What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen

When this book was billed as a cross between Pretty and Pink and Anna and The French Kiss, how could I not want to add it to my list of contemporary YA to read?

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Ella is nearly invisible at the Willing School, and that's just fine by her. She's got her friends - the fabulous Frankie and their sweet cohort Sadie. She's got her art - and her idol, the unappreciated 19th-century painter Edward Willing. Still, it's hard being a nobody and having a crush on the biggest somebody in the school: Alex Bainbridge. Especially when he is your French tutor, and lessons have started becoming, well, certainly more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl actually end up with a happily ever after with the golden boy, when no one even knows they're dating? And is Ella going to dare to be that girl?
I definitely saw the connection between Anna and the French Kiss and The Fine Art of Truth or Dare! Not that the stories are the same, but I felt the same after reading them both.

What I Liked: 1) The fluffiness. This was a light, fluffy story, perfect for summer reading! You get into the story easily enough, but you aren't just bogged down with really heavy (or sad) emotions. 2) Ella. Ella's kind of...strange. Do you remember that girl from Ten Things I Hate About You who is obsessed with Shakespeare? Like, thinks that she's in a relationship with him and stuff? Ella basically feels this way about Edward Willing. It's a little more than idol worship with her and tiptoes to the brink of disruptively strange. But you know...yeah. 3) Truth or Dare. This was an awesome and really creative way to develop the characters. At least the characters of Sadie, Frankie and Ella. Because they play this game so frequently, you actually learn a lot about them. I loved how that appeared all throughout the book. But not only was it about the actual game, it was about seeing Ella become more comfortable with being daring and taking chances. 4) Alex. I liked the guy Alex Bainbridge turned out to be. There was one point in the book, and I can actually pinpoint the exact passage I was reading, where my heart just turned over in my chest because of how sweet he was turning out to be. 5) How I felt after reading it. I just felt all giddy and happy when I was finished with this book.

What I Didn't Like: Well, there were a lot of things that felt unnecessary. Not even like, extraneous details, because I'm a details girl, almost the more the better. These were like, storylines that went off and...nothing came of it. What was Daniel's purpose? Things like this, they make books feel like a maze with dead ends sometimes.

Overall Thoughts: Recommended for light, fun reading, The Fine Art of Truth or Dare is full of humor and romance, with unique characters and great development. It's a little longer than necessary, but overall is very enjoyable. It's definitely a feel-good book.

My rating: 3.5 shots

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (38)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It highlights the books that we are most anxiously awaiting!

This week my WoW is........................ 

Splintered by A.G. Howard 
Expected Release Date: January 2013 

I'll be honest, the cover is what first drew me to this book. The colors are so bright that I wanted to know what it was all about. Check out this summary from Goodreads: For sixteen years, Alyssa Gardner has lived with the stigma of being descended from Alice Liddell -- the real life inspiration for Lewis Carroll's famed novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But cruel jokes about dormice and tea parties can’t compare to the fact that Alyssa hears the whispers of bugs and flowers ... the same quirk which sent her mother to a mental institution years before. When her mother takes a turn for the worse and the whispers grow too strong for Alyssa to bear, she seeks the origins of their family curse. A set of heirlooms and a moth tied to an unusual website lead Alyssa and her gorgeous best friend / secret crush, Jeb, down the rabbit hole into the real Wonderland, a place more twisted and eerie than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, creepy counterparts of the original fairytale crew reveal the purpose for Alyssa’s journey, and unless she fixes the things her great-great-great grandmother Alice put wrong, Wonderland will have her head.
The fact that this is Alice in Wonderland made this a MUST-READ for me!

What are you waiting on this lovely Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

I was intrigued by this one as soon as I read the summary!

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Tenderhearted Southern girl, Anna Whitt, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna. Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

 What I Liked: 1) Kaiden. Who wouldn't? Hot, totally off limits guy? He even has a sweet side, though he kinda tries to drown that side out. 2) The theme. The theme of the story is rather obvious, the classic battle within yourself between good and evil. But it becomes a lot more intriguing watching Anna struggle with it as she has both demon and angel battling inside her. 3) The passion. There is a lot of passion built up around several different ideas throughout the story. I thought these parts were extremely well written. There were a couple times I was literally holding my breath, and I didn't even realize it until I let it out. 4) Anna's Dad. I fully anticipated not liking him at all, from everything that's said about him before we meet him. But I ended up liking him (as much as you can, anyway). There are two sides to almost everyone in this book, and we've only just begun to learn about some of them. This was one of my favorite things about the book.

What I Didn't Like: Well, I honestly didn't like Anna some of the time. Sometimes she was being really strong and doing what she had to do, but some other times, she was just too....whiny. Naive. Something like that. There were times in the book where she was really starting to get on my nerves. But of course there were other times when she really seemed to be able to hold her own.

Overall Thoughts: Sweet Evil was a fun debut with a great plot and some interesting characters. The story moves steadily, and the the concept of battling demons who are each cursed with one of the seven (plus some other) deadly sins is a really neat take on the fallen angel idea. I can't wait to see what's next in the Sweet Evil trilogy.

