Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

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

Title: "SYLO" 
Author: D.J. MacHale
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: July 2, 2013

From Goodreads: "Does Tucker Pierce have what it takes to be a hero when the U.S. military quarantines his island?

Fourteen-year-old Tucker Pierce prefers to fly under the radar. He’s used to navigating around summer tourists in his hometown on idyllic Pemberwick Island, Maine. He’s content to sit on the sidelines as a backup player on the high school football team. And though his best friend Quinn tells him to “go for it,” he’s too chicken to ask Tori Sleeper on a date. There’s always tomorrow, he figures. Then Pemberwick Island is invaded by a mysterious branch of the U.S. military called SYLO. And sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option for Tucker, because tomorrow may never come. 

It’s up to Tucker, Quinn, and Tori to uncover the truth about the singing aircraft that appears only at night—and the stranger named Feit who’s pushing a red crystal he calls the Ruby that brings unique powers to all who take it. Tucker and his friends must rescue not just Pemberwick Island, but the fate of the world—and all before tomorrow is too late. 

#1 New York Times bestselling author D.J. MacHale brings his brilliant plotting and breathless pacing to SYLO, the first in this ultimate end-of-the-world adventure trilogy."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ARC Review: "Scarlet" by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: February 5, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 464

From Goodreads: "Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner."

I have to start this review by thanking author Marissa Meyer- thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. It has been SO LONG since I have felt THE FEELS and SQUEEd over a book, so long so that I had come to think that the heart-pounding/ bubbly chest feeling that I experienced when reading something so good, so cute, so flaily, and so forth, was just a figment of my imagination. You, Marissa Meyer, were able to do something that so few authors have been able to do for me and I cannot thank you enough.

As becomes evident, I LOVED this book. After finishing it I had a large smile on my face and happy tears in my eyes. Not only is this one of the best sequels that I have ever read before, but one of the best books overall. I honestly cannot think of a single complaint about it- not for lack of trying. While I had found "Cinder" to be fairly predictable, correctly guessing the entire plot within the first couple of pages, I was sitting on the edge of this seat the entire time while reading this book, never quite knowing where Marissa was going to take it next.

Additionally, going into this book I was quite concerned about how Scarlet and Cinder would compare and how they would meet up- both were flawless. While both girls have big personalities, and are physically, emotionally, and mentally strong, they are each their own unique person- Cinder quite literally trying to discover where she fits in our world (or beyond) and Scarlet doing everything in her power to protect those she loves. Furthermore, their meeting felt so natural and seamless, not jarring or obvious in the slightest.

While I loved both girls I also loved Wolf- I love that he wasn't like any other bad boy I have ever read of before. He was just so subdued and understated. While I do, for instance, find Jace Wayland's arrogance, cockiness and charm to be swoon-worthy, I also found Wolf's quietness, thoughtfulness, and childlike innocence to be swoon-worthy. Furthermore, I liked seeing Kai really step up to the plate, assuming the role that he was born for. AND I LOVED Captain Thorne. He was just so over the top that you couldn't help but fall for him (in fact, I think that I may like him even more than Kai)- I think that him and Cinder compliment one another well (just as friends though, of course)- with her dryness and his head almost as big as his ship.

All in all, as becomes evident I loved this book- "Cress" and "Winter" have quickly raised in the ranks of my "Most Highly Anticipated Books of 2014 and 2015". I highly recommend this series to everyone- with memorable characters, a flawless plot, and feelings/ emotions like no other, you can't go wrong!

Rating: 5/5

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

Monday, January 28, 2013

Interview: Author Nikki Colligan

Today I am excited to have author Nikki Colligan whose debut novel, "Sunshine", is released today, stop by the blog to tell us a bit about herself and her book! 

Describe SUNSHINE in 5 words or less.

Oh, that’s hard, but I’ll try: Funny. Dark. Music. Monsters.

How do you balance being a student with being an author?

It’s definitely hard! But I love being a student as well as being a writer. I guess it depends on the semester, really. I usually try to write at least 2,000 words a day. It can be hard when I have homework and papers and all of that school business, but as long as I have a semi-routine of school, school-work, writing-work, I’m a happy camper.

Also, caffeine helps. : )

Do you work on multiple books simultaneously? If so, what is your process? 


I try to take at least a week break in between writing a rough draft and then editing it, although last time I tried that, I went nuts. I can’t NOT write. So now when I take a break, I start a new project. I take a break from writing with MORE writing. 

I’m also a creative writing major in school, so I’m always working on pieces for class during the day and novels at night. As far as having a process, I don’t really think I have one. I just write whatever is taking up the most space in my head first.

Fans of _______________ will enjoy my book. 

Hmmm…well, I think there’s something for everyone. There’s romance, and darkness, and blood, and punk, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and piano, and vampires.

So fans of those things, I would say. : )

What are you currently reading right now?

I just started The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzack, and I’m really, really loving it. I’ve wanted to read it forever.

How did you come to your decision to self-publish?

It was a long journey. First, I tried to go the traditional publishing route with finding an agent and querying and all of that…but the more I learned about it, the more I started leaning toward self-publishing. I wanted to be the one in charge of the book cover and the release date, and how far apart my books could come out, etc. I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to creative things. I love traditionally published authors as well as self-published, but I didn’t want to have to worry if I was being too weird, or too dark or too messed up for the “traditional crowd”. So, in a nutshell, I guess it was mostly about control over my work.

Being a self-published author what impact (if any) have book bloggers had on your career?

HUGE. This is my first book and as I’m answering these questions, it’s not even out yet and I can already see the difference that book bloggers are making. I went from three people wanting to read it on Goodreads to forty in a matter of days, which seems small, but it isn’t for me. Book blogs are where people go to see how good/bad/ok books are, and the bloggers not only know what they’re doing, but genuinely love books, so it’s really amazing hearing what they have to say. I can’t wait to see the role they’re going to play once my book is out. : )

Where did you get your inspiration for SUNSHINE? There were a number of things, but I’ll tell you three:

1: I broke my knee and I was basically home-bound and couch-ridden. After I read every book I had, watched every TV show and movie, and annoyed every person I knew, I had nothing to do and I was bored.
2: I’ve always loved vampires and I wanted to make my own story with them.
3: I got really, really bad sun poisoning on a family vacation and let’s just say that the experience stuck with me.

