming up.

A view of Negeek Lake in Combermere, Ontario - my favourite summer vacation cottage destination

In apology, I give you a look at the beautiful lake I vacationed at last week. Jealous? I know I am - of Past Me. I miss it so.

27 Jun 2013

Plethora of Reviews #1

Welcome to the first installment of Plethora of Reviews, where I post a handful of short book reviews all in one post! This time I will be reviewing four books I have read recently and wanted to pay tribute to.


Review #1: The Collector by Victoria Scott
Quick Synopsis:
Dante Walker lives, well, down there. Hell. His boss? The lord of Hell. His job? Collecting souls of human beings, tagging them each time they sin. Once they rack up enough tags, their souls are sold to Hell, where they will go once they die. Dante loves his job; he just doesn't like the tie he has to Hell. He wants to be free, and the chance has come. His boss offers him a promotion that will allow him to live on earth. The catch? He has to collect the soul of one girl, Charlie. The bigger catch? Charlie is a saint (she started her own charity, for goodness sake)! If trying to turn a saint into a sinner was hard enough, someone else is trying to collect Charlie as well. Dante's got a lot on his plate between Charlie, the mysterious competition, and ... what? Developing a soft spot for Charlie? Surely not...

My Thoughts:
This book was fun. Dante is one frustrating guy. He's obnoxious, intimidating, seemingly heartless, extremely bad ass, and worst of all, incredibly good-looking. I'm sure he has stronger words to describe his looks, but he's not here right now (err, unfortunately). I really enjoyed the premise of this book and the way Victoria Scott brought Dante's story to life. The book was witty, but also dark.
I could not relate to Charlie, but the book was not written from her perspective, so I was not bothered. Dante's internal dialogue about her was pretty hilarious, and if that makes me an awful person, well, at least Dante is on my side. Well, until he fell for her, anyway.

If you're looking for a fun read with an interesting twist and intriguing plot, I recommend this one. If anything, you'll enjoy Dante's narrative. I don't usually laugh out loud when I'm reading (I internally emote most of the time), but this one had me snorting many times throughout.

Rating: 4/5 stars. I loved it, and cannot wait for the sequel, The Liberator, which is out this coming August (yay for short waits - I read this one back in June).

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Review #2: Origin by Jessica Khoury
Quick Synopsis:
Pia, our main character, is going to live forever. She has been bred specifically for this, in the hopes that what made her immortal can be passed on to the rest of humanity. But what if Pia doesn't want to be the scientist they want her to be? What if she wants to be free? One day she leaves the compound she has grown up on and been prisoner in (though it never felt like a prison until she gets out and meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village). Slowly Pia begins to discover that the lab she thought she knew so well is full of secrets, and she is at the heart of all of them.

My Thoughts:
I loved everything about this book. The premise, the setting, the pet jaguar...
So far Origin is the only book I've read that has done the genetic manipulation of humans right. And by right, I mean it was well done. Well-written, well plot out, well delivered. The characters were fascinating and had me questioning who I actually liked and who I actually hated.
The premise by far was my favourite part though. It really makes you question how far humanity would go to preserve itself. Do we humans need to know how to bottle immortality? Could someone be working on that research right now? Could the events in the book happen one day? Probably. If the boundaries of ethics are pushed and bent the right way, anyway.

Rating: 5/5. And there will be a companion novel called Vitro, which is due out January of next year. Should be interesting!

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Review #3: Proxy by Alex London
Quick Synopsis: 
Similar concept as The Whipping Boy (which I've not read, but know the premise of), Proxy is the story of two teenage boys, Knox and Syd. Knox is rich, and Syd is his proxy. When Knox does something bad, be it getting a bad grade or accidentally killing a girl, Syd takes the punishment. Now Syd is on the run, not wanting to serve the life sentence law tells him he has to do when he did not even do anything wrong.
Knox knows something is not right, so when the two accidentally find each other, Knox joins his proxy in evading the authorities and Knox's father, who will stop at nothing to get his son back. Or is that what he's after them for?

My Thoughts: 
The concept of this book, as you might have guessed, is really fascinating. I've been told it's remembrant of The Whipping Boy, a story where when the prince misbehaves, a boy takes his punishment instead and is whipped, because a prince cannot be whipped. This story is less fantasy and more futuristic sci-fi. And it's great.
The story is told from the alternating POVs of both Knox and Syd, who are very, very different. Knox is difficult to like, until the very end whereareallycoolcliffhangerhappens and damnitIneedthenextbooknow, but I won't get into that for spoiler's sake.
Might I also add that this book is a great LGBT read, especially since the matter of Syd's sexuality is not the focus of the story. It's a non-issue, which made me smile to discover that the future in Proxy's world, while incredibly mucked up, has at least advanced as much to have accepted people's sexualities. Finally.