My Rating: 4 shots

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

This book has been on my TBR list for a while. I'm a big fan of mythology and stories like that, so I knew I'd be interested. Y'all know how those TBR lists pile up though!!
Here's the summary from Goodreads: EVERY GIRL WHO HAS TAKEN THE TEST HAS DIED. NOW IT'S KATE'S TURN. It's always been just Kate and her mom--and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall. Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests. Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she suceeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess. IF SHE FAILS...
What I Liked: 1) This was a new take on mythological stories, at least as far as the ones I've read. It isn't really a re-telling of the Hades/Persephone story. It's more like, what happens after. And to focus on what happens in the afterlife that Hades rules, this was definitely a cool take on everything. 2) The concept of the tests. It's all a big mystery until close to the end, and that made it more mysterious. I was guessing the whole time what the tests could be, and even once I figured it out, I was still like, okay, how did they test her on that?? This was incredibly cool. 3) My favorite part of the story was the very end, finding out who it was that was testing her. She knows (or me, as the reader) that it was Henry's siblings, or the other gods that were going to be testing her, but who and when and what, those were the questions. I wish I could say more about it, but it is probably the biggest mystery of the story and I don't want to give anything away! 4) Ava. I liked Ava, after the initial meeting of her. It all ended up making sense later, but she was a big brat, but then ended up being one of Kate's closest friends. 5) The big bad. Okay, at first, you know that it's the test that everyone is worried about. But there is this other little thing to be worried about, whoever it is that is killing the girls who've come before Kate. I mean, she's got someone who tastes her food to make sure it isn't poisoned. Seriously, this is bad news. And I didn't see it until it was right on top of me.

What I Didn't Like: The first...half of the book almost really drags. I nearly put the book down because I just wasn't getting into it. But then, near the middle, everything picked up.

Overall Thoughts: Aimee Carter's The Goddess Test is a new take on a mythological story, like a continuation of an old story that we're all familiar with. There is tons of mystery and some definite surprises that jump out from the pages. If you like the Greek myths, I'd definitely recommend taking an adventure with Kate and giving Goddess Test a read. I'll be reading book 2, Goddess Interrupted soon, and give y'all my thoughts on that one afterwards!

My Rating: 4 shots

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Hem-lock, noun. [hem-lok] :a poisonous plant, Conium maculatum, of the parsley family, having purple-spotted stems, finely divided leaves, and umbels of small white flowers, used medicinally as a powerful sedative.* This is the definition of Hemlock, as I knew it. So when I opened up Hemlock, I was expecting something about poison.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered. Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf. Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control. Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.
This is one of the first books I've read where werewolves are a known part of society. I've seen it a few times with vampires, but this was new for me.

What I Liked: 1) The LS. Well, I didn't so much like it, but I liked that it was a recognized thing, that people knew about it and believed that there werewolves out there and understood the reason. Or at least how it was transmitted from wolf to wolf. This was a really interesting aspect to the story, because it's rare that something like that comes up. 2) Kyle. I fell for Kyle easily. What a sweetheart. And it was obvious from the beginning who he had eyes for (and I'm pretty sure it was me). 3) The friendship. What a great way to develop these characters, through exploring their friendship both before and after Amy's death. The story, while being about werewolves and how this small town in being ravaged by them, is also about the evolution of a group of friends after they are struck by tragedy. And it was through exploring that evolution that you really get to know Jason, Kyle, and Mac really well. 4) Great plot. Once we kind of sank down into the plot, I was hooked. It took a bit to get there, but once it picked up, it really did. There was a lot more going on than just werewolves, and the more you read, the more you figure out about how many secrets this little town holds.

What I Didn't Like: The beginning moved a little slow for me. I kept wanting to push everything forward, okay Mac, stop waxing poetic about it and lets move on to the more exciting things. Also, not so much about poison. At least, not yet. (Not a real dislike. Just a general thing I noticed, and since I mentioned it above, I thought I should at least clear that up.)

Overall Thoughts: After a slow start, Hemlock picks up with an exciting plot and some great character development. Exploring the friendship between Kyle, Jason and Mac after the death of their friend Amy gives you a really different look into their lives, and becomes the basis for the whole story. And of course there is some paranormal, and some romance thrown in. Truly something for everyone to love!

My Rating: 4 shots

This book was read as a part of the Debut Author Challenge!

Cheers and Happy Reading!

*definition from dictionary.com

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Books 1-3)

Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series has been out for a while. The first book actually came out in 2007, and the last book (of 6) came out in 2010. I think I was a little burned out on vampires when these books first came to my attention. But back in October, I read Bloodlines, which is a new series in the same world as the Vampire Academy books with different characters (though I'm told some VA characters float in and out). Well, I really enjoyed Bloodlines (see that review here), and decided to go back and read the Vampire Academy books. Since these books came out a while ago, and a lot of people have already read them, instead of doing 6 individual reviews, I'm going to review the first three together, and probably the last three together. I am going to try to avoid spoilers as much as possible, but I'll warn you if one pops up!

Book 1, Vampire Academy

Summary from Goodreads: St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger... Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

To begin the story, we meet Rose, a dhampir, and Lissa, her Moroi Princess best friend, who've run away from St. Vladimir's Academy for, at least in the beginning, reasons unknown. The action starts almost immediately, and before you know it you're hooked on the story. Rose and Lissa's friendship is one of those strange, almost comical relationships. They are so different that you wonder how they get along at all. At first, even, I thought Rose was so close to Lissa out of duty (a dhampir's job is to protect the Moroi). But then the more you get to know them, the more you start to understand them. Their personalities are developed and revealed slowly throughout the book, something that I'm surprised. It was easy to connect with these two even though you don't know them very well from the beginning. I liked the other characters as well, such as Christian, Mason, and Dimitri. This book sets up a plot that I could tell could go in a lot of different directions as the series progressed.