This or that?

Monsters under the bed or monsters in the closet? Ooooh. I would have to say in the closet, just because it would be easier to get away. If they’re under the bed, it’s harder to protect yourself (I’m going with the you’re-asleep-and-there’s-a-monster-in-your-room scenario). Also, monsters don’t scare me. Aliens do. So I was imagining aliens during this question and it was terrifying.

Hot chocolate or chocolate milk? Hot. I always pick hot drinks over cold.

Kindle or Nook? I’ve never had a Nook, so I’m going to have to go with Kindle.

Student or author? Author. Author all the way. However, I think if you’re doing the author thing the right way, you’re always learning anyway, so in that way, I guess I’ll always be a student. : )

Unicorn or dragon? See, I thought this one would be easy. Dragon, right? But I also freaking love unicorns. But if I had to only choose one, it would be dragons. Because dragons are DRAGONS. They have fire, wings, and they’re cute as hell. Unicorns only have a horn and cuteness. So, three to two, dragons win.

From Goodreads: "18 year old Sophie Jean is pretty good at acting normal. Sure, she’s not exactly happy, but happiness is nothing compared to being like everyone else. She can pretend she’s not allergic to the sun. She can hide what her ex-boyfriend did to her. She can cover up the scars she’s made for herself. Ignore anything. Forget anything. Then Myles enters her life, and he has more than a few secrets of his own. When accident after accident keeps happening to Sophie, she can’t help noticing that he’s everywhere. That he knows too much. That she’s remembering too much.

It’s one thing covering up her own dark past, but does she really need to worry about people finding out just how much Myles likes her? Or that despite how much she doesn’t want to repeat past mistakes, she kind of likes him back? Not to mention the fact that she now has to conceal that Myles drinks blood-that he says he’s about four hundred years old. She almost forgot about that part.

But Sophie has no plans to ruin the normal life she has created for herself. She can deal with this little glitch, no problem. Even if word has gotten around to the wrong vampire about Sophie and Myles, even if she’s putting the few people she loves at risk. Suddenly, those who were monsters before are just people, and the monsters? They’re real. Now being a normal human being is the least of her problems. Now she has to stay alive."

About the Author: Nikki Rae is the author of Sunshine, a YA dark paranormal romance, which is being released on January 28, 2013.

When Nikki is not writing, thinking, or reading, she is most likely hanging out with her gecko, Neil Gaiman, drawing in a quiet corner, or drinking tea by the gallon. : )

Saturday, January 26, 2013

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a great event that was created by Book Chick City. It is now hosted by Sarah over at Workaday Reads

It's where you list all of the books that you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. I thought that this was a fantabulous idea so I thought I would join in!

Title: "Of Triton" 
Author: Anna Banks 
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

From Goodreads: "In this sequel to OF POSEIDON, Emma has just learned that her mother is a long-lost Poseidon princess, and now struggles with an identity crisis: As a Half-Breed, she’s a freak in the human world and an abomination in the Syrena realm below. Syrena law states that all Half- Breeds should be put to death.

As if that’s not bad enough, her mother’s reappearance among the Syrena turns the two kingdoms—Poseidon and Triton—against one another. Which leaves Emma with a decision to make: Should she comply with Galen’s request to keep herself safe and just hope for the best? Or should she risk it all and reveal herself—and her Gift—to save a people she’s never known?"

Friday, January 25, 2013

ARC Review: "Breaking Point" by Kristen Simmons

Release Date: February 2, 2013
Publisher: Tor
Pages: 400

From Goodreads: "The second installment in Kristen Simmons's fast-paced, gripping YA dystopian series.

After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.

Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….

Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself.

Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways.

With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back?" 

While I was somewhat iffy on the first book in this series, "Article 5" (primarily because of Ember), I did find this to be a vast improvement (it's clear that Kristen is growing tremendously as an author)- however, it's not without its faults. Personally I feel that this book suffers from "second book syndrome", to a degree. After finishing it and sitting back to consider it I found myself thinking, "That's it? All that this story centered around was trying to rescue Rebecca?" I just don't think that it was as near epic than it should have been/ there was really only one basic story line (especially when taking into consideration that there were SO many other elements that could have been added- I mean, they are living in an essentially war torn dictatorship where every single one of their actions is monitored, not unlike that of "The Hunger Games" or "Matched").

That being said, the dystopian world that Kristen has concocted is one of the best I have ever read of before (and I consider myself to be somewhat of a post-apocalyptic/ dystopian connoisseur, almost everything that I read in 2012 falling within the two genres). Her world building is second to none and I think that many authors of this genre could learn a lesson or two from her (there is an actual back story, folks!).

Furthermore, I loved that there was actual growth- in both the characters and in relationships. While Ember was somewhat whiny and nerve-grating in "Article 5" in this book she understood what was at stake and she stepped up to the plate, doing what no one else was able to. While Ember and Chase's relationship didn't play a massive role, I savored every moment that it did. Their relationship was one of the most mature and least superficial that I can ever recall reading in a YA before. 

All in all, I think that there was an even balance between things that I enjoyed in this novel and things that I didn't quite so much- regardless, I am quite looking forward to the next, and final, installment of this series, "Glass Arrow"!

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.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts: On Being Critical

So... Discussion posts. Something that I have always wanted to done but never felt confident enough to do. But I have now decided to take the plunge (thanks to Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner for the inspiration)- we'll see how this goes. Perhaps it will become a weekly feature! 

