Monday, April 30, 2012

Revived by Cat Patrick

So, people always kind of laugh when I make a comment about spending my bookstore paychecks at my bookstore…But, I’m not kidding. I really have a book-buying problem. However, I do sometimes get really cool ARC’s for free, and this was one of them. Thank you Little, Brown And Company!
This was one of the books you almost can’t not read in one sitting. The idea is just too good. I almost can’t believe that no one’s ever thought of this. It’s about Daisy, a girl who died in a bus accident as a little kid. It’s not one of those YA books told from the point of view of the dead main character, or not really any way. Daisy was brought back to life after the accident with a top-secret drug called Revive. She, along with some other kids from the crash, have inadvertently become the drug’s test subjects.
And you soon learn that Daisy kind of has a problem with staying alive. She’s actually died five times, and each time she gets revived with the drug. Each time she dies, her “family” has to relocate and change last names. Her family is made up of two agents who do a lot of tests, science-type things in a basement lab (that I kept thinking would look like Dexter’s in the cartoon) and work ridiculously hard at keeping everything secret. There would be all kinds of detrimental consequences if news of Revive leaked to the public, before all the tests and things are finished.
When Daisy moves to Omaha, stuff changes. For starters, she actually makes friends. And she falls in love with Matt. She comes to think of her new town as her home, and works her hardest to stay alive and not have to move again. Though, that’s sort of actually rather hard for Daisy because her personality is very carefree. She does stupid things like leave behind her epiPen when she has a severe allergy to bee stings, or walk on really high surfaces, with no support. She knows she will always be taken care of.
And she begins to learn just how messed up that is when she finds out that her new best friend, Audrey, is dying from cancer. Revive doesn’t work on people with diseases. It only works at bringing back people who were otherwise healthy right before they die. It doesn’t help matters that Audrey is Matt’s sister. And the more time Daisy spends with them, and grows to love them, the guiltier she feels. Why is she allowed to come back, but not Audrey?
Eventually, Daisy learns something about Revive that changes everything. And soon, Daisy is not only desperate for a way to save her best friend, but also desperate for some answers about the drug her whole life has revolved around. There’s romance, secret codes, death, illness, mystery, and a lot of quick thinking.
I loved Daisy. I thought she was realistically carefree for someone who’d been brought back to life so many times. I loved her best friend from the crash, Megan. She and Megan work on a blog together, and I’m pretty sure some of the best parts of the book were in the conversations between them. I also loved the relationship Daisy had with the agents and the fake family/real family moments that happened. I loved all the religious metaphors and how the leader of the government organization was nicknamed God.
I was never too surprised in the storyline. I knew Audrey was sick almost immediately upon meeting her. It took Daisy a very long time to get that. Maybe I know how to pick up clues after reading John Green’s latest book, or maybe Daisy just never met anyone sick before.
I also kind of guessed all the things that happened with Revive and the government way before Daisy had her light bulb turning on realizations. And that’s okay. It can be hard to surprise me with YA books sometimes. The only thing that kind of bothered me about it was that I wish the twist moments happened a lot sooner. Actually, I think Daisy should have questioned something on page one. Maybe she wouldn’t have thought about it again till stuff with her new friends progressed more, but I feel like the major action and questions happened too late in the game. I loved the book, and read it super fast, but I can see how that might be a problem for younger readers who rightly expect books like this to start immediately with action or at least some kind of doubt or question.
I also keep thinking about how Daisy got mad at one character for not ever wanting to talk about the crash. But, then I never really got to hear about the crash either. It’s mentioned that death is painful and that Daisy doesn’t want to tell Matt how awful it is because that would make him even more worried about his sister. But still, one of the coolest things about this book is that Daisy is the ultimate survivor. She’s died several times. Why leave out details about the one thing that completely has her stand out from all other YA main characters? I wanted more info about the crash and what it felt like to die. Like where does she go when she dies? Does she feel time pass before the medicine kicks in?
I feel like there needs to be a sequel. I want more answers. I’d love to see/hear what the other kids of the crash are like. Have they all died more than once? And why did God seem so interested in Daisy specifically? What’s so unique about her? I give this one a 8/10. I thought it was such a good idea. And I loved all the characters. I would definitely read a sequel.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

