Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cover Reveal: Elder (Firstborn Trilogy #3) by Raine Thomas


I have the wonderful honor of sharing with you today the new cover for Raine Thomas’ last book in the First Born Trilogy, Elder. It is such a gorgeous cover, and it goes so well with the books that came before it! I really lucked out in being a part of the last blog tour for Raine Thomas. Her books are so much fun, and I’m just dying to get started on this next one!
Here’s what it’s about:
Clara Kate is one of the eight beings needed to activate The Elder Scroll, an ancient artifact causing tragedy and darkness on the Estilorian plane. She knows that her focus needs to be on finding the final piece and stopping the evil Mercesti, but Ini-herit isn't making it easy.

He’s working closely with Clara Kate on the quest to stop their enemiestoo close for her comfort. His presence serves as a constant reminder of the love they shared on the human plane, a love that he no longer remembers at all.

Her life and the lives of those she loves are at risk, and she knows she has to put aside her personal problems. So far on their journey, she's endured heartbreak, terror, pain and loss. She’s even been brought to the brink of death.

She thinks things can't get any worse.

She's wrong
.
 
Coming December 27, 2012
Add it to your to-read list on Goodreads


Brief author bio: Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of a series of YA fantasy/romance novels about the Estilorian plane, including the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy and the Firstborn trilogy. She is a proud member of Romance Writers of America and is a contributing blogger to The Writer's Voice. When she isn’t planning weddings, writing or glued to social networking sites, she can usually be found on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches with her husband and daughter or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Ways readers can connect with Raine:


Twitter (http://twitter/Raine_Thomas)
Facebook (
http://www.facebook.com/rainethomas)
Goodreads (
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5053436.Raine_Thomas)
Pinterest (
http://pinterest.com/raine_thomas/)
Linkedin (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/raine-thomas/53/111/bb3)
Website (
http://rainethomas.com)
Blog (
http://RaineThomas.com/blog/)


And finally, here is the gorgeous cover:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (22)



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week, I am waiting on Dark Triumph by R.L. LaFevers (4/2/13):

Description on GoodReads:
Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella as one of their most dangerous weapons.

But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

This heart-pounding sequel to Grave Mercy serves betrayal, treachery, and danger in equal measure, bringing readers back to fifteenth century Brittany and will keep them on the edge of their seats.
So, this is not my favorite cover and I was also a bit disappointed to learn that this book wasn’t about Ismae. However, I will read anything this author wants to write about in this world where nuns are trained to be assassins. This story also sounds completely messed up and powerful. I’m so excited to see what happens with Sybella even though she’s not Ismae. Why would the convent return her to her old life? I’m dying to know things about the state of the convent. And I know I’ll be hoping for certain cameos from characters past. Though, I’m not sure if this will be possible. We shall have to wait and see. What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hide and Seek by Sara Shepard



So, I have a bit of an addiction for these books…And I think another one comes out soon, so I definitely needed to catch up and make sure I was ready for the new one. I think I decided I’m going to give it some time before I continue with Shepard’s other series: Pretty Little Liars, mostly because I love the show and the slight differences of the book compared to the show were kind of confusing for me, and by kind of, I mean a lot. These books on the other hand are so different from their show, The Lying Game, that it sort of feels like something completely different.
The previous book in the series ended with Emma clearing all her friends’ names in the involvement of the murder of her twin sister. (Quick recap: Emma is pretending to be Sutton, the wealthier and more popular twin who was recently murdered. Pretty much, Emma has to pretend to be Sutton or she will be killed too. And while it’s fun for a foster kid to suddenly have family, friends, money, a good school, etc. it’s also sometimes really hard to pretend to know how Sutton would always behave. Also, Emma is hoping to figure out who killed the sister she wished she knew she had earlier and dead Sutton is stuck following Emma around everywhere, unseen by everyone).
While her besties all have honest alibis, it turns out that Sutton’s sister, Laurel has a nice chunk of time unaccounted for on the night of Sutton’s murder. So between all the faked and strange conversations with Sutton’s visiting grandma, some crazy revelations about her father, weird things happening with the birth mom, a giant birthday party, and of course some lying game pranks, Emma is looking for serious evidence to pin on Laurel.
I feel like that with all the sneaking and lying involved in these books, Emma would be just a little better at well sneaking and lying…She always seems to get caught. There are also some new girls at school who pin a stupid prank on the lying game girls, and well revenge needs to happen. Plots of revenge that just happens to mix with a secret, forbidden party adds for some awesome drama!
There’s a bit of a love triangle forming. There’s adorable dates with Ethan (Emma’s new boyfriend) and a lot of confusing moments with Thayer (who doesn’t get why Sutton would just all of a sudden not be into him any more…poor guy can’t tell that Sutton is someone else). And Sutton (the dead twin) slowly keeps getting flashbacks of the night she was murdered, of course none of which show the killer.
Some family secrets are found out in this one, and I love secrets that are found out! Also, I loved the drama. These books are always sure to bring the ultimate amount of teen drama, and frankly, I expect nothing less from them. Also, I’m liking that Emma is becoming tougher. She is not the same nice, innocent girl from before, and while she sees this as loosing herself and becoming too much like Sutton, I see it as her starting to grow up and grow a back bone.
My one major problem with these books is the repetition. I’m getting a little tired of the same story happening over and over again with different suspects. Each books involves Emma suspecting someone new and digging for clues until she can prove that they are innocent. I’m sort of tired of her proving everyone innocent. And I’m definitely tired of Emma always jumping to conclusions. She moves on to the next suspect with never the slightest bit of doubt. Wouldn’t she have to learn to doubt by now? I want something new. New story arc, please! Or maybe I’d just like to see Emma putting that brain of hers to harder work, instead of just repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
I still read this really quickly. I will definitely be purchasing the next in the series. This isn’t because the books are so good, as so much as they are addicting and I just have to know things, like right now. I give it a 7/10.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Good Week in Books (32)


