Friday, August 31, 2012

The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

The Lost Girl
By: Sangu Mandanna
Released: August 28, 2012
Source: Borrowed ARC from Amy: Book Loving Mom
Purchase the Book: Amazon

"Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination—an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other”, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready. But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this. Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known—the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love—to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive. What Eva finds is a grief-stricken family; parents unsure how to handle this echo they thought they wanted; and Ray, who knew every detail, every contour of Amarra. And when Eva is unexpectedly dealt a fatal blow that will change her existence forever, she is forced to choose: Stay and live out her years as a copy or leave and risk it all for the freedom to be an original. To be Eva. From debut novelist Sangu Mandanna comes the dazzling story of a girl who was always told what she had to be—until she found the strength to decide for herself." (Summary from goodreads.com)

I really enjoyed The Lost Girl and I found it hard to put this book down. The concept of the echos created by the Weavers is so interesting and different from anything else I have read before.

Eva is an echo created by the Weavers and she is a replacement for Amarra. If Amarra dies, Eva is supposed to take her place. Eva has grown up learning everything about Amarra and copying everything that she does. However she wants her own life and not be forced to live out someone elses. I found Eva to be an interesting and complex character. I immediately liked her after just the first few pages. I felt bad for her because she is living her life for another person and their family. She isn't given much of an opportunity to discover who she wants to be but she still manages to become her own person. She isn't weak and that's what I really liked about her. There were also several great secondary characters that I really enjoyed getting to know such as Sean, Erik, Mina Ma, Alisa, Ray, and Sasha.

The plot was paced really well and I had originally wanted to take my time reading this book but I couldn't stop turning the pages. Mandanna takes her time telling the story and letting the characters develop strongly but I never found myself getting bored or losing interest. I loved that the whole concept of the Weavers and the Echo is clearly explained in the beginning. Not everything is explained right away but there was enough so I didn't feel confused. 

I honestly didn't expect several of the twists that occurred throughout the book. Mandanna makes an excellent debut and her writing is beautiful. I loved how Frankenstein played a part in this story too because it's one of my favorite books. Overall I really liked The Lost Girl and highly recommend it because you won't be able to tear yourself away from this fascinating story.

My Rating:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Undead by Kirsty McKay

Undead
By: Kirsty McKay
Released: September 1, 2012
Source: ARC from BEA
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review 

"Out of sight, out of their minds: It's a school-trip splatter fest and completely not cool when the other kids in her class go all braindead on new girl Bobby. The day of the ski trip, when the bus comes to a stop at a roadside restaurant, everyone gets off and heads in for lunch. Everyone, that is, except Bobby, the new girl, who stays behind with rebel-without-a-clue Smitty. Then hours pass. Snow piles up. Sun goes down. Bobby and Smitty start to flirt. Start to stress. Till finally they see the other kids stumbling back.  But they've changed. And not in a good way. Straight up, they're zombies. So the wheels on the bus better go round and round freakin' fast, because that's the only thing keeping Bobby and Smitty from becoming their classmates' next meal. It's kill or be killed in these hunger games, heads are gonna roll, and homework is most definitely gonna be late." (Summary from goodreads.com)

I really enjoyed Undead and didn't want this book to end. It was creepy, gory, and exciting. Which are all the things I like to find in a zombie story. I love zombie books so I was really excited for this book when I first heard about it. 

Bobby is on a school trip when at a rest stop her fellow class mates turn into zombies. She is the new girl and there isn't much know about her past in the beginning. I admit I had a really hard time connecting to any of these characters for a good portion of the book. It wasn't until the last half of the book when I began to really cheer on Bobby. It took a while for her character to develop. Bobby and Smitty were really interesting and I liked them enough to keep reading. However it just took me a good amount of time to actually really start to care about them.  

The plot was exciting and I loved that it began immediately in the first chapter. I liked that the plot was paced fast too because it helped hold my interest. I didn't necessarily feel like the plot itself was rushed but the characters could have used more time to develop.