Over the past six months or so I have noticed that I am being increasingly more and more critical when it comes to what I read/ how I review. Take for instance, "Stealing Parker" by Miranda Kenneally. I know that had I read this book a year or two ago I would have been ALL OVER it, giving it four, if not five, stars. But now? I gave it two stars (or "Black City" by Elizabeth Richards, where I have it 2 stars, or or "Easy" by Tammara Webber, where I only gave it 3 stars, or... Oh gawd, a million other books). Or, where the average star rating I used to give books was in the 4.5 range is now in the ~3 star range. Additionally, a couple of months ago I did the one thing that I never thought that I would- I DNFed some books ("Dearly, Beloved" by Lia Habel and "Anna Dressed in Blood" by Kendare Blake). Furthermore, I can't help but scratch my head when I see people going crazy for some books (for instance, "The Diviners" by Libba Bray), especially, in my opinion, when other books are so much more deserving ("The Lost Girl" by Sangu Mandanna).

And I'm not quite sure why this is. I don't know if it is because my friends/ bookish peeps are rubbing off on me, if, as I get older, I am am no longer able to connect to characters in their teens as much as I used to, especially those in high school (I don't know about y'all, but high school was all around good for me, despite being a HUGE victim of bullying in elementary school. Our high school didn't really have any cliques, almost everyone knew everyone else and everyone got along- it was nothing like high school as portrayed on television/ in books- or maybe I am just really lucky with this being the case), if, through my writing, I have somewhat of a better idea of the relationship between reader/ writer, because of library school (nowadays when I read a book I can't help but wonder where it would fit in a library setting, if at all, and who the appropriate audience would be), or if I am really coming into my own- truly understanding where my likes and dislikes lie. 

And it's not that I want to be critical- I really, really, REALLY hate it. The main reason being because I used to enjoy so many more books that I read than I do now. I used to always finish a book with a large smile on my face and a bubbly feeling in my chest- whereas now that is a rarity (in fact, the first time, in probably close to six months, that I experienced that feeling was when I recently read "Scarlet" by Marissa Meyer). That being said, I wouldn't say that becoming more critical has made reading feel like a burden, that I am becoming disenchanted with it, or anything of that nature, it's more so along the lines that every time I pick up a book I squeeze it tightly, close my eyes, and repeat to myself, not unlike a manta, "Please be one of those books, please be one of those books, please..."

So what do you think? Would you consider yourself to be a critical reader and/ or reviewer? If so, why do you think that that is? And how do you deal with it? 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

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

Title: "Dare You To" 
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 28, 2013

From Goodreads: "I dare you..." 

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does.... 

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him. 

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all..."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Twitter Tuesday (1)

This is a week of new features for me- today I present to you Twitter Tuesday and on Thursday you'll be introduced to Thursday's Thoughts!

As some of my Twitter followers may have noticed (with all of my #amwriting and #amediting Tweets) I've been trying my hand at writing the last year or so. "Trying" being the operative word- I have struggled with my writing so much during that time, especially in the first drafts. However, I've found a lot of comfort in perhaps one of the most unlikely places- Twitter. How so? Through reading some of my favorite authors writing experiences- namely in their similar struggles. Reading their Tweets really helps put things into perspective for me, reminding me that even the most successful authors struggle every now and again, but that they've been able to overcome it and that, if they can, we can too! Some are funny, some are sad, but I think that we will all be able to relate to one or two!

Want to learn more about these fantabulous authors? Check them out on Twitter! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

"Life As We Knew It" by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Release Date: October 1, 2006
Publisher: Harcourt 
Pages: 337

From Goodreads: "Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world."

At the time that I had read this book I had just finished both "The Way We Fall" and "The Lives We Lost" by Megan Crewe and I cannot help but compare this to the two, the former especially, as they were both written in the same format- that of a journal/ diary. While one of my largest complaints in "The Way We Fall" was that I was unable to relate to much of the book as I found the writing to be quite flat and one-dimensional, that was anything but the case for this. If I had to describe this book in a few words it would be "a roller coaster of emotions"- I cannot even put to words all of the different emotions that I felt while reading it, one minute I was smiling, the next I was sobbing.

Aside from the emotional-strength of this book, I think that its other biggest strength is that it just comes across as being so realistic. While reading it I kept wondering to myself how my family and me would fare if something of this nature occurred (probably not very well, if the 5 cans of soup in our cupboard are any indication and the fact that we still haven't mastered the thermostat during the winter months in our house, despite having lived in it for over a year). I don't think that it would be all that far-fetched for future generations to have to experience something of this nature (I mean, look at the flu endemics that our world is currently experiencing). 

All in all, I think that this is one of the best books of this nature that I had read in a far while- nature taking back the reigns of control, pushing mankind into the beginnings of an apocalyptic society. That being said, I am on the fence about whether or not to continue on with this series (something that is almost unheard of for me), one reason being because I feel like this nicely wrapped itself up, having the potential to be a standalone, another reason being because the next one doesn't focus on Miranda and her family, but instead Alex Morales (though I do understand that the third book once again focuses on Miranda/ her interactions with Alex)- this is a family that I don't want to let go of, even for a book. 

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, January 19, 2013

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a great event that was created by Book Chick City. It is now hosted by Sarah over at Workaday Reads

It's where you list all of the books that you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. I thought that this was a fantabulous idea so I thought I would join in!

Title: "Recalled" 
Author: Cambria Hebert
Release Date: February 15, 2013

From Goodreads: "Love or Death? A simple question really. The choice seems obvious. But. What if you never knew love, what if your life was spent just trying to survive? What if you knew your fate before you were fully grown?

And then you died.

And you were given another chance. A better chance.

This new life depended upon one thing: your job. And so you agreed. You thought it would be simple. You thought it would be cut and dry.

It never is.

And now you are left holding the fate of someone else in the palm of your hand and you have to make the ultimate choice.

Love or Death?"

Thursday, January 17, 2013

"Opal" by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Release Date: December 11, 2012
Publisher: Entangled
Pages: 452

From Goodreads: "No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it."

Jennifer L. Armentrout has quickly raised in the ranks of my TOP AUTHORS OF ALL TIME, basically in my eyes I think that she can do no wrong. However, I must admit that I didn't quite enjoy this book, one of my most highly anticipated of 2012, as much as I had hoped to.