So, I have had a very light book week, but still good! I was actually given a book by a patron at my volunteer library! She gave it to me and told me I would really like it. I love recommending books to people, and I love it even more when they have something to recommend back! And then being given free books is the ultimate best. She actually gave it to me last week, but I forgot to include it last week! Also, I received two new galleys on Net Galley! Thank you Random House Children’s Books and Penguin Young Readers.

Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin (This was the gifted book, and who knew that this author wrote about vampires?)
Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson (3/12/13)
The Friday Society by Adrienne Cress (12/6/12)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green


I picked this one up at Leaky Con, so I’d have another book to have signed by the genius, himself. And then of course I forgot that my copy was signed, and I have been carrying it around with me in my purse for the last few days…You never know when your purse book will be needed so it’s best to just always have one, except of course when your purse book is autographed. Because now it has a fold on the front cover. Oh well. I did also get my other two favorite John Green books autographed and they are hard covers that are sitting, all well behaved on the shelf, so all is still well with the world.
Any way, I think I still have one more John Green book to get to before I have read them all. I know I’m kind of behind with the times, but when I discover a great writer, I like to find everything they have ever written, purchase everything they have ever written, and then apparently slowly get to everything they have ever written. This allows me to slowly savor and appreciate them more, which is a good plan, or possibly just my excuse.
This one is about Collin. Collin is very smart, always playing with words (I seriously have not seen the word “anagram” written down in the same book this many times ever before in my life), and always learning. He was a child prodigy, knowing how to read words an extremely young age. And since that age his parents have encouraged a constant influx of education. The other thing you need to know about Collin is that he only seems to fall for girls named Katherine. And all 19 Katherines he’s been involved with have dumped him.
When the 19th Katherine (whose also technically the first Katherine returned) breaks his heart, Collin and his best friend, Hassan go for a road trip. Instead of going to what Collin calls Smart Kid Camp, he manages to talk his parents into letting him spend his summer in a normal teenager-type way. Or as normal as a child prodigy with a broken heart and a gigantic need to remain at genius-level to society can ever be. Collin’s worst fear seems to be that he will become just like most other child prodigies before him: not special.
The road trip takes them to Gutshot, Tennessee to the supposed grave of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and from there Collin’s real journey begins. There they meet Hollis and Lindsey (mother and daughter). Hollis hires the boys to go with Lindsey around the town of Gutshot to interview the citizens who live there. And all the citizens of Gutshot have something to do with the factory that Hollis owns (a tampon string factory!).
Lindsey, Collin, and Hassan go around town asking interview questions with a tape recorder and they hear a lot of stories. Meanwhile, Collin starts to work on a theorem that he thinks will make him famous. It’s a theorem that charts relationships and explains the relationship between the dumpee versus the dumper. There’s wild hog hunting, interviewing, Katherine-recovering, hamburger eating, and a lot of growing in this book! Between the secret hideaways, the old folks homes, the exploded hornets nest, and all the stories of the Katherines, this book never really had a dull moment. Hassan gets his first girlfriend. There is a reason they discover at the end, for why the interviews need to be done, and this was so unexpected for me! There’s one crazy fight between Lindsey’s boyfriend and well, everyone else. And every single thing that happens, even the hard things, are coated in this layer of classic John Green sarcastic humor that just makes it all seem so much more real.
There’s this moment where one character’s kindness manages to get all the other characters to realize that they can do more! And all of the characters of this novel needed to get to this moment! And when they did, it was pure magic. The timing of everything was just so perfect. I loved not getting the full Katherine story till the end when Collin tells the whole thing from start to finish to Lindsey. And I loved where everything ended!
I loved Lindsey and her honesty. I loved her hiding spot and how she wasn’t afraid to tell the truth to Collin. I loved her humor and how she wrote him a very funny/somewhat cruel letter that had me laugh out loud while reading! I loved that Collin, while very egotistic and intelligent, was also willing to listen to other people and accept that he still had so much more to learn about things. He so easily could have been so much worse. I loved that his first impression of Lindsey (reading a celebrity magazine) changed and was capable of changing! I also loved Hassan, who ended up being so much more than just the comedic relief.
John Green has this ability to write these short, singular moments of time where things come together for the characters, and I know I kind of already talked about it as this magic moment. There were only a few of these moments in this book. And as he continues to write (in his later books) there are more and more of these moments where it just becomes abundantly clear that he understands teens and how they think. He just gets it. I of course like his later books better because there are more of these moments, but it’s so nice seeing that he has always had this ability.
Also, it is so wonderful to see how highly intelligence is appreciated in these books. So many Katherines were intrigued by Collin’s smartness. And Collin wouldn’t even look at Lindsey until he realized she was so much more than the stupid magazine she was reading when they first met. Granted, not all the characters appreciated Collin’s IQ. However, I think this just made it overall more authentic because not everyone will always value intelligence. It’s just nice reading about how teenagers can value it.
My only qualm with this book was all the math. I found the theorem interesting, but like John Green, I was not that great with math. And even though he saves the majority of the math for the appendix at the end, which I attempted to read, I still found it a little frustrating. I also sometimes got sidetracked by the footnotes, which for the most part were either interesting or hilarious. I liked the footnotes, I really did. They added to Collin’s story in a way that I cannot imagine them not being there. But, they also pulled me out of Collin’s story a lot too and I kept finding myself having to bring myself back a lot. Also, Collin, in general could be a little frustrating (though that was the point at times) and it was almost a little too easy to continue to put the book down.
Regardless, this was another great story by John Green. I love how he values intelligence. His characters were fantastic, flawed, and believable.  And I know that I will soon be able to say I have read everything he has ever written. This gets a 9/10.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