Rating: 4/5 - Great book, well-written, hard to put down. I received an e-copy from the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review, and bought the hardcover immediately once it was published.

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Review #4: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Quick Synopsis: 
It's finally happened. Contact. With 'out there'. Except not the kind of contact humans were hoping for. An alien race who won't show their faces (or any part of them, really) have reached earth and are taking over. That's right, they aren't here to make friends. They're here to eliminate us and take out planet for themselves. And they're doing a good job of it. First they take away our technology. No hydro, no internet, no transportation except by foot. Then there is a virus, which only a small perentage of the human population is immune to. As for the immune? They don't know who to trust, because the enemy is hiding among them.
Our main character has lost everything and is on the hunt to find her younger brother when she is incapacitated and dying. But then she is rescued and she has to figure out if she can trust her saviour, Evan, especially since he might be her only hope in getting her brother back.

My Thoughts:
The story is told from a few point of views, but it never gets confusing, as each point of view is its own 'part'.
I don't really know what to say about this book. It was just so amazing that I'm not sure my words can do it justice. But I will say this: I think this is going to be the best book of the year, guys. This is it.

Rating: 5/5 - Book of the year, guys. I'm calling it. (And from the other reviews I've seen, I'm not the only one!)

25 Jun 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (5): Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2013


(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. To join in on this weekly meme, visit the blog here)

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2013

These are in no particular order...

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Received from the publisher via netgalley.
Review to come soon. Spoiler: 5/5 rating
The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2) by Julie Kagawa
Click here for my review
Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare

Origin by Jessica Khoury
Review to come soon
Scrap by Emory Sharplin
Received from publisher via netgalley.
Click here for my review
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)
The 5th Wave (5th Wave) by Rick Yancey
Review to come soon
The Testing (The Testing #1) by Joelle Charbonneau
Click here for my review
Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi

24 Jun 2013

A Plethora of Mini Reviews

As some of you may know, I also write. Most of the time I sacrifice posting to this blog to work on my own writing, plus I have a funny work schedule (ah, the retail life) (but at a bookstore, so no complaints) (are there grammar rules about multiple parentheses in one sentence? Oops, I just broke it twice), so I don't get to spend as much time writing reviews as I'd like.

However, this is problematic, because I read a lot of books, and I'd like to give them all the attention I believe they deserve in the form on honest reviews. But if I were to write a detailed full review about every book I read, well, I wouldn't have much time to do anything else, would I?

So I've come up with a solution that I am hoping will work out all right. Every now and then I will post a plethora of mini reviews. The first one will be coming up, and will feature a few short reviews outlining my thoughts on a handful of books I have recently read. If it doesn't end up working for whatever reason, there won't be anymore, but this is the plan for now.

But don't worry! I will still be posting full reviews every now and then about the books of which I have a lot to say.

(New bookcase! Bookshelf tour to come soon!)

I also hope to be doing a bookshelf tour soon (I bought a new bookcase - see above!) now that my books are organized. So look out for that as well. I will likely upload it to Youtube and link it from here. (Maybe a few of my mini reviews will be done as videos as well to help save time. We shall see.)

And just to keep you up to date, I am currently reading the e-galley of Losing It by multiple YA authors (I'm on the one by Patrick Ness right now). I am also reading Eon by Alison Goodman, which I have barely started so as of yet I've nothing to say about it.

I might continue posting meme posts every now and then. I stopped because having a post a day was leaving no time for other things. Ah, time. Why must there be so little of you?

So yeah. I just wanted to give you all an update. This blog is still active. It might just not be completely reliable. And by it I mean I, of course, haha. I try, guys, I really do.

Happy reading!

23 Jun 2013

Review: Perception by Lee Strauss

Title: Perception
Series: Perception
Placement in Series: Book 1
Author: Lee Strauss
Format: e-galley
Blurb:
Eternal Life is To Die For.

Seventeen year old Zoe Vanderveen is a GAP—a genetically altered person. She lives in the security of a walled city on prime water-front property along-side other equally beautiful people with extended life spans.

Her brother Liam is missing.

Noah Brody is a natural who lives on the outside. He leads protests against the GAPs and detests the widening chasm they’ve created between those who have and those who don’t. He doesn’t like girls like Zoe and he has good reason not to like her specifically.

Zoe’s carefree life takes a traumatic turn. She’s in trouble and it turns out that Noah, the last guy on earth she should trust, is the only one who can help her.

Review:
Spoiler warning: I touch on some scenes in the book, but no major plot twists or events are spoiled.

