12.09.2012

Lullaby / Amanda Hocking Review

LULLABY
by Amanda Hocking
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: November 13th
Cover: gorgeous! I love the swirls behind the title, and the "Amanda Hocking" font stands out well among the waves. I love the water and horizon in the distance, and the color of the model's dress pops.
Rating: 3 of 5 owls

Goodreads Summary:



Harper only wanted a safe, normal life. But when her younger sister Gemma runs off with a dangerous clique of beautiful girls, Penn, Thea, and Lexi, everything changes. Vowing to get her sister back no matter what the cost, Harper must face dangers unlike any she's ever experienced. Fortunately, she has Daniel by her side, a gorgeous guy who's devoted to helping her find her sister—and who's immune to the girls' dark powers. 
While Harper searches for her sister, Gemma struggles to adjust to her new life.  Gemma's powers are growing by the day, and the longer she lives with her new "sisters," the harder it is to resist entering their magical world.  It's a realm both dark and beautiful, and where she's plagued by strange hungers and unspeakable needs.  Just as she's drifting far away from her old life,  Harper and Daniel find her...but no one can deny how much she's changed.  All she wants is to return to her family and the mortal world, but how can she do that when she's become something else entirely—and will they still love her once they learn the truth?
Prepare to fall under the spell of Lullaby, the second book in the Watersong series from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

12.02.2012

Stacking the Shelves/In My Mailbox/Showcase Sunday (12/2)

Wow! Can you believe it's already December?! (I know, I'm a bit late, since it was yesterday, but . . .)

I got quite a few books these last couple weeks! Here they are:

For Review:

10.28.2012

Hidden by Sophie Jordan

Title: Hidden
Series: Firelight, #3
Author: Sophie Jordan
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 280
Rating: Five Owls



Goodreads Summary


Be warned . . . this summary spoils the first two books in the series!

Jacinda was supposed to bond with Cassian, the "prince" of their pride. But she resisted long before she fell in love with Will—a human and, worse, a hunter. When she ran away with Will, it ended in disaster, with Cassian's sister, Miram, captured. Weighed down by guilt, Jacinda knows she must rescue her to set things right. Yet to do so she will have to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory.

The only way Jacinda can reach Miram is by posing as a prisoner herself, though once she assumes that disguise, things quickly spiral out of her control. As she learns more about her captors, she realizes that even if Will and Cassian can carry out their part of the plan, there's no guarantee they'll all make it out alive. But what Jacinda never could have foreseen is that escaping would be only the beginning....

Loyalties are tested and sacrifices made in the explosive conclusion to Sophie Jordan's Firelight trilogy.



In My Mailbox/Stacking the Shelves: 10/28

Hey there! Welcome to In My Mailbox/Stacking the Shelves! Today's date is 10/28, and I got a great heap of books this week. Here they are:


10.21.2012

Review -- Hidden by P.C. + Kristin Cast

Hidden (House of Night, #10)
P.C. + Kristin Cast
305 Pages
Source: Hardcover (received from publisher)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: October 16th, 2012
Rating: 5/5 Owls


Goodreads Summary


BE WARNED . . . THIS SUMMARY HAS SPOILERS FROM THE LAST NINE BOOKS IN THE SERIES!

At last, Zoey has what she wanted: the truth is out. Neferet's evil has been exposed, and the High Council is no longer on her side -- but she's far from done wreaking havoc in the vampyre world. First, a mysterious fire ravages the stables. Then, Neferet makes a devastating move that will test them all.
With the seeds of distrust sown and Darkness breeding chaos at the House of Night, everyone must band together -- but that's proving to be more difficult than ever before. The twins are barely speaking and the House of Night's former enemy, Kalona, has now become their warrior, pushing their trust to the limit. To top it off, Zoey is pretty darn sure she might be losing her mind. She saw something when she looked at Aurox through the Seer Stone that she can hardly explain to herself, let alone her friends. Is it possible that Heath has come back in a different form? Is that why Zoey's so intrigued by Aurox, when it's so obvious that he's dangerous? And who would believe her if she told them? Zoey knows that following her instinct about Aurox might be just what they need to defeat evil . . . but if she's wrong, it could cause the destruction of those closest to her.
With the tension at a breaking point and friendships on the line, can the nerd herd come together to stop the spread of Darkness before it's too late?