Book 2, Frostbite

Summary from Goodreads: It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks... This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory. But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price...

Picking up where Vampire Academy left off, Frostbite definitely delivers some more excitement. We get to meet Rose's mom, a well-known female dhampir who was only briefly mentioned in book 1. It's easy to see, after meeting Janine Hathaway, why Rose has her own abandonment issues and is so fiercely protective of the people she cares about. I loved the direction the book took when we left St. Vladimir's for a winter break at the ski resort. You get the opportunity to meet some more characters that aren't just students, and you learn some more about how their world works, and how they (being Moroi and dhampirs) relate to one another. I learned that Rose and Lissa's relationship was unique for a Moroi/dhampir relationship and that kind of brings a new meaning to the story. There is also some really great character growth in Frostbite, particularly on Lissa's part. As she's started this new relationship, her confidence has built up slowly. She isn't around Rose as much, which means that we get to know more about who Rose is as a person, versus Lissa's guardian. There are a ton more things that you learn in this book, which made it all very exciting for me.

Book 3, Shadow Kiss

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Is Rose’s fate to kill the person she loves most? It’s springtime at St. Vladimir’s Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since Mason’s death, Rose hasn’t been feeling quite right. She has dark flashbacks in the middle of practice, can’t concentrate in class, and has terrifying dreams about Lissa. But Rose has an even bigger secret . . . .She’s in love with Dimitri. And this time, it’s way more than a crush. Then Strigoi target the academy in the deadliest attack in Moroi history, and Dimitri is taken. Rose must protect Lissa at all costs, but keeping her best friend safe could mean losing Dimitri forever…

After everything that happened in Frostbite, it's not any surprise that Rose is a little messed up. But is it a little more than that? The Strigoi attacks are just getting worse as the novice guardians approach their graduation and are put into their field assignments. When Rose isn't assigned Lissa for her field work, it's a bit of a shock, because everyone knows about their bond and how much safer Lissa is with Rose because of that bond. But she gets to learn (and the reader alongside her) how most other Moroi/dhampir pairings work. I also liked the surprise attacks that the teachers launched, trying to train the novices in real life situations. Then when the Academy is attacked, well, let's just say this is one of the coolest battle scenes I've ever read. And then there is something that happens at the end that just left me itching to find out what's coming next.

Overall Thoughts: I'm really loving this series so far. I made myself stop after book three so I could get these three reviewed before I moved on to the last three books, or else I might start mixing the stories together. If you haven't had the chance to get into this series yet, I'd definitely say check it out. It came out a while ago, and the whole series has been published, so you won't even be left waiting to find out what happens. It's a light, fun, and addicting read that puts a new spin on vampires!

My Rating: 5 shots

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (37)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It highlights the books that we are most eagerly anticipating!

This week my WoW is.............

The Torn Wing by Kiki Hamilton (The Faerie Ring, Book #2) 
Expected Release: October 2, 2012 

I read The Faerie Ring a while back and rated it 3.5 shots. It left me curious enough to know that I'm excited to read The Torn Wing when it comes out. If you want to see my review of The Faerie Ring, you can check it out here.  

Here is the summary of The Torn Wing from Goodreads: Tiki’s greatest fear suddenly becomes all too real: the fey have returned to London seeking revenge. As war escalates in the Otherworld, Queen Victoria’s youngest son, Prince Leopold, is attacked. In order to protect her family and the ones she loves, she needs to know the meaning of an fáinne sí, the birthmark that winds around her wrist. But will Tiki be brave enough to face the truth? A bloody escape, a deadly threat, a shocking revelation…

Ooo....exciting! What are y'all waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your WoW links below and I'll come visit (as long as I'm back from Albuquerque!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Watercrossing by Krissi Dallas

First, I want to wish a huge congratulations to my friend and one of my favorite authors, Krissi Dallas, on the publication of her THIRD (!!) book, Watercrossing, which hits shelves today!

The Phantom Island series has been one of my favorites since I read Wind the first time. So it's no surprise that I was excited to get my hands on a copy of Watercrossing, the third book of the series.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Summer at Camp Fusion is rapidly coming to a close for Whitnee and her best friends, Morgan and Caleb. Working as mentors for troubled preteens all summer would have been adventurous enough, but discovering a secret portal on the forbidden side of the Frio River turned their idea of reality upside down. Now the three friends are determined to find a way back to the magical White Island in the hopes of recovering Whitnee's missing father and setting things right once and for all. However, the journey back is complicated—especially since Morgan is hiding a terrible secret and Caleb is looking less like a best friend and more like a potential boyfriend. Whitnee is determined to stay focused this time and not get distracted, especially by a certain someone, but she is completely unprepared for the moment she enters again into a deadly game of control on the Island. Can Whitnee navigate her way through the danger and survive the lies that threaten the people she loves?

More Whitnee, Morgan, Caleb, and Gabriel? Yes, please!