This was definitely a creepy story and there were several twists that I didn't see coming. There is especially something scary about being trapped on a bus during a snow storm while zombies are outside. I liked that it was explained how the zombies turned because that is always something I want to know when I read a zombie book. I loved the last few chapters of this book the most though. Those chapters definitely had me on the edge of my seat and I can't wait to read book two. I'm really looking forward to where McKay will take the story next. Overall I really liked Undead and recommend it to anyone looking for an exciting and quick read.  


My Rating:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Makeover

 
As I approach the two year anniversary for my blog I figured it was about time that it got a makeover.
 
Thank you so much to Peaches & Cream Designs for the new blog design. I really recommend checking out her site because she does some amazing designs and is really great to work it.
 
Anyway I love my new design and I hope you all do too! :)

Waiting on Wednesday #64: Breaking Point


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Breaking Point (Article 5 #2)
By: Kristen Simmons
Release Date: February 5, 2013

"After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed. Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion…. Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself. Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways. With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back?" ( Summary from goodreads.com)

I'm so excited for Breaking Point because I loved Article 5! I can't wait to read what will happen next and where Simmons is going to take these characters.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

The Dark Unwinding
By: Sharon Cameron
Released: September 1, 2012
Source: ARC from BEA
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review 

"A spine-tingling tale of steampunk and spies, intrigue and heart-racing romance! When Katharine Tulman's inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London. Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity. As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle's world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it. With twists and turns at every corner, this heart-racing adventure will captivate readers with its intrigue, thrills, and romance" (Summary from goodreads.com)

I really enjoyed The Dark Unwinding and didn't want to put this book down for long. I just loved how the story unraveled and how the characters were developed. I especially loved the setting the most though. 

Katherine is sent to bring her uncle to an insane asylum but soon discovers that he isn't crazy. Katherine definitely has a difficult decision to make regarding her uncle. I actually didn't immediately like Katherine but a few chapters later I definitely began to like her a lot more. I especially liked how her character is developed though. She is strong and has always followed some strict rules. I think that it was because of how strictly she followed rules that it took me some time to like her. There were also some other great and strongly developed characters in this book too. I particularly loved Uncle Tully and Lane. I even wished Lane was involved in the story even more.

The plot was really interesting and creepy. I liked that it immediately jumped right into the story. I did feel that some parts of the plot were slower than other parts though but it wasn't so slow that it made me want to put the book down. I really loved solving the mystery too. There were definitely some twists that I hadn't been expecting. Some parts were predictable but I was happy that some moments could still take me by surprise. There were even some aspects of steampunk incorporated into the plot too. 

The setting was my favorite aspect of this book. Uncle Tully's estate definitely provided the story with a creepy backdrop from the very beginning. When I first read the summary I knew I would fall in love with the setting since I love books in the Victorian era. Overall Cameron makes an excellent debut. I recommend The Dark Unwinding, it was a creepy and captivating story.


My Rating:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready

Shift (Shade #2)
By: Jeri Smith-Ready
Released: May 3, 2011
Source: Purchased E-Book
Purchase the Book: Amazon

"In the second book of the Shade trilogy from Jeri Smith-Ready, Aura is torn between the two boys who hold her heart—and determined to unravel the secrets of the Shift. Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to. Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one at her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift. She’s not the only one seeking answers, though, and danger grows as she discovers new truths. Who can Aura trust with her secrets? And to whom will she give her heart?" (Summary from goodreads.com)

Shift makes an excellent sequel to Shade. I loved this book and read it in one sitting. The story picks up immediately after where Shade left off. Aura is not only torn between Zachary and Logan but she is also learning more about the Shift. I liked that Aura was developed much more strongly in Shift. She is growing up but still dealing with a lot.

Normally I'm not a big fan of love triangles in books. However, I love how it works in this series. I love both Logan and Zachery and I can understand why Aura is torn between the two of them. I was thrilled to see more Zachery in Shift though because I got to learn more about him. I also loved seeing more of Logan's family this time.