10.18.2012

Follow Friday: 10/18




Q: When you step out of your USUAL genre what do you like to read? Best books in that genre?

10.13.2012

Stacking the Shelves/IMM: The Enormous Edition (10/13)

Well, I really didn't get all these books this week, but more over the last couple of weeks. Anyways, here they are:


10.09.2012

Review: Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones

Title: Death and the Girl Next Door
Series: Darklight, #1
Author: Darynda Jones
Pages: 278
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Rating: 5/5 Owls


Goodreads Summary



Darynda Jones, author of The New York Times bestselling series that began with First Grave on the Right, brings us Death and the Girl Next Door, a thrilling Young Adult novel garnering high praise and early buzz from major authors

Ten years ago, Lorelei's parents disappeared without a trace.  Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home.  For Lorelei, life goes on.

High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be.  Until the day the school's designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it,  standing outside her house in the dark, night after night.  Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school.  Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity.  What does Jared know about her parents?  Why does Cameron tell Jared he can't have Lorelei?  And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real?  Thrilling, sassy, sexy, and inventive, Darynda Jones's first foray into the world of teens will leave readers eager for the next installment.

"Unique, witty, and touching—I LOVED THIS BOOK!" —P.C. Cast, New York Times bestselling author of The House of Night Series


Review



Darynda Jones, you rock my world.

At the beginning of her writing career, she brought us the stunning First Grave on the Right, which was filled to the brim with laughs and clever wit. After that were the next two books in the Charley Davidson series, which were filled with the laughter and wit, but in even greater amounts. Those books made my spleen hurt from laughter.
Then, on October 2, 2012, Jones did something extraordinary.
She ventured into YA.

The YA genre as a whole has grown a lot over the last few years, yet Jones still manages to bring something fresh, unique and downright hilarious to the table.

Death and the Girl Next Door is, at least in my opinion, Darynda's best book yet.

From the get go, I loved Lorelei. She was funny, bright, and serious when needed, especially during the upheaval of every aspect of her life when the new kid, Jared, starts going totally creeper-status on her. Not to mention the defensive and secret-hiding Cameron, who warns Lorelei of Jared's evil side...

Jones's characterization is amazing. She has a unique way of making every character awesome. Even Tabitha, the evil queen-bee of Lorelei's school, I was able to sympathize with, which is a cool thing to be able to say.

Jones's writing is also quite pleasant in places. Throughout, it's quite good, certainly not lacking, but she has a few gems dispersed in Death, particularly during the Lorelei-Jared lovey scenes. And a certain phrase that is repeated throughout the novel that cracks me up.

The beginning of Death was a bit plotless but still entertaining. The plotlessness wasn't noticeable for me after a while, because I became thoroughly invested in the characters and the situations they were in and totally forgot about the beginning. Death left me with simultaneous feelings of anxiety and satisfaction when I closed it. The ending was practically perfect: there were certain things left unsaid that were to be answered in the next two installments of the series, but also a couple of things that were resolved and left you in a happy-sigh kind of mood.

(Also, Darynda, you get a bonus star for leaving out the shoddily-constructed love triangle of doom that pops up in so many YA books du jour.)


