Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hiatus!!!

If you couldn't tell by the lack of updates and reviews, this blog is going on a hiatus!


I am starting graduate school next week, on top of working full-time, so I will barely have enough time to read for pleasure, let alone write and post reviews. While I will be furiously busy...


I WILL still be updating from time to time, so I hope you don't un-follow me! As a matter of fact, I am getting my Masters in Information and Library Science AND one of the courses I am taking in the Fall is called "Tween Literacy." SO EXCITED!

So please, bear with me as I adjust to being a full-time student and employee and who knows? Maybe I'll breeze on by! :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme run by Jill from Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases bloggers are eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm waiting for...

On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.

Blackwood is a dark, witty coming of age story that combines America’s oldest mystery with a thoroughly contemporary romance.


Expected publication: September 4th 2012 by Strange Chemistry

I recently was lucky enough to WIN a copy of this book, by participating in the YA Scavenger Hunt! I'm super excited to read it, but I tend to be a sucker for anything historic. :D

Check out Gwenda's site here for more information! :D

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - August 7th

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:


 "The radio crackles the prerecorded voice of that woman at us over and over. We have done everything she has told us to do. We have locked and barricaded all the doors. We have covered the windows so no one can see outside and - more importantly - nothing can see in."

pg. 18, "This is Not a Test" by Courtney Summers

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme run by Jill from Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases bloggers are eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm waiting for...

What if you could dream your way into a different life? What if you could choose to live that life forever?

Sloane and Maggie have never met. Sloane is a straight-A student with a big and loving family. Maggie lives a glamorously independent life as an up-and-coming actress in New York. The two girls couldn't be more different--except for one thing. They share a secret that they can't tell a soul. At night, they dream that they're each other.

The deeper they're pulled into the promise of their own lives, the more their worlds begin to blur dangerously together. Before long, Sloane and Maggie can no longer tell which life is real and which is just a dream. They realize that eventually they will have to choose one life to wake up to, or risk spiraling into insanity. But that means giving up one world, one love, and one self, forever.

This is a dazzling debut that will steal readers' hearts.


Expected publication: October 2nd 2012 by Razorbill

The cover is gorgeous, and I'm practically begging (well...more like literally begging) Razorbill for a chance to read an advance copy of this book. The premise of this is just so great and I love the whole dream world concept. I think the fact that there are two different authors will really lend to that "different voice" feeling of the two characters.

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Giveaway Hop!!


It's been a while since I participated in a hop, so I figured "why not??" There are a TON of books that have been released or will be released this summer that I am dying to read so for this giveaway, I am offering you a choice of the following books: 







Items will be shipping from Amazon (US) or Book Depository (INT). Just please fill out the Rafflecopter below and check out the TONS of other stops on this hop!

Giveaway ends at midnight on Tuesday, August 7, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Check out the other stops on this hop here:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Review: Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt

Title: Thief of Shadows 
Series: Maiden Lane #4
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: June 26th, 2012
Genre: Historical Romance

A Masked Man . . .

Winter Makepeace lives a double life. By day he's the stoic headmaster of a home for foundling children. But the night brings out a darker side of Winter. As the moon rises, so does the Ghost of St. Giles—protector, judge, fugitive. When the Ghost, beaten and wounded, is rescued by a beautiful aristocrat, Winter has no idea that his two worlds are about to collide.

A Dangerous Woman . . .

Lady Isabel Beckinhall enjoys nothing more than a challenge. Yet when she's asked to tutor the Home's dour manager in the ways of society— flirtation, double-entendres, and scandalous liaisons—Isabel can't help wondering why his eyes seem so familiar—and his lips so tempting.

A Passion Neither Could Deny

During the day Isabel and Winter engage in a battle of wills. At night their passions are revealed . . . But when little girls start disappearing from St. Giles, Winter must avenge them. For that he might have to sacrifice everything—the Home, Isabel . . . and his life.

Review: I don't really know how Elizabeth Hoyt does it but umm...diz-amn! She had me hooked again with "Thief of Shadows." This fourth installment of her Maiden Lane series was well worth the months I eagerly anticipated its release.

