What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (29)

Happy Leap Day, everyone! Let's celebrate with a little WOW! Waiting on Wednesday is a bookish meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine! It highlights the books that we are most eagerly anticipating!

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

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Release Date: April 24, 2012 (just three days after my birthday!)

Here is the summary from Goodreads: In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.

Unregistered humans cling to fringes, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire.

Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.

So, I loved the Iron Fey series, and think Julie is a really creative writer! I can't wait to see what she's done with this Vampire series!

What books are you waiting on this lovely Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kevin's Point of View by Del Shannon

I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. I would consider this a middle grade book, while my usual reviews are of YA books, I thought this one sounded like an interesting read.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Kevin Tobin is a relatively ordinary 12-year-old dealing with the aftermath of his father's death in a mountain biking accident near their home in Boulder, Colorado. To escape from his emotional turmoil, Kevin has developed his imagination into a dangerous foil and a powerful ally. While he antagonizes his sister through his superhero antics on an average Wednesday morning, his ability to escape inside a character's head become critical to his survival after his life is once-again turned upside down a year after his father's death. A mysterious package arrives in the mail, Kevin and his best friend are hunted down by a ruthless villain set upon world domination, and after enlisting Kevin's teenage sister and her pizza-delivery boyfriend in a battle for control over time itself, the secret of Kevin's whole existence is revealed to him by a source we never expected. Del Shannon's imaginative story, appreciation for the powers of family and the desire of young boys to both escape reality and prove themselves within it, and fast-paced, adventure-filled storytelling style make this a book with wide appeal for readers of all ages.

What I Liked: 1) The plot. This story was quite a bit deeper than what I was initially expecting. There is an interesting psychology behind the reason Kevin is the way he is, and the way his family and friends act around him. While I view this book as a middle grade chapter book, that's something that will strike older readers and keep them flipping pages. 2) Kevin and Tony's friendship. It's an interesting insight into the relationships of guys. Of course, these are 12 year old guys, but I imagine the basics stay the same. Common enemy + adventure + something with buttons? Besties! Haha, that was a lot of fun. 3) The surprises. This book is positively rife with surprises for the reader to stumble upon and enjoy. There is so much going on outside of the brief summary you get from Goodreads or the back of the book, and I don't want to give any of it away, but there is some really exciting things for everyone to enjoy. 4) I can totally relate to Kevin on the whole, escaping inside his head thing. I think that I do that too sometimes. I love putting myself right in a really good book instead of dealing with some of the other things going on in the real world.

What I Didn't Like: Okay, I was never as creative as Kevin and his friends, and there are some things in this book that are outside the realm of my imagination. If you colored my imagination, I think it would probably be pink, a little turquoise and sparkly. If I was going to color Kevin's imagination, it would have a much wider color spectrum, and be vivid primary colors. None of this is a bad thing, but there are some parts of the book that I regarded as uniquely male, and I didn't really gel with those things. I was never a superheros girl, more a princess and Care Bears kinda girl (though I did love me some Ninja Turtles!). So I had a hard time focusing on those parts, the time that Kevin was escaping inside his head. I chose instead to focus on the reason he was, rather than what he was thinking about. <--total personal problem. Not a problem with the writing or story at all.

Overall thoughts: Creative and action-packed, Kevin's Point of View is a fun peak into the mind of a 12-year old boy as he tries to deal with a heavy loss. Throw in some superhero instincts and a little sci-fi, and you've got this fantastical middle grade novel. Boys and girls alike will find something entertaining as they get caught up in Kevin's imagination.

 My rating: 4 shots

Monday, February 27, 2012

Breathless Reads recap and a GIVEAWAY!

I was so excited to find out that Jessica Spotswood, Marie Lu, Andrea Cremer (FANGIRL!!) and Beth Revis were coming to Dallas and I was not the only one excited to see these ladies - there was standing room only at the Barnes and Noble in Frisco last Thursday night. I think everyone there had a lot of fun, there was so much going on. Here's a recap of my night at Breathless Reads, as well as some author info, incase you're unfamiliar with any of these ladies!