What I Liked: 1) I love these characters like they're family. Krissi Dallas is one of THE BEST when it comes to creating rich, loveable characters with dynamic stories and well-developed lives. And what I love about it is that it isn't just our MC that we learn so much about - you get to know the other supporting characters very well also. Gabriel, my imaginary boyfriend, is the one we know the least about, but for good reason. He's supposed to be more of a mystery. In Watercrossing, we do get to know some more about him though, including one bit of information that made me think, "geez, I knew he was too good to be true." No worries though. I still love him. 2) Caleb. I want to talk specifically about this guy for a minute. I liked Caleb well enough in the two Wind books. Caleb is loveable in a...boy next door kind of way, whereas Gabriel is the guy I want bringing me drinks with little umbrellas. But Caleb definitely ups his game in this book. He gets a little cockier, and that makes him all the more appealing to me. But I'm not jumping the Gabriel ship just yet. 3) Alternating perspective. The first two books were told from the POV of Whitnee only. But in this one, we get some alternating POV with one of the other characters. I'm not going to reveal who, because I want everyone to be pleasantly surprised, but I will say that it's great to delve a little deeper into the mindset of this person. I felt that it opened up my eyes to some other ideas about Camp Fusion, and the Island. Whitnee *SPOILER ALERT* kind of views the Island as a second home, not like she is a visitor or outsider. She is desperate to drink in all the knowledge about this place that is a part of her heritage. This other character sees the Island differently, because they don't feel that connection. I'm glad we got this other POV, it opens up new ideas for the reader about the Island. 4) The map! A map of the Island was included in Watercrossing. It was beautifully drawn, and a great addition. Being able to see the Island, how it's apportioned, and where everything is located definitely helps in understanding the travels that Whitnee and her friends take both in Watercrossing, and the preceding books! 5) When I read the first two books, the Island became this serene place that I'd love to vacation. We began learning about the culture, customs and politics briefly in the Wind books. We get a much more in depth look at particularly the politics of the region. There are some darker parts of the Island, and sinister people who are making the Island not such a happy place. It brought a new dimension to the plot and took the books to the next level.

What I Didn't Like: As usual, I have more questions after the end of the book. Isn't that how it's supposed to be with a series, though? There were two things in particular about the ending that distressed me (mostly because, like I said, I love these characters so much), but I have faith. Krissi hasn't let me down yet!

Overall Thoughts: I could not have asked for a better continuation of one of my favorite series. Watercrossing adds a darker dimension to a story that's already come alive though lively characters and an intriguing plot. For fans of fantasy, this series is one that should already be on your shelves. The Phantom Island books will intrigue and excited you, give you characters to hate and to love, and a setting that you'll want to escape to every chance you get. I can't wait for my next trip to the Island!

My Rating: 5 shots

Monday, May 21, 2012

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

I can't believe I waited this long to write this review. I was waiting and waiting for this book to come out, because I love Rachel Hawkins writing.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident. Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

What I Liked: 1) A change of pace. Well, not really a change of pace so much as this book had a more serious feel than the first two. The humor was still there, which I loved, but there just wasn't as much of it as there had been in Hex Hall and Demonglass. The books have been getting progressively more serious as the storyline has been getting more series. Even so, Miz Hawkins still manages to insert some of her humor into the book. If you don't follow Rachel on Twitter, do it. She cracks me up. 2) Sophie. I've liked this MC from the very beginning, and it's been great to watch her grow. She started off being little naive, but the more she's had to deal with, the more she's grown up and respected people. The development through all three books for this MC has been wonderful, and even though she's lost a little of her humor, which I think came from being a little naive, you still like her in the end. 3) Cal and Archer. More hot boys. Of course, as with every love triangle, someone's going to be hurt in the end. I was happy the way this turned out, but I was also heartbroken at why it turned out that way. 4) The ending. This is the heartbreaking part. The ending is bittersweet, and while I understand it had to end this way, I was still saddened by one part of it. This is the part where I wish I could break down and just tell you all about it, but I'm keeping it spoiler free! Promises!! Another thing I want to say about the ending is that it isn't just one of those abrupt endings where the story just stops. No, this leaves you with a sense that their life is going on, even if you aren't reading it anymore. I love that about this book. 5) New characters. We're introduced to some new and interesting characters, the Brannicks in this book. And they have a little secret of their own - hee hee hee.

What I Didn't Like: The only thing I'll say is that the book is still a tad predictable. But not so much that it messes anything up.

 Overall Thoughts: Funny and emotional, Spell Bound will whisk you off into the magical world of the Prodigium from the very first page. Likeable characters and a fast-paced plot contribute to the exciting story that Rachel Hawkins has created here. I highly recommend Spell Bound and the whole Hex Hall series. It's a light, easy read with plenty to offer!

My Rating: 4 shots

Friday, May 18, 2012

Partials by Dan Wells

I wasn't sure I was going to read Partials just yet. It wasn't like I was never going to read it, I was just in kind of a slump with my dystopian books, where they were all starting to run together. But it came up on my TBR list, and so I thought, alright, I'll just dive in.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out. When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask. Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival.

What I Liked: 1) Kira. Kira was an intelligent, curious, caring girl. So many MCs have one or two of these qualities, but I love how curious she was about everything. That's not something that I think is celebrated enough in YA literature, so I loved seeing that in her. She was also written very well, very likeable, and I think a lot of people will be able to relate to her. 2) Science! With a book like this, where there are so many things that are different than the world that we live in, I always wonder how did they get from here to this future place. Well, it's not all explained here in Partials, but some of the medical science is. We hear from Kira about the machines she's using to run tests, and even some of the machines that they used to have (aka, the ones we use today) and how the knowledge of how to use them is completely gone. They don't even have the internet, so it's not like they can google it! 3) Questions. You'll have more questions at the end of this book than answers. That didn't bother me so much with this one, because it's a very in-depth story. There are a lot of details and a lot of things you have to understand in order to kind of understand what's going on. I really enjoyed how in depth the plot went. 4) Pacing. Even with the level of detail, the plot moved steadily along. It held my interest really well, to the point of I was sad when I had to put a bookmark in it to go do something else. Like brush my teeth or shower.