I think I enjoyed the plot in this book more than Shade because I thought it was even more exciting. I felt that the plot was paced much faster and there were quite a few unexpected twists. I also loved how it developed more strongly and where Jeri Smith-Ready took this story next. I love the concept of the Shift and I really enjoyed learning even more about it. 

This book definitely made me cry again though like Shade did. Some moments broke my heart but there were some fun and lighter moments still too. I also loved the music in Shade so I was happy to see more music in Shift. Overall Shift is a strong and exciting follow up to Shade.

My Rating:

Cover Reveal: Naturals by Tiffany Truitt

 
 
Naturals (The Lost Souls #2)
By: Tiffany Truitt
Pre-order: Amazon
Goodreads: Naturals
 
"Tess is finally safe from the reach of the Council, now that she is living in the Middlelands with the rebel Isolationists. With James having returned to Templeton, she easily falls back into her friendship with Henry, though her newfound knowledge of Robert’s chosen one status still stings. Even surrounded by people, Tess has never felt more alone. So she’s thrilled when James returns to the settlement, demanding to see Tess — until she finds out that it’s because her sister, Louisa, has been recruited into Tess’s old position at Templeton, and that the dangerously sadistic chosen one George has taken an interest in her. NATURALS is the second book in The Lost Souls trilogy, and follows the dystopian hit CHOSEN ONES."
 
 
About Tiffany Truitt:
 
Tiffany Truitt was born in Peoria, Illinois. A self-proclaimed Navy brat, Tiffany spent most of her childhood living in Virginia, but don’t call her a Southerner. She also spent a few years living in Cuba. Since her time on the island of  one McDonald's and Banana Rats (don't ask) she has been obsessed with traveling. Tiffany recently added China to her list of travels (hello inspiration for a new book).
Besides traveling, Tiffany has always been an avid reader. The earliest books she remembers reading belong to The Little House on the Prairie Series. First book she read in one day? Little Woman(5th grade). First author she fell in love with? Jane Austen in middle school. Tiffany spent most of her high school and college career as a literary snob. She refused to read anything considered “low brow” or outside the “classics.”
 
Tiffany began teaching middle school in 2006. Her students introduced her to the wide, wonderful world of Young Adult literature. Today, Tiffany embraces popular Young Adult literature and uses it in her classroom. She currently teaches the following novels: The Outsiders, Speak, Night, Dystopian Literature Circles: The Hunger Games, The Giver, The Uglies, and Matched.
 
 
 
 
I'm so excited for Naturals because I loved Chosen Ones. I can't wait to see where the story will go next and I love the cover!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Weekly Recap

Weekly Recap August 19 - August 25:
 

Books I Reviewed This Week:
 
 

Books I Purchased:
 
 
Also got these great Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker bookmarks this week. Thank you Miranda Kenneally!
 
So how did your week go?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Team Human
By: Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan
Released: July 3, 2012
Source: ARC from Anna @ Literary Exploration
Purchase the Book: Amazon

"Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn't mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It's up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching. Acclaimed authors Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan team up to create a witty and poignant story of cool vampires, warm friendships, and the changes that test the bonds of love." (Summary from goodreads.com)

I have been looking forward to Team Human for months because this book sounds hilarious and it was exactly what I expected. I admit I love vampire books and read a lot of them but I always enjoy a good parody. It was refreshing to read a story with vampires and not have the protagonist madly in love with one.

Mel isn't crazy about vampires and is less than thrilled when one starts going to school with her. She hates it even more when her best friend Cathy starts dating the vampire Francis. Mel cares a great deal about her friends and at times maybe a bit too much. She will do anything to keep them safe even if that means trying to keep Cathy away from Francis. I found Mel to be hilarious even if she could be obnoxious at times. I didn't care much for her friend Cathy and honestly at times I wanted to take her by the shoulders and shake some common sense into her with the help of Mel of course. I didn't care much for Francis either. He has been a vampire for decades but he is beginning high school again and hiding a secret. My favorite character in this book is definitely Kit. Kit was hilarious and I wish he was in this story even more. I loved learning about his interesting upbringing too.