The concept of this book was really fascinating. Set in a futuristic world where technology has advanced incredibly, humans (who can afford the procedure) are genetically enhanced so they live longer (to about 200 years old!) and physically age slower. Our main character, Zoe, lives in a large, protected city known as Sol. She is blonde-haired and blue-eyed and white-skinned like the other GAPs (genetically altered persons), living separately from The Outside, or Los Angeles, as the 'normal' people call it. People on The Outside live far less perfect lives than those in Sol, and do not have access to the procedures to become GAPs (and most don't want to, proving so by holding rallies protesting the genetic alterations).
Then Zoe's brother dies mysteriously, and she goes on a hunt to solve the mystery of his death. And it seems everyone in her life (parents, boyfriend) is hiding something from her.

Throw in science versus ethics and a forbidden romance, and you've got my attention.

Present it to me as it is written in Perception, and you've lost me.

I'm not even going to get into the whole 'all GAPs are beautiful and caucasian and blonde with blue eyes' thing, because I'm sure you can guess how much that in itself annoys me. I read the Uglies series (gee, another disappointing story on genetically altering humans*), and I don't remember if people's skin colour was changed, but I wouldn't doubt it. This is not okay, people.

Disclaimer: not blaming the author on this one - it is all a part of the story. And that's why I'm not going to go into it, because it is not something I find to be a fault in the book itself. I just wish this was also touched on more in Perception.

Touched on more?
What else do I think should be touched on more in Perception?
Hmm, well let's see...
Everything.

While the plot seriously interested me, I was extremely disappointed in how it all played out. The only reason I continued to read past the halfway point (when I knew this book was doomed) was because I wanted to know how it would play out. It wasn't the premise that was the problem, but the many factors in the book (characters, plot development, length, writing) that worked against it and had me gritting my teeth and biting back the urge to yell at my e-reader.

I apologise for the extreme negativity contained in this review, but it was unable to be helped.

Let's start with the main character, Zoe. Zoe is naive (understandable, since she grew up sheltered as a GAP), but she never grows out of it. She's also emotionless. Her brother dies, and sure, she's upset. But she acts as if he was merely keeping a secret from her, not that he died and is never coming back. In fact, no one in the book reacted very much when Zoe's brother died. Her mother (who Zoe refers to by her first name - Zoe refers to both her parents by their first names, because she doesn't feel 'connected' to them) was clearly upset by the death of Liam. But she was the only one. And everyone else was acting as if the mother couldn't handle life or something because she was so upset that her son died.
So yeah, there was that. Thankfully Zoe is at least trying to find out what happened, but I don't believe it's her way of grieving. I don't believe she's grieving at all. I think she's just offended that no one will tell her what is going on.

Zoe also fails to react (except for her knees giving out in shock) when she finds out something shocking about her past (she says vaguely, to avoid spoiling anyone who has yet to read the book and wants to). What she learns is so incredibly life-altering (haha, get it? Because she is literally already altered being a GAP? Sorry. Moving on), but she doesn't stop to think about it. There's no internal monologue about it, and it's not brought up until she randomly lashes out at her grandfather. But even all that is is a sarcastic comeback telling her grandfather that she knows the secret about herself, and then that's it. She hardly brings it up again. Not even internally. And this book is written in the first person. There is no excuse.

A bit more on Zoe's lack of... thought, for lack of a better term at the moment. Her boyfriend is being extremely shady throughout the whole first half of the book, and never once does she think 'Why am I with this boy who acts like he knows something about my brother's death, but won't tell me about it? And why am I with him when he basically ignores me after my brother dies - a moment in which I need him the most? And why do I continue to be with him after all of that plus the fact that I am now finding the maid's son to be attractive and I want to kiss him really, really badly?' (more on that later)
Zoe! Your boyfriend is being shady about your brother's mysterious death and barely even comforts you in your (basically non-existent - but that's besides the point) time of mourning! DUMP HIM!

She also infuriated me with her obsession over the maid's son. His mother is extremely sick and he leaves her to go visit her in the hospital, and doesn't call Zoe right away, and Zoe is paranoid he hates her. Out of no where she just starts thinking he's going to leave her. Because when he called her to give her the update on his mom, he sounded strained. He called her and she thinks he doesn't want to be together. Zoe is not a character anyone should look up to.

So about those romantic feelings for the maid's son...
Zoe doesn't pay Noah (maid's son) much attention until she realises his functionability in figuring out what happened to her brother. Now, I don't believe she's using Noah, no. I just also don't believe how she fell for him in an instant at this point. Out of no where she's realising how attractive he is and hoping that he'll be attracted to her. Meanwhile, she's still with her shady GAP boyfriend.

But the worst part?