Five Owls

~~~~~

Already read Death and the Girl Next Door? The next book in the series, Death, Doom and Detention, is coming out in March 2013!


9.30.2012

Review: 34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues

Title: 34 Pieces of You
Author: Carmen Rodrigues
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 336
Rating: 4.5 Owls


Goodreads Summary:



A dark and moving novel—reminiscent of Thirteen Reasons Why—about the mystery surrounding a teenage girl’s fatal overdose.

There was something about Ellie... Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance, and kept watch.

Now Ellie’s dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are 34 clues she left behind. 34 strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. 34 secrets of a brief and painful life.

Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they begin to confront the darkest truths about themselves, they will also find out what Ellie herself had been hiding all along....


Review



I'm surprised it took me so long to read this novel, because it was definitely deserving of a shorter read. It was gripping and fascinating.

34 Pieces of You is, in a nutshell, Pretty Little Liars mixed with 13 Reasons Why mixed with Ellen Hopkins. It truly is unique combination of ideas and thoughts. 


And I loved every second of it.

34 Pieces of You was primarily about a girl named Ellie. The novel focused around her. (And, oh yeah, she's dead.) The book was told from three perspectives, which at times was a bit confusing, not because I couldn't keep the storylines separate, but because the timeline shifted so often. For example, one chapter might start "Jessie: Before. November." And then the next chapter would be "Jessie: After. April." This wouldn't have been so bad if it was only one storyline, but the book had three of them in it, and watching them all move in different places hurt my brain. I still managed to keep a fairly certain grasp on the plot, but it got a bit confusing at times.

The thing I loved most about the novel is how the characters were so well-developed. You could see them bleeding on the pages, and I loved it. Rodrigues illustrated so boldly with her words; I could smell and taste everything that was being said.

34 Pieces of You was a quick, heart-stopping read that made me feel so much. Rodrigues is now on my list of authors to watch.


4.5 Owls

9.25.2012

Waiting on Wednesday: 9/26


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at breakingthespine.blogspot.com, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
My  pick of the week is:
Crash (Visions, #1)
If what you see is what you get, Jules is in serious trouble. The suspenseful first of four books from the New York Timesbestselling author of the Wake trilogy.Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.



What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode...and nine body bags in the snow.



The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.



In this riveting start to a gripping series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa McMann, Jules has to act—and act fast—to keep her vision from becoming reality.
What's your pick? Let me know in the comments! Link me! If you like what you see, follow me!

Teaser Tuesday: 9/25




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 current read is:

5. 
Let's hold hands and pretend together.
That is my teaser sentence! (It's one of the 34 pieces! Shhhh.)
A review of this book will be up soon, but I encourage you all to go out and buy this book. It's dark, twisty, and full of everything that cover is not. (In fact, I'm wondering why that cover designer was given the job. That cover is so completely misleading.)

9.15.2012

My Undue Hiatus

Hi, everyone. So sorry for the incidental break -- I've been swamped with schoolwork lately. For some reason, I decided to make my life hell and take all the extremely difficult and time-consuming classes. I expect to return to blogging more frequently once I figure out how to manage my time properly -- I've only read 36 pages since the school year has started. For me, that was August 27th.

Thanks.

8.24.2012

Follow Friday: 8/24




Q: Worst cover? What is the worst cover of a book that you’ve read and loved?

Oh my goodness. What an easy question. Without a doubt...


Nevermore by Kelly Creagh. That cover disgusts me, but the pages behind it are simply magical. <3 p="p">


What do YOU think is the ugliest cover hiding the prettiest book? Let me know in the comments!

8.22.2012

Waiting On Wednesday: 8/22

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, where we showcase books we are waiting for . . . on Wednesday.

This week, I am desperately waiting for:

Title: Requiem
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium, #3
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Can't-Wait-Scale (1-10):

This is a book I really can't wait for. I'm reading the second in the trilogy, PANDEMONIUM, right now, and it's really good. I finished the first, DELIRIUM, two days ago, and I can't wait to own this one!