This book focuses primarily on the story of Winter Makepeace - meek and saintly manager of an orphanage during the day; dashing and quick masked hero by night. Yes, I know it sounds cheesy but trust me, it really works! Winter has basically taken what amounts to a vow of celibacy. It's probably just as well because he's drab, kind of rude, and really humorless. That is...until Lady Isabel Beckinhall unleashes a side of him that has long since been suppressed.

What I Loved: Well, I don't think I need to gush more about Elizabeth Hoyt but...woman really knows how to write! The love scenes are loaded with anticipation and so much deliciousness that it practically makes you squirm. The story itself flowed so well and there were parts when I was truly affected by revelations made within the book ::sniffle::.

I really loved Lady Isabel, as well. She was such a strong, feminine, and yet fragile figure (not in the "wilting flower" way that kinda irks me, either). As the book progressed she was revealed to be a truly multifaceted character who I'd really love to know in real life. I know there's book boyfriends out there. Can she be my book BFF?

What I Didn't Like: Well...it's not so much that I didn't like this but...holy hell Winter sure got on my nerves! It was really frustrating to read some of the things he did or didn't do because, frankly, he has always come of as rather rude to me. I didn't care for him from the previous books so I was definitely a little jaded going in.

Without giving anything away, I must mention that there were two or three points that I kinda thought to myself "WTF Winter?" But the positive of this is that he mostly did redeem himself by the end.

Yay or Nay: A big 'ol resounding YAY! There's a lot going on in this book...and some of it isn't pretty. Although the fluffiness that we all enjoy is still there, there are moments of sadness, vulnerability, and desperation. They are beautifully countered with the true happiness, romance, and deep resounding love that we all enjoy in romance novels.

I would strongly suggest to any historical romance lovers to pick this series up! Although this installment can read as a stand-alone story, it's worth it to read the whole series because the sum of the story is really that wonderful!

Goodreads  |  Amazon  |   Author's Site

4/5 Teapots!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Feature & Follow #2

The Feature & Follow Blog Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel @ Parajunkee and Alison @ Alison Can Read. The purpose of it is to help out new book bloggers (such as myself) and make it easier for ALL bloggers to get together once a week and support each other by commenting on blogs and following!!

1. (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
2. (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
5. If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
6. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
7. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the follower.

This week's features are Alisa @ Books Are My Reality and Michelle @ Concise Book Reviews.
This week's question is:

What was your favorite book that you were REQUIRED to read when you were in school? 

 

Two of my ABSOLUTE favorites, which I still count amongst my top 10, are Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Both of those left lasting impressions on me - especially Frankenstein, which I've reread since and loved just as much as the first time.

Please follow either via GFC or Networked Blogs.
I appreciate you stopping by and I can't wait to return the favor!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thrifty Thursday

Who doesn't love a great book deal? Check out the following steals, currently available at Amazon. All of these are either books I currently own or have been on my wishlist for quite some time.

Prices are current as of 7/26/12.


Young Adult Paperbacks and Hardcovers


All books are $4.40 or less


Paperback Romance
   
(All books are $4.00 or less)


If you plan on purchasing any of them, I would much appreciate it if you used the affiliate links above. This way, I can start putting together a little piggy bank of funds that will be used for future prizes and other giveaways!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Design!

Totally on a whim, I decided to completely re-do my blog design. It's much more...pink...and bright. I figured, Hey! I review a lot of chick-type books so why not??

Credit completely goes to the amazingly talented Itkupilli, from whom I obtained both the header and the background image.

There will be more content revisions in the coming days but since I'm extremely satisfied with the current design, I think it's here to stay for a while. Let me know what you think!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme run by Jill from Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases bloggers are eagerly anticipating.

I'm waiting for...

A gritty, atmospheric coming-of-age tale set in New York’s Lower East Side

Seventeen-year-old Cat is living every teenager’s dream—she has her own apartment on New York’s Lower East Side and at night she’s club kid royalty, guarding the velvet rope at some of the hottest clubs in the city. The night with its crazy, frenetic, high-inducing energy—the pulsing beat of the music, the radiant, joyful people and those seductive white lines that can ease all pain—is when Cat truly lives. But her daytime, when her real life occurs, is more nightmare than dream.