Noah thinks of Zoe as filth. She's a genetically altered person who believes in everything he's against. But the day after Zoe enlists his help to solve the Liam mystery, he's into her like he hasn't spent hours of his time at rallies against GAPs and loathing her family. It made no sense to me. This was one romance that I could not get into. I wanted to; the idea of their forbidden romance was a predictable plot point, but an intriguing one. Sadly, it was developed poorly.
It had its ups and its down. Singular. Down. They had one fight that lasted half of a page. Noah realised he didn't belong in Sol because he wasn't a GAP and Zoe's 'friends' turned their nose up at him. Zoe chases after him and after only maybe three days of knowing him properly and one day after kissing him, declares that she'll leave the only home she's ever known to be with him.
No.
Stop.
There was no emotional build-up. The romance just happened and we readers are just supposed to believe it. Count me out.

Also underdeveloped was Zoe's relationship with her friends. They only appeared to nudge the plot along slightly. Zoe needed an escape from her house, and suddenly her best friend (who isn't mentioned until 90+  pages in - more than halfway through the story, folks) is on a trip and Zoe's pretending this best friend is home a day early.
What?!

There were several plot holes, like when she sneaks out of the house and her father tries calling her, but she ignores him. And then when she returns home, there's no mention of her getting reprimanded. The way she left her house had me thinking she wasn't going to return until everything was solved - she was basically on house arrest at that point, because her parents didn't want her seeing the maid's son. But then she sneaks out and nothing happens? *frowns*

I wish there was more focus on the story at hand. What I read feels like it was a first draft the author wrote down to get all of their ideas out in front of them, for them to embellish on later. The characters as well as the plot need some extreme fleshing out. And for a futuristic story about genetically altered humans, 150 pages just doesn't seem enough to tell the story. And it doesn't. A few other reviews I've read pointed out that Perception felt like it was a summary of a book. Someone wrote down all of the basic plot points and left out all of the development and emotion and voila! Perception.

The last quarter of the book is told from an entirely differect point of view. All of a sudden we reach 'part 2' of the book, and it is told in Noah's point of view. While I enjoyed Noah's point of view better than I did Zoe's, I thought this was really odd, and it threw me off. I want through most of the book in one person's perspective, only to be thrown into an entirely different person's mind for the last few chapters. This part could have been extended to the length that Zoe's part was - everything that happened in Noah's chapters felt rushed, and the final plot twist was solved way too conveniently for my taste.

In summation, good premise, bad delivery. Perception needs a lot of fleshing out. I hope the sequel is given more attention. I might read it to see if it improves and to see where this story goes, because like I said before, I really like the idea.

Rating: 2/5 - Just didn't do it for me.
Recommended for: No one? The only reason I finished this one was to find out how it ended, and because it was so short.

*I've so far read three stories about genetically altering humans. Perception is the latest, Uglies was the first, and Origin (Jessica Khoury) was the second. Origin was fantastic, by the way. So it can be done right.

11 Jun 2013

Cover Judging #3

We all judge books by their covers in one way, shape, or form - don't try to deny it.
Book covers are more often than not the first introductions we get when it comes to a book. Unless, of course, someone tells you about a book before you see it. Either way, we all cover judge. And that's fine. And at least once in our reading lives, we have looked at a cover of a book and then moved past it to another book, not deeming the first book worthy of being picked up off the shelf. Be it the front cover or the spine. Covers catch out attention. That's what they're there for.
Sometimes a lot of thought go into the making of a book cover, and sometimes we can tell little thought was put into a book's cover (or at least, the wrong kind of thoughts). I'm sure you've all thought of a book you've read with a less-than-spectacular cover, or perhaps a cover that has nothing to do with the material inside of the book.

But that's not what this post today is about. Not entirely.

I read this wonderful book last year. It's name is Seraphina, and the lovely Rachel Hartman (I'm assuming she's lovely - her writing in this debut novel certainly was) is the author.
For once it was a description of the book that caught my attention. Or rather, a word:

Dragons.

However, I adored the cover when it was revealed, and I'm sure you can see why:

Gorgeous, isn't it?

But then a new cover was released, and I'm sure you'll understand my current dilemma when you see it (or maybe not - we all have different opinions).
The new cover:

Same deal, except it's PURPLE

Purple, guys. Purple is my favourite colour, so maybe that makes me extremely biased, but I LOVE this cover. I seriously, really do. The problem? I already own the other cover.
Wait, is that really a problem? I can justify buying this even-more-gorgeous cover to add to my collection, right?

Well, I can. And I have, for the most part. I will pick up this cover one day. I will.

But anyway.

If you look at the two covers side-by-side (here - I'll make this a little easier)




There are some pretty cool differences, and I'm sure a lot of thought was put into those differences. For example, I found the purple cover in the 9-12 section of the bookstore. It *IS* very 9-12y if you think about it. The purple makes the cover slightly more childish. And the writing and colour is more flashy. Those are the things that catch a kid's eye, for sure. Kids are more likely to pick up a book with a colourful cover than one not. Heck, most people are. Then the original cover is in the 13+ section. A little more mature and artsy with its black and white drawing and the gold writing and red border. It's still awesome, and there are probably a lot of people who prefer that cover over the purple one.