Which book are YOU waiting for today?

8.21.2012

Review -- DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 441 (paperback)
Rating: 5/5 Owls

Goodreads Teaser

They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I've always believed them. Until now.

Now everything has changed. Now, I'd rather be infected
with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

Review

Once in a blue moon, an author comes along whose work you can't help but fall in love with. As time passes, and more and more of their releases pile up, they just don't disappoint. Every book is as good as the last. It's like they were made for writing novels.

That author, my friend, is Lauren Oliver. And she kicks major ass.

Delirium is the second full-length Oliver book I've read, and it enchanted me. It wasn't just her magical, lyrical prose that made me half seething with jealousy and half in awe of how wonderful it was. No, it wasn't just that, not by a long shot.

Everything about Delirium is amazing. The world, the writing, the characters, the writing, the themes, the writing -- okay, I think you get the point. Every word is carefully chosen. No sentence is superfluous. Oliver paints a magical picture, a picture that moves in my head and moves me.

Lena is quite indecisive throughout the book. When I think of Lena, I think of the angel and the devil that pop up on your shoulders. Lena is faced with a somewhat similar decision, and throughout the story, she has a yes-no-yes-no thought process. It's like she doesn't even know what she wants. And when she slips up, she sulks afterward. While this may be slightly annoying, it's human, and I give props to Oliver for making Delirium so humane and emotional.

Some people might call Delirium "slow," but I don't think the story would've had the same emotional impact and been able to get the same message across if it were more action-packed. Even though Lena's indecisiveness might be a bit out-of-control at times, she's one of the most relatable heroines I've read in YA -- I mean, who hasn't had one of those experiences where you're torn between what you have and what you want?

Even though Lena is so awesome, she's not my favorite character in the novel. That title belongs to Hana, Lena's best friend. She's the perfect amount of rebellious mixed with self-control. She knows how to have a good time and stay within the boundaries (or, if she's out of the boundaries, she knows how not to get caught). Throughout, I wished Hana would've rubbed off on Lena a little bit and she would've strengthened up, but I think Lena might be tougher come Pandemonium.

Delirium ends in a heart-stoppingly thrilling climax that will boil your blood and leave you breathless. (Trust me -- it happened.) I turned the final page and couldn't believe it was over. Luckily, I have Pandemonium right here, because honestly, if I didn't, I don't think I would've been able to survive the wait.

To summarize, Delirium was a poignant and emotional novel with a climax that will blow you away. Lauren Oliver, once again, kicks ass, and I can't wait for the rest of the series and all her future releases.

Five Owls

8.19.2012

Interview With KELLY CREAGH!

So, as I'm sure a lot of you know, Kelly Creagh is one of my absolute favorite authors. The first book in her trilogy, Nevermore, stole my heart a couple years ago. The second book, Enshadowed, is coming out on the 28th of this month. I read it, loved it, and I absolutely can't wait for you all to read it, too!

I recently had the awesome opportunity to interview this lovely lady. Below are the questions I asked and her answers, along with a bit about Kelly herself (look for the black highlight). Enjoy!


1) What was your favorite scene to write in NEVERMORE?

  Okay, this answer might be slightly spoilery for anyone who hasn’t read Nevermore. (Highlight to read!)
My favorite scene to write in Nevermore had to be the dreamworld sequence, particularly the masquerade. I think one of my most favorite moments in the novel is the dance Isobel shares with Pinfeathers. Actually, my editor had quite a hand in giving that scene its sense of play for me. She and I went back and forth on that one and every little push she gave me made that moment more and more fun until I couldn’t wait until readers got there. Pinfeathers is an amazingly fun character to write. He and Gwen constantly say things that take me off guard. In fact, the first time Gwen said the word “shalom” to Varen in Nevermore, I actually had to go look it up!

2) Who is your favorite character in your NEVERMORE world? Which one do you find you connect with the most?