Beth Revis is the author of the Across the Universe series, which right now consists of Across the Universe and A Million Suns. Beth describes the series as a "murder mystery set in space." I haven't had the chance to read these books yet, but if Beth's sense of humor is anywhere in them, they're sure to be funny! Check them out here on Goodreads! The first thing that came to mind about Beth Revis after leaving Breathless Reads is that I so would NOT want to meet her in a dark alley. She was getting waaaaaaay too much pleasure out of killing people in her book! No, I'm kidding. The deaths though (I mean, her book is a murder mystery, right? I don't know, I haven't read it) all seem to be completely unique and wicked gory! She did confess that one time (as a teacher) she was having some issues with one student, so she wrote him into her book for the sheer purpose of killing him off. When it turned out that the book was to be published, she admitted what she'd done to him, and he thought it was the coolest thing ever! Ever since, she's had lots of students come up and ask her to be killed in her book. She can kill me off in a book if she likes. It just has to be in a totally strange way!

Andrea Cremer is the author of the Nightshade series, the third and final book of which just came out in January. I seriously fangirl of Andrea Cremer, and have ever since I had the chance to meet and chat with her for a few minutes at Austin Teen Book Festival. The Nightshade series (Nightshade, Wolfsbane, and Bloodrose) is one of my favorite series, about a girl who is not only a girl, but also an Alpha female of a wolf pack (but Andrea is adament that they are NOT werewolves). I've reviewed both Nightshade and Bloodrose here on Fuzzy.Coffee.Books, and you can check them out on Goodreads! I was ecstatic to learn that Andrea Cremer has penned two prequels to the Nightshade series, called Rift and Rise, the first of which we can expect in August 2012. In addition to these two books, she's currently working on a steampunk novel with David Levithan called The Invisibility Curse. More fangirling happens now. Anything these two working together come up with is bound to be MADE OF AWESOME!

Marie Lu is a new author whose debut, Legend came out at the end of November 2011. Legend is a dystopian story where the United States has collapsed and the remaining world is ruled by a totalitarian regime. The main characters, Day and June could not be more different and their relationship develops into quite an interesting story. I just finished reading Legend over the weekend, and am excited to let you guys know what I thought! In the mean time, feel free to check it out on Goodreads! It was a lot of fun listening to these ladies talk about their books, what they were thinking when they wrote them, and where they're going next. For example, I learned that Marie Lu's characters are so developed in her head, that she knows them down to their blood type! That was so interesting, because blood type is never something I would have thought necessary to character development! She also told us that the relationship between her two MCs was inspired by Les Miserables, and the relationship between Jean Valjean and Javert. I was about halfway through the book when I went to hear her speak, and knowing that opened up new ideas for me as a reader!

Jessica Spotswood is the newest author on the scene, her debut, Born Wicked, was just released on February 7th, 2012. It is a historical, paranormal story of three sister witches who are trying to hide their secret in a Victorian time period ruled by strict religious codes. I got a chance to experience this book as an audiobook, and thought it was very fun. I'll have a review to post later next week. Don't forget to check this one out on Goodreads! Jessica Spotswood is quite possibly the most adorable person I've ever met. I know a lot of you may not have had the opportunity to check out her new book yet, because it is SO NEW, but the garden and gardening is one of the most important ideas and settings in the book. So I asked Jessica if she was a big gardener, if that's how she knew about different plants and flowers, and when they were in bloom. She assured me that no, she is most definitely NOT a gardener like Cate, and got most of her gardening tips either from research or her Mom. I'm not a gardener either, you've heard of a green thumb? I think I have a black thumb. I can look at a plant sideways and it will keel over.

As you can tell, there was lots of fun things going on at Breathless Reads, I got to meet lots of fun book bloggers in addition to meeting these wonderful authors. I'm sorry if you had to miss it! But if you did, I have a little gift!

I'm giving away to one lucky follower a signed copy of both Marie Lu's Legend, and Jessica Spotswood's Born Wicked, along with a fun Breathless Reads tour lanyard! See below to enter!

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

I've noticed that the books I've been reading have started tilting slightly towards the fantasy/science fiction-y/paranormal. So, I was ready to mix it up when I saw Kristen Simmons' Article 5 on my Nook.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It’s hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.

First thing I want to say is major props to whoever wrote this summary. I would read it just for the purpose of finding out about these Moral Statutes, and what Article 5 was. Get me curious about something, and I'm guaranteed to read it. So, I did.