The plot started off a bit slow but by the middle of this book it picked up a lot more. It was still a quick read for me though. I liked that I could read a few chapters and go read something else but easily get right back into this book when I picked it up again. The setting was interesting and fun because vampires and humans are coexisting. However they live in separate neighborhoods and during the day vampires walk around in special suits to protect them from the sun. I also loved that besides the vampires there were some zombies in the book too. 

I really enjoyed the mystery that was also a part of this story. It was fun trying to solve it. I really liked the writing too and thought it flowed really well. Usually when I read a book written by more than one author I can tell which author wrote which part, but I didn't even pick up on that while reading. Overall I really enjoyed Team Human and parts of this book definitely made me laugh out loud. I recommend it to anyone looking for a hilarious and fun book.


My Rating:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Authors Are Rockstars Tour: Cara Lynn Shultz (Interview + Giveaway)


I'm so excited to have author Cara Lynn Shultz stop by on this stop of the Authors Are Rockstars tour hosted by Fiktshun and Two Chicks on Books.

Cara Lynn Shultz is the author of the Spellbound series and I'm a huge fan of Cara and this series! I just love these books and Cara's writing. The plot is exciting and easy to lose yourself in. Spellbound and Spellcaster definitely sent me on a roller coaster of emotions and I'm pretty attached to these characters. I have even reread both books several times now. One of the many reasons why I love Cara's writing is because I'm a person who loves a book even more if the setting is set up really well. While reading both books, I could easily picture myself walking down the streets of New York alongside the characters. Also I love that Cara posts a playlist to go along with both books. I'm a big music person and love a book even more if I can have a good soundtrack to go along with it.
 
 
Cara has kindly taken the time to answer a few questions:





1.) What inspired you to first write Spellbound?
   When I first graduated from college, I used to email stories to my friend Vanessa, who would print them out to read on the subway ride home. A few years ago, she was cleaning out her closet and found a stack of the print-outs tucked away in an old purse. She gave them to me—it had been years since I’d read these stories—and I was inspired to start writing again. Those little stories were the start of Brendan and Emma, only back then, Emma was named Claire, and they were both college students.

2.) How did you come up with the title for Spellbound and Spellcaster?
   Originally I wanted to name my book Enchanted, but Disney had released a movie with the same name. I went with Spellbound because Brendan and Emma are bound by a spell. Spellcaster just seemed a natural fit for the second title, since Emma comes into her powers more and it kept the whole “spell” theme going.

 
3.) I love the various places in NYC that Brendan and Emma find themselves in so is there one place in particular that has been your favorite setting in the series to write?
   Absolutely! Belvedere Castle is one of my favorite places in the entire city. When I was in high school, there wasn’t a fence around the rocks—you could walk right out to the edge of the cliff. At the end of my junior year, some friends and I picked up Chinese takeout and ate it right on the rocks at sunset. I remember thinking that it was such a cool moment, something I’d remember forever. I didn’t know at the time I’d use it as the basis for a key scene in my novel, though!
 
4.) Music plays an important part in this story so what would say would be Emma and Brendan's favorite song?
   It depends where in the story we’re placing the song, but I feel like All Time Low’s “Time Bomb” is a pretty good theme song for their relationship.


5.) What is your all-time top favorite book?
   This is a tough one. It depends what kind of mood I’m in. If I’m feeling introspective and hating phonies, Catcher in the Rye. If I want to reread the first book to ever make me cry big, fat tears that stained the pages, Trinity by Leon Uris. If I want to stay up all night terrified, World War Z. If I’m feeling sentimental and romantic, Pride and Prejudice.
 
6.) Can you share anything about what you are currently working on?
   Nothing’s been finalized yet so I’m hesitant to say anything too specific, sorry! I can say that it is YA, though.
Thanks for having me be a part of your tour!


Thank you Cara for taking the time to answer the questions. Also thank you Fiktshun and Two Chicks on Books for hosting this tour! I strongly recommend reading Spellbound and Spellcaster!