So, I know this is kind of corny, and I’m not the only blog doing this, but I really wanted to share what I was thankful for this year.
In no particular order, this year, I am thankful for:
*My family (for putting up with all of my craziness, for understanding how broke a part-time school librarian is, and well, for just being completely amazing.
*My father’s health (we had a tough year, and I am just so thankful for each step with a walker and each physical therapy session he has had that leads him in the right direction)
*My followers, commenters, and readers!
*Every YA book blog I have had the pleasure to go to this year. Seriously, I don’t buy books any more without having read at least a few reviews from some of my favorite blogs.
*John Green (for writing more and more awesome books and for giving my book club some seriously amazing discussions)
*Vlogbrothers
*Book clubs (the ones I lead and the ones I attend)
*The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
*Epic Reads
*The creators of the shows: Supernatural, Veronica Mars, Revenge, Castle, Glee, Gossip Girl, True Blood, Once Upon a Time, Revolution, New Girl, Hart of Dixie, Switched at Birth, Beauty and the Beast, and Pretty Little Liars (okay, okay, I watch a ridiculous amount of tv: don’t judge, and there are probably more shows I’m forgetting at the moment…)
*Barnes and Noble
*My amazing friends (from college and graduate school)
*Libraries (public, school, and volunteer ones)
*The Mighty Twig (and its wonderfully successful year)
*book conferences
*Starbucks
*having a job that allows me to give book recommendations all the time!
*My book idea (that is slowly coming together)
*All of the free books I have won from other blogs
*Every book that was sent to me from a publisher/author for review
*Net Galley
*Meeting my favorite author (Libba Bray)
*ARC’s and galleys
*GoodReads
*Finishing my 2012 reading challenges (early)
*Leaky Con 2012
*Peppermint bark (seriously, that stuff is beyond delicious)
*Having this blog, this outlet where people can understand and hopefully relate to my book obsession.
Wow. I had no idea my list would be this big. So yeah, sometimes life is awful and all I want to do is crawl into my covers with a nice, long YA book, but I seriously have so much to be thankful for.  Now, to the food! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you all have just as much or more to be thankful for this year.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (21)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week, I am waiting on Fragments by Dan Wells (2/26/13):

Description on GoodReads:
Kira Walker has found the cure for RM, but the battle for the survival of humans and Partials is only just beginning. Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues as to who she is. That the Partials themselves hold the cure for RM in their blood cannot be a coincidence—it must be part of a larger plan, a plan that Kira knows she is a part of, a plan that could save both races. Her allies are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron, the Partials who betrayed her and saved her life, the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them?

Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what’s left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira’s journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of postapocalyptic America, and they will both discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn’t even know existed.
So, I loved the first book in this series! I remember loving it more than I thought I would. It had some amazing sci-fi/dytopia type plot twists! And I really, really loved the main character! I can’t wait to see more of Kira. This description makes the sequel sound just as twisty and action filled as book one, and I cannot wait for its release! Also, I love that the cover goes so well with the first book in the series. Please let this be a series that doesn’t change covers midway through! (Cross fingers) The covers are just too cool.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Reached by Ally Condie