What I have come to understand after thinking about this book for quite some time is that when it comes to these two, Daemon and Katy, I enjoy the chase more so than the actual relationship- while in theory I had always wanted to see Daemon and Katy together, when it actually happened it didn't quite meet my expectations. I loved the banter and snarkiness that they tossed at one another pre-relationship and when they came together I found them to be far too domestic-y for my liking, bordering on predictable, or, dare I say it, boring. That being said, I did quite enjoy Katy's relationship with... Dawson. I liked that she was able to break through to him to the extent that no other was. Though I was somewhat disappointed with Katy's lack of relationship with Dee.

Furthermore, I did quite like the character development in this book, especially the physical character development- give her another book or two and I think that Katy can truly give the most kick-ass YA female characters, Katniss, Tris, and so on, a run for their money! Another aspect that I liked was the ending- while, in my opinion, it was entirely unexpected, coming completely out of left field, I wouldn't have it any other way (and despite it being a cliffhanger of sorts, I don't find it to be near as painful as JLA has written before- she truly knows how to write endings like no other ).

All in all, despite my complaints I still do believe that this book, not to mention series, is one of the best that I have read in the world of YA in a long time and you can bet that I will still be first in line at the bookstore to pick up the next book in the series, "Origin"!

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

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

Title: "Into the After" 
Author: Demitria Lunetta
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen

From Goodreads: "They hear the most silent of footsteps.They are faster than anything you've ever seen.

And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta."

Monday, January 14, 2013

ARC Review: "The Archived" by Victoria Schwab

Release Date: January 22nd, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 336

From Goodreads: "Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption."

My first parting thought about this book? I. Love. Wesley. He is basically everything that my high school emo-heart beated for (don't judge, I was 16). He was just so cute and fun and brought a much needed light-heartedness to the novel. My second parting thought? Whoa. Every now and again a book comes along where all you can do is gape at it, specifically about how the author came up with it- with its concept, world building, characters and whatnot. I mean, Library + dead people + keys + hallways + pyschopaths + piece of paper not unlike the Marauders Map = WHA? And while it may seem like a strange combination I can assure you that it works.

However, I must admit that while I did LOVE Wesley I am more than a little on the fence when it comes to Mac. On the one hand I thought that she was super strong physically but on the other I am a bit annoyed by how easily manipulable she was. I have noticed a recent trend in YA where a female is quickly swept off of her feet by a male who is obviously NOT right for her when the RIGHT boy is standing right in front of her (either because she doesn't realize that he is right for her or because she is being rebellious, refusing the accept the fact- a la "House of Night" and "The Demon Trappers Daughter"). She allows the wrong boy to essentially dictate her life, putting everyone that she loves about at risk and so on, when it was easily avoidable (WHY? Why does it always have to be the female character to trek down this path? Why isn't it ever the male character? Why did Mac have to be one of those girls?).

All in all, (despite liking Wesley and the twisted ending, just when I was convinced that I had everything figured out Victoria made everything topsy turvy, in the best possible way) after finishing this book I just can't really say that I feel anything for it. That being said, despite my complaints this book did pique my curiosity enough to continue on with the series- I feel like this is one of those series where each book 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 for said review.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a great event that was created by Book Chick City. It is now hosted by Sarah over at Workaday Reads

It's where you list all of the books that you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. I thought that this was a fantabulous idea so I thought I would join in!

Title: "Burn For Burn"
Author: Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: September 18, 2012


Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she's ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. And she's ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they each had a taste."

Thursday, January 10, 2013

"Throne of Glass" by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 404

From Goodreads: "After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined."

If I were to be asked what the first thing that pops into my head when I think about this book was it would be the characters- It has some of the best that I can recall reading in quite some time, main and secondary alike. From Celaena, a young assassin who is trying to find exactly where she stands in life and is loyal through and through, despite not owing anyone anything, to Prince Dorian, who, despite knowing that you'll just be another notch in his belt, you can't help but fall for,due to his larger-than-life personality, to Chaol, perhaps one of the most mature YA boys I have ever read of before, to Nox, a fellow criminal who is thrown into the champion competition alongside Celaena, providing her with the much needed camaraderie/ support that she so desperately needs (I don't know about y'all but for a while there I was totally rooting for Nox to be the third arm in the love triangle).

That being said, if I were then asked what the second word that pops into my head is it would be "busy". At times I thought that there was WAY too much going on- from a crazy king hellbent on committing essentially genocide, to a battle of champions, to a rebellious princess, to Fae,  to a gateway between worlds, to religions and holidays, and the likes of. I personally would have preferred if the champion competition had played a larger role, after all, it is the core of the book- I found that in the latter half of the book especially it was too glossed over, with Celaena just mentioning it in passing (for instance, something along the lines of, "After the sixth competition that I did today..." Would you care to give us a bit more information about what exactly you had to do? How everyone fared, etc.?)- it seemed to be one of those instances of "told" rather than "showed".

All in all, despite my complaints I did quite enjoy the book- it is one of the better that I have read in quite some time and I will be continuing on with this series as I am quite curious to see how all of the various elements will come together. I think that fans of Tamora Pierce will devour this book as it is, in my opinion, her "Song of the Lioness" meets her "Trickster's" duet (and then some).

Rating: 4/5

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

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"Warm Bodies" by Isaac Marion

Release Date: April 26, 2011
Publisher: Atria
Pages: 240

From Goodreads: "R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead and the blurry line in between."

A few months ago when I happened across the trailer of the film adaptation of this novel I KNEW that I had to read it. The trailer (and thereby film) looks perfect in every way- it's fun and lighthearted, there is romance (and KISSING), humor, and action, adventure, and ass-kicking girls (say that five times fast!)- and I had hoped that that  would mean that the book also had those elements, however, I must admit that the book didn't impress me near as much as I believe that the film will (I think that this will be one of those rare instances where the film is better than the book).