What I Didn't Like: The hardest thing is to figure out what exactly a "Partial" is. And I don't think that was on purpose. In the summary here it says "identical to humans" but if you didn't read that, (which I didn't) then you are a little lost for most of the book. Since I tend to visualize things pretty completely, having that kind of confusion interrupts the flow for me.

Overall thoughts: Partials is a plot-driven story, heavy on the details and with a main character that you can't help but like. The mystery is woven through it so intricately that you won't even realize you're overwhelmed with questions until you start getting the answers. Partials is a fantastic dystopian that fans of the genre will definitely enjoy!

My Rating: 4 shots

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan

I can't believe this series is over. It's been so much fun for me to listen to! (I've experienced all three of the Kane Chronicles books as audiobooks. I haven't yet cracked a spine on any of them).

Here's the summary from Goodreads: He's b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sade Kane can’t seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos. To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent’s shadow... or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld...

What I Liked: 1) Mr. Riordan always amazes me with his knowledge of the mythology he uses in his books. He must spend soooo much time researching it. I feel like I learn new things when I am reading these works of fiction, and that's a huge deal. Not that I don't learn things from other books, but the way these are written just makes it so easy to absorb the knowledge without feeling like you're being taught something. Clever, Mr. Riordan, since I think these books are primarily MG. 2) Alternating POV. The POV alternates in the first two books as well, but throughout most of this book, the two narrators, Carter and Sadie Kane are going opposite directions. So it's completely necessary. But you get so much more out of the story this way. I love this brother and sister relationship. I feel like it's really rare in a book that you get a sibling relationship that is as developed as this. In the story, I mean. Sadie and Carter are both MCs, instead of one sibling being the MC, and the other being a secondary character, so you get to know them both really well, and from that, you get to see how they react to one another as siblings. It kind of reminded me of my sibs and I. When we were, ya know, younger. 3) Walt and Anubis. This was, well, I figured it out towards the end. But still. I liked the way it all turned out for Sadie. 4)The narrators. The narrators for this story pull it off so perfectly. They manage to make their voices sound like they are teenagers, and even when they have to read for the other person, it still manages to sound great. They alter their tones for the different characters so well that you would have sworn there was a different person reading each part. Big thumbs up!

What I Didn't Like: Well, I'm sad it's over. I keep thinking that perhaps there could be another book, with the way things were left. But who knows...

Overall thoughts: A fabulous end to a really fun trilogy! These are absolute perfect books to enjoy as audiobooks because the narrators put so much care into how they tell the story. They really do it justice. And the story itself is full of so much magic, excitement, and unique cultural details that it really comes to life.

My Rating: 5 shots

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (36)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It highlights the books that we are most eagerly anticipating!

This week, my WoW is................ 

The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long 
Expected Release Date: 8/16/2012  

Here is the summary from Goodreads: The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she's lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack's help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she's faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice--and not just her own.

I love the cover, and the summary sounds really intriguing! This one is definitely moving up on my TBR pile! What are y'all waiting on this lovely Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Starters by Lissa Price

I knew very little about Starters when I opened it. I read a few reviews online, and the summary, and that was it. Oh, and make sure you check out the giveaway at the bottom of this review!!
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . .

I went into it with some hesitancy, because sometimes this kind of, science-fiction-y stuff goes a little over my head.

What I Liked: I ended up devouring this book. I could not put it down. Okay, now to put that all into words...1) A completely unique idea. I'd love to know where Miz Price came up with this idea. Older people renting out younger peoples' bodies so they can relive their glory days. If something about that doesn't intrigue you, I don't know what will. Then of course once you've reconciled that idea, you have to contend with the idea that something about this Prime Destinations program is kind of sketch. If something sounds too good to be true, then it generally is. All the questions that pop up as you're reading really drive the plot forward. 2) Callie. I'm a big sister, and if I had to do this for my sibs, I would in a heartbeat. I really was able to relate to her protectiveness towards her little brother (my sibs are 22 and 20, and I still feel protective towards them). She's also necessarily independent, which gives her the advantage when she's faced with some issues that come up when her microchip fails. Intrigued yet? 3) The mystery. This is a science fiction book, but there is so much mystery going on that you'll have new questions on each page. Who is the Old Man!?! This is something I must know!! This was just one of the things that kept me flipping pages late into the night. 4) Blake. I wish I could tell you how I felt about their relationship at the end of the book, but I can't without giving some things away. He's definitely one of those swoony guys though. 5) Michael. Michael, Michael, Michael. Michael understands where Callie is from, how she has to live, taking care of her little brother, he's basically her closest friend. But you get the sense that there could be something more, especially once Blake comes on the scene. It's not exactly a love-triangle, but there is definitely some tension that I'm curious to see how works out in the next book.

What I Didn't Like: Nothing. I loved this book, it's earned a permanent place on my bookshelf for re-reads!

Overall Thoughts: Miz Price has delivered a unique, exciting novel that has everything I could ever ask for. Great, well-developed characters, a striking post-apocalyptic plot, and a lot of action. The mystery will keep you totally engraossed in the story until you've reached the end, and then you'll only be begging for more. Starters is a fabulous piece of fiction and I('ve already been) recommend it to everyone who loves a unique story!