I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time! I had a serious dilemma choosing what book to read next because so many awesome titles all came out this past month! And oh my god, I forgot how much I loved this author’s writing style, and the writer’s overall love for the written word. The only hard thing about reading this book was knowing that it was the last one. Seriously, it took me at least two days to finish it because I kept putting it down, not wanting it to be over…I’m still kind of in denial.
The last book ended with all the central characters separated. They all found each other and all ended up working for the Rising, but the Rising saw all of their unique traits and placed them in locations that would most benefit the Rising’s eventual takeover of the Society. Cassia is placed in Central as a sorter, where she will be asked to do a special sorting for the Rising. Ky is working as a pilot, not to be confused with the Pilot (aka: leader of the Rising), and Xander (who now has his own point of view chapters!) is working as a medic.
Cassia and Ky are of course thinking of each other and always contemplating dropping everything for the Rising in effort to be with together. However, they never do this because they come to see what they are doing as important and necessary. The Rising has decided that the best way to infiltrate the Society is with a plague. The Society used the plague to infect its enemies, and now that the Rising has found the cure, they are going to let the plague spread in the society all in effort to cure a terrified public and ignite a following of the past Society supporters.
Xander also always thinks about Cassia. But, he is always working. He has risen in his ranks with the Rising and is in charge of administering the cure. Ky is the one delivering the cure to various cities, by plane. And Cassia is sorting for the Rising while pretending to be sorting for the Society. She is also now obsessed with trading and with the archivists. Some of the things she acquired in book two, are top of the market trading items, and Cassia has been invited to the inner sanctum of trading with the archivists. It is through her learning of forbidden artifacts and her love of poetry that Cassia finds her true calling: The Gallery.
The Gallery is a an abandoned area that Cassia opens up as a free space for anyone who wants to share their creativity. There are stories and poems on the walls. People share their music, their songs, and their artwork. And as it becomes clearer and clearer that the Rising has acted, the plague has been released, and everything is changing, more people come to the gallery to share and learn. They never had an opportunity before to do anything like this because the Society got rid of most artwork and did not really inspire creativity in its people. Unfortunately though nothing lasts for long in Cassia’s world.
Right after it finally seems as though Xander has gotten the cure to everyone, a new mutation of the plague occurs. The mutation is not affected by the cure at all, and more and more of the public (now ruled by the Pilot and the Rising) are getting the mutated version, which has no cure yet. This book is filled with dangerous plane rides, death, revolution, medicine, love, and survival. The Pilot gathers Xander, Cassia, and Ky together toward the end and pretty much places the entire population’s health in their unsuspecting hands. By the end of the book one of them will have the mutated virus, one of them will fall in love with someone else, one will loose someone close to them, and they will all have to grow up remarkably fast and under a lot of pressure.
I loved the emphasis on the arts! Cassia has been in love with poetry since her grandfather gave her that first illegal poem. She teaches people to write by hand and brings strangers together by encouraging a love for art. Everything about the gallery was beautiful. I loved Cassia’s own poem that she writes to give to a stranger to sing to her child. I love how there is such a large amount of people who refused, over the years, to have culture sucked out of them. There are so many things that the public had given up for the safety of the Society, but their passion was something that had been hidden for years, and Cassia was able to pull out!
I loved that the romance was understated. Yes, the triangle was prevalent throughout the entire book. However, it always took a back seat to all else. I loved getting in Xander’s head! The name Xander (thanks to Joss Whedon) will always have a special place in my heart. But really, this is such a complex, intelligent individual! He was in on so much from the beginning. And he is probably the bravest one in the whole book!
I actually rather enjoyed the final ending. I think things wrapped up just enough. The rush for time at the end kept me going way into the middle of the night. I also enjoyed reading about all the new characters in the outer provinces. I thought all that happened with the Rising was believable. I loved how the Pilot existed as one person, yet also existed as many people. Each character had their own Pilot to look up to. Oh, the archivist’s secret layer was beyond cool! I want to go there so bad! All of the explanations given for the pills and Cassia’s lack of a certain memory were adequately explained, and I’m so glad I’m not holding on to certain unresolved questions.
The only thing that kind of irritated me was the plague. I kind of kept expecting the mutated virus to turn everyone into zombies…The book got very medical. I loved following Xander’s character, but so much of his story involved injecting medicine and discovering medicinal anomalies. And while I love a good zombie story or a good dystopia story that’s based off of a virus, this is not what I was expecting or wanting at all from this book. This series has dealt with a lot of politics, a lot of art, and a lot of control issues with a terrifying society. I just feel like Condie could have come up with something different that would have had more of a connection to the rest of the series.
The plague was mentioned before in regards to warfare, but still. It seriously took center stage in this last book, and it just kind of felt out of place. There was really no other way for the Rising to do what it did? It just didn’t fit for me. Still, the characters really grew up fast because of the plague. And it did allow them a lot of individual time to come to themselves on their own, so I see how it worked in some respects. It just made the novel more of a sci-fi book for me, whereas the books earlier in the series felt more like dystopia/romance. And I love sci-fi, I really do. It’s just weird for a series to do such a genre switch 2/3 of the way in…
Regardless, I loved this book. I loved the writing. I loved the characters. I loved the ending. I was both dying to find out how everything would resolve and reluctant to keep reading because I didn’t want the series to be over. Condie has accomplished a beautiful dystopia trilogy that I have and will continue to recommend to a lot of people. The ending gets a 9/10 from me.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Good Week in Books (31)


I had another great book week! I think I just had a great week in general! For starters, my volunteer library had a teen movie night, where the movie was The Hunger Games, and it was so much fun! I went to go see a Harry Potter play last night: Potted Potter. This was a play done by two comedians/writers/actors and they performed all seven books in 70 minutes! It was a little over-the-top and most definitely made for a younger audience, but actually very funny. And today I’m going to see Breaking Dawn Part 2! What a great week to love YA books!
But, on to the books! I found 3 very inexpensive finds at one of my favorite used bookstores. It’s hard to believe I didn’t already own a hard cover copy of Matched by Ally Condie. I guess I only had a digital copy of it. But, I needed to get a hard copy version to go with all the other pretties in the series I own!  And of course, I went and purchased the new Ally Condie book the day it came out (and am now reading it).
Purchased books:
 
Reached
by Ally Condie (It is so good!)
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (It’s about time I read/owned these books)
Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen (I have a guilty addiction to all the books she writes…Alos, this was like two dollars!)
Matched by Ally Condie (I need a hard cover version to go with all the others I own in the series)

Not too long ago, I also received a belated birthday present in the mail. And technically, it’s not a book; it’s a journal. But, it is so beyond pretty that I decided I had to share it here. I think I might have named it Nori Riddle’s Diary. Thank you Chris and Emma, two of my favorite people in the world!

Then, I also received a nice sized haul from NetGalley. The interface of the website had changed, and it may have taken me an embarrassingly long period of time to realize that I received several books I had requested a long time ago. Thankfully, I could still send them to my Kindle… Special thanks to: BenBella Books, St. Martin’s Press, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, Penguin Young Readers, and Angry Robot.