As for me, I like both, but prefer the purple purely because of favourite colour bias.

All right, I'm done my babbling now. It's your turn. Which cover do you prefer? Let's discuss in the comments :)

(Also, I don't understand why they would put a book in two sections of a bookstore. I guess to reach out to more readers? But then that just leads into the whole 'but if 9-12ers can read it and teens can read it too, and a lot of other books are suitable for pre-teens, teens, and adults, why are these age labellings necessary?' conversation, and that topic just gives me a headache because I both understand the marketing side of it and don't understand the marketing side of it. Mostly because there are some books in certain sections I don't agree with. But anyway. *pulls fingers away from keyboard*)

PS, if you haven't read Seraphina by Rachel Hartman and love fantasy and dragons as much as I do (or even if you don't *shrugs*), you can read my review on the wonderfully-written book here. Spoiler: It's a 5/5 star review, so I highly recommend this one. AND it's the first of a series.
PPS, There's a photo to the UK cover in my review - which is also awesome, but very different from the above covers, which is why it was not included in this post. I do like the font on the UK cover more than the US covers, though, I must admit.

8 Jun 2013

Summer Reads - What Are They, Anyway?

(A photo from my cottage vacation last summer up in beautiful, peaceful Combermere, Ontario)

Now that the summer is here (perhaps not officially as per the calendar, but to me it is), everyone is asking for/recommending/talking about their summer picks. Working in a bookstore has me hearing about summer reads every day, but I have a confession:

I don't have any 'summer' picks. I don't want to strictly read 'beach' books (light romances, quick reads, etc). I read whatever piques my interest, and the time of year doesn't change that. I also find the term 'summer reads' to be very confusing. Do the books have to be about summer? What defines a book as a 'light' or 'beach' read, anyway?

(Me, in apparent deep concentration as I rock red pants and a sweater and read The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore. Taken - without my knowing until I went through my camera later - last year on my summer cottage vacation. Do aliens count in the summer reads category? Because they were a part of my summer!)

As a (preferably) YA reader, I walked up and down the YA shelves at the bookstore, reading synopses of books that I thought might qualify as a summer read. The few I found I picked because they were romance-y reads (some that take place during the summer). But as I read the back, all I could think was

I'd rather read this in the winter when I'm missing the summer.

The YA 'summer' reads all felt like novels that would raise my expectations of summer. If I spent my summer living vicariously through the characters finding summer love in between the pages of these so-called summer books, I'd finish the summer with a lump of disappointment in my stomach. *insert whiny voice here* How come I didn't go on a road trip/camping adventure/meet a hot guy on the beach who swept me off my feet?

It might sound ridiculous - I mean, I don't think like this when I read whatever else I usually read any other time of the year (probably because I don't often read books that are strictly romance-y - I like some fantasy/paranormal/etc to my reads).

I should add that not all 'summer reads' lists are entirely composted of contemporary romance novels. I've seen some novels I'd enjoy on these lists, but that just further confuses me on this topic. What exactly makes a book fit into a 'summer read' category?

Some people act as if these novels are great reads during the summer months especially. Why? What makes these books different from others that make them seemingly more enjoyable in the summer? Is it just a marketing thing? If so, it really doesn't make much sense to me.

Perhaps I'm looking too much into it since the term is surrounding me. I have customers coming in asking me to recommend them beach reads, and most of them walk away with something from the romance section, or a contemporary novel from the fiction section (usually a Sophie Kinsella novel or an Emily Giffin - chick lit, anyway).

I don't have the males of our species coming in asking for 'beach' reads, so is this just a female thing? When guys come in asking for books for their vacation, they want something they'd normally read. Some walk away with mysteries or thrillers or biographies or true crime novels. Some with sci-fi or horror or fantasy. So maybe the question I should be asking is is it just a women thing?

I'm sure there are females out there who are like me and read any and every genre any time of year. So maybe that's what is confusing me. Maybe it's just because it's summer and people are going on vacation and thus have more time to read, someone coined the term summer read and publishers and bookstores and book buyers have bought into the idea of a summer read?

This post has gone absolutely no where, but it was not really meant to.

What I want to ask you, whoever is reading this word-vomit of a blog post, is what the heck do you consider to be a summer read? And is that what you like to read in the summer? What are you reading now?

I'd love for you to weigh in on this, because I've no answers. Perhaps there isn't one. It's likely that the definition of 'summer/beach reads' is entirely subjective. But there you have it.
So. What do you think?

7 Jun 2013

Blog Tour Stop: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau -- A Review & Giveaway!