What I Liked: 1) The action. This book was nonstop. From the very beginning of the story, there as always some sort of action or danger that Chase and Ember were involved in. If you like a lot of action scenes, this will definitely appeal to you. 2) There is a fairy tale aspect to this story that was unexpected for me. I don't want to go into it, because I don't want to give anything away, but I made a connection to some of the old White Knight/Princess stories that I loved when I was a kid. An interesting find in a dystopian tale. 3) The government based on the Moral Statutes. I almost felt like it was futuristic and historical at once. Like Victorian era moral codes in a post-apocalyptic world.

What I Didn't Like: While this book was well written and enjoyable, there was nothing in it for me that just, stood out. The characters were a little two dimensional, and the plot was for the most part predictable.

Overall thoughts: This is a dystopian story that will appeal to fans of Veronica Roth's Divergent. The action in the book will propel readers forward from the very beginning, and you'll be surprised to see that several hours have passed without your knowledge while you've been wrapped up in all of the action. It's definitely a plot driven story that leaves something to be desired in its character development. But I'm looking forward to see where Miz Simmons goes next with the story and how she continues to develop her talent!

My rating: 3 shots

This book was read as a part of my Debut Author Challenge 2012!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tempest by Julie Cross

I was a little hesitant at first, when it came to Tempest. I added it to my Debut Author Challenge list because it sounded interesting, but I'd never really gotten into time travel books, so I wasn't sure how well I'd get into it.
Here is the summary from Goodreads: The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

Boy was I wrong! I was immediately struck by Jackson and how well I wanted to know him as I read this book!

What I Liked: 1) Jackson. Oh, I fell for this guy hard. He's kind of cocky, but then there are times when he gets really sweet, and my heart just melts for him. Actually, he reminds me of an old boyfriend whom I hated for a while, but now think of with fond memories. If I have a "type" (which my friends would scream that yes, I do), Jackson would definitely fit. 2) Jumping to different times in his life. It was so interesting to be traveling around with Jackson and seeing him at different points in his life. Do you ever think about stuff you did, and what you'd say to yourself if you could go back in time and see you doing it? Wow, that was a confusing sentence to even write. Anyway, I loved hearing Jackson's reactions to things he'd done and experienced in the past. It felt like, as a reader, I got to know him so much better. How many books do you get to experience their past with them like that? This was a great and unique character and plot development technique. 3) Unexpected emotions. Okay, when I think about time-travel, I never really think about it being...I don't know. Anything other than kind of science-fiction-y and a little silly. Or scary. One of the two. But there were some incredibly emotional scenes in this book, several of which even brought me to tears. I thought they were very well written, and really tugged at my heartstrings. And if you've read it, I'm sure you know what scenes I'm talking about. 4) The narrator. You heard me. I actually experienced this book as an audiobook before I read the physical copy. Matthew Brown, the narrator of Tempest, perfectly captured Jackson's cockiness and his soft side, and he gets major props for changing the timbre of his voice when reading for different characters. Or even when differentiating between Jackson's moods. I loved it. This is going to be one of those ABs that I will listen to over and over again!

What I Didn't Like: There was nothing about the audiobook that I didn't like. And I really loved reading the book with Matthew Brown's voice in my head as Jackson.

Overall thoughts: Read Tempest. Don't be turned off by the fact that the story is about time-travel. It's not, space-agey time travel. This book made me excited about reading. I mean, I'm always excited to read, but I was feeling like I was in a rut, missing out on that spark that you feel when you fall in love with a book (remember that Valentine's Day post? It was inspired by Tempest!). Tempest was what I needed. *gushes* I LOVED IT!

Also, my sister is mad at me because I got too excited when I was telling her about the book, and accidentally told her the ending. :-0

Overall Rating: 5 shots

This book was read as a part of my Debut Author Challenge 2012!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cover Reveal: Promised by Caragh M. O'Brien

I'm a big fan of Caragh O'Brien and her Birthmarked trilogy! I read the first book (Birthmarked) on a whim, and reviewed it here. I thought it was a new kind of story, and the MC really intrigued me, so I was excited for Prized, book two to come out. See my review of Prized here.

Needless to say I am anxious to see what is next for these characters! And Caragh has revealed the cover of the next and final book of the trilogy, Promised! Check it out!

What do ya think? I love the luscious red, it's such a sharp contrast to the blues that have been used for the previous two covers. I can't help but wonder if that means we'll see a lot of contrast in Promised from the other two. Either way, I'm looking forward to this book, set to release on October 2, 2012!