the Calling by Kelley Armstrong

This was definitely one of the books I’ve been most excited for! I love Kelley Armstrong. This is book two in the Darkness Rising Trilogy. He first trilogy for YA was the Darkest Powers trilogy.  And so far, while both series deal with teens having some extraordinary abilities, they have been pretty much separate. Different characters, different location, different abilities, etc. I have a feeling though that book 3 in this series will be involving my favorite characters from the first trilogy. And that’s all I will say about the ending of this one; it hints at some major series mingling to come. And I am so ready for this!
This first book ended with all the teens escaping the forest fire, and being taken away by helicopter to possible safety. I remember writing in my blog post about it that the characters all felt they were being rescued, but I knew there was a possibility for disaster, and I was right! It turns out  that a not-so-good, mayor-drugging person was driving the plane. Too bad for him though, that the kids he wants to kidnap are not really all aware of their abilities. Like Daniel has no idea how he manages to knock out the pilot so quickly. And before you know it, someone (actually, I’ll tell you: Rafe) is falling out of the plane at a very high altitude, and the plane is crashing.
The mayor, the pilot, and Rafe are all assumed dead. Though, not to spoil too much, but if you know anything about YA love triangles, one part of the triangle definitely can’t die in book 2. The rest of the kids have to survive some serious Canadian wilderness with no food or water. They also quickly learn to not wait for a rescue because one of their own is shot by potential rescuers and then taken…
Oh, and Maya’s dad (actual biological dad who she’s never met) is one of the people chasing after these kids. And Maya is the only one to start who really is aware of her growing power, which she knows will eventually shift her into a wildcat. Everyone else’s abilities are a bit of a shock for the characters, and their dangerous elements can either help the kids survive or hinder their ability to do so.
And the kids are almost caught so many times. Actually, two of them are. They’re constantly being shot at and yelled at. There’s traps, bargains, and some serious moments of underestimating what Maya and her friends can do. And each character has their own reason for doing things. Maya clearly can’t give up on Rafe. And Rafe can’t give up on finding his sister. Daniel falls deeper and deeper for Maya in this one and his friendship with her really reminds me of the friendship that grew to be a lot more in Kimberly Derting’s The Body Finder .
Though, this book did not have much on the romance side of things. It was more about survival. And I was okay with this, as long as the romantic stuff eventually gets resolved. I was too focused on the action. I loved the action. I loved the leadership roles Maya and Daniel took on. I loved really getting to know some of the other characters/teens. I loved how the stuff with Maya’s best fried’s death is so not over and new suspicions arise. I loved watching Maya transform! And Daniel’s abilities are so cool too! There are some serious mythology elements that will come to pass soon as well.
And everyone knows how I feel about plain crashing/surviving stories! I mean Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens was my number one book of 2011. And the forest in this book really acted as such an amazing place for these kids to really learn about each other and themselves.
My only qualm about it is that I really felt like Maya could have been a little bit smarter. Not all main characters need to be super intelligent. And I get that Maya has some other qualities about her that make her a strong leader, but really how many times can she just blindly trust what others tell her? Most YA heroines learn not do this by the first pages of book 1. We’re on our way to book 3, and I really don’t feel as though as Maya has learned too much at all about trust or love, for that matter. Why does she have to be so blind to Daniel? And okay, her ability to trust and her lack of knowledge about those who are in love with her, definitely give her a na├»ve yet incredibly kind and good-souled type personality, but still. I’m a little tired of the kindness.
Regardless, I loved this book to pieces. And read it super fast. I give it a 9/10. And at this point, will read anything with Kelley Armstrong’s name on it. She has won my appreciation completely. And meeting her at the RT Booklovers Convention was one of the coolest things I got to do!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