Overall, this book was dark and heavy- much darker and heavier than I had expected- from the world-building, to the characters, and so on. While is some aspects I did enjoy this (ie. how deep of a character R was), in other instances I did not (ie. with R's wife and family). Furthermore, the book is short- probably the shortest book I have read since being in elementary school. As such, at times it felt like the action and adventure was far too rushed, or not near as developed as it could have been. Additionally, while at first I did find R's flashbacks of Perry's (Julie's boyfriend, the boy whose brain R eats)  interesting I did find myself becoming more and more disenchanted with them as the story progressed (especially during the flashbacks where R and Perry began to converse with one another).

All in all, as becomes evident, if you're looking for a book that is identical to the film this isn't it. That being said, had I went into this novel without any expectations I think that I would have enjoyed it much more than I did- therefore I think that those who have never seen the trailer or who don't have any inclination to see the film (or who don't allow their judgement to be influenced, unlike me), will perhaps enjoy it a fair bit more than I did.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, January 7, 2013

Guest Post: Authors Brian Palmer and Jason Rowe

Today I am excited to have Brian Palmer and Jason Rowe stop by the blog to tell us a bit about co-authoring their book XII: Genesis! 
Brian: Anyone who has ever sat down to try and write a novel knows of the many pitfalls that await you. Procrastination. Writer's block. Email. Social media. Family. Friends. More procrastination. It seems in fact that from the very moment we decide we want to create this fictional tale that has come sweeping into our minds like a wave onto a warm, tropical island around sunset, there are forces set to oppose us so that we will be prevented from doing the very thing we want to do.

Jason: And it's important to realize that while all of these things can get in the way of your writing, they actually do take priority along the way, especially if you have responsibilities that others are counting on you to fulfill and writing isn't your primary source of income or priority. The key is always going to be a matter of prioritization and time management, so it's not a matter of letting these other obligations discourage you, nor should they invalidate your dream of writing. Depending on your situation, I believe it's simply a matter of making your dream a priority and then if you truly want it, you have to be willing to schedule it in with your other priorities and make the commitment to persevere, even if you don't always want to at a given moment.

Brian: Now imagine having all of these factors (and I am sure there are countless others as well) at play against you, and then add to the equation the reality of trying to write said novel with a second person. Such an addition is every bit as exciting and challenging as it sounds, and while this sort of arrangement is not for everyone, it is not impossible to do this successfully. Jason and I had to work out the kinks for a while before we could complete the first entry in our new series, XII (the first entry is called XII: Genesis), which released on 12-12-12, but we didn't give up despite a number of false starts and wrong turns, and now we have a much better idea of how to continue working together as we prepare to write the next seven books in this series.

Jason: One of the keys to our partnership has been one of mutual respect. I'm always going to be the one who had the story and the one who had a lot of the elements and details in mind before sharing them with Brian. I never relinquished my intellectual or emotional "rights" to ensure that XII becomes all that it is supposed to be in my heart and mind, but without Brian I know that we wouldn't be having this interview today. I may have written the story eventually on my own, but our balanced strengths and mutual respect have allowed us to not only create the foundational elements that make up the XII Saga, but also to encourage, challenge, and push each other to get here - while also improving individually as writers along the way. I also know that because of the strengths that Brian has brought to this partnership, XII is stronger than it ever would have been without him.
Brian: It was interesting for me, working with another person, as I had never tried this before. It's a bit like entering into a marriage, really, because you no longer can go off willy-nilly, doing whatever you please with the story you are creating. You have to take the other person into account, their sensibilities, their schedule and their ideas. You have to figure out which writing style is going to work best for you. Do you outline the project or no? Do you divide and conquer, with each of you writing about certain elements of the novel before rejoining again to discuss, edit, etc.? Is it best to just do the whole thing over Skype, as Jason and I did, that way you two can talk through every point, every scene, every character, every detail and every bit of dialogue all at once?

Jason: Having been married for over 20 years I can say that its very much like having a healthy marriage. Communication, respect, knowing each other's role and being willing to support the other in theirs are all elements that have come into play over the last few years of learning this "dance" together. There has to be equality within the relationship because without that balance, the two sides start working against each other inevitably. Brian and I are very different in our individual writing styles and personalities while sharing a ton of common ground in creative interests and influences. My wife and I are polar opposites but we balance because we're equally committed to our relationship and the same is true with Brian and I. It doesn't mean you ever stop being different or having potential "snags" when you don't see eye-to-eye on something, but inevitably both sides drift to the "center" somewhat and you end up taking on a little more of the other's paradigm as you go along.

Brian: As with most things, there is no one right way to do this, but through trial and error Jason and I were able to establish the best system for us. We live in different states, so we were forced to work via Skype sessions twice a week, but your situation might be entirely different if you are working with another person. Hopefully your partner is a buddy who lives in town and you can get together at each other's homes regularly, or get to a coffee shop or something. Regardless of your situation's dynamics, however, the point is even though writing with a second person brings an added level of difficulty to the process, you still have to treat the writing process as though you are going it alone. You have to be intentional, you have to be focused, you have to set yourself a schedule and deadlines and do your best to stick to them. You have to be motivated to work on this project (having a co-writer definitely helps in this regard!).

Jason: The key is to ensure that you have one voice along the way if you're writing fiction (versus, say, non-fiction or a screenplay). Brian and I have shared our frustration in reading other joint projects by authors we've liked previously that haven't always worked when two great minds and strong voices have "paired up". If both voices are equally strong and saying the same words then it has to be perfectly in sync or it just doesn't work. The alternative reminds me of a duet where one sings melody and the other, harmony. I think Brian and I fall into the latter category and have exchanged parts at various points in the storyline while remaining true to the "lyrics and music" overall.

Brian: Writing with a second person is fun, bizarre, frustrating, therapeutic and absolutely worth it if the opportunity presents itself to you. Jason and I took the time and made the effort to make this partnership work, and while the first entry in this series took four years to create due to a variety of circumstances, we now know exactly how we will be doing things going forward, so the process will go much more smoothly.