The sounds of the city grate against Cat’s nerves, she shrinks away from human touch, and can barely think the words “I love you” even when she feels them. Having spent years suffering her mother’s emotional and physical abuse, and abandoned by her father who’s found happiness in another woman, Cat is terrified and alone—unable to connect to anyone or anything. But then someone comes along who makes her want to stop escaping her life and actually live it, only she’ll need to summon the courage to confront her demons and take control of a life already spinning dangerously out of control. Both poignant and raw, White Lines is a gripping tale and the reader won’t want to look away.



This book is one I only heard about recently and I am absolutely DYING to read! It doesn't come out until April 2013, so I have quite a wait, but am still excited! It contains a lot of my key buzz-words ("gritty?" "poignant and raw?" umm...yes please!). I think this may be a rough read but, if done correctly, those reads have an amazing way of sticking with me. :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: The Rake by Mary Jo Putney

 
Title: The Rake  
Author: Mary Jo Putney
Publisher: Kensington/Zebra  
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 4/5


Synopsis: A man's past doesn't have to map his fate, especially when a woman holds the key to his destiny in this timeless novel by New York Times bestselling author and legend in historical romance Mary Jo Putney...

Disinherited and disgraced, Reginald Davenport's prospects cried for a dire end. But fate has given him one last chance at redemption—by taking his rightful place as the heir of Strickland, his lost ancestral estate. Davenport knows his way around women, yet nothing prepares him for his shocking encounter with Lady Alys Weston.

Masquerading as a man in order to obtain a position as estate manager of Strickland, Alys fled a world filled with mistrust and betrayal. She was finished with men—until Strickland's restored owner awakens a passion she thought she would never feel. A passion that will doom or save them both…if only they can overcome their pasts.


Review: Mary Jo Putney sure got me out of my reading funk with this gem!

The story centers on Reggie Davenport, who is a rake in every sense of the word. He likes his behavior scandalous, his women wanton, and his drink a-plenty. Unfortunately, unlike other casual drinkers, alcohol has become quite a problem for Reggie and has lead to black outs, as well as regrettable behavior.

The female lead is Alys Weston, strong, stubborn, and with a hint of self-esteem issues. What makes Alys so unique is that she's tall, with long legs, and a set of mismatched eyes. What makes Alys so relate-able is that she feels like she's always stood out for her physical characteristics (a total appeal to me as a tall, dorky girl).

As Reggie and Alys form a bond over their shared interest in Davenport's estate (of which Alys is a stewart and Reggie had inherited), a passion forms between the two of them that is only unleashed after our rake has been drinking. Aside from the obvious physical attraction, there is also a real sense of respect that both our leads have for each other. I also loved their back-and-forth flirting humor.

As the characters slowly revealed themselves to each other, the story built on them and the relationships around them. I loved that Putney incorporated the lives of other characters into the story and that it did not come off as cluttered. I really enjoyed the side stories as much as the main one!

The only complaint I had was the lack of steamy sexy scenes. They were almost glazed over to get to the meat of the story. While in this case, that story was good enough for it to work, it was a little disappointing to have those highly anticipated scenes not be milked for every ounce of the sexy goodness they provided.

Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read that I'd definitely recommend to any fans of historical romance.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Major YA Giveaway!


With the summer here and all, my book blogging has been more and more infrequent. Although I do plan on having at least one more giveaway before I have to go back to school in the Fall, I wanted to share with you ANOTHER giveaway, at one of my ultimate fave book blogs: Literary Exploration.

Click on the icon above OR this link, and find out how YOU can win all our Fierce Reads! Included are SIGNED copies of Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, Struck by Jennifer Bosworth, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, and Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne as well as some other goodies!!