100 Followers Giveaway!

To celebrate getting 100 followers recently, I thought I’d give away a good book. Also, this is my 125th posting, and I thought it was kind of cool that it would also mark when I got 100 followers. Do I sound like a crazy number person? I actually kind of hate numbers and prefer words, but still this is such a big deal. And I wanted to thank everyone who has followed my blog. Thank you. (This giveaway is open to US followers only because that is all I can afford right now, though hopefully I will offer something international soon).
There’s been a lot of amazing books so far this year. So, I thought I’d give the winner the choice of one of my favorite new books of 2012.  The winner will get to pick one of the following:

The Selection by Keira Cass
A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Slide by Jill Hathaway
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Starters by Lissa Price
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thank you! And good luck!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass

I picked this one up early at the RT Booklover’s Convention on Teen Day. I met Keira Cass there and she seemed liked one the world’s nicest sweethearts. I know these authors were at this convention for a long time and a lot of them seemed like they could really use a fancy cup of coffee, but Keira, every time I saw her, spoke to her, or even walked past somewhere she was, was just so happy and full of spirit! And this just made me want to read the book that much quicker. That, and the gorgeous cover kept drawing my attention.
The book is a dystopia! It takes place many years after world war three, when America has become Illea. Basically Illea is set up as a caste society, where each person is born into a number (1-8), where 1 is royalty and wealth and 8 is the poorest of the poor. When it’s time for the royal family to marry off their princes, a princess is chosen via a “Bachelor” type media frenzy. Girls that fit the right age group are all permitted to send in applications (no matter their caste), and the prince (aka: Maxon) will get his pick of the final 35 girls. The final 35 move into the palace and are televised and photographed through the whole process. And they also get bumped up in castes, get large salaries sent home to their families, and hence forward, no matter how far they get, will have a sort of celebrity status.
America is of the right age to apply and get out of her level five status. Fives are artists and America’s job is music. Her mother really pushes her to apply, even though she could care less about marrying a prince; she’s already in love with a boy from the caste below her, and has been having a secret romantic relationship with him for two years! She loves him. However, after Aspen (secret boyfriend), persuades her to sign up for the Selection, he breaks up with her. He realizes that what he wants is selfish and he can’t make her marry below her already low number; he doesn’t ever want her to hurt, suffer, or starve like he is sometimes forced to do. And if he were to be drafted, he’d be making America wait a long time for him.
When America is actually picked to be one of the 35, she’s so heartbroken that she will do anything to get away from where Aspen is. Before any of the other girls even get to meet Prince Maxon, America is rescued by him. She has sort of a caged in, homesick nervous breakdown her first night, and runs out of her room, needing fresh air, but she’s not allowed to leave the palace and a guard catches her and prevents her from leaving. Maxon has the guard release her and then follows her outside. And from that moment on, the two forge a wonderful friendship, in which they both become incredibly honest with each other.
It’s clear that this book is more of a romance than a dystopia, and I’m fine with that. Because the romance is sooooo good! A clear triangle comes to pass. I love a good triangle! As more girls leave the palace, the friendship grows between America and Maxon. Aspen is never out of her thoughts, but then again neither is Maxon. And neither is her family. America’s family has had its share of financial worries, and she wants to stay as long as she can to help support them.
I loved how the romantic relationships seemed so real! They took time to build and friendships happened first. And I love how healthy that is. I also loved the relationships between the girls. That felt more like the relationship of the girls in Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens or the movie Ms. Congeniality than the girls in The Bachelor. They were all there for different reasons: for a husband, for an advance in society, for the money, for the title of future queen, etc. And it was hard to hate America’s competition because they each (except for maybe one girl) had something redeeming about them.
I loved watching America teach Maxon how to behave around girls. And I loved watching America learn to behave as a princess (there were some Meg Cabot type Princess Diary moments, and I loved every second of that). While there are definitely qualities in America that would make her an excellent royal, she is also so outspoken and never afraid to say what’s on her mind. And while this can lead to trouble, it just made me like her so much more; she wasn’t the perfect cadidate and this made her seem more authentic. I love how much she cares about her sister, about her maids, about the people of her country without even really seeing that she does. She’s loyal, brave, loud, and talented but never seems to see herself that way, which also made me like her more –she could have been so vain, but wasn’t.
I also loved Maxon. I feel like Maxon is to Peeta, as Aspen is to Gale. Gale and Aspen are first loves, but Maxon and Peeta are the boys that help the girls survive through their toughest trials. That’s kind of where my Hunger Games analogy ends; it’s really nothing like those books. But, I just can’t help comparing the romantic leads…
I thought the numbered society was fascinating. I easily could have read a hundred more pages about it. And yeah, I would have loved to see some of the eights and how they survived. And even see more of that dystopia world, but I get why the author chose not to do so; this overall is a love story, and it’s from one middle caste girl’s perspective. Also, the danger the palace was always in sort of worked as a constant reminder for me, telling me that yes this is sort of a fairy tale reality show, but also people want to kill the royals at all times.  The scenes where the girls and the royal family are in hiding from the violence, and attacks were so intense and terrifying. And I loved how you really got to know the girls by how they acted in such hard circumstances.
There was such a cliffhanger. And I know it’s a trilogy. But still! I need more of this right now! I absolutely loved this one. It’s probably one of my favorites of 2012 so far. I give it a 10/10. And I look forward to reading more by this author.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Showers of Books Giveaway Hop