I think this question has two answers. I think Pinfeathers has become my favorite character. Not only is he gloriously fun to write, but he’s a monster who hardly knows what he is. He’s changeable and even gets confused by his own desires and essential makeup. He’s a demon plucked straight from Varen’s subconscious and brought to life. He’s the side of Varen we don’t get to see because of all of Varen’s reservations and conditioning. Pinfeathers is all that repressed stuff Varen won’t let himself be, do or feel. The Nocs are all that lashing-out he’s refused to indulge in, so it’s fun to give all that dark energy an outlet through such a gruesome character. I think Pinfeathers also has a sympathetic side. You only get a glimpse of it in Nevermore, but you’ll see more of what I mean in Enshadowed. As for who I identify with, I always say that Varen and Isobel are the two extremes of my own personality. I’m a bit of a tough and ready cheerleader, but I’m also a brooding goth, too.


3) What is your favorite thing about ENSHADOWED, for those who haven’t read it?

  Chapter 31.



4) Is there anything at all you can tell us about book number three?

  Gosh. I want to tell you everything. That’s one of my problems as a writer. When I really get cooking, when I have clear direction in my story, it’s hard for me to keep a lid on what’s happening. I get excited and, if I’m not careful, I’ll blurt my secrets without realizing it. So I have to be careful when I talk about my works in progress. I have to monitor my words to make sure I’m not blabbing spoilers. The opposite happens when I get stuck, though, and I clam up and can’t talk about anything. But let’s see if there is a little something I can share about book three. Hm. How about this? You will find out the truth about Reynolds. P.S. I’ve been leaving lots of clues along the way… Like big ones.


5) Are you a plotter or a "pantser" (writing by the seat of your pants)?

  With writing Nevermore, I was a total pantser. For instance, the character Pinfeathers just walked onto the page and I was like “yeah, okay, let’s see what you do, Sir Weirdness.” But letting him enter the scene made me suddenly realize who it was who had chased Isobel through the park in an earlier chapter. I also got an answer about the bird at her window. Until the first Noc appeared, I had no certainty about what was happening in those earlier scenes. During the subsequent drafts, it all made sense and the whole process felt like magic. With Enshadowed, I had a clear idea of what I wanted to accomplish with the book. I knew the end. I got that in a flash after I wrote the scene in the cafeteria with the goths in Nevermore. I went into Enshadowed knowing where I needed to end and with ideas on how to get it there, but some of my “pantser” tactics weren’t working like they had with Nevermore. I ended up rewriting a substantial portion of Enshadowed, using some outlining techniques to help guide the narrative. I still had moments that I hadn’t planned for, however, like my favorite scene in chapter 31. With book three, I’m working with an outline with a bit of pantsing it in between. This is the first time I’ve ever worked with a novel that I know the overarching story, which still took a bit of time and tinkering on the page to unearth. There are patches that I’m going to pants my way through, too, though and I’m excited about that. Sometimes, that’s where I get my best stuff.


6) If you could change one thing about NEVERMORE, what would it be, if anything?

  At the moment, I feel distant from the mechanical aspects of Nevermore. I’m no longer looking at that branch of the story in an editorial way, because it’s on the shelf and it’s in readers’ hands. If I were to look at the book again with an editorial eye, I’m sure I would find many things I’d like to change. I am quite satisfied with Nevermore, however. Of course, it’s fun to think about all I would do if, after finishing the last book, I could go back through and string all three together even more tightly. There is nothing major I would alter, though.


7) Do you have any other projects planned, outside of the NEVERMORE books?

  I do. I have a novel that I’m in love with that I wrote a few years ago before Nevermore sold. It’s something I started just for fun, just to play and to get out of Poe’s brain for a while. In the same way Nevermore took off, that novel started sprinting forward, transforming from what I thought it was going to be into its own beast. It’s a book that took me over until writing it felt like I was channeling it or that I was telling myself a story, rushing to the keyboard if only to see what would happen next. Like much of what I do, the book is very different. It’s very different from Nevermore but very me. I have much love for it and perhaps one day it will find a place on the shelf, too.


8) What was the hardest part about writing either book?