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

I've been looking forward to Incarnate for a while, so I was anxiously downloading it on my Nook as soon as it came out. Everything about it sounded to unique and intriguing that I couldn't wait to find out what kind of story debut author Jodi Meadows had put together.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?


Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies--human and creature alike--let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

What I Liked: 1) Completely and utterly unique. All books are unique, in their own way, I think. But Incarnate, with its Souls who are reincarnated after death into new bodies with the same memories and experiences from their previous lives was definitely a creative new story. 2) Ana. Ana, unlike the rest of the souls is a newsoul. Some call her a nosoul, and treat her basically like a pariah. It was interesting to experience her life alongside her, with everyone else already knowing so much about the world, and she is learning everything new for the first time. And to watch her come out of her shell of who everyone has told her she's supposed to be and who she isn't, and instead embrace who she wants to be. 3) Sam. Sam is kind of a mystery throughout the whole book. He seems kind of calm and collected throughout the whole book, but you can't help but wonder what's behind that facade! I also thought he was a really sweet guy and I kept begging for more emotion from him. 4) Descriptions. This entire book is full of beautiful descriptions that make the book really come alive. My imagination was just exploding with all the colors and scenes that I was seeing as I read. 5) The party scene. This was probably my favorite scene of the whole book. There is so much going on, and so much mystery with all the costumes and masks that I really wanted to be right there with Ana and Sam and the rest of the characters.

What I Didn't Like: Nothing!

Overall thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed Incarnate, and thought that Jodi Meadows' writing was refreshingly creative and fun! The characters are lively and well-developed, and the imagery is astounding. Incarnate is one of those not-to-be-missed novels this year, and I'm already looking forward to book 2!

My rating: 5 shots

Cheers and Happy Reading!

This book was read as a part of my Debut Author Challenge 2012!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (28)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It highlights the upcoming books that we just can't wait to read!

This week my WoW is...

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Release Date: May 1st 2012, from HarperTeen

Here's the summary from Goodreads: What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is life for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil.

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.

A cross-country trip forces Anna to face the reality that hope and love are not options for her kind. Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Sounds like it's going to be interesting! I love Southern Gothic, so I'm definitely looking forward to reading this one! What books are you waiting on this week?

Cheers and happy reading!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fracture by Megan Miranda

I really got into Fracture. We're without heat in my house at the moment (which is rarely a problem in Texas, but my heat decided to stop working during the 6 cold days we have a year), so ya know, it felt like I was RIGHT THERE. Brr....
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

What I Liked: 1) Best Names Ever. I love the names of everyone in this book. I tried to change Sophie's name to Delaney. But she's pretty set on Sophie. Anyway, Delaney, Decker, Carson, I think these names were great, and I know that probably something strange to like about a book, but I do. 2) Unique idea. I haven't read a whole lot of books that deal with this kind of, being dead and coming back to life ramifications. I mean, when they don't end up as zombies. Nom Nom Nom. (I should say that I'm writing this review at 12:30 at night, after frosting cupcakes all night. There's no telling how much sugar I've ingested at this point). Plus, even Delaney's death is a mysterious concept to me. I mean, deadly ice? Seriously, the only ice we have is in the freezer and when we're feeling classy, we put it in our wine glasses. Okay, that's not entirely true, but I thought that whole idea was clever. 3) Decker. Did anyone else just want to scream, so kiss already!? I did. Want to, that is. I thought Decker was one of those guys that I'd want to take home to meet my parents. He was so sweet and concerned about Delaney. I loved their friendship, and the underlying tension. 4) This book freaked me out a little! That I honestly didn't expect. It was more than one thing though, that frightened me. A lot of the time I was just scared out of my mind for Delaney. And there are some other things that happen that I don't want to give away, but definitely be prepared for some...emotional suspense. 5) Great pacing. I read Fracture all in one night, because I was just being carried forward by the plot. There was really some great timing to the whole story, and it's easy to open the book and not emerge for several hours.

What I Didn't Like: Well, now that I've talked about the great pace of the story, I'm going to turn it around and say at the very, very end, I had to go back and re-read a bit. I actually don't think it was moving too fast, I just think that I was so into the story, and I was on the edge of my seat that I wanted to finish, to know what happened. I was trying to absorb it all so fast, and there was so much happening at once that I got a little confused. This one's on me, but it is something to watch out for, if you get as caught up in books as I do.