I have some lovely books that need a good home! And what better way to give them a good home then by joining a giveaway hop? Special thanks to “I Am A Reader, Not a Writer” and “One A Day YA,” the blogs hosting the giveaway! What does this mean? It means a chance for you to win free books! (My giveaway is for US residents only.) After you enter to win, you can also click on the lovely photo of the umbrella and it will take you to a list of all the blogs participating and offering giveaways (aka: free books)!
I have two open contests right now as part of this giveaway. You can enter both if you’d like to. And if you win either contest, I will send you an email and you will receive all the books mentioned in that contest. For the most part, I have read all the books once (so they are slightly used), but I take wonderful care of my books. Promise.  A couple may never have been read because they are duplicates of books I already own. And the ARC of Shatter Me that I’m giving away is an early ARC that doesn’t have the final cover yet, but still is so good!
Oh, and know to enter contest number 2, you need to click on  the purple link that says "Read More" to see the second way to enter. Good luck! And thanks for reading!
For Contest number 1:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For Contest number 2:

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I got this one on Net Galley, courtesy of Macmillan. It doesn’t come out till June, but I’m so glad I read it now because it was so good! Really, if you need some epic fantasy to jump start your summer, pick this one up! Bardugo’s style reminded me a bit of Kristin Cashore’s and Maria V. Snyder’s. It was dark, magical, romantic, action-packed, and just plain awesome!
It’s about Alina. She grows up as an orphan, alongside her best friend, Mal. They get placed into the home of a wealthy Duke, and along with other orphans are given a home and taught to read and write. And in Alina’s world, there are a lot of orphans. They live in Ravka, a country torn in half by a thing called the Fold. The Fold didn’t always exist, but once it did, it brought darkness, death, and man-eating monsters. And, to cross from part of Ravka and go to the other, people have to risk the darkness.
The book begins with Alina and Mal preparing to cross the Fold for the first time on a military mission. It’s clear from the start that Alina is in love with Mal, but Mal is too busy hooking up with other girls to realize he has the only girl for him right in front of his nose. Any way, the friends get themselves into some serious monster attacking trouble on their voyage through the Fold, and if it weren’t for Alina suddenly releasing an insane amount of power, she and Mal would both be dead.
In Ravka, children are tested for magic early on. But, Alina’s magic was never detected and when she, along with the few other survivors from her excursion on the Fold are brought to the attention of the Darkling (second in command of Ravka), Alina’s life changes drastically. It’s decided that Alina’s magic is about bringing forth the sun or light, exactly what’s needed to battle the darkness of the Fold.
With no Goodbyes allowed, Alina is hastily taken from the life she knows and forced into a carriage that will take her to a life of magic and privilege. Because as soon as people know she exists, she’s in danger. She’s taken to the palace of the King and the Darkling, where she learns all about magic and status, light and dark, and good and evil. And it soon becomes clear that not is all is at it seems, that everyone wants something from her, and that she needs to rush to hastily learn what others have had their whole lives to study. The fate of all of Ravka gets placed on her shoulders.
There’s a love triangle! There’s magic! There’s a lot of deciding what’s best for yourself versus what’s best for the greater good. The politics, the double-crossing, the court intrigue, and the various twists and turns of this story really kept me from being able to ever put it down. I loved watching Alina learn to harness her powers. I loved watching her go from a weak, clumsy girl, to a powerful, trained, heroine. There’s fancy parties, monsters, men being sliced in half, fight scenes, prison cells, adventure, escape, and so many wonderful things here!
Alina was so loyal and brave and willing to die to save the entire kingdom. And even though Mal was such a lady’s man, I loved him too. His flaws only made him more believable to me. And I feel like the whole “falling in love with your best friend” thing turned this dark fantasy into such a unique believable story. I loved the villain! And I loved all the power plays happening amongst the court. This was a long book, but I easily could have kept reading!