Review: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Title: Lies Beneath
Series: Lies Beneath #1
Author: Anne Greenwood Brown
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA, mermaids, fantasy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

Review: It looks like mermaids are the hot new supernatural beings that are taking their place in the limelight. I was especially intrigued by "Lies Beneath," due to it having a male protagonist, and the fact that it painted mermaids as vicious, murderous creatures whose only joy was stealing the happiness of others.

Calder is a merman who is caught in between his desire for revenge over his mother's murder, and the crush he has developed for Lily. Lily is the daughter of the man that Calder and his sisters are plotting to murder. As Calder struggles with his conflicting desires, we learn the story of who he is, and the complex nature of being a merman.

For starters, I was intrigued by Calder. Here is this guy who has totally confessed to killing before and yet, I did not automatically hate him. Surprisingly, Lily annoyed me far worse than he did - namely because of how flat she fell, as a character. I thought she was written as an extreme cliche and I had to roll my eyes at points that described her outfits or love of Victorian poetry. Sure, Calder was no prize himself (can we say "stalker"??), but at least I was invested in his development.

Together, they both lacked the buzz and intensity that is ascribed to their relationship. There is a definite insta-love element at play, and although Calder's can be explained by what he is, Lily has no excuse. Either way, it is something that gets really old, really fast.

What I loooooved was the writing. I felt uneasy reading certain parts of this book. It was dark, and edgy - keeping me at the edge of my seat. And that ending?? Whoah! Loved it!! Too often nowadays, YA books are part of a series which leaves off in a cliffhanger ending - so that you are forced to read the rest of the series. While "Lies Beneath" is the first in a series, it answered most of the questions that it put forward.

Overall, "Lies Beneath" was an enjoyable read in a series that I'd love to continue on with. Perhaps given more books and time to grow, my main annoyance with the first book - Lily and Calder's relationship - will develop into something strong, lasting, and unlike every other story out there.



Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: The Glimpse by Claire Merle

Title: The Glimpse
Author: Claire Merle
Series: The Glimpse Duet

Publisher: Faber & Faber (UK)
Release Date:  June 7th, 2012
Genre: YA, dystopian, sci-fi

Synopsis: In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

When Jasper disappears, Ana sets off on his trail, determined to solve the mystery of his abduction. In doing so she journeys into the darkest corners of society, and uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she’s ever believed.

Review: I have read a lot of negative reviews about "The Glimpse," that are mainly geared towards it's supposed subject matter or handling of sensitive mental health issues. I, for one, have to strongly disagree that this book exploits mental illness or making a mockery of it and I am glad that I was able to ignore the voices of those who haven't even read the book but are already judging its subject matter. What it boils down to is that Claire Merle handled the matter well and exactly as I hoped - by showing the reader how so many people are affected by mental illness in one way or another and that any sort of mandate separating people by their risk factors or the score they receive on a psych test is completely wrong. Unfortunately, it is also a future that isn't all too impossible to imagine, with the over-medication of our society as it currently is.

The book centers on Ana, the daughter of the scientist responsible for the test that deems whether you have any sort of triggers or possible genetic makeup that will turn into a mental illness down the road. Ana lives in a community of "Pures," people who have tested as not having any risk-factors for any mental illness. As it turns out, Ana's results were flawed, yet she had already been promised to "Pure" Jasper Taurell. Regardless of her status, Jasper wants to be joined to Ana. It is when Jasper disappears that Ana's world starts to unravel as she decides to find out the truth about him, her father, and the deep, ugly underbelly of a world previously unknown - one filled with "Crazies."

I thought the premise of this book was extremely unique and captivating. There were parts of it that were hard to read, and I would not recommend this book to a younger crowd, but ultimately I was captured in the story.

My issues were really with the tone and the flow of the story, which I thought was pretty messy. There were parts of the book that I had to re-read because I was just not exactly grasping what was going on, or how it related to the overall story. Some of the events that occur in the book also seem a little far-fetched and it was hard for me to understand why they were even included (unless its all to be explained in a later installment, since this one did leave with a kind-of cliffhanger ending).