My Rating: 5 shots

Hey guess what?? I have a SIGNED, FINISHED COPY of STARTERS to giveaway! Y'all are lucky I'm willing to part with it, because I really wanted to keep it for myself. But alas, I love you all too much. To enter, leave a comment below with an email address OR Twitter name so I can contact you! This contest is US/CANADA ONLY! This will be open for one week! Good luck!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

One of my MOST ANTICIPATED books of the year! I was so excited for Insurgent to come out, it was all I could do to keep from stalking my UPS guy. Seriously. So...so y'all want to know what I thought of it? Oh, wait, first...

Here's the summary from Goodreads: One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

What I Liked: 1) Insurgent spins you on your head. Everything you thought you knew about the factions, those just go out of the window when you are reading Insurgent. I mean, okay, they still mean the same thing. But...there are some chilling things that go on in these different factions that I never would have guessed. It's like, oh, so that's why the Amity are so peaceful...Seriously. This was completely unexpected and I loved that it was all, the world is not what it seems....oooooo! 2) I loved not only being surprised by what was going on in some of the factions, but learning more about the factions in general. Especially Amity and Candor, since it seems like those were the two that were a little less talked about in Divergent. 3) Tris and Tobias. I love these two together, although their relationship is kind of...odd in this book. I think we learned some new things about both of these characters based on how their relationship was developing and how they were reacting to each other. 4) The action. Expectedly, there was a ton of action in this book. A lot of it was different than the things that Tris and her fellow initiates experienced as part of Dauntless initiation, but some of it was also similar. And what I really liked was seeing people from other factions do some of these things. Is it possible that EVERYONE has a little DIVERGENCE in them? 5) The ending. Oh, that ending! You learn something on the very last page and it's just jaw-dropping. I'm so excited to see where that turn takes us!

What I Didn't Like: Caleb. Did anyone else want to punch him in the face?

Overall Thoughts: As if it was possible to improve on something that was already full of awesome, Insurgent takes the Divergent trilogy to the next level. There is even more action, a deeper knowledge of the characters, and just enough twists and turns to keep you guessing (but not so many to make you dizzy!) If you haven't started this series yet, I don't know what's stopping you!

My Rating: 5 shots

Friday, May 11, 2012

Thumped by Megan McCafferty

It seems like FOREVER ago that I reviewed Megan McCafferty's Bumped (the prequel to Thumped). If you missed that review, you can check it out here. But as a recap, you may recall that I wasn't the biggest fan. I rated it two espresso shots. But when Thumped came out a few weeks ago, I just couldn't resist. I needed to know what happened. So I set aside the things that I hadn't liked about the first book, and dove into this one.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day! Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances. To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants. The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous: Tell the truth.

I ended up being glad that I didn't pass this one over.

What I Liked: 1) Much like the first, I liked the premise of the book. These two girls are both learning and figuring out what it is about this society that is wrong, and they are rebelling against it. Girl power! 2) The guys. I liked all the guys that attend to the girls in this book. They all seem to put Harmony and Melody's needs above their own. Maybe part of this is because their world has been trained to believe that pregnant teens are the future, but also, these guys are genuinely caring and sweet. Even, surprisingly, Jondoe. 3) Here's something different about this one than the last: I liked both Harmony and Melody better than I liked them in the first book. There were aspects I appreciated about them in the first book, but they both came into their personalities in this book, and it was easier to get to know them. Melody has grown up a lot in the 8 months since Bumped. She's more mature and not as shallow as she was. Harmony is still shy, but she's become stronger and can stand up for what she wants now, instead of just mindlessly spewing the religious doctrine that's been instilled in her since she was a little girl. 4) There was a lot more substance to this book than the first. That was one of the things I liked best about it. It turned me around on this duet of books.

What I Didn't Like: There still wasn't any explanation of the slang or the technology used in the book. I really wish I understood some of it more. I don't need like, an owner's manual or anything, but it seriously sounded to me as if they have social networks built into their brains. I just wish I understood if that's what it all meant.

Overall thoughts: An impressive finale to follow a weaker start to this series. Thumped has more of everything that I like as a reader, more substance, more character development, and a strong finish. It's an easy read but will keep your attention for all 300 pages. There were still some things missing, but hey, we can't have it all, right? For a look at the humorous side of dystopian society, check out Thumped, and it's prequel, Bumped.

 My Rating: 3.5 shots

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Something A Little Different

Hi everyone!

I have this idea. It's something that I've been thinking about for a while, just wasn't really sure how to get it off the ground. But this week I decided to give it a shot. I really love blogging and writing reviews of books. And I especially love it when you guys comment. But my favorite is when I feel like we can have a discussion about a book, or books. Where I don't feel like I'm just talking at y'all and then y'all are kind of just nodding along. I know that we can sort of discuss things on twitter, and we can post questions about certain books, but 140 characters is a little limiting.

So I thought...well, why not have a message board? A forum where anyone can ask a question, we can have discussions about what books we're reading, why we like them or don't, books to movies, ANYTHING! And anyone can ask, and anyone can answer! Not just me!

With that, I'd like to introduce Book Chat - The Forum. Now this is just a test to see if there is any interest for something like this, so I'd really love y'all's feedback on if you think it works, if a different set up would be better, anything. Take some time and check it out (right now I've started like, two discussions, and I'm only talking to myself over there. Start your own discussion, pose a question, or just check it out! I'm planning on keeping it up for a few weeks, and if it seems that people are interested, I'll fix it up to make it a little more permanent. So either visit it here, Book Chat - The Forum, or click the link under the header!

