Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Where In the World is Avery?

As some of you may have noticed, I have been pretty MIA as of late. Why? Simply put, life. It's been quite an adjustment going from being a full time grad student (graduated with my Masters of Library and Information Science in August!!!) to a full time grown-up- from (rather unsuccessfully) trying to find a job in my field, to working the holidays at my current job, a gourmet chocolate store (my GAWD, it's just holiday after HOLIDAY- from Halloween, to Christmas, to Valentines Day, to Easter, all of which people want copious amounts of chocolate- A chocolatier gets no time to all but breathe from October to April), and everything else in between.

Plus, it doesn't help that I've been in a book rut for what seems like AGES (a lot of which is, admittedly, to blame on my recent discovery of Netflix)- for the first time in years I didn't read over 100 books in a single year and I've only read 4 books this year so far (though I have read "Ignite Me" three times already, so maybe that counts for something). Which therefore has resulted in me falling a bit out of love with blogging.

So what does this mean for the blog? You, unfortunately, won't be seeing much from me until I can once again find my groove- though, in the next two months you'll see about 6-8 ARC reviews!

Thanks y'all for sticking with me during my "MIA" phase- I appreciate you more than you'll ever understand!

Monday, February 17, 2014

"Cress" by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 550

From Goodreads: "Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can."

Admittedly when I first heard about Marissa's "Lunar Chronicles" series I was skeptical- it sounded like there was way too random plot elements tossed into a 400 page YA book than could possibly ever work. However, when I actually delved into the world of "Cinder", I quickly learned that that was anything but the case. It's sequel, "Scarlet", was an even stronger book, if possible, and hands down one of my most favourite books of 2013 (featuring one of my most favourite YA couples EVER, Wolf and Scarlet). Therefore, as you can imagine, when it came time for "Cress" I did everything in my power to get my hands on a copy- and, again, I was anything but disappointed.

I think that the biggest strength of these books, this book especially, is how seamless and effortless they appear when you know that that is anything but the case for author Marissa Meyer. It is truly mindblowing how many classical fairytales she has woven together- and done so from the very first book, dropping Easter eggs, so to speak, all along the way (for instance, briefly introducing Cress and making mention of Winter in "Cinder"). Furthermore, while there are a number of fairytale retellings in YA, especially as of late, I think that Marissa's stand out from the bunch, as she has truly made each of them her own.

Another strength of this book is it's pacing, after reading it it truly felt as if I had read four books instead of one, simply because of everything that happened in it. That being said, not once while reading it did I ever find myself overwhelmed, instead, being intrigued the entire way and flipping through the pages as quickly as I possibly could to see what sort of situation my favourite cast of characters would get into next. On the note of characters, you would think that with so many main characters in one book that they wouldn't get as much attention that they deserve in the way of development, but that is anything but the case- they have as many differences than they do similarities- from Cinder, to Cress, to Scarlet, to Iko, to Thorne, and on.

The only real complaint about is this book is that I wish that Scarlet had played a larger role in it- though what little role she did play in this book managed to bring on the FEELS that I so desperately wanted between her and Wolf after their book. Furthermore, this book was, like the others, a fair bit predictable, however, I am was happy with this fact because it means that much of the theories that I had thought of about the series were true!

All in all, there's no questioning it- Marissa Meyer is one of the most ingenious and unique YA authors that we've seen in quite some time, she never ceases to amaze me with her ever-growing skills and abilities. Though I only recently read this book, I know that I will be rereading it soon because I can't bear to be away from these character/ world for too long! Furthermore, the next year or so will be absolute torture waiting for the last installment in this series, "Winter"!

Rating: 5/5

I received this book from the publisher to read and review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop (INTERNATIONAL)

Today I'm excited to participate in my first blog hop! What's up for grabs? Winner's choice of one of a premade design from Avery's Designs (plus installation*, for those who require it)!

Avery's Designs

What exactly is Avery's Designs? It's a blog design service that I recently launched which focuses on making blog design easy and affordable! 

Here are some examples of designs that the winner can choose from: 

Don't have a blog/ not in need of a blog design? Have no worries! The prize can be substituted for the winner's choice of a book $10 USD or less from The Book Depository! 

To enter, simply follow Avery's Designs in some way: on Facebook, GFC, or Twitter! Once you've followed, enter into the Rafflecopter below: 

*Installation only for Blogger blogs

Don't forget to enter all of the other amazing giveaways!

Monday, November 11, 2013

"Rogue" by Gina Damico

Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Graphia
Pages: 326

From Goodreads: "Lex is a teenage Grim Reaper with the power to Damn souls, and it’s getting out of control. She’s a fugitive, on the run from the maniacal new mayor of Croak and the townspeople who want to see her pay the price for her misdeeds. Uncle Mort rounds up the Junior Grims to flee Croak once again, but this time they’re joined by Grotton, the most powerful Grim of all time. Their new mission is clear: Fix his mistakes, or the Afterlife will cease to exist, along with all the souls in it. 

The gang heads for Necropolis, the labyrinth-like capital city of the Grimsphere. There, they discover that the Grimsphere needs a reboot. To do that, the portals to the Afterlife must be destroyed…but even that may not be enough to fix the damage. Things go from bad to worse, and when at last the fate of the Afterlife and all the souls of the Damned hang in the balance, it falls to Lex and her friends to make one final, impossible choice."