Jason: I know some writers have taken a decade to write a story and have found international acclaim almost overnight (Can someone please get a copy of XII: Genesis to Oprah please?) but in our case we had a sprinters mentality from the outset and had to come to terms with the fact that we were actually running long distance. Neither of us will ever be comfortable with being the "tortoise" but being the "hare" is not an option in an eight-part series either. When I consider "four years to write" I shudder to think this was like earning an undergrad degree - but like college - we spent the first two years or so getting the basics and core down, before moving into actually writing the story as it should be written. Moving forward we'll have a much faster turn out because we spent 2-3 years learning how to do so in a way that worked for Brian and I, and for the story overall.

From Goodreads: "A century after the world was predicted to end, it was indeed reborn. Under the leadership of the Overseer of New Earth, minds were united, diseases were cured, and the Earth was healed when population centers minimized mankind’s footprint, and the remainder of the planet was turned over to the will of nature. War was eradicated, the world embraced one religion, and the New Era began.

But darkness rises now, mistaken for a mere shadow cast by the bright light of human progress. It is the time of which the ancients foretold. It is the time when all things must end. …It is the time of The Twelve.

Six men and six women representing all creeds and colors are supernaturally gifted, but the unlikeliest of heroes. They are barely adults by the world’s standards, but still they are called.

Only they can stand against the growing darkness – but will they stand together?

XII: Genesis is the first installment of an eight-book series in the Young Adult / New Adult genres. If action excites you, if the supernatural intrigues you, and if love compels you - then you are invited to join The Twelve in their fight against the growing darkness that threatens New Earth!"

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Stacking the Shelves: The "I'm A Lame STSer" Edition

To support my fellow Canadian bloggers I have decided to participate in Stacking the Shelves created by Tygna over at Tygna's Reviews. As Tygna writes, "Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!" 

I may be the most lame STSer ever- this is my first since the book-blogger meet-up in November. Surprisingly not a single one of these books came from Christmas!

For Review: 

  • "Days of Starlight and Blood" by Laini Taylor (Thanks to HBG) 
  • "The Archived" by Victoria Schwab (Thanks to HBG) 
  • "The Lives We Lost" by Megan Crewe (Thanks to HBG)
  • "The Friday Society" by Adrienne Kress (Thanks to Raincoast)
  • "Things I Can't Forget" by Miranda Kenneally (Thanks to Raincoast)
  • "Pulse" by Patrick Carman (Thanks to HarperCollins Canada)

Bought (I discovered Have you ever heard of this before? It's AMAZING!)

  • "The Way We Fall" by Megan Crewe
  • "Ghost Town" by Rachel Caine 
  • "Lost Voices" by Sarah Porter
  • "Warm Bodies" by Isaac Marion 
  • "Opal" by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • "Anatomy of a Boyfriend" by Daria Snadowsky
  • "Picture Perfect" by Catherine Clark
  • "Thrill Ride" by Rachel Hawthorne
  • "Caribbean Cruising" by Rachel Hawthorne
  • "Love on the Lifts" by Rachel Hawthorne
  • "Suite Dreams" by Rachel Hawthorne
  • "Icing on the Lake" by Catherine Clark
  • "So Inn Love" by Catherine Clark


  • "Legacy of the Clockwork Key" by Kristin Bailey (Thanks to Elena Johnson and S&S)
  • "The Infects" by Sean Beaudoin (Thanks to Sean and Ashley
  • "Inheritance" by Christopher Paolini SIGNED (Thanks to Random House Canada)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

YA2U: Vote for Toronto, Ontario!

As many fellow Canadians will know YA authors are very rarely able to visit us, however... That could very well change AND we have the power in our hands to incite that change! Authors Marie Lu, Marissa Meyer, Beth Revis, Megan Shepherd and Victoria Schwab have joined together to bring their readers the YA2U!

What is YA2U? It is a contest of sorts whereby these 5 amazing ladies will visit a city of voter's choice! Now please make note that there are a few qualifications, the main being that the Author Event Prize is only valid in the continental US and major cities in Canada (A major city in Canada is a city that has an international airport within it).

As of this past Thursday Toronto, Ontario was in second place! Even if your Canadian city doesn't qualify I highly advise (or more like beg) you to vote for Toronto (perhaps in the second option- as everyone gets 2 choices- you could also include London, Ontario as London is only about an hour and a half from Toronto and I think that many Torontonians would be willing to make the short trek and it has an international airport)!

Need a incentive to vote? The ladies are also giving away a massive prize pack (which is international) to one lucky winner!

So hows about it? Will you vote for Toronto, Ontario? Pretty please? ;) And if we were to win, which author are you most excited to meet?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Author Interview: David James

Today I am excited to have David James, author of "Light of the Moon", stop by the blog to tell us a bit about who his book will appeal to, what he is currently reading and what advice he has for aspiring authors! 

Describe LIGHT OF THE MOON in five words or less. 

Beautifully dark tale of love.

Do you work on multiple books simultaneously? If so, what is your process? 

I do to an extent. I tend to write bits and pieces of other books while working on a main manuscript, but I rarely focus completely on more than one book at a time. I couldn’t do it! I’m a very linear writing, so while I do jump around from time to time, I think I would go crazy writing more than one book at a time.

Fans of ___________ will enjoy my books. 

Fans of Tessa Gratton or Brenna Yovanoff will enjoy my books. There’s a similar sense of dark hopefulness in my books that I’ve found in theirs. I’ve also gotten quite a few reader responses that have enjoyed Light of the Moon after reading Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which I thought was beyond amazing.

What are you currently reading right now? 

I’m currently reading Kristin Cashore’s Graceling and loving it. I love her way with words, and how she creates worlds.

How did you come to the decision to go indie? 

Many reasons, but the main one was that I wanted to get my book to readers. I had a lot of responses when I attempted to go traditional, but none of them stuck the way I wanted them to. Additionally, I’ve come to know so many wonderful indie authors that are doing incredible things. I’m so happy I have a chance to be a part of that.