Be sure to check out the other stops of the tour for exclusive interviews, guest posts, and more!
Blog tour hosted by Vade Mecum Blog Tours.
June 3 Nick's Book Blog (author interview)
June 4 Little Library Muse (review)
June 5 Bookworms' Avenue (guest post)
June 6 Literary Meanderings (author interview)
June 7 Court Reads and Reviews (review)
June 8 Ink Skies (review)
June 9 Drugs Called Books (guest post)

Title: The Testing
Series: The Testing
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Placement in Series: 1/3
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Format: e-galley
Blurb:
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same?

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies--trust no one.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.
Watch the trailer:
About the Author
Joelle Charbonneau began telling stories as an opera singer, but these days she finds her voice through writing. She lives near Chicago with her husband and son and when she isn’t writing, works as an acting and vocal coach.
Connect with Joelle Charbonneau
Review:
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!
Sorry, I had to get that out. But it's true. I loved every second of The Testing - so much that once I got halfway I stayed up until 4am so I could finish it. I just could not stand putting it down without knowing what was going to happen.
Things start out innocent enough in The Testing. Malencia Vale (Cia) is looking forward to her graduation because a) it means she is an adult, and b) she is hoping to get chosen for The Testing. When graduation comes by and no announcement is made, Cia is disappointed. No one from her colony was chosen. But then later that night a Testing official shows up and Cia finds out that she is, in fact, chosen for The Testing, as well as three of her other classmates - one being Tomas, the charismatic, good-looking, and smartest guy in her class. She is ecstatic. But then her father warns her to be careful. He too was chosen for The Testing when he graduated, and though he does not remember anything that happened before he entered the University, he tells her of the dreams that have haunted him ever since. And so Cia joins her three other classmates to journey to where they will take The Testing, with only a single bag for her belongings and her father's cautioning words to carry with her.
The book doesn't keep us waiting for any action or suspense - things begin to escalate rather quickly from there, and we along with Cia begin to learn just what is up with The Testing. Our first hint is when one of Cia's classmates chosen for The Testing asks what happens if she doesn't want to go. The consequence for refuses to take The Testing? It is strongly hinted that it is death. And things don't stop there. Bad things begin to happen at The Testing, and if it weren't for the fact that I was reading the first half of the book only on my breaks at work, I probably would have read it all in one night. I was pulled into Cia's world, into her mind, worrying with her throughout the story. What terror would happen next? Would she make it through The Testing? What happens to those who fail? For over a hundred students are chosen from different colonies for The Testing, but only twenty or so are chosen to attend the University. Nothing is clear for Cia, nor for the reader.
The book delivers incredible suspense and is full of mystery. I don't think there was one part of Cia's Testing that I was sure she would make it through. I tried rooting for Cia and for those she trusted, but I was too busy biting my nails and trying not to skip ahead to make sure all would end up well!
Fans of The Hunger Games, the Divergent series, and The Maze Runner trilogy will love this book. It is full of survival-based adventure, mystery, and so many twists and variables that you cannot possibly know what will happen next. As for Cia? She is right up there with Katniss, Thomas, and Tris. She has to pull out all the stops and use everything she knows to get to where she wants to go, and when it comes to her survival, it's her gut and core instincts she has to trust. Her choices are admirable, and her loyalty strong. I am anxious to read what happens next (we readers are left with quite a cliff-hanger, folks!) You won't want to wait for the sequel, that's for sure!




Rating: Solid 5/5
Recommended for: Anyone who loved The Hunger Games/Divergent/The Maze Runner and post-apocalyptics and dystopians in general. You'll want to get this one in your hands if you haven't already!

Check out the sidebar for a link to the FREE copy of the prequel, watch the book trailer, and more!

Fill out the rafflecopter form below to enter a giveaway for your chance to win 1 of 7 copies of The Testing!





30 May 2013

Review: Runes by Ednah Walters

Title: Runes
Series: Runes
Placement in Series: Book 1
Author: Ednah Walters
Format: e-galley
Blurb:
Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James—a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her.

Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run.

Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about Torin. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only are she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.

Review:
(Psst: This gets slightly spoilery, so take caution if you're reading this review and haven't yet read Runes. I felt the need to use specifics to back up a few of my opinions. But I don't spoil anything too big - and if I do, I'll put another spoiler warning before the spoiling sentence/part. I promise.)

I'm conflicted about this one, my dears. I really loved the story and the characters, but the writing was just not doing it justice. Wanting to know what exactly Torin was and where this story was going to go is what made me keep reading, but there were many times where I had to roll my eyes at the narrative and re-write sentences in my own head. Being a budding writer myself I'm sure made me critical; I want to be able to spot these things in my own writing. But I'm a reader as well, and there were scenes in this book that fell flat because of their written delivery.