  The hardest part about writing the Nevermore series is trying to write quickly and still have the freedom to play on the page, to try things that may or may not work and to let things arise organically. Nevermore took three to write from start to finish. Though I developed a plan for three novels, I don’t think I realized how quickly I would need to put everything I had in my head onto the page and to also sort through what was working and what wasn’t in the meantime. I am not a fast reader, and I’m not a fast writer. I enjoy writing books that readers would want to return to again and again. I want to layer so that a reader can find something new each time. I want multidimensional characters with flaws and dialogue and actions rife with subtext and, for me, that takes multiple drafts to accomplish. I also wanted to create novels that would fit and intertwine not only with Poe’s works but also with his life and the enduring mystery of his death. At the same time, I don’t want a familiarity with Poe to be a prerequisite for picking up the series. But if someone reads Nevermore and then picks up The Raven and reads Poe’s poem with a new understanding, I’d be very pleased with myself. So Nevermore itself is a big project, and it’s taken some time, but I think readers who are invested in the characters will not mind the wait. If I write too fast, my work comes out fragile and brittle. I prefer slow and solid, layered and sturdy. (Though I am getting faster!) If a book has something new for a reader each time she reads it, then it’s my opinion that that book has a shot at a long shelf life. That’s what I want for Nevermore.


9) What do you hope readers will take away from your NEVERMORE series?

   A new understanding about the shadow side of ourselves. Also that each of us has a cheerleader in us and a goth, too. I want readers to reevaluate how they perceive (and treat) others who may be seen as being “different” or whose behavior or appearance sets him or her apart from what is familiar or “normal.” I want readers to walk away from Nevermore and Enshadowed questioning any preconceived notions they have that they may or may not be aware of. It’d be nice if I freak some readers out in the meantime, too. ;)

  

10) Okay, I have to ask: Team Peeta or Team Gale?

  Oh, I am so totally team Peeta. Sometimes, just because the mood strikes me, I’ll run outside, look up at the trees and shout “Peeeeeeta!!!”

Thank you, Kelly, for answering my questions! (Great answers, by the way!)


As a child, Kelly would hold elaborate one-kid plays for patient relatives, complete with song, dance, and over-the-top melodramatics. Then, whenever Mom or Grandma called for a break, she would venture outside to slay dragons, run from make-believe ghosts and create magical feasts for fairies out of mud and pinecones.
In the third grade, Kelly wrote her first book titled Pink Lettuce, a story about a young girl who comes to the aid of her mad scientist neighbor, helping him to return his potion-pink lettuce patch to its original green and leafy luster.
Kelly holds an undergraduate degree in Theatre Arts and Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Today, she finds true joy in transcribing her dramatic daydreams onto the stage of the blank page. When not writing or curled up with a good book, Kelly can be found teaching, learning and performing the ancient art of Bellydance.

KELLY'S BOOKS


Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

[From the back of the ARC, highlight to read *SPOILERS FOR NEVERMORE*] Varen Nethers is trapped in a perilous dream world -- a treacherous and desolate realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. Isobel Lanley, plagued by strange visions and haunted by the nightmares of Varen's creation, is the only one who can save him.
Isobel knows that her only hope lies within a Baltimore cemetery. There, in the early morning hours of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, a mysterious stranger known as the "Poe Toaster" will make his annual homage at the legendary poet's grave.
Only the Poe Toaster holds the key to the way between worlds. But even greater dangers lie ahead for Isobel. An ancient evil, draped in veils of white, is watching, challenging her for Varen's affections. When Isobel finally finds Varen, he is no longer the quiet and brooding boy who once captivated her, but a dark force, powerful and malevolent.






8.14.2012

Teaser Tuesday, 8/14


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!
The book I'm currently reading is DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver.

"They told us that love was a disease. They told us it would kill us in the end. For the very first time, I realize that this, too, might be a lie."

8.13.2012

Stacking The Shelves (8/13)


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

This week, I am STACKING THE SHELVES with these books:


For Review:
Glitch - Heather Anastasiu (thanks, St. Martin's Griffin!)
Girl of Nightmares - Kendare Blake (thanks, Tor!)
Rivals & Retribution - Shannon Delany (thanks, St. Martin's Griffin!)

Bought:
Rift -- Andrea Cremer


What are YOU stacking your shelves with this week? Let me know!

8.08.2012

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Touching the Surface
By Kimberly Sabatini
Releases Oct. 30, 2012

Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

     Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