Are you currently a full time author? If so, how did you come to the decision to do so? 

I am, though I do contract writing on the side for local businesses. Before this, I taught high school for over three years. In the end, I decided to follow my heart. I’ve always wanted to be an author. I’ve always wanted to help people, and my ultimate goal is to provide a positive impact on the youth of today.

Being an indie author what impact (if any) have book bloggers had on your career? 

Book bloggers are beyond amazing, let me tell you. I continue to be impressed by the lot of them and the way many of them use their influences in positive ways. The entire writing, blogging, and writing community have all been so supportive. In my opinion, book bloggers have an incredibly difficult job. It’s hard to stay so positive and keep up with blog posts and reviews, but they do it well.

Where did your inspiration for LIGHT OF THE MOON come from? 

Looking up at the stars, I always used to wonder what was up there. One day the idea of using constellations as the paranormal aspect of the novel just came to me, and I started to write what later became Light of the Moon. I love the idea that there’s a whole world in the sky we just don’t know about.

How do you respond to maybe negative (or not-so-nice) reviews?

I respect everyone, so when someone writes a negative review (about any book) I have an understanding that their views may differ from mine. The negative reviews I really respect are the ones that say exactly how they feel about a book and not just voice their hatred. If there are reasons behind the negativity, then those reviews are actually making a positive impact by making educated points on books. I appreciate and respect those reviews, even if I don’t agree with them.

Any advice for aspiring authors? 

Don’t give up and don’t follow the rules. There are no specific rules when it comes to writing a book because every single person has his or her own way of doing things. Take advice from others, but take your own as well.

This or that?

Monsters under bed or monsters in closet? Oh. My. I don’t even know what to do with this question. I might have just looked in my closet, so I vote for monsters under the bed! I feel like I would have a better chance to escape.

Hot chocolate or chocolate milk?
Neither! I’m actually not a chocolate fan.

Kindle or Nook? Kindle all the way.

E-Book or physical book? Let’s get physical. Physical.

Unicorn or Sasquatch? Uh. Unicorn. For sure. Because don’t they fly? Or am I making that up. I think some unicorns fly. I think. Either way I’m sure a Sasquatch can’t fly.

From Goodreads: "Stars. Fire. Blood. Magic.

One night long ago, a constellation disappeared and fell from the sky in the form of a boy.

Secrets are being kept in the sleepy town of Lakewood Hollow, Colorado. Nothing but pools of blood and dripping words are left where bodies once were, and no one but Calum Wade seems to be worried. Life unfolds in shades of red for Calum, until a mysterious girl named Kate Black enrolls at his school and everything changes. Suddenly a dangerous world of dream demons, elemental enchanters, and blood witches unfurls before Calum. He learns that the stars have forever held his destiny, and that the constellations above are much more than what they seem. As Kate and Calum sink deep into a paranormal war, they realize that an ancient prophecy might hold the answers they seek. But life is not so easy for Calum, and he can feel his heart beat faster whenever Kate is close. Worse, Kate's blood holds a dark secret even more dangerous than the war between the demons and enchanters. Soon the two find that there are worse things than loving someone you shouldn't. For Calum and Kate, even love and the fiery power of stars may not be enough to break a curse as dark as the blood that binds their destiny.

A romantic story of true love and dark curses, LIGHT OF THE MOON will leave you breathless."

About the Author: David James writes books about stars and kisses and curses. He is the author of the YA novel, LIGHT OF THE MOON, the first book in the Legend of the Dreamer series, as well as the companion novella, THE WITCH'S CURSE. A second novella for the series, THE WARRIOR’S CODE, as well as the sequel, SHADOW OF THE SUN, will be released in 2013. Living in Michigan, he is addicted to coffee, gummy things, and sarcastic comments. He enjoys bad movies, goofy moments, and shivery nights. Be sure to visit David’s blog and facebook to learn more about his various addictions and novels.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

"Fallen Too Far" by Abbi Glines

Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: December 14, 2012
Pages: 207

From Goodreads: "To want what you’re not supposed to have…

She is only nineteen.

She is his new stepfather’s daughter.

She is still naïve and innocent due to spending the last three years taking care of her sick mother.

But for twenty-four year old Rush Finlay, she is the only thing that has ever been off limits. His famous father’s guilt money, his mother’s desperation to win his love, and his charm are the three reasons he has never been told no.

Blaire Wynn left her small farmhouse in Alabama, after her mother passed away, to move in with her father and his new wife in their sprawling beach house along the Florida gulf coast. She isn’t prepared for the lifestyle change and she knows she’ll never fit into this world. Then there is her sexy stepbrother who her father leaves her with for the summer while he runs off to Paris with his wife. 

Rush is as spoiled as he is gorgeous. He is also getting under her skin. She knows he is anything but good for her and that he’ll never be faithful to anyone. He is jaded and has secrets Blaire knows she may never uncover but even knowing all of that…

Blaire just may have fallen too far."

Despite having followed Abbi's amazing story online for years- from self-published author sensation to tacking traditional publishing, I must admit that this is the first book of hers that I have ever read (and despite having almost every book one of her books on my Kindle, unfortunately my ever-growing TBR review pile often doesn't often afford me the freedom to read books outside of it), as such I have nothing else of hers to compare this book to- it is very much one of those cases of "it is where it is" (whereas I have read a number of reviews where people have stated that this wasn't there favourite of her books as they find it too similar to the previous). On the whole I personally really enjoyed it and I believe it to be one of my most favourite new adults of 2012.

There's no denying it. Blaire is a bad-ass, from pulling a gun on Rush's best friend/ ex-stepbrother, Grant, to never for a second doubting her mother, to making a heart breaking decision at the end of the novel. She's self-sufficient, while she may certainly enjoy a male presence in her life she doesn't necessarily need one, and she doesn't want handouts in life, almost annoying so. And despite being broken/ being dealt a crappy hand in life she very rarely lets it get her down. She's almost everything that I want in a female character.