Nothing was dumbed down or explained too early. I like that Bardugo made it so you had to keep reading to know what she was talking about. I really was confused about how to picture the Fold because I had no context as to what it was about, except that everyone seemed overtly afraid of it. I kind of liked imagining my own Fold and putting the pieces together later. I loved the ending and all the decisions Alina had to make. I can’t wait to read more and see where this story goes in book 2. I know it’s the first part of a trilogy, but I don’t know how I will able to wait for the next two parts. I give it a 10/10.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Last Echo by Kimbery Derting

I almost never have the problem of figuring out what book I should read next. My To Be Read piles are so big that if someone were to knock them down on me while I was sleeping, I would definitely have some major injuries, head traumas, and or breathing problems. That and I have so many galleys to read. It’s just that at this point in time, I have so many books in my possession that I’m so excited for, I’m not quite sure what I’m most excited about reading. This book must have won some serious excitement contest in my inner subconscious because I read it so quickly after getting it!
I love this series! I love Violet and Jay! I love Violet’s creepy ability! And I love how real and down to earth Violet is despite all the craziness in her life. It picks up not too long after book 2 finished. And book 2 finished with a final showdown in a winter cabin with a crazy dad who killed his wife, and then seemed to be on the verge of killing more people close to him. But Violet helped to save the day with a “secret” branch of the FBI, a branch made up mostly of young psychics.
This book begins with Violet helping out the psychic group. She trained with them for a while, while still attending high school, and now gets to start on a real case. And the supernatural teens can do it all: one girl can talk with the dead, another can sense peoples’ essences,  a child genius can sense things from objects, and Rafe (enter teen love triangle!) can sense things from objects as well as predict some future occurrences. And the book starts with immediate action, with Violet using her ability (to find dead bodies). In a mission to a creepy warehouse, Violet leaves the group and finds a dead girl in a freezer.
But, as we know from past books, Violet’s skills don’t sometimes show up and then leave. She feels an echo from the dead body, and an overall sense of depression until the body is buried and at peace. And a lot of these cases take time for bodies to be buried. So, add lack of sleep to the girl’s already hectic life of: evading school friends, dating Jay, pretending her job isn’t as dangerous as it is to her parents, trying to track down a serial killer, and passing high school.
I loved learning about the crew of young people with abilities. Their stories were all so interesting and I loved how shocking their troubled lives were to Violet who has always had two loving parents. There’s some tough stuff going on in this one with foster care, abusive parents, and hiding gifts. And then there’s that other thing that Derting always does, which is make plenty of alternating chapters where we get to go inside the mind of the serial killer. And this particular serial killer is by far the creepiest one I’ve read about.
There’s the start of a love triangle, there’s making friends with others with abilities, there’s getting arrested, being caught in the middle of a gang fight, there’s serial killers, there’s young girls who don’t make it, there’s seeing how a killer thinks, there’s therapists, sleeping pills, loving and caring parents, kidnappings, and some seriously scary escape scenes. This book really just has it all! There was never a dull moment.
I loved watching Violet begin to feel like she truly fit in somewhere and that she could actually accomplish something good with her ability. She wants to help people. I loved seeing her relationship with Jay grow, but also see some realistic teen relationship problems as well. Yes, they seem perfect together at such a young age, but no it’s not easy. They were best friends for years first. They had to get used to a new relationship together, and then once they did they had some very realistic relationship dramas about normal things like jealousy, sharing time with other people, etc. And this just made such a good, normal anchor for Violet with all the other creepy dead body stuff she has to deal with. And this realistic, yet also beautiful, romance just made the character seem so much more authentic then they would have without it.
I absolutely loved this installment to the series! I’m hoping that Derting keeps writing these books, especially after that dark/twisty end. I give it a 10/10.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Taken at Dusk by C.C. Hunter