     As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.


What are you waiting for this Wednesday?

8.07.2012

Review - Blink Once by Cylin Busby

Title: Blink Once
Author: Cylin Busby
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 304
Format: e-ARC (via NetGalley)
Rating: 5/5 Owls

Goodreads Summary

West is a high school senior who has everything going for him until an accident leaves him paralyzed. Strapped down in his hospital bed, slipping in and out of consciousness, West is terrified and alone. Until he meets Olivia. She's the girl next door-sort of. A patient in the room next to his, only Olivia can tell what West is thinking, and only Olivia seems to know that the terrible dreams he's been having are not just a result of his medication. Yet as West comes to rely on Olivia-to love her, even-certain questions pull at him: Why has Olivia been in the hospital for so long? And what does it mean that she is at the center of his nightmares? But the biggest question of all comes when West begins to recover and learns that the mysterious girl he's fallen in love with has a secret he could never have seen coming. 

Review

You guys, I'm in a state of shock. This is one of the best, most emotional books I've read in a long time . . . I'm just going to say now that no words I will ever speak (or type) can justify or express exactly how I feel about Blink Once, exactly how much it tore me apart.

Blink Once is about seventeen-year-old West, who is in a mountain bike accident and ends up in a hospital. From the first page, I loved West. He was compassionate, caring, and an overall great guy. He is one of the best male narrators I've ever read. He, however, isn't my favorite character in the book -- Olivia is. From her first scene, she steals the show with her shy, gentle wit and her amazing compassion. She is a fellow patient at the hospital, and she often shows up in West's room to visit and take care of him on her own. Their relationship soon becomes more than just friendly, however, when they fall for each other.

Then, an amazing twist comes about, and everything you thought you knew just gets flipped upside down. The twist brings a great amount of surreal things to the surface, making you doubt every fact you learned. Busby's writing throughout the book is simple; not flowery, or over-descriptive, but just perfect. She gives you just enough information, just enough description to where you know what's going on.

The tension in the story is unbelievably high. The beginning took a little warming up to, but after that, it was smooth sailing. I read the last three-quarters of the book in one sitting, and I loved every page. I sobbed through the last third, especially during the twist at the end that I almost saw coming, but was hoping didn't.

The point is, Blink Once made me feel so much. If you want a book that will make you laugh, cry, gasp, and ultimately fall in love with it, Blink Once is my number-one recommendation. (P.S. My eyes are still watering every time I think about it.)

Five Owls

Teaser Tuesday (1)


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!
The book I'm reading right now is Blink Once by Cylin Busby. Here is my teaser, from page :

"I stared at the ceiling, trying to soak in everything that was going on, or not going on, and listening to the noise of the machines next to my bed. This can't be happening, this is a dream. A bad dream."

-Cylin Busby, Blink Once




What's your Teaser on Teaser Tuesday? Link in the comments!

8.05.2012

Review: Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Cursed
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Format: ARC (paperback)
Rating: 3.5/5 Owls

Goodreads Summary



Dying sucks--and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.




Review




Jennifer L. Armentrout has one of the most engaging and refreshing young adult voices I’ve ever read. Her words are clear and concise, and she packs just the right amount of punch and wit in her stories. Cursed is the first full-length Armentrout story I’ve read (I also read Daimon), and I was very impressed by it.

She also has a tendency to borrow certain things from other books. I don’t think she does it consciously, but she does it. She mainly borrows from Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy, which I don’t have a problem with, because I love that series. I haven’t read any more of the Half-Blood series than Daimon, but I’ve heard it’s almost an exact replica. The thing I found in this book that was borrowed from the Vampire Academy series is the car crash and the heroine being brought back to life by the sister-like companion. Also, the pet thing, but enough about that!

Ember is a lot different from Rose Hathaway. I didn’t write this review to point out Armentrout’s similarities to other books, so I’ll branch away from that.

Ember McWilliams (that last name is funny to me, for some reason) is a strong-willed character with a bit of a vulnerable side. I liked her a lot, and throughout the book, I was engaged by her witty voice and clever lines in dire situations. Armentrout has a knack for tight plotting; not once did I yawn and think to myself, “When will this be over?” or “When will the excitement kick in?”