Rush, like Blaire, is broken, however, due to the loss of a childhood rather than the loss of loved ones. While Blaire's biggest trait is that she is self-sufficient Rush's is that he is honest. What you see is what you get with him and if you don't like it he will gladly show you to the door. Together, these two are explosive, slowly chipping away at one another's prickly exteriors, revealing the at-times soft or gentle beings that they are harbouring.

The secondary characters are almost exceptionally notable, especially Grant and Woods. Grant is the light where Rush is the dark- be brings much needed lightheartedness to the novel. Whereas Woods propels the storyline almost as much as Rush and Blaire themselves do, being one of the few people who doesn't look down on Blaire for being country rather than designer. The only real complaint I had with this novel was Cain, Blaire's best friend and ex. I'm just not quite sure how necessary he was to the story- only being mentioned in passing until the last couple of pages, where we finally meet him in all of his (not) glory.

While this was my first Abbi book it will certainly not be the last! Not only am I excited to check out all of her previously released books- those of her "The Vincent Boys" series and her "Sea Breeze" series- but the sequel to this, "Never Too Far"!

Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"The Sea of Tranquility" by Katja Millay

Release Date: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Atria
Pages: 380

From Goodreads: "I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Full of rage and without a purpose, former pianist Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone discovering her past and to make the boy who took everything from her pay.

All 17 year-old Josh Bennett wants is to build furniture and be left alone, and everyone allows it because it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, a hot mess of a girl who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. The more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he may ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

Please Note: This book contains mature content including profanity, drug/alcohol use, and sexual situations/language."

Admittedly I had an entire review written about how I was "iffy" about this book and so on, but I deleted it. Why? Because every day since finishing this book (and writing the original review- near two months ago) I have thought about this book (and recommended it to almost everyone I know) and realized that I am in no way, shape, or form "iffy" on this book- I am entirely committed to it and then some. This book is the epitome of one of those books that sneaks up on you, ensnares you in its teeth and refuses to let go (not that you really put up much of a struggle once it does) .

In all honesty it took me a fair while to become wholly invested in this novel- I found that the first forty percent of the book dragged its feet, the plot kicking and screaming the entire way, with the characters sloooooowly introducing themselves to us, their histories, their world, and so forth. However, once I hit the 40% mark, and the characters really revealed themselves to us and there was a change in Josh and Nastya's relationship- going from the strange (sometimes bordering on creepy) girl who randomly shows up one day and the boy with a force field of death surrounding him- to friends (and eventually beyond), I was HOOKED. However, after finishing this book and thinking about it I realize that the original 40%, however slow it may have been, was necessary- the build-up is quite unlike any other I have ever experienced before.

When I think about this novel the two elements which jump to mind first are the characters and the romance- both which are flawed beyond belief, but both which work. Nastya, who has as many layers of emotion and depth as she does of make-up on her face, Josh, who is the break in the storm  clouds, revealing the sunshine, and Drew, who despite his playerish ways brings a child-like innocence to the book. The romance being one of the best I have ever encountered before- the progression from strangers, to friends, to confidants, to boyfriend/ girlfriend (the closest romance that I have every encountered before is that of Jay and Vi in Kimberly Derting's "The Body Finder" series).

All in all, I don't think that I can ever do this book justice in a review. All I can say is that this is a book that I will visit time and time again (and never tire of). I recommend this book to everyone, even those who are not fans of contemporary as this book can (and WILL) convert them.

Rating: 5/5 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 At A Glance

On a personal note 2012 has been a big year for me- I finished my undergrad (a B.A. in bioarchaeology anthropology), I started grad school (a Masters of Library and Information Science), I finished the first draft of the WIP I have been working on since summer '11 (and I edited two-thirds of it), I adopted out ~35 kittens in the summer (and only kept 2 for myself! ;) ), and I saw my little sister get engaged.

However, on a blogging-note (number-wise) 2012 hasn't been quite as big of a year as I would have liked- I only managed to read 112 books this year (whereas last year I had read 137). Of those 112 books I reviewed a mere 88. Unfortunately real life got in the way of reading/ blogging many a'time (especially around exam time and grad school app time). But... Those 88 books review brings my blog's grand total to 223 books read and reviewed. Not two bad in a little over 2 years time, in my opinion.

However, on a personal blogging-note it was also a big year- I made so many great friends this year (Chelsea Cameron, Ciara @ Lost At Midnight, Isabel @emberchyld, A.A. Omer, Sara @ Addicted to Reading, and @libraychickD, just to name a few) had friendships solidified (Ashley @ Book Labyrinth and Rachel @ Fiktshun, again, just to name a few) (and there are many, MANY more out there, I'm sorry that I don't name y'all, if I did I'm sure that this would be my longest post ever) and I've established a ton of connections I never dreamed that I would. I attended my first Book Blogger Meet-Up (and while I didn't get to meet my beloved Cassie Clare I still had an amazing time meeting authors Elizabeth Miles and Leslie Livingston). I participated in both the YA Sisterhood Heroine Tourney (Tessa and I came in second place) and the YA Crush Tourney (while Cricket and I didn't place all that high we did manage to gain an additional 10% of the votes throughout the day).

I also saw a lot of people who I love succeed in ways that BLOW MY MIND- both Chelsea and Samantha Young becoming NYT best-selling authors and selling their books, Chelsea to Harlequin and Samantha to Penguin. Stephanie Oakes, fellow book-blogger, also sold a two-book series to Penguin (the first of which is entitled "Minnow"), Kellie Sheridan announced the 2013 release of her debut novel "Mortality", and Komal Lewis climbed the Amazon ranking system like no other with her "Impossible"!

And I wouldn't be anything without all of you, my amazing followers, whether it be on here, on Facebook, on Twitter, or wherever! Thank y'all so much- YOU make this for me!

With the good comes the bad, but overall I'd say that 2012 was a great year and I look forward to seeing what 2013 has in store for me (*cough, cough, the end of almost 20 years of education*)!

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