Giveaway
Harlequin Teen has generously donated one copy of either Spellbound or Spellcaster for the giveaway. One winner can choose either a copy of Spellbound (the first book in the series) or Spellcaster. This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only who are 13 or older. To enter just fill out the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Join the Army of Ten

Join the Army of Ten
 
Author Gretchen McNeil (Possess and Ten) is putting together a team to promote her newest book Ten. A major bookstore chain will not be carrying Ten so Gretchen needs your help to get the word out about Ten.
 
To learn more about this team watch the video below and then head on over to http://armyoften.blogspot.com to sign up. There will even be some awesome prizes for completing tasks.  
 
 

Waiting on Wednesday #63: The Lives We Lost


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

The Lives We Lost (Fallen World #2)
By: Megan Crewe
Release Date: February 12, 2013

"First, the virus took Kaelyn’s friends. Then, her family. Now it’s taken away her home. But she can't look back—the life she once had is gone forever. A deadly virus has destroyed Kaelyn’s small island community and spread beyond the quarantine. No one is safe. But when Kaelyn finds samples of a vaccine in her father's abandoned lab, she knows there must be someone, somewhere, who can replicate it. As Kaelyn and her friends head to the mainland, they encounter a world beyond recognition. It’s not only the “friendly flu” that’s a killer—there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the vaccine. How much will Kaelyn risk for an unproven cure, when the search could either destroy those she loves or save the human race? Megan Crewe's second volume in the Fallen World trilogy is an action-packed journey that explores the resilience of friendship, the ache of lost love, and Kaelyn’s enduring hope in the face of the sacrifices she must make to stay alive." (Summary from goodreads.com)

I really liked The Way We Fall and I'm excited to read the next part of this creepy story.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone
By: Leigh Bardugo
Released: June 5, 2012
Source: Purchased
Purchase the Book: Amazon

"Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee. Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart." (Summary from goodreads.com)

Shadow and Bone is such a different story and I loved it. Alina has always thought that she wasn't anything special. She grew up as an orphan along with her best friend Mal. However that all changes when she uses a power she didn't know she had to save her friend. After her power is revealed, she is taken away to the royal court where she will be trained. Alina made a great female protagonist. She is strong, smart, and tough but she is also flawed. She definitely has her heart in the right place and will try her best to protect the people she cares about. Alina was a likable character that I could easily connect with early on. At times some her decisions would make me angry but I like that she isn't perfect.

Mal is Alina's best friend from childhood. Alina and Mal care a great deal about each other and will do anything to protect one another. I love the relationship they share and I enjoyed learning about their childhood together. Mal was another character that it was easy for me to like early on. Then there is the Darkling who lives at the royal court. When Alina is sent there to train, she begins to get to know more about the Darkling. He was definitely a character I had some mixed emotions about.

I love the setting and world that Bardugo has built up in this story. She does an excellent job with explaining it all without it ever getting confusing or overwhelming. I loved the whole concept and I can honestly say that I have never read anything else like this before.

Not only is the world strongly developed but so is the plot. The plot is exciting and there is plenty of action. I also was taken by surprise by several of the plot twists. Overall Shadow and Bone is an exciting story that will take you on an adventure you won't soon forget. I strongly recommend it!

My Rating:



Monday, August 20, 2012

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

The Way We Fall
By: Megan Crewe
Released: January 24, 2012
Source: Borrowed from Monica @ Cover Analysis
Purchase the Book: Amazon

"It starts with an itch you just can’t shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you’ll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in. And then you’re dead. When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back. Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest. Because how will she go on if there isn’t?" (Summary from goodreads.com)

The first word that comes to mind when I think about The Way We Fall is terrifying. This book completely freaked me out because it was so realistic. A virus begins to kill Kaelyn's community and eventually the island is quarantined. 

Kaelyn wanted this year back on the island to be a fresh start for her. She was going to make some changes but then the virus hits. Kaelyn does change over the course of the book but just not in the way she had originally wanted. I like how her character is developed more and more as the story progresses. When the virus begins, her entire life is dramatically changing. She is forced to stay on the island and she must take the necessary precautions to prevent catching the disease.