While the scenarios were interesting, the majority of the characters were rather dull and bleak. Ana didn't bounce off the page for me and I was pretty indifferent on her as a character. That's never something I want from my heroines. The other characters (with the exception of Tamsin and Lila) were also not very interesting and lacked that "spark" for me.

Overall, "The Glimpse" was an enjoyable read, but I'm not sure if I'll continue on in the series.

Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Author's Site

 3/5 teapots!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Review: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Title: Fifty Shades of Grey
Author: E L James
Publisher: Vintage Books
Genre: Erotic, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.


Review:  This is going to be a quick one since a lot of reviews have already been posted on this book and it seems like people tend to either fall into the "love it" or "hate it" camp where this book is concerned. Surprisingly, I fell into the "love it" camp.

What is most surprising about me liking this book are two things. The first is that before I even picked it up, I read a ton of reviews about it, especially the negative ones, and I went into it looking to hate it. The second being that upon starting the book, I could not help but correlate, in my mind, the character of Christian Grey to that of Patrick Bateman a la "American Psycho." When we see Christian buying rope and zip ties, the psycho alarms went off. When we heard about Christian's very clean, muted, sterile-feeling office and apartment, more psycho flags were waved. For me, Christian started at a negative 100 and worked his way up to about 50% on the "OMG WANT!" scale.

Christian, just like our protagonist Anasasia, was written really well - and I'm not talking about mannerisms, language, or avoiding cliches; there were plenty of those. For me, it was more of being able to understand why Ana was so confused about Christian, and why she struggled with what she wanted from him and their relationship. Unfortunately, it seems like the author is a little out-of-touch as to how a 21-year-old American college student would think, speak, and act - and that was a little annoying to read as someone who was, herself, once a 21-year old, English Lit majoring, college student. Like seriously, who uses "surname" in this day and age (in the U.S.)?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the characters absolutely had their flaws - ones that had me eye-rolling (insert Christian spank), but those flaws did not make me any less emphatic to their situation.

Lastly, the book was undeniably a page-turner. I was held captive under its spell and I wanted to know more! Unlike other books I've read recently, I found myself wanted to read this whenever I had a free moment. The sexy scenes were sexy, but they didn't make or break the book for me. It was that longing to know what happens next that ultimately kept me coming back for more.

Overall, I had to give this three stars, in spite of all the problems it has because it did was a good book is supposed to do - it transported me directly into the story and made me a voracious reader. I'm absolutely going to be reading the rest of the series.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Review: The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry


Title: The Peculiars
Author: Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: YA, Steampunk
Rating: 2/5

Synopsis: This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance. On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena’s father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.

Review: Before I even go into this review, I have to be very clear that I DID NOT finish this book. I will go into the reasons as to why, and why it's actually not a 1-star book, but I know some people don't consider DNF reviews as real reviews...so you can stop reading if you're one of those. :)

The story centers on Lena Mattacascar, an 18-year-old girl who was born with a sort of oddity - extremely long, goblin-like, hands and feet. She decides to take a journey into Scree, the land where Peculiars live, to hopefully find her father who left when Lena was just a baby. She is convinced that the odd traits she has must be attributed to him, as she knows very little about who she is.


I was completely in love with the first 25% of the book. I haven't really read any steampunk in the past and I was enthralled with the descriptions of scenery, Victorian clothing and transportation. I thought the characters were a little...meh...but there was still time for them to redeem themselves before I would consider dropping the book. The biggest problems for me started occurring after Lena had arrived at Knob Knoster and began working under Mr. Beasley at the Zephyr House. Instead of taking this time was a way to develop the characters into likeable roles, it was then that they really, REALLY started to irritate me. Everyone was too much! Pansy was TOO bratty, Lena was TOO ignorant, and the others TOO nonchalant. 


What was the deal breaker for me was Lena - gullible and far too easily trusting of the wrong people. I really don't want to give too much away (and I guess I'm not since this part is mentioned in the synopsis), but the mere fact that she trusted the Marshal, Thomas Saltre, enough so that he could coax her into spying on Mr. Beasley really disgusted me. I know she's been kind of sheltered but hello? She's 18 years old AND the book makes a point of mentioning how distrusting she is of strangers, who have often ridiculed her for her odd physical traits. 


