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. 

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