There are quite a few interesting characters that are introduced throughout the story such as Leo, Gav, and Tessa. My favorites were definitely Gav and Tessa though because I especially liked learning more about them.

The plot and the writing style took some time for me to get used to in the beginning. I thought the plot began a bit slow and it took a couple of chapters for me to become completely immersed in the story. Once I did though, I couldn't stop reading. This is the type of book that will keep you awake at night. The virus really freaked me out and I became so invested in the characters.

The writing also took some time to get used to because each chapter is written as a letter. I admit at first I really wasn't crazy about it. However as I kept reading, I liked the style more and more. I now can't even imagine the book being written any other way. I will definitely be anxiously anticipating the sequel because I can't wait to see where this story will go next. I highly recommend The Way We Fall, it is an intense story.

My Rating:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Book Trailer: Inbetween


Inbetween
By: Tara A. Fuller
Released: August 28, 2012
Purchase the Book: Amazon

"Since the car crash that took her father’s life three years ago, Emma’s life has been a freaky — and unending — lesson in caution. Surviving “accidents” has taken priority over being a normal seventeen-year-old, so Emma spends her days taking pictures of life instead of living it. Falling in love with a boy was never part of the plan. Falling for a reaper who makes her chest ache and her head spin? Not an option. It’s not easy being dead, especially for a reaper in love with a girl fate has put on his list not once, but twice. Finn’s fellow reapers give him hell about spending time with Emma, but Finn couldn’t let her die before, and he’s not about to let her die now. He will protect the girl he loves from the evil he accidentally unleashed, even if it means sacrificing the only thing he has left…his soul." (Summary from goodreads.com)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

The Forsaken
By: Lisa M. Stasse
Released: July 10, 2012
Source: ARC from Author
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

"As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up. The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway." (Summary from goodreads.com)

I loved The Forsaken and finished this book in one sitting. I was instantly captivated by this story and just couldn't put it down. The world that Stasse builds is completely fascinating and disturbing.

Alenna is an orphan after her parents are taken away by the government while she was younger. After that she has done her best to blend in and follow the rules. That all changes though she takes the mandatory test and is determined to be a risk to the society as well as capable of violence. Alenna is sent to The Wheel where all the other teenagers who fail the test are sent. Alenna is a character that I immediately liked because she is believable. She isn't instantly a fearless and strong protagonist but once on the island she is open to learning how to survive. I really enjoyed how her character developed and changed over the course of this story.

The other teenagers that Alenna meets on the island were so interesting and it was so difficult to decide who can be trusted. The island is split into two groups of survivors and they are constantly fighting against each other. One of my favorite characters was definitely Gadya even though she could get a bit frustrating at times. She tries to help teach Alenna about the island and some basic survival tips. She is fierce though and an intense fighter. Then there is also Liam who has been on the island for quite some time but Alenna feels a connection to him. If there was anything for me to pick out about this book it would be that I liked Liam but I felt like I didn't get to know him well enough. Also I found the relationship that develops between him and Alenna to be rushed. However the relationship isn't what the main focus of the story is so it wasn't all that much of a problem for me.

My favorite part of The Forsaken is the world building. I loved the setting and it was really easy from the beginning to visualize it all. I liked that it began a few years earlier while Alenna was a young child and then jumped to Alenna as a teenager. I also loved that it's all clearly presented early on but it's not overwhelming. The setting is very realistic which only made it that much more chilling.

The plot was paced well and I thought there was quite a lot of action which only made me want to read this book even faster to find out what would happen next. There were also several twists that I never saw coming. While reading The Forsaken I found that it reminded me of a couple of my other favorite books but at the same time it completely stood on it's own. I will definitely be highly anticipating the sequel to this book. Overall I loved The Forsaken, it was a thrilling story that I strongly recommend.

My Rating:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #63: Through The Ever Night


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2)
By: Veronica Rossi
Release Date: January 8, 2013

(No summary yet.)