Either way, thanks for visiting FCB, for listening to me talk about books, and happy reading!! Oh, this does not mean that I'm going to stop with my reviews! I am going to continue with them just as I have been. But I'd love to hear more from you guys about what you thought, which is the entire purpose of the message board!


The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers

I don't read a whole lot of creepy things, but this once seemed like it was going to be sufficiently...well, the right level of creepiness.
Check out this summary from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Jocelyn follows clues apparently from her dead twin, Jack, in and around Seale House, the terrifying foster home where they once lived. With help from childhood friend Noah she begins to uncover the truth about Jack's death and the company that employed him and Noah. Jocelyn's twin brother Jack was the only family she had growing up in a world of foster homes-and now he's dead, and she has nothing. Then she gets a cryptic letter from "Jason December"-the code name her brother used to use when they were children at Seale House, a terrifying foster home that they believed had dark powers. Only one other person knows about Jason December: Noah, Jocelyn's childhood crush and their only real friend among the troubled children at Seale House. But when Jocelyn returns to Seale House and the city where she last saw Noah, she gets more than she bargained for. Turns out the house's powers weren't just a figment of a childish imagination. And someone is following Jocelyn. Is Jack still alive? And if he is, what kind of trouble is he in?
What I Liked: 1) The cover. Ooooo....creepy. Yeah. Love that cover. 2) Noah. This guy was interesting, and hard to pin down. He was kind of a big mystery. But swoon-worthy all the same. He's got this bad-boy persona going on, but also a Prince Charming kinda thing, where he's all protective. I'm picturing...Prince Charming on a Harley. It's true. 3) Puzzles. I've always loved trying to solve puzzles (anything but a math puzzles, yeesh, don't make me try one of those - says the accountant) and there are so many mystery puzzles in this book that Jocelyn and Noah have to solve. And (thank you, Miz Myers) they are written in such a way that you can try and solve them too. I wasn't ever able to solve any of them, but it was fun trying to all the same. 4) Jocelyn. She was a much easier character to understand as one-track-minded as she was. I don't want to give anything away, but once you read the book, you'll think that that statement is funny. Jocelyn has a lot of street smarts and knows how to get in and out of things pretty well, but it's nice when she lets Noah help out every once in awhile. 5) The ending. This was a big shock to me. I certainly didn't see it coming, and I doubt very many people will. It's definitely a great twist and makes you think about the whole story in a brand new way.

What I Didn't Like: This was a great book that a lot of people will enjoy. But as it turned out, it wasn't really my cup of tea. There isn't anything I can particularly pinpoint, other than maybe just the genre of horror. Like I said, I don't read them very often, so perhaps it was just that.

Overall Thoughts: For those of you who like creepy stories, I would definitely recommend checking out The Vanishing Game. It's got some interesting characters, its full of puzzles to solve, and has an ending that will completely throw you for a loop. It's well written and has a great pace, and while it wasn't necessarily my cup of tea, I'd say that this book would be enjoyed by many readers!

My Rating: 4 shots

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (35)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It highlights the upcoming releases that we are super excited for!

This week my WoW is.........

Serpent's Kiss by Melissa de la Cruz
Release Date: June 12th, 2012

I enjoyed the first book about the Beauchamp family, so I think this one's going to be a great follow-up! What are y'all looking forward to this fine Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass

I know that there was a lot of controversy going on around this book. I was even up in the air for a while, undecided if I was going to read it or not. But when it came down to it, interest and curiosity got the better of me. I'm not going to pass up a book that has a summary that intrigues me.
Here is the summary from Goodreads: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
So, this really reminds me of The Bachelor. Does anyone else see the connection?

What I Liked: 1) Prince Maxon. He's described as being gorgeous and of course he is a Prince, but something about him struck me as...kind of geeky. How he's kind of shy, especially in one-on-ones. He claims to have never really been around girls, so he doesn't really know how to act around them. This just made him all the more endearing to me. I have a special place in my heart for guys like that. 2) The Caste system. I don't like it like, oh, we should have that, but I like how easily I was able to understand it. It was explained very well, and because of the simple number system, it's easy to remember as you are reading the rest of the story. You don't have to stop and think, okay, now so-and-so is a 4, what was that again? 3) America. There are a lot of things about the main character America that I liked. I liked how she was able to sacrifice things that she wanted for her family. Also how open she is to new things. This tiptoes to the brink of being wishy-washy, but doesn't cross it. That's a fine line, and Miz Cass managed to keep everything in control and stay true to the character she was creating for America. In addition to caring so much for her family, America cares for the other girls going through the Selection. Maybe it's easier for her, since she doesn't think she's competing with them, but she truly tries to help them while they are there. 4) Details. I loved all the details in this book. It made me feel like I was actually there, living the story with the rest of the characters. MAYBE THE PRINCE WILL CHOOSE ME?! Seriously though, I always love books with lots of details, because it does make book come more alive.

What I Didn't Like: My least favorite part of the book was when I turned the page and read these words: End of Book One. Nooooo!! Okay...pardon the dramatics. But I was so into this book that I had no idea that an ending was coming up. So yeah, it was that good.

Overall Thoughts: The Selection is a fun and compelling story with great characters and a unique, fast-paced storyline. I was drawn into the story from the start, and expect many others to feel the same. Take some time to check out The Selection, because it's well-worth the time!