 
A New Dawn
edited by Ellen Hopkins (published in 2009) –Yay for YA Twilight discussion!
Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt (1/15/13)
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (2/26/13)
Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black (2/13/13)
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson (2/26/13) !!!!!
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke (2/7/13)
How was your week in books?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

UnWholly by Neal Shusterman



Wow. I literally just finished this one seconds ago. And I’m still in a post-awesome-book-recovery-phase. Seriously, sometimes really good books just leave me in a completely different state of mind. I have a million books waiting to be read right now (including two sequels I’ve been dying for that just came out), but I am still lost in this scary, scary world that Shusterman has created.
I read Unwind over a year ago and remember feeling the same way after completing it. The premise for book one is that the US had gone through a second civil war where those who were pro-life battled it out against those who were pro-choice. And after years of battle, a compromise was agreed upon. No pregnant woman would ever be allowed to have an abortion; however, if the child were to grow up to be an unworthy teenager, he/she could be unwound. Unwinding involves surgically removing all of a child’s organs (while they are still breathing!) and donating all their parts to people who “need” them.
In the world of Unwind, no one wears glasses any more and no one looses their hair. No one gets into car accidents with life damaging consequences. Spinal chords, eyes, hair, hearts, skin, kidneys, limbs, and everything else can be replaced by unwinds. The first book centers around Connor (a teenage boy too rebellious for his parents to want to keep), Risa (a ward of the state), and Lev (a Tithe, someone who is brought up specifically to be unwound). And the first book ends with an explosion at an unwinding camp, and all three characters escaping with their lives.
This book begins not long after the first finished. Connor is now the head of the Graveyard, a safe zone for AWOL’s (kids escaping unwinding).  He also now has the arm of a kid he hated, and lives every day thinking about how he has someone’s limb. And there’s Risa, a girl who had the luxury to decide not to get any parts from an unwind. Though, this means she’s in a wheel chair and seems to be more of a hindrance to her fellow whollies than a help. And Lev first gets taken into police custody for being a clapper (who didn’t clap), and then gets sentenced to community service.
There’s Unwind, Tithe, and Stork rescue missions. There’s a lot of kidnapping. There’s a lot more politics, if that’s even possible. And the points of view go way beyond these three characters. We also get to read in the point of view of a juvey cop turned parts dealer (aka: offal human being). We are introduced to Starkey, a kid who thinks he deserves to lead more than anyone else, and makes it his mission to both find a way to take over Connor’s job and to make all Stork’s first in society. Storks are babies that are abandoned on doorsteps. Since abortion is outlawed, if a woman doesn’t want a child she can legally decide to leave it on a better person’s doorstep. Most storks end up unwound, and until they are unwound, tend to be bullied and persecuted for being not wanted.
With Starkey planning a coup, a pissed off ex-juvey cop on a revenge mission, and more and more people finding out about the graveyard, Connor has to do all that he can to protect as many kids as possible in a short period of time. Also, unwinding science is advancing in frightening ways. There’s an organization that sees and treats Lev as a god… There’s clappers pissed off at Lev that intend to find him and explode him. There’s tons of injuries at the Graveyard, and when Risa (as head medic) goes with one kid to the hospital and realizes that all kids who end up at the hospital get found out and sent for unwinding, embarks on her own, twisted, dangerous journey.
Between the science, the politics, the action, the explosions, and the twists, there is an overwhelming notion of morality. And as the book goes on, we are finally clued in to how a society can rightly end up in a place where unwinding became the ultimate compromise. History is learned! The book is also layered with advertisements, propaganda, commercials, and other networking techniques that added to the terror. So many kids end up dead in this one. There’s an epic battle at the end that involves a major plane crash. And seriously, I was on the edge of my seat till the very last page.
The book had a very slow start. I took me a couple of days to get through the slow beginning, but it was so worth it. Whatever you do, do not give up during the slow beginning because about 1/3 of the way through, it picks up like a serious suspenseful action thriller movie. I found myself laughing at parts and crying at parts. Seriously, reading a parent’s reasons for deciding to unwind their child was so harsh and awful.
The advancements in technology in regards to the character, Cam, were pure terror for me. Seriously, this book will have you laughing one moment, crying another, and then turning all the lights on in your home out of fright the next. I think what this book, and the first one did so well was put together a realistic world that does not sound too far-fetched. It has you believing the worst in people, and seeing how far one idea can go in the wrong direction. It’s a world where kids everywhere are singled out (for their body parts), even kids who aren’t signed up for unwinding. It is not a safe place for teens.
The ending was intense (though not quite as intense as the first one). I had high expectations because of how blown away I was by book 1, and I was not disappointed in the least. I don’t know how I will be able to wait for the last book in the trilogy. Hopefully, it won’t take Shusterman another set of years for the final installment to be finished. Shusterman gets an A+ for world building, for character development, suspense writing, political understanding, and just plain uniqueness. These books are amazing. I’d recommend them to anyone, even to people who don’t read YA.  10/10 from me! Seriously, what are you waiting for? Read it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (20)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week, I am waiting on Towering by Alex Flinn (5/14/13):

Description on GoodReads:
At first, I merely saw his face, his hands on the window ledge. Then, his whole body as he swung himself through the window. Only I could not see what he swung on.
Until, one day, I told my dream self to look down. And it was then that I saw. He had climbed on a rope. I knew without asking that the rope had been one of my own tying.

Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her.

Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.

Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Alex Flinn knows her fairy tales, and Towering is her most mind-bending interpretation yet. Dark and mysterious, this reimagining of Rapunzel will have readers on the edge of their seats wondering where Alex will take them next!
I am a big fan of Alex Flinn. There is still one or two books I need to read by this author, but I will read them. Everything this author writes is genius! Seriously, I loved Beastly and Cloaked. Flinn retells things in such a modern, unique way. The characters are always so believable. And I absolutely love the story of Rapunzel. I am beyond excited to see what Flinn writes next. And I have no doubt that this fairy tale, which is already so dark and messed up to begin with (I mean the poor girl is imprisoned her whole life), will be yet another un-put-down-able retelling by Flinn. Also, can the cover be any prettier?
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock



I absolutely love this cover. It’s about werewolves and it has a great blurb by Kimberly Derting on the front cover too. Needless to say this is another book, I hopped on as soon as it came out and am only now getting to. However, it is a special book for me because it marks the 100th book I have read this year! I completed my GoodReads reading challenge in the beginning of November! My 2013 challenge will have to be harder…And what a fantastic book to be my 100th!
The book is about Mac (short for Mackenzie). She lives with her somewhat older cousin, who acts as her guardian. She’s had a bit of a troubled childhood with a father who abandoned her at a funeral…She works at a restaurant and has some great friends. The book begins shortly after her best friend is murdered by a werewolf. One of my favorite things about this book is that werewolves and Lupine syndrome are actually known to the public (True Blood style). Everyone knows werewolves exist and everyone is afraid of attacks.
This book is like a good mixture of Vampire Diaries, True Blood, and Veronica Mars (with no vampires). But, unlike other books I’ve read recently, it mixes all of the good things about these shows and turns it into something good, familiar, but also unique.  Any way, Mac blames herself a little bit for the death of her friend even though it no way is her fault. And while missing her awful sounding family (minus her super cool cousin), and missing her best friend, she is also trying her hardest to take care of her best friend’s boyfriend who also is blaming himself.
There is most definitely a love triangle (even though it takes the whole book for Mac to realize this). There is a lot of chemistry between Mac and Jason (her dead best friend’s boyfriend). However, Jason is slowly becoming the world’s biggest jerk, one bottle of booze at a time. And then there’s Mac’s other best friend, Kyle, who’s the classic boy best friend who is also clearly in love with her (even though he keeps dating other girls too).
Mac is constantly getting lip from her cousin and her one other girlfriend about how she belongs with Kyle, but she legitimately doesn’t seem to have boys on her mind! Yes! She is too focused on her dead best friend and trying to get everyone around her to be happy. The story really kicks off when the Trackers come to town. Mac has already had bad experiences with them abusing power. The trackers are this hybrid group of religious extremists/hate crime activists. Seriously, a whole bunch of different awful groups of human beings came together with a mutual love of tracking down werewolves. And in towns like Hemlock, they tend to be given complete control of the law by the police.
This results in a plethora of hate crimes, abuse of power, accidental murders, caging of innocent people who are sent off to camps (where people with Lupine Syndrome are all sent), and a general obstruction of equal, civil, and human rights. Werewolves aren’t technically considered human so they don’t have any rights at all. And the police and general public are almost too willing to accept the trackers because they are more afraid of werewolves than they are of loosing their rights. This is particularly true in Hemlock, where there have been a succession of werewolf murders (including Mac’s best friend whose the daughter of a senator).
There’s a murder mystery, protests, youth recruitment meetings, plenty of attacks on innocent people, twists, love triangles, and so much politics! It gets to the point where the trackers burn down family homes, beat up werewolf supporters in the streets, threaten the lives of kids who don’t keep their mouths shut. The trackers are seriously scary! They give this urban fantasy an almost dystopia feel, reminding me of all the books that take place in futuristic military societies like Legend. Except, here the trackers don’t have complete control (yet).
The twists in the book actually surprised me. There were a couple that everyone can guess right from the beginning, but than there are some more that I don’t know how anyone could have guessed. When stuff gets mixed up with senators and political organizations and protests, I literally was on the edge of my seat. There’s riots, werewolf attacks in the school, lots of violence, and lots of dystopia type fear.
I loved Mac! She has a lot of problems, but the way she handles them is just so strong and believable. I loved that she didn’t always have boys on the mind (at least not till the end)! She also is small and protected by a lot of people, but refuses to be held back by any boys! And I love that the romance in this book always sort of took a back seat to all the supernatural stuff and suspense.
Oh, and the boys! Even though Jason was on his way to becoming a Tracker and always seemed to say the wrong thing, I think I’m on team Jason. He really wanted revenge for his girlfriend’s murder, and I kept waiting forever for him to get his act together. But there was just so much chemistry. And he gives up his crazy vendetta for Mac. He gives up all of his bad things for her, actually. And even when it seems she’s picked someone else, he stands by her. I have a feeling I know which boy she will be with, but I’m hoping for this one!
This is one fast paced, suspenseful werewolf story. I loved that the werewolves didn’t have to hide and pretend like they didn’t exist. The public knew about them! Though, they did still have to hide in fear of being sent to a camp, that kind of sounds like World War II now that I think about it. I loved the characters! I loved Mac’s relationship with her cousin. I even loved this love triangle in a way I haven’t loved triangles in a while. And I can’t wait for the suspense to continue in book 2. This gets a 10/10 from me.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop


Thank you, I Am a Reader, Not a Writer for hosting another amazing giveaway hop! To see the rest of the blogs participating and to get more chances to win free books, scroll down to the bottom to see the blog list, or click on the adorable picture above.
I’ve been getting a lot of second copies of books I already own (post-birthday), and I have a lot of excellent (never even opened) books to giveaway. Most of them are sequels, so I’m going to list what number in the series they are when I list them below. This has just been amazing year for sequels!
Any way, this giveaway is just open to my US followers because I am shipping the books myself (though if you are international but have a US address I can ship to, you can enter too). I will have another giveaway posted next month that is open to all my followers as well. Same rules apply. If you win, you will have 48 hours to respond to my email with your shipping address and books of choice, and if you don’t respond in time, I will have to randomly select a different winner.
More good news: I will have two winners! Each winner can select two of the books listed below. First winner will have first pick. And the second winner can choose books from all the books leftover. I will most likely save the rest of the books for a future giveaway.

And here are your choices:

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh (book 1)
Whispers at Moonrise by C.C. Hunter (book 4)
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (book 2 –but can also stand alone)
Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien (book 2)           
Promised by Caragh M. O'Brien (book 3)
Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier (book 2)
Outpost by Ann Aguirre (book 2)
Handbook for Hot Witches by Dame Darcy (stand alone)

Thank you for stopping by, and good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Good Week in Books (30)


I had another good book week. I received 3 more books in the mail. Thank you Macmillan. I purchased two eBooks (there was a great deal and then one is a book club pick). And I purchased two new books at Barnes and Noble!

So Close to You by Rachel Cater (eBook is only 2.99 right now!)
Medusa, A Love Story (The Loves of Olympus) by Sasha Summers (book club book/first adult book I’ll be reading in a long time…)

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (!!!)
Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle (Um, 3 great YA authors coming together in one novel, yes please! Why does this one have little to no hype?)
White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick (This one looks rather terrifying…so excited for it!)
Safekeeping by Karen Hesse (I haven’t read anything by this author since I was a kid, but I used to love her; and now she has a dystopia. Score.)
The Wrinkle in Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle (So, for those of you who haven’t read my “About Me” section,  A Wrinkle in Time is one of the two books that got me into reading…And this gorgeous, gigantic quintet book is beyond beautiful; it has a special place in my heart)

I took another picture of it because you can’t really see it in the first picture…

The Wrinkle in Time Quintet
by Madeleine L’Engle

How was your week in books?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone


So, I guess I’ve been in a time traveling phase…Love the idea of YA time travel books. Seriously. It’s like I finished Sapphire Blue, and was like I will take time travel in any form now because that was so good! Also, there’s something so nice about this simple cover. Or at least there was until I realized the major character trait about the main character’s physical appearance is her extremely thick, curly hair…Model on the cover has fake curly hair. Seriously, it looks like someone with straight hair tried to curl it and then failed. And the only reason I mention this at all is because the curly hair is mentioned at least one million times in this book! And I could seriously relate to this character because I so know about thick, curly hair, but oh well…
Any way, this book is about Anna, a girl growing up in 1995. And clearly this author had a lot of fun talking about 1995. Between the bands, the cd’s, the clothing, etc you definitely felt the 90’s nostalgia (like Jay Asher’s and Carolyn Mackler’s The Future of Us). And more than that, it’s about Anna falling in love Bennet. Like as tends to happen in most YA romance, Bennet clearly likes Anna but pushes her away because he knows he’s no good for her.
Does this stop Anna? Absolutely not. The more she gets to know Bennet and the more she learns of his unique abilities and past mistakes, the more she can’t stop thinking about him. Bennet is unique because he has the ability to time travel. In fact, Bennet comes to Anna in Evanston, IL from San Francisco in 2011. Anna knows this to be fact because she witnesses him disappearing and reappearing and oh yeah, saving her life. She works at her father’s bookstore, and one night she is robbed. The thief holds a knife to her throat, and well Bennet has to think fast.
Bennet can also travel to anywhere in the world just by thinking about it (thought it usually follows with a migraine). And he can bring people with him. He doesn’t know the full extent of his powers, but he has a lot of rules that he has made for himself. These rules came into play after a colossal mistake he made involving loosing his sister in time…and he’s very careful not to break his rules, at least until Anna asks him to. The whole reason he’s in 1995 is to find his sister that he lost at rock concert they went back in time to see. And he never seems to miss his parents much. His mom want to fix him and his dad wants to use him (and does) to become wealthier.
Between all the building romance, is all of Anna’s normal life. She dreams of traveling the world because all she really knows is her small town and a few other places in the Midwest. And she runs. There’s a lot of track meets and a lot of running at the crack of dawn. She has some great friends and a guy best friend who’s in love with her, but whose feelings she does not return.
There’s amazing teachers, crazy homework assignments, robberies, time travel, traveling to different countries, music, rock climbing, first dates, lots of running, and a lot of growing up. It’s clear early on (due to another pre-story spoiler in the book) that Bennet won’t be able to stay in 1995 forever, even though he may come to want to. And then of course the couple will not only be living on separate sides of the country, but they will be many years apart in age. Anna knows this and Bennet knows this, yet they can’t seem to stay away from each other.
And when time is running out, both characters have a lot of decisions to make. Anna particularly has to decide some very important things. Does she wait for him, or does she live her life to the fullest/best she can in the mean time?
This wasn’t my favorite book. For starters, I hated that we saw adult Anna in the beginning giving a letter to young Bennet. It kind of spoiled any possible surprises from ever happening. Also, the Evanston Anna lives in, is not the Evanston I know and have lived in. It’s more like the fake Evanston from the movie Mean Girls. Seriously, Evanston is not all about Northwestern. There is more than one El stop in Evanston. And there some legitimate private schools, so why did the author need to make one up?
Also, I never really liked Bennet all that much. He kept lying and protecting Anna, a girl who does not need all that protection. Also, their love just always seemed more to do with fate then it did about actually falling in love. They clearly connected over a mutual sense of adventure, but it just wasn’t cutting it for me. It seemed too instant, to unreal. You never seriously get to know the mysterious Bennet. I did really like Anna’s character. She did seem real with all of her flaws and tendencies to get angry and stop talking to people for periods of time. I loved her relationships with her friends, and how she would risk anything (even the good opinion of Bennet) to help them.
I really connected to her curly hair and her location. I grew up in Evanston with the same hair! Yes. And I really loved how strong, independent, and hard she worked to keep her life on track despite the lack of someone. But, I just never really understood the instant love. I never got to know Bennet. And I was never surprised by any happenings of this book. Nothing really made it stand out against the other more unique teen time travel books I have read. I still really enjoyed reading it and I read it in about a day. It was sort of like a nice romantic comedy, something you know the ending to, but just want to watch to better your mood. I give it a 7/10.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier


I absolutely adored Ruby Red! As soon as I finished it, I knew I had to get my hands on this sequel. It was my Waiting on Wednesday post not too long ago. It kind of reminds me of a better YA version of The Time Traveler’s Wife. So, I was beyond happy to get this one in my mail not too long ago!
As YA sequels tend to do, it takes place immediately following book 1. It begins with Gwen and Gideon leaving the church (they were making out in), and returning back to headquarters after their most recent time traveling mission. Unknown to Gideon, Gwen is followed back by a new friend/gargoyle who only she can see. And at first Gwen is annoyed to have yet another friend only she can see and that everyone else uses as an excuse to view her as crazy or just plain not fit for travel. But later, Gwen’s best friend points out, a gargoyle can come in handy for secret spy missions.
Also, Gwen probably wouldn’t have survived all her training without her new friend. Her new training involves learning classical dances, while memorizing historical figures and being insulted by instructors who prefer mean cousin, Charlotte to na├»ve Gwen. In other words, Gwen has a lot to learn and a short period of time to do so. She is invited to go back to a certain character from the first book. And well, this involves learning the etiquette and behaviors of a lady at a soiree and a ball. And what can be better than having an invisible gargoyle friend remind you the answers to the hard historical questions being thrown at you while simultaneously learning about fans and minuets?
Between all the learning, training, and dancing, Gwen has a few hot stolen moments with Gideon. And while Gideon has proven to be a fantastic kisser, he is still very much Gideon. He doesn’t tell Gwen how he feels about her. And he goes from making out with her one moment to hating her, the next. Gwen of course then realizes this is because during one time traveling period, Gwen has Gideon wacked on the head to the point of unconsciousness! Except, Gwen hasn’t done this yet; it’s something she will end up having to do in the future. There’s also the complication of the mean cousin, Charlotte, who is also in love with Gideon and never afraid to show off all the things she can do and Gwen can’t.
A little more is figured out about the secret Gwen’s cousins know, the couple who stole an important time travel device. There’s no sword fighting in this one; however, there is all kinds of mental, political, and intellectual fighting. Gwen manages to escape a couple of times to have secret meetings with her grandfather (back in time). There’s more clues discovered about the gemstone prophecy. There’s dances, soirees, secret codes, forbidden passages, costumes, ghosts, and gargoyles! And then there is also a little bit of normal high school drama as well.  Gideon’s brother starts school with Gwen!
This one ends with another cliffhanger that involves Gideon. And stuff does not end well for Gwen, though there is a lot of hope! While what makes these books so much fun is the amazing time traveling story, what makes these books so good are the characters. Gier writes about embarrassing situations like a YA contemporary pro. Gwen is a real, musical loving, pop-culture referencing teen and her time traveling gene is just something that can be added to her character; it doesn’t define who she is.
I also love how real Gideon is. He is by no means perfect like a lot of other YA love interests.  He openly flirts with both Gwen and her cousin. And he refuses to talk to Gwen about his relationship with Charlotte. He also defends Charlotte all the time. Yet, he clearly cares very deeply for Gwen.
The best friend is amazingly brilliant! Having her and the gargoyle really seem to keep Gwen sane. The rest of the time traveling order still doesn’t trust her and it is so frustrating to read about how anyone can doubt the honesty and compassion of Gwen or her best friend. I still love Gwen’s eccentric family, though they weren’t in this one enough. There was another clairvoyant moment with Gwen’s aunt, but I liked it better in the first one.
I loved all the little bits of humor and sarcasm shared between Gwen and Gideon.  If there is anything they have in common, it is their sarcasm! All of the bits about the musical, Cats, and the green sofa were just so hilarious! You’ll have to read this to know what I am talking about. Also, the cover is so shiny, I can’t stop staring it. Shininess plus gorgeous dress = recipe for wonderful YA cover.
The only thing I can see people not liking here is the lack of action. Not a lot of things happened. Gwen only has two serious goes back in time, and the ball hasn’t even happened yet. This book was more about figuring clues out and interpreting certain characters in history. It involved more thinking and less sword fighting. This didn’t really bother me though. I had such a fun time reading it. Really, this is just such an entertaining time traveling series that involves amazing characters. I give it a 9/10.