I'm so excited for Through the Ever Night because I absolutely loved Under the Never Sky! I can't wait to read what will happen next. I also love the cover for this!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

False Memory by Dan Krokos

False Memory
By: Dan Krokos
Released: August 14, 2012
Source: ARC from BEA
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review 

"Miranda wakes up alone on a park bench with no memory. In her panic, she releases a mysterious energy that incites pure terror in everyone around her. Except Peter, a boy who isn't at all surprised by Miranda's shocking ability. Left with no choice but to trust this stranger, Miranda discovers she was trained to be a weapon and is part of an elite force of genetically-altered teens who possess flawless combat skills and powers strong enough to destroy a city. But adjusting to her old life isn't easy--especially with Noah, the boyfriend she can't remember loving. Then Miranda uncovers a dark truth that sets her team on the run. Suddenly her past doesn't seem to matter...when there may not be a future."(Summary from goodreads.com)

I loved False Memory and couldn't put this book down. I don't even know where to begin this review because I don't want to give away too much. The one word that does come to mind when I think of this book though is that it was awesome. I found that False Memory was just my kind of book and it read like a movie for me. It starts immediately on the first page and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. At times I felt like I couldn't read this book fast enough because I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next.

Miranda wakes up with no memory of who she was and I loved learning about her past alongside her. She was a character that I instantly liked and I really enjoyed how she was developed. She turns out to be an all around awesome protagonist.

Peter is the stranger that seems to know all about who Miranda was before she lost her memory. Peter explains that Miranda was a part of a team along with her boyfriend Noah and friend Olive. I loved getting to know Peter, Noah, and Olive because their team was like a family. After finishing this book, I wished I was a part of their team too.

The plot is exciting from the beginning to end and paced very well. I loved every single twist because I rarely saw them coming. I liked how Miranda's past unraveled as the story progressed. I admit I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I first picked up this book but it was even better than what I imagined. Some parts could get confusing but keep reading because it will all click and make sense when you least expect it. There was plenty of action but still a good amount of drama and romance mixed in there too. Overall I loved False Memory and will be highly anticipating the sequel. I strongly recommend this book, you won't want to miss out on this exciting and action-packed story! 

My Rating:

Monday, August 13, 2012

It Only Takes One Click Tour: Review of Send by Patty Blount

Send
By: Patty Blount
Released: August 1, 2012
Source: E-ARC for Tour
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review 

"To keep his secrets, all he has to do is listen to the voice in his head and just walk away...On his first day at his new high school, Dan stops a bully from beating up a kid half his size. He didn't want to get involved. All he wants out of his senior year is to fly under the radar. But Dan knows what it's like to be terrorized by a bully-he used to be one. Now the whole school thinks he's some kind of hero, except Julie Murphy, the prettiest girl on campus. She looks at him like she knows he has a secret. Like she knows his name isn't really Daniel." (Summary from goodreads.com)

Send was an intense story that I won't forget anytime soon. When I first heard about this book I was immediately interested because bullying is a topic that is really close to my heart. However what makes this book stand out is that it's from the perspective of a boy who was a bully.

Dan is beginning senior year at a new school and using a new name. He has a secret past that he is trying to keep hidden. He made a poor decision at thirteen and he feels guilty about it every single day. I really liked getting to know Dan because he is such a complex character. He wasn't necessarily a likable character for me at times. He made a huge mistake when he was young and is trying to make better decisions now. I especially liked how much he cared so much about his parents, especially his mom.  

Send has several other great secondary characters too. Julie is a girl at school that Dan can't seem to stop thinking about. She is another complex character with her own secrets. Then there is Brandon, a boy Dan saves from a bully on the first day of school.  

The plot is paced well and I really enjoyed how it all unraveled. I sat down to start this book and before I knew it, I was finishing it because I couldn't put it down. I loved the writing and getting a chance to get inside Dan's head.