Overall thoughts: A seamless plot line and an angsty main character, not to mention a mysterious guy and some good old fashioned sexual tension make Fracture well worth the read. I suggest you settle in for this one, because once you start, you won't want to put the book down!

Overall rating: 4 shots

This was read as part of my Debut Author Challenge 2012!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Two Truths and A Lie by Sara Shepard

The third book of The Lying Game series, Two Truths and A Lie came out on February 7th. I really liked the first two books, so I was excited to see where this one was going to take us!
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Sutton Mercer watches from the afterlife as her long-lost twin, Emma Paxton, takes over her identity to solve her murder. But after ruling out her early leads, Emma still hasn’t found Sutton’s killer. A lot of people wanted her dead—but one name keeps popping up: Thayer Vega. When the gorgeous and mysterious Thayer returns to town, Emma has to move fast to figure out whether he’s back for revenge…or if he already got it.

What I Liked: 1) I like how we are seeing everything from Sutton's perspective. She's this ghost who is traveling alongside Emma, who is living Sutton's life. So many times Sutton will remember something that would help Emma out as she's trying to pass herself off as Sutton and find her killer, and I'm just like, ah! Just tell her. And I have to remind myself that Sutton is a ghost. 2) I love how all of the books are named after games. The Lying Game, Never Have I Ever, Two Truths and A Lie...and the next book in the series is called Hide and Seek. What's going to happen next? 3) The mysterious relationship between Sutton and Thayer. When Thayer shows back up in Sutton/Emma's life, it's clear there was something going on. But of course Emma has no idea what it was, and Sutton is only remembering small pieces, so she doesn't know if he is friend or foe. 4) Much like the last book, at the very end, we find out that we can cross one more person off the list of who it was that killed Sutton. In every book I've read by Miz Shepard, I marvel at how good she is at the building up of suspense.

What I Didn't Like: There was something about this one that just wasn't as intense as the last one. I still liked it, and am still going to continue reading the books, but I don't know. I think because this one focused so much on Thayer, who I didn't perceive as a threat.

Overall thoughts: More fun and mystery from Sara Shepard. The Lying Game is proving to be another fluffy and comical mystery, similar to her Pretty Little Liar series. Two Truths and A Lie is the next in a fun series that will keep readers guessing until the very end!

My rating: 3 shots

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

This book came out January 3rd, and I was so excited that I downloaded it on my Nook that night and started reading. Have you gotten wrapped up in Miz Cremer's world of Guardians and Keepers? If you haven't, you are missing out on a wonderful place full of fantasy, drama, romance, and action.
Here is the summary of the third and final installment of the Nightshade series from Goodreads: But now that the final battle is upon her, there's more at stake than fighting. There's saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay's wrath. There's keeping Ansel safe, even if he's been branded a traitor. There's proving herself as the pack's alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers' magic once and for all. And then there's deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is.

What I Liked: 1) I continue to believe that of all the female MCs out there, Calla Tor is one of the best role models to hope for. She's a strong and confident girl who recognizes her own shortcomings and deals with them accordingly. She's a mature leader of her group and is able to solve problems in ways I think some adults would envy. But none of this means that life is easy for her. What I think I mostly want to say about Calla is that she is so very real. There are so many layers and dimensions to her that she's become a real person. And that is awesome. 2) Bloodrose was so different than the first two books. There were different settings, a lot more action, and a lot more emotional turmoil. <-More emotional turmoil than the previous books? I didn't know it was possible. 3) The outcome between Ren, Shay, and Calla. Fans of the series all had their own opinions on which of the boys Calla should end up with. I had a heartwrenching response to the way it turned out. I was pleased but at the same time my heart was breaking. Not many books can bring me to tears, but this one certainly did. 4) The Ending. Let's talk about this. I knew immediately when I read it that people were either going to love it or hate it. I bet Miz Cremer did too. I personally loved it. There is a theme that you can find in a lot of literary works (as I reach down deep and dig out things I learned from a high school English teacher) and I've always thought of it as the theme of no return. I guess the basic idea is that once you've gone on this journey, be it physical, spiritual, emotional, etc. you can never go back to what you were before. You are so forever changed that returning would be impossible. And that's what this ending said to me. The characters were all changed after the huge ordeal they'd just all gone through, and so of course they couldn't go back to living their lives the