The first thing I noticed was how many times the main character, Raine, thought to herself 'Magic isn't real.' It was as if the author wanted to constantly hint to us 'Psst, hey reader. She keeps saying magic isn't real but guess what? This is foreshadowing, because it is real!' again and again and again. I got the message that there was magic in this book by the title alone; I don't need constant hints. I only needed Raine to think it once. But there were times when her physical actions had me knowing what she was thinking - that magic isn't real. I don't need to read her thinking it ever second page. That's what body language is for. It was something that I found to be really annoying. Thankfully, once Raine realised that 'hey! Magic is real!' it stopped.

I thought the incorporation of Norse mythos - something not seen in many books, especially YA - was awesome. Greek mythology is everywhere, so it was a really nice change, and since I have always had an interest in mythology, it was fun learning about Norse and seeing the spin the author took on the mythos. She did a really great job with it, and I'm curious to see what else she incorporates in the second Runes novel.

Unfortuately, while I enjoyed the plot and the mythos, I felt the plot was poorly delivered, and there were some definite holes and scenes that were not written to their fullest potential. Some character reactions were absent when they shouldn't have been. (Slight spoiler alert:) When a handful of characters close to the protagonist all died at once, she barely reacted. Granted, you could chalk it up to shock, except that she knew it was coming, and while she had other things to deal with, I just could not believe that she wasn't even going to shed a tear. Then when (SPOILER ALERT - skip to next paragraph to avoid this one) her father returned it was treated as if he had only been gone for a week - not missing and assumed dead for months!

The romance was done well on Raine's side, and I was rooting for her and Torin. My only reservation with their relationship was that I just did not understand where Torin was coming from. It was insta-love on his part, and while I shipped it, I did not believe it for most of the book. Another thing (oops, did I say reservation as in singular?) on the topic of romances was (SPOILER ALERT - skip to next paragraph to avoid this one) the complete and total cop-out that seemed to brew between Raine's boyfriend Eirik (awesome spelling) and her best friend Cora. I get it. They bickered for the entirety of the book, and I guess they could have sprout feelings from there (although constant bickering does not always mean flirting!), but there were absolutely no hints to their spark at all that it felt like it was thrown in completely to help out Raine deal with how she was going to dump Eirik. It pissed me off that Raine was cheating on Eirik to begin with, but now she gets an easy out because she's suddenly noticed that Eirik has eyes for Cora? No, sorry, not buying it. The fact that we made it to the end of the book without Raine ending her relationship with Eirik also bothered me. Is this so that she can continue to use him while she pines for Torin? *frowns deeply* Colour me unimpressed.

As for that ending... The cliffhanger was brilliant, and I'm sure I would have squealed or reacted a lot more had I not been again distracted by the poor delivery. The idea is so juicy and (positively) throwing-my-book-against-the-wall-because-DAMN-THAT-ENDING-worthy that the delivery failed to, well, deliver. It's difficult to explain exactly what fell through for me about the ending without spoiling it completely, but it has a lot to do with character reactions and how right after the book just ended. If not for the 'The End' right afterward, I'd have fully expected an epilogue or one more chapter or something.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story in this one, but the writing was just... not there. The character reactions and relationships did not always feel genuine to me, and what would have been a great cliffhanger was overshadowed by a failed and sloppy delivery. It feels like Runes could go through another draft (at least) or two. Still, I did enjoy the story enough to want to read the second book. It was interesting, and I liked the incorporation of Norse mythos. Do I recommend? Yes, if you can look past the sloppy writing and focus on the plot at hand, I think anyone into the mythology/paranormal genre will enjoy Runes. I did - there were just a few things that stood out negatively for me.

Rating: 3/5 - If not for the writing, it would have been a higher rating (obviously). I wanted to rate it higher, of course, but there were some things I could not look past.
Recommended for: Anyone who loves the paranormal and mythology genres, and enjoys some fun romance with it as well.

24 May 2013

Stacking the Shelves (7): Quite a Haul!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where book bloggers share the books they've added to their shelves this week (physical or electronic).


Purchased from the bookstore:


The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
I read the e-arc and loved it, so of course once it came in, I had to buy it. How did I get it when the release day isn't until ten days from now? Well there is this magical (loathesome in some cases) list called a 'Strict On Sale' list, and The Testing isn't on it! So some bookstores will put the book out once they receive it. It's perfectly legal for a book to be on sale before its release date as long as it is not on the magical, sometimes loathesome SOS list.

See my review on The Testing in a future blog post to find out why I loved it so much! I'm a part of The Testing tour, so keep an eye out. There's a giveaway, too!

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan
Seems the reviews are mixed. Some are in love, some disappointed, but I don't care! I will be the judge of whether this book in enjoyable or not. And I'm excited to dive in. Not sure when the diving will be happening, since my to-read pile is massive, but hopefully I'll be reading this one sooner than later! I've yet to read anything by Andrea Cremer, but I read Levithan's Every Day and liked it, and I loved his colab with John Green for Will Grayson, Will Grayson, so we shall see!