I actually finished this one days ago, but I have just had so much going on in my life that I haven’t actually had 20 minutes to sit at my computer at home for a long while. And doing this now, means laundry will be finished tomorrow…But any way, I bought this the day it came out (a perk of working at Barnes and Noble). And then read it as soon as I got home. I really just love how fun, easy, and fast these books by C.C. Hunter are. Really, it was read in a matter of hours. I just didn’t want to stop until I got some answers (aka: until I got to the end).
This one picks up right after book 2 finishes. All the paranormal teens are still at camp. Kylie is seeing a new ghost that keeps telling her that one will live and another will die. She’s dating Lucas in this one and I can’t help but keep comparing Lucas (sexy werewolf) to Derek the other part of the love triangle who Kylie was involved with in book 2. She’s doing a lot of comparisons herself. And while it’s clear she still has feelings for both boys, she keeps pushing away from Derek who left to do some supernatural work in book 2.
Both boys are back in this one! And I loved watching Kylie try to figure out which was the right boy for her. More than that I loved trying to figure out what Kylie was along with her. She still doesn’t know what supernatural creature group she belongs to. It begins with her meeting the adoptive parents of her dead father. And book 2 ended with the promise of some future answers. Unfortunately, the meeting with the grandparents is cut short and its determined that the old couple who seemed so sincere were actually frauds.
Kylie keeps getting taken on these visions with her ghost that involve some seriously scary captures, unwanted surgeries, and a missing baby. And this book is loaded with all the awesome supernatural elements of the earlier books. There’s werewolf politics, fairy mood altering, meeting up with people in dreams, shape-shifting friends, camp break-ins, vampire and witch roommates, and so much more! There’s also an old enemy vampire who still keeps trying to either get Kylie to join his side or kill her. And then there’s the enemy vampire’s son who thinks he’s in love with Kylie. There’s family drama, and some interesting controversy with Kylie’s best friend from home whom she cured from cancer. Kylie can heal people now. Oh, and bring dead animals back to life.
There’s more powers, more mystery, more romance, and just plain more awesome. I did not get all the answers I wanted, but by the end I did get something. And I won’t ruin anything, but know not to expect too many answers yet. I love the relationship that seems to be growing between the camp director and a certain vampire in charge. I loved all the romance in this one with Lucas!
I did feel like this one did not have a ton of action. There were some seriously scary moments in a cemetery and in a vision. But other than some visions that weren’t real, and a crazy, action-packed ending, I feel like not a lot happened plot-wise in this one. I still enjoyed it. And I loved the character development and watching Kylie figure some things out; I just feel like I need a little bit more. I give this one a 9/10. I definitely will be waiting anxiously for book 4, and getting some more answers!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Teen Day at the RT Convention!