This book definitely opened my eyes even more about bullying. There is always two sides to every story. Send shows the reader the effects that bullying has on not just the victim, but also the bully. After finishing this book I definitely needed to take some time to let it all sink in. I feel very strongly about bullying after having personal experiences with it in middle and high school. I wish books like Send could be required reading for teenagers.  Blount does an excellent job of realistically depicting high school and the consequences of bullying. I will definitely pick up another book written by Blount. Overall Send is a powerful story that will leave a lasting impact.

My Rating:

It Only Takes One Click Blog Tour: Guest Post

Patty Blount, author of Send, kindly took the time to stop by today and discuss why she wrote Send.

BEHIND THE BULLY:

People often wonder how I got the idea for SEND and why I wrote it from the bully’s perspective. The answer to this question is a complicated one – actually, it is an answer with several parts that converged into what would ultimately become Dan Ellison’s story. 


    First, let me tell you about my son. When my oldest boy, Rob, was in sixth grade, he broke down in tears one gloomy night in April and told me he no longer wanted to live. To say I was surprised would be the biggest understatement in history. Turns out, he’d been the victim of bullies since the term began the previous September. I had no clue he was being tormented. I had no idea he was even unhappy. He was twelve years old and suffering through an early puberty. His classmates tormented him over his body hair, his acne, his deep voice and made him feel so freakish, he actually believed he was not normal. We got him help and spoke to his teachers and principal and my son finished out the year with no further incidents. He’s now in college but his scars are deep.
 
    The second contributing factor occurred the following year, when Rob was in seventh grade. I’d left the house early one Saturday morning to run errands with my youngest son in tow. Rob was still sleeping when I left. When I returned to my house, I saw some guy hanging by his fingertips from my living room window. This guy turned out to be the older and very muscular brother of a classmate who claimed Rob was now bullying him. He came over to ‘talk some sense into him,’ which – judging by his confrontational demeanor – was code for ‘see how he likes it.’ 


I’ve been a parent for a long time now and I KNOW most of us are oblivious to our kids’ shortcomings and faults. I have seen so much denial in my life but trust me on this – the word ‘disbelief’ doesn’t even come close to describing my reaction. How could the same boy in so much pain barely a year earlier turn around and cause that same pain in someone else? Near as I was able to determine, since the child would not directly address us, Rob intimidated this child without meaning to. Rob is large: by sixth grade, he was shaving, had reached five foot nine inches tall, which put him about a foot and a half higher than most of his classmates. What he thought was fooling around or playing was perceived as something entirely different by this boy. Judging by the depth of Rob’s guilt after hearing the accusations from this boy’s family, I have to believe he never meant to intimidate or threaten anybody. His despair over this runs nearly as deep as his scars from sixth grade.
 
I’d been writing all my life and after Rob’s sixth and seventh grade ordeals, put all that on hold for a while. I picked it up again to write a contemporary romantic trilogy that had been burning in my brain for a few years. I’d finished book 1 and had books 2 and 3 outlined. That brings me to the next significant event – my day job. I write software instruction guides and several years ago, a new executive directed us to start using social media in our work. I didn’t even know what sites like Twitter were. So I started doing the research. I learned not only how people use these sites, but also how they abuse them. And somewhere in the back of my brain, a little voice whispered, “I did that.” I became obsessed with the idea of guilt – or more specifically, living with that degree of guilt and wondered how a kid who’d done something without understanding the permanence or the reach of his action could endure such guilt. And that little voice replied, “I’ll let you know when I figure it out.” 


This voice would not shut up. I’ll be honest, he really pissed me off. I wanted to write book 2 in my trilogy, not turn a bully into a tragic hero. It felt wrong – distasteful – disrespectful – even disloyal to my son. I wasn’t ready to forgive Rob’s bullies. I wasn’t sure I could especially since I knew forgiveness would be an important theme in this novel. The idea of torturing this character in effigy did hold a certain amount of appeal. I gave it a shot and found that the deeper I dove into Dan’s story, the more I actually liked him. The duality of Dan/Kenny was a nod to that persistent voice in my own head that compelled me to write this story – sort of an inside joke.


Would you be able to forgive your or your child’s bully? After reading SEND, do you think most bullies are like Dan and my son, and unaware that they’re causing any pain?