Tiger's Curse and Tiger's Quest by Colleen Houck
I've been wanting to read this series for a while. The hardcovers are gorgeous, but just a bit too heavy, so I waited for the paperbacks for this one. If I really enjoy the series, however, I'll be adding the hardcovers to my collection for sure. I mean, they are GORGEOUS. Depite their weight. <3




ARC (paperback) via author/publisher:


Control by Lydia Kang
This book isn't due out until December of this year, but I was lucky enough to win an advanced reader's copy from a YABC giveaway. A few months back I received some Control swag (promo buttons, bookmarks, bookplates, necklaces, magnets) with a note from Lydia Kang herself (on her own gorgeous stationary, I might add!) stating I would get the arc a little closer to summer, likely June/July, but it came now :D So I'm super excited to read this one, and will be bumping it up my list and reading it next week. This one sounds like one I will enjoy, so I'm looking forward to reading it asap.

E-galley:
It got a little crazy with the e-arcs from Netgalley this week, guys... *deep breath*

Contributor by Nicole Ciacchella
Blurb:
One of only three students chosen for an elite, year-long apprenticeship, seventeen-year-old Dara Morrow is eager to excel in the high-stakes competition and prove herself a devoted Contributor. Success means a prosperous future with her Job Creator. Failure means losing her standing in society.

But Dara’s competition is ruthless, and her exacting master has little patience for her. When her mother is injured, Dara’s prospects become even more uncertain. If she can’t learn to navigate the hazards of the system, she risks not only her own safety, but that of all those she loves.

Loving the sound of this one, that's for sure! PS: You can read an excerpt of Contributor - there's a link on the Goodreads page (click the title to be taken to Contributor's Goodreads)

Mortality by Kellie Sheridan
Blurb:
After surviving a deadly plague outbreak, sixteen-year-old Savannah thought she had lived through the very worst of human history. There was no way to know that the miracle vaccine would put everyone at risk for a fate worse than un-death.

Now, two very different kinds of infected walk the Earth, intent on nothing but feeding and destroying what little remains of civilization. When the inoculated are bitten, infection means watching on in silent horror as self-control disappears and the idea of feasting on loved ones becomes increasingly hard to ignore.

Starving and forced to live inside of the abandoned high school, all Savannah wants is the chance to fight back. When a strange boy arrives with a plan to set everything right, she gets her chance. Meeting Cole changes everything. Mere survival will never be enough.


Secret for a Song by S.K. Falls
Blurb:
Saylor Grayson makes herself sick. Literally.

She ate her first needle when she was seven. Now, at nineteen, she’s been kicked out of college for poisoning herself with laxatives. The shrinks call it Munchausen Syndrome. All Saylor knows is that when she’s ill, her normally distant mother pays attention and the doctors and nurses make her feel special... (Click for the rest of the book's description)


Much heavier material than what I usually read, but I'm interested to see how the story goes and how I'll like it. This one's due out in June.

The Island by Jen Minkman
Blurb:
Leia lives on the Island, a world in which children leave their parents to take care of themselves when they are ten years old. Across this Island runs a wall that no one has ever crossed. The Fools living behind it are not amenable to reason – they believe in illusions. That’s what The Book says, the only thing left to the Eastern Islanders by their ancestors.
But when a strange man washes ashore and Leia meets a Fool face to face, her life will never be the same. Is what she and her friends believe about the Island really true?

Or is everyone in their world, in fact, a Fool?

This one's a dystopian novella with an interesting premise. Should be fun.

Follow the White Rabbit by Kellie Sheridan
I didn't even notice until right now as I typed out the title and author's name that this is the second Kellie Sheridan book in this post! Pretty cool.

This book is the first in a series called Beautiful Madness, and follows, in case you haven't already guessed, the story of Alice in Wonderland. I love twists on classic fairy tales and stories, and one of my favourite books is just that (The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor, if you're curious - another Alice in Wonderland re-telling and one I highly recommend). I'm interested to see how this one goes!


Dark Child (Omnibus Edition) by Adina West
This series was originally released in separate parts, but the edition I was approved for on Netgalley is for the entire story.

From Goodreads: "...this intriguing urban fantasy follows the story of Kat Chanter, who discovers that the world she knows is controlled by ancient creatures who feed on blood. And she might just be one of them ..."

 AND you can read the first part for free by searching Dark Child: Episode 1 on your preferred retailer's site or at www.momentumbooks.com.au!


*exhales slowly*
And there it is! My haul for the week. I tend to go a tad crazy with netgalley. Remind me to stay off of there for a few days so I can at least read what I've already requested and send reviews to the publishers!

How about you all? Anyone go a bit crazy with their haul this week? Link me in the comments so we can compare! :)