So, the RT Booklovers Convention was in Chicago this year (actually, it's this weekend). And today was Teen Day. What happens on Teen day? Well, I met a ton of YA authors. I bought a ton of books. I got a lot of books signed. I went to panels hosted by some of my favorite YA authors. And then it all ended with a giant party with lots of free books (finished ones and ARC’s). Does that not sound perfect?
These are some of the authors I got to meet:

In order from top let to bottom right: Franny Billingsley, Melissa De la Cruz, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Kelley Armstrong, Keira Cass, Ally Carter and me, Kim Derting, Jill Hathaway, Beth Revis, Sophie Jordan, the "From Spark to Fire: Interactive World and Character-Building Workshop panel": Kelley Armstrong, Nancy Holder, Beth Revis, Veronica Roth, Margaret Stohl, Cinda Williams Chima, And Melissa Marr, and then the last one is me with Saundra Mitchell.
Here are the books I purchased and then had signed (I tried not to buy too many books I already owned, but it did happen because I really wanted certain autographs, so expect a few duplicates to be shared in giveaways soon!):

Every other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Slide by Jill Hathaway
The Springsweet by Saundra Mitchell (which isn’t even out yet!)
Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell (her first book)
The Selection by Kiera Cass
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting (also not out yet!)
Chime by Franny Billingsley

The Demon Trapper’s Daughter
by Jana Oliver
Divergent by Veronica Roth (!!!!!)
The Heist Society by Ally Carter
The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (!!!!)
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

These were the books I got for free (mostly finished copies, but some ARC’s in there too):

The Girl in the Steel Corset
by Kady Cross
The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams
Ghost Flower by Michele Jaffe
Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
by Julie Cross
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

by Meg Cabot
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead (!!!!)
Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill
Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
Hidden by Sophie Jordan (!!!)

And here is some of the swag I picked up ( I loved the YA scavenger hunt):

After all this, I never really got to talk about the conference too much. I guess I should at least share my favorite parts. My first favorite part was definitely the point in the Author Speed Reading Panel when Veronica Roth read from the beginning of Insurgent! It sounded so good, and I am dying to read it. I loved hearing it from her voice too. And my second favorite part was when I just happened to be standing in line with Kristi from the Story Siren and Heidi (hopefully spelling correctly) from YA bibliophile. I love both their blogs, and it was so cool to meet them in person!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kill me Softly by Sarah Cross