The point where I absolutely could not read anymore was when Lena finds out the truth about what is going on at the Zephyr House and, instead of feeling guilty about "selling out" Mr. Beasley to the Marshal, she feels PITY for HERSELF! Umm what?! You've been sharing secrets and stealing Mr. Beasley's private books, yet your first instinct is to get offended because of what you think their intent was in hiring you? If I recall correctly (and I do), you kinda barged in there yourself looking for answers. Then, even after knowing the truth and being so dishonest, she still decides to let Thomas act out his plan for the Zephyr House. At this point, I knew there was no way Lena could redeem herself in my eyes. I really and truly wanted to slap her for the choices she made and how disgusting she acted.

Whoo! That was a big rant to get off my chest but man, I love me a strong and smart heroine and Lena Mattacascar was neither.  It was for this reason that this was a big DNF for me, and a two star book. Maybe other readers are not as quick to anger if their heroine has no redeeming qualities, but for me, nuh uh!



Friday, April 27, 2012

Winner!!

Well, it's been a great giveaway and I really appreciate you ALL following my blog, but only one winner could be chosen and the winner of the YA Swag and Books Box is...

Lexie!!!




The winner has been emailed. Stay tuned for more giveaways in the near future. I smell a new release one in the near future. :D


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott

Title: Shadows on the Moon
Author:




"On my fourteenth birthday when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We saw them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before."

Suzume is a shadow-weaver. She can create mantles of darkness and light, walk unseen in the middle of the day, change her face. She can be anyone she wants to be. Except herself.

Suzume died officially the day the Prince's men accused her father of treason. Now even she is no longer sure of her true identity.
Is she the girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands?

Everyone knows Yue is destined to capture the heart of a prince. Only she knows that she is determined to use his power to destroy Terayama.

And nothing will stop her. Not even love.


Review: I love it when a book surprises me in such a positive way that, although I don't expect it, I fall in love and hate when the story ends. This was exactly what happened with "Shadows on the Moon."

The story is apparently a re-telling of the classic Cinderella story, set in an imagined interpretation of feudal Japan. I use the word "apparently," because I really had no clue, while I was reading it, that this was a re-telling until I saw another blogger mention it. The story is so unique and nontraditional, that the parallels of Marriott's tale and Cinderella are only there if you really dig for them. 'Shadows on the Moon" itself is completely stand-alone and has an ability to keep you guessing.


The story focuses on Suzume, a young girl with a very special talent called "shadow weaving." This talent enables her to "weave" illusions over herself - cloaks of night and darkness, serene facial expressions, and other physical perceptions. Her skill comes in handy the day men come to kill her father. Without knowing what is happening, Suzume uses her gift to escape a grim fate and ends up haunted with the knowledge that she survived when she shouldn't have.


Her new life becomes one big illusion, and her need for revenge becomes her one ultimate goal. It is out of this need that Suzume encounters twists and turns, all of which paint a thoroughly imagined and engrossing story. I'm not going to lie - there are points in the book that are dark, and the themes dealt within are controversial and more contemporary. Marriott writes these so well into a book that is historical in nature, without making them feel out of place.

Vivid, and engaging, the story is really one that transports you into a different world - a world of exotic strangers, kimono-clad ladies, and blooming cherry blossoms. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters alike and would strongly recommend this book to anyone - not just lovers of fairy tale re-tellings.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Completely Contemporary Challenge

Since I don't read nearly enough contemporary books, I have decided to try and do so by participating in Chick Loves Lit's Completely Contemporary Challenge.


For the challenge, I am going to be reading 6 books:
Two published in 2010
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Two published in 2011
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Two published in 2012
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Check out the challenge yourself and participate!!

Also, we are a handful or followers short of 100, for the winner of the giveaway to be announced! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Book Trailers and A Bit of Crazy

I don't know what came over me the last few days but I have been on a book buying frenzy. This includes pre-orders, which I basically never do! Although it's not an IMM post, I did want to share to awesomeness that I purchased, including some trailers that made me totally unable to resist.