Unfortunately, this book loses a star for its characterization, because Ember is quite frankly the only character in the book I liked, except maybe her younger sister and her best friend.

As much as I liked Cursed, it made me want to headdesk for hours in certain parts. Ember is a high-school senior who was brought back to life by her younger sister after she died in a car crash. They’re quasi-in-hiding, and all it takes for their situation to be flipped upside down is a boy named Kurt, or, as he is referred to in the beginning of the book, the boy in the cowboy hat. Later, she wakes up in a room, and is given the “you are gifted” talk by the Carlisle-Cullen-type guardian. This is our little introduction to the Cromwells. Quite frankly, I spent the entire book wanting Ember to wring all of their necks. These characters annoyed me nearly every page they graced, not only with their Cullen-like similarities, but the way they acted so condescending to Ember. Every time she said something, they acted like she was a baby and went “There, there, everything is going to be okay” and verbally swaddled her. I was a bit annoyed at Ember for not defending herself in these situations, until finally she did and I got over it. Their condescending behavior reminded me of when parents tell their children they’re not old enough to know something, but soon enough, they will. That’s exactly what the Cromwells felt like: controlling parents, but in a slightly less annoying way.

******SPOILERS (HIGHLIGHT TO READ)******



One scene in particular left me fuming beyond belief. Ember’s best friend from her hometown, named Adam, came to check in on her in her new residence, one she was living in without her consent (which I will get to later). He arrived in his car and threatened to call the police. One of the Cromwells came outside and erased his memory of all interaction with Ember, and he didn’t recognize her afterward, effectively severing all ties they had together.
What. The. Heck.
This is one of the things that made me question Ember as a person. I think anyone else would’ve stormed out of there and decided never to come back. I would’ve. It takes her maybe five pages to get over it, which I think is totally ridiculous.



The Cromwells are so incredibly Cullen-ish, it’s crazy. I even envisioned the scenes at their house taking place in the Cullens’ living room. As much as I hate to say it considering we share a name, Hayden didn’t enchant me for a while. In fact, I spent the first three quarters of the book in an extreme state of dislike. I finally warmed up to him near the end when he kind of broke away from his family and realized Ember was the one. In the beginning of the book, Ember saw Hayden for a brief moment before he disappeared and she thought he was just a figment of her imagination, which I find hilarious. She referred to him as Hot Dude, or something like that, for the rest of the day.

One character in particular annoyed the living daylights out of me. His name is Jonathan Cromwell. He’s got this aura of cockiness around him that I can’t quite place. He brings Ember to this new place in a new state and expects her to live there willingly for the rest of her life, as a science experiment? And even worse, he describes her gift as “wrong.” He says he is only interested in her sister. The Cromwells already had enough reason for me to dislike them. This just sent it over the top.

So, basically, something I enjoyed about Cursed is how much it made me feel -- whether good or bad, I felt very strongly about certain things, which is always a plus.

On a brighter note, I enjoyed watching Ember’s younger sister progress throughout the book. In the beginning, she was a spoiled younger sister who just got on your nerves and made you want to stick your head in an oven. As the book went on, she grew and became someone a lot less annoying and a lot more grown up.

Something I love about this book is that Armentrout didn’t include a love triangle. It would’ve just bogged down the book and made no sense. Something else I loved is how the love declarations didn’t take place within the first hundred pages. So much YA nowadays is filled with insta-love, and Armentrout chose to take the unconventional route and do something that gave the book a bigger sense of realism. I enjoyed watching her twist up certain things that are overdone. It made Cursed so much better.

The book ended in an explosive climax with a villain I never saw coming and an explanation that made so much sense after I read it. Armentrout’s foreshadowing is phenomenal. It’s a shame there aren’t plans to make Cursed a series, because if given the chance, I would read lots more about Ember and the Cromwell family! Ember is a heroine that will stay with me for a long time.

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