As soon as this title popped up on Net Galley, I knew I had to read it (so, thanks Egmont!).  The description for it sounds like a YA version of the show Once Upon a Time, which I just can’t get enough of! And I love the cover and the title, which definitely promised more of a dark fairy tale edge than a Disney one.
It’s about Mira, a girl brought up by two godmothers who refuse to ever talk about her parents. At Mira’s christening, there was a fire that claimed the lives of her parents. Whenever Mira brings up the town her parents died in, her godmothers change subjects. So, Mira decides to run away a week before her 16th birthday, to see the town and hopefully find closure with the death of her parents.
The town is called Beau Rivage, and it’s filled with fairy tale themed hotels, casinos, and restaurants. On her first night there, Mira is rescued by one gentlemanly teenage boy and one blue-haired punk. Unfortunately, the two boys do not succeed in pulling Mira away from Blue’s brother, the mysterious Felix. It’s so much fun to see modern day fairy tale teen replicas. My favorite characters were Freddie (the prince), Blue (of course), and then their friends who are supposed to be Belle and the Beast. I kept hoping to catch glimpses of other tales, and I was never disappointed. There were so many fairy tale characters everywhere in this book; I was not disappointed.
And like I guessed from the beginning, these tales are dark. Mira soon learns she’s part of the cursed. She was cursed as a baby to have to follow the fate of Sleeping Beauty. And as the mystery of her parents, the love triangle she has between her and two very dark brothers, and the curses of her new friends all unfold, Mira’s hyper-aware of all sharp objects, constantly afraid of the one thing that will trigger her extended sleep.
Mira learns a lot of secrets her godmothers kept from her. She learns even more about death. And so much of the book is about fighting against fate, and making your own destiny. There was a very interesting portrayal of fairies. And I loved learning about some lesser-known fairy tales. Everything had a dark twist to it. Like how a lot of girls cursed to be Snow White are fated to live their lives drugged, because the princes who found them, fell in love with them when they were unconscious and can’t love them as much when their “lively.” There’s also the huntsman who’s in love with Snow White, but knows that one day he’ll be asked to remove her heart.
There’s creatures that feed on love, bad wolves who like to torture people, girls who’ve taken things from three bears, and so many fun stories woven together to make this one story what it is.  I loved all the side characters, and watching them all handle their curses in their own ways. Mira rushes to discover who she is before her birthday, because 16th birthdays are big for the cursed. There’s parties, concerts, beach time, sizzling romance, and lots of mystery before Mira gets the answers she needs.
I had a lot of fun reading this one. There were just two things that bothered me. One, Mira was just not that interesting. She was a relatively boring, needy main character who despite a few wise cracks to blue, never really stuck up for herself. And I get that Sleeping Beauty needs to be rescued by a prince and a kiss. But, I was constantly hoping for a stronger, more modern Sleeping Beauty.
I only got small glimpses into who Mira really was and I just never cared that much for her because I never really got to know her. And the boys certainly didn’t know her that well either. They all fell for her right away, which I guess is the norm in fairy tales…but still. I liked that Blue seemed to at least understand her, but he definitely loved her first. I get that a lot of this is made to be fairy tale like, but not all of the book is strictly fairy tale, and I wish this part was more modern and less of a Disney-love-at-first-sight kind of romance.
The other thing that didn’t stand so believable to me was Mira’s relationship with her godmothers. She never really thought of them as parents, which I find strange considering she never knew hers. And knowing later that her godmothers were actually fairies (sorry for a tiny spoiler) makes it that much harder for me to believe they couldn’t find Mira immediately after she ran away. And if they knew where she was, but decided she had to figure some things out on her own, that would conflict with the whole thing about not letting her do anything (literally, she wasn’t allowed to shave her legs!). And something should have been said about this at the end.
All in all, despite not really knowing Mira and feeling like her relationship with her godmothers was rather fake, I did love this book. The idea was amazing! The side characters were so interesting! And everything did tie together so well. I give it a 8/10. And I would definitely read a sequel if the author chose to write one.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Good Week in Books (4)

So, I know I will have a fantastic book week next week because some books I’ve been waiting for finally come out, and I will also be attending Teen Day at the RT Booklovers Convention! But, I just couldn’t not share the awesomeness that has been my week in books this week.
Also, quick side note, before I get started: Please vote for me on goodreads for the Independent Book Blogger Awards. If you scroll down a little bit, there should be a link on the left side that can take you right over to voting…
Now to the books! I got an enormous haul from Net Galley! Seriously, I got a ton of books this week!  Thank you Disney Hyperion, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, Lerner Publishing Group, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, and Flux books!

Dead Time by Anne Cassidy
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
False Memory Dan Krokos
Skylark by Meagen Spooner
Redemption by Veronique Launier
The Curiosities by Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff, and Tessa Gratton
Silver by Talia Vance

I also got these ARCs at my bookstore, courtesy of Penguin (Viking, Razorbill, and G.P. Putnam’s Sons):

Immortal City
by Scott Speer
Gilt by Katerine Longshore
Deadweather and Sunrise by Geof Rodkey

I also then got this finished Young Reader book courtesy of HarperCollins Disney Books Group, and I’m glad to know they will be sending me more books soon!

Iva Honeysuckle Discovers the World
by Candice Ransom and Illustrated by Heather Ross (Doesn’t it look adorable?)

Then I also purchased these two beauties:

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Above by Leah Bobet