My Rating: 5 shots

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cover Reveal: Incarnate 2

I loved Jodi Meadows' Incarnate (in case you missed that review, you can check it out here) I've read it three times since it came out in January. For those of you who read a lot, and/or blog, you know that finding the time to re-read something is just like...whoa. Needless to day, I'm ridiculously excited for the next book, which we're all been lovingly referring to as Incarnate2. Today, Jodi shared the title and cover for the book 2, and here it is!

Asunder by Jodi Meadows!
Release Date forthcoming, but Jodi is guessing it will be around Jan/Feb 2013 (so far away?!?)

Isn't is beautiful! Jodi, in her awesomeness has answered some questions about the upcoming book on her website, and is also hosting a giveaway for some of her handknit (handknitted?) gloves! Scoot on over and check it out here and get excited for more Ana and Sam! Cheers and happy reading!

Pure by Julianna Baggott

I picked up this book a while ago, but it took me some time to get around to reading it. It's a very large book, so you definitely have to have some time to devote to it!
Check out the summary from Goodreads: We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . . Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run. Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . . There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her. When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.
Sounds intense, right?

What I Liked: 1) Pressia. I always like the strong characters. Pressia is one of those characters who doesn't really want to be a leader, or even really seem to be a leader at first, but she kind of gets shoved into that position. She's got a lot of depth to her, from the life that she's been forced to live, so it's really fun to get to know her. 2) Partridge. Another strong character of this book, Partridge shows his strength in other ways. He turns against everything he's known to stand up for what he believes. And he really teaches some of the other characters he encounters how to care, since those who've grown up outside the Dome just don't seem to know how to. 3) No sugar coating. There is a lot of...graphic stuff in this book. (Not like, x-rated things, more like sort of gory things). But it's an important part of this story, and without which I don't think the story would have been as powerful. 4) That brings me to another like: The power. This is a really powerful story. Seems like every event that happens in the book is strong and full of emotion. It definitely takes the reader on one heck of a roller coaster. Sometimes I read books that are very safe, and I like those fine, but this one really just takes you through the ringer. It's really impressive when a book can do that.

What I Didn't Like: For as strong and emotional as this book was, the plot just didn't hold up. There wasn't really anything that just drove everything forward. I liked the characters well enough, but I needed some more forward motion of the plot.

Overall thoughts: Pure was a powerful book with strong characters and some great action. I needed a little something more from the plot to really get into it, so I was missing that a little. But it definitely left me with enough questions that I'll be looking forward to hopefully getting some answers in book 2!

My Rating: 4 shots

And speaking of book 2...Miz Baggott recently released the cover! So here it is, along with a link to the Goodreads page!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (34)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine! Each week, we highlight one upcoming book that we are really excited about!

This week, my WoW is..... 

Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt
Release Date: June 12th, 2012  
Check out the summary from Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Tess lives in a compound in what was once the Western United States, now decimated after a devastating fourth World War. But long before that, life as we knew it had been irrevocably changed, as women mysteriously lost the ability to bring forth life. Faced with the extinction of the human race, the government began the Council of Creators, meant to search out alternative methods of creating life. The resulting artificial human beings, or Chosen Ones, were extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably strong, and unabashedly deadly. Life is bleak, but uncomplicated for Tess as she follows the rigid rules of her dystopian society, until the day she begins work at Templeton, the training facility for newly created Chosen Ones. There, she meets James, a Chosen One whose odd love of music and reading rivals only her own. The attraction between the two is immediate in its intensity—and overwhelming in its danger. But there is more to the goings-on at Templeton than Tess ever knew, and as the veil is lifted from her eyes, she uncovers a dark underground movement bent not on taking down the Chosen Ones, but the Council itself. Will Tess be able to stand up to those who would oppress her, even if it means giving up the only happiness in her life? 

Sounds interesting, right? Make sure you add this one to your TBR lists!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

Take a Bow wasn't on my radar, but I saw it while I was looking for some YA contemporary books to add to my list.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: From the fantastic author of The Lonely Hearts Club and Prom & Prejudice comes a story of all the drama and comedy of four friends who grow into themselves at a performing arts high school. Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it's been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn't sure how to admit that he'd rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.
Sounds like FAME! doesn't it? I thought it did, and that's what drew me to it in the first place.

What I Liked: 1) I've always loved the performing arts, both participating and watching, so I definitely loved that this book was taking an interest in those activities. I've been involved in theater, dance and music all my life, so it was great to read about kids who have goals in those fields and are working hard to make those dreams come true. 2) The summary says that these characters are seniors, which is true, but we actually get a lot of flashbacks in the story that give you some background as to how they came to the performing arts high school, and what they expected when then got there. This was the biggest form of character development in the story. 3) Seeing the kids figuring out what it was they really wanted. This was a big point in the story. They all came into this performing arts high school looking for something, but what they learned was what they wanted and the confidence to go get it.

What I Didn't Like: 1) The flashbacks were good for character development, but they were so frequent that they disrupted the flow of the story. When I'm reading, I don't like to have to put on the breaks, and that's something that I had to do with the jumps in the timeline. 2) The characters were kind of bland. They had very stereotypical personalities, and I felt they could have been a little better developed.

 Overall thoughts: Take a Bow was a quick, easy read with a fun setting that centers around the performing arts. The characters are sweet, if a little simple, and the message is an easy one to understand. If you are looking for some new YA contemporary, this one is a good one to add to your TBR list!

My Rating: 3 shots