"Croak", the first book in this series, was one of those books that completely took me by surprise, I had expected it to go one way, but it went in the complete opposite direction. However, I wouldn't have had it any other way- I think that it is extremely refreshing for the world of paranormal YA, especially for what we've seen from Grim Reapers stories thus far. That being said, I do think that a lot of magic from the first book was lost on the second, "Scorch". I thought that it was a bit too "out there" for my liking, making it extremely unrealistic and unrelateable. Though that didn't deter me from picking up this book, thinking that I was just suffering from a small bout of 'second book syndrome'. However, while a bit of magic was restored from the first book in the series, it wasn't as much as I would have liked.

My biggest complaint about this book was, again, how much was going on, especially within the first couple of chapters. Despite not having read the second book all that long ago, I, for the life of me, couldn't recall anything that had happened in the previous (because, again, so much occurred in it). It took me a LONG time to finally situate myself in this, being disoriented/ struggling to regain my bearing for much of it. It isn't often that I think that the first chapter of a book should recap what happened in the previous, however, I think that this series is the poster child for that.

That being said, the character growth in this series (especially this book) and the ending redeemed the book in my eyes more than I would have ever thought possible. While I had never expected this book to end the way that it did, I do think that it is perfect (plus, I love how there was a spark, no pun intended, of hopefulness). Furthermore, it's something that we don't often see in YA especially and, for that, I applaud Gina immensely.

All in all, I highly recommend this series for those looking for something different in YA paranormal- something which more so focuses on quirkiness and humor than tradition (though which does know how to be serious when the situation calls for it). I personally cannot wait to see what Gina has up her sleeves for us next (namely which paranormal beings she will tackle next).

Rating: 3/5

I received this book from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.

Monday, November 4, 2013

"Perfect Ruin" by Lauren DeStefano

Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 356

From Goodreads: "On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose."

While I only consider myself to be a mild fan of Lauren's "Chemical Garden" series (liked "Wither", hated "Fever", LOVED "Sever"), I was beyond excited for this. Why? Because Lauren's way with prose is like no other (I do, in fact, measure all other prose against hers) and because she is able to create worlds never seen before. That being said, that excitement did admittedly begin to wane the further and further I got into this novel.

I think that this book's biggest pitfalls were it's pacing, it's overall world building, and it's main character. It took me near a week and a half to get through this book (something that is almost unheard of before me, typically able to finish one or two books a day). Why? Because I found the plot to be so drawn out, almost coming to a complete standstill at times. I found that the book only really started to pick up towards the last 3/4 (if not 5/6). Additionally, I thought that the world created in this novel was a tad too similar to her "Chemical Garden" series for myself. I would LOVE to see Lauren branch out from dystopian, truly stretching herself as an author/ putting her talents to work- perhaps a hardcore science fiction or fantasy (or *gasp* a contemporary)? My largest complaint with the main character, Morgan, was that I found that she had little to no personality and, at times, leaned too much on others around her.

That being said, I LOVED the character of Basil. He is, without a doubt, my most favourite of Lauren's characters to date (out of both male and female characters). He was just so gosh darn good and you couldn't help but be swept off your feet by him. Furthermore, I did really like Morgan's brother, Lex, and his wife. While their relationship wasn't perfect, it was extremely relateable.

All in all, despite my complaints, I do believe that I will continue on with this series as I'm sure that, like her "Chemical Garden series, each book in this series will get progressively better and better.

Rating: 3/5

I received this book from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was not compensated in any way. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Blog Tour (and Giveaway): "Sweet Surrendering" by Chelsea Cameron

From Goodreads: "She’s his boss. He doesn’t care. This office isn’t big enough for the two of them…

When Rory Clarke ends up hiring the guy she spent one steamy night with to be her administrative assistant, she's determined to keep things professional.

Lucas Blaine has other plans for her. He wants Rory, and it’s hard to resist his stunning blue eyes, chin dimple and the way he fills out a suit. Everywhere she looks, there he is, giving her a panty-melting smile and pulling her away for the most amazing (and satisfying) sex she’s ever had in her life.

What starts off as one sexual encounter turns into multiple trysts in and out of the office and the lines she’d tried to draw so carefully are blurring. But the closer they get, the more Rory realizes that there are things about Lucas she doesn’t know, things he’s hiding from her. She’ll have to decide if she can surrender to her feelings or get out while she still can."

Grand prize winner: Will get to name a character in a future book, win a signed inspiration collage, and a red shoe charm bracelet. 4 runners up will receive a red shoe charm bracelet. Contest is international.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author: Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting (this one time, she was tweeted by Neil Gaiman). She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

Her New Adult Contemporary Romance titles include My Favorite Mistake, which has been bought by Harlequin along with a sequel, Deeper We Fall and Faster We Burn (April 20, 2013)
Her Young Adult books include Nocturnal, Nightmare and Neither, the first three books in The Noctalis Chronicles. The fourth and final book, Neverend will be out in 2013. Whisper, the first in The Whisper Trilogy is also available, with the second book in the series, Silence and the final book, LIsten coming out in 2014.

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