 As far as "The Immortal Rules," I kept seeing this book cover EVERYWHERE and really had no idea what it was about. Then I read the synopsis...and I saw the trailer. I was hooked...HOOKED, I tell ya!



Lastly, please continue to enter into my 100 follower giveaway!!! We're so close! :D


Monday, April 9, 2012

Review: Book of Blood and Shadow

Title: The Book of Blood and Shadow
Author: Robin Wasserman
Publisher: Random House
Genre: YA, thriller/suspense, mystery
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.


Review:  Whoooo...okay. I've been dreading writing this review because I know it's going to be really scattered and mostly because I'm really unsure of how I feel about this book. You see, the parts I loved, I really loved...and the parts I didn't...well, they made the book almost unbearable to finish. It was so difficult for me to really get into and thus, took me almost three weeks to read.

"The Book of Blood and Shadow" is being described as a YA Da Vinci Code, and that's exactly how I felt when I started reading it. Conspiracy theories, religion, history? Sign me up! I devoured the first few chapters of this book excited to get to the meaty mystery that was promised to come. Unfortunately, when I put the book down, it was very hard for me to pick it back up again. First though, let me get into the things I just loved about this book.

I absolutely loved the writing. The premise was highly interesting, and written so well. I read this on my Kindle and I found myself constantly highlighting passages, especially at the beginning. I've always been a sucker for first lines and starting paragraphs, so naturally when I read the beginning (which you can find in my Teaser Tuesday post), I was hooked.

Um yeah! AMAZING. And Ms. Wasserman does not disappoint as the book continues. I liked how it was written for YA but at the older end of the YA spectrum, and although there is a romantic plot line woven into the overall story, it's not a focal point.

I really enjoyed the characters, also. Nora, our heroine, was absolutely realistic and although she gave off a very apathetic vibe, it was hard to dislike her. Maybe I'm just a sucker for smart chicks and she definitely fits the bill. The supporting cast was also well written and very well realized. Wasserman revealed the personalities of her characters at a great pace and even at the end, added new developments to them that didn't at all seem forced or out of left-field.

But speaking of pacing...I could absolutely not deal with the pacing of this book. Parts that offered some background were given entirely too much page time and thus I found myself skimming points of the book. It was so hard to go from "Ok! Yes! fast-paced! I want to know more!!" to essentially not even caring about what's going on a few pages later. It was all too scattered and I really feel this book would have greatly benefited from more edits, especially when it came to the epistolary side story about Elizabeth Weston.

Overall, there was just too much "stuff" clogging up that story that I cared about - to the point where I let the book sit and sit until I picked it up again, out of guilt. I do think that Robin Wasserman is an excellent writer, and the story itself has a fantastic premise, but I'd be reluctant to recommend this book to my friends. I would, though, be more than willing to read more by the author!

IMM: A Little Late

I just REALLY had to share two awesome books that I won in the past week that both made me super giddy.

First up, from the lovely people at BookTrib.com, and Random House, I won the special 20th anniversary edition of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I have yet to read this book but it's basically recommended to me by every person with similar reading tastes to me. Also, it's got over 2,000 reviews at Amazon and holds a 4 and 1/2 star rating! Umm...yeah!

I just had to take pictures because the book itself is so gorgeous and shiny - the picture on Amazon just does not do it justice.


Secondly, I was also happy to win an autographed copy of "The Revenge of Lord Eberlin," by Julia London. I haven't read the series but have heard great things! I already purchased the first book on Amazon (only $5.99!). This one was a win from the Shelf Awareness newsletters, which have been good to me so far AND have authors offering books up as prizes in their weekly emails. I thought it was very nice of Miss London to autograph the book for me AND include an autographed postcard. Seriously, I geek out like whoah over book goodies. :P





I will (::gasp::) be having a review up here later today! And please, please enter my 100 followers giveaway - if you have not done so already. We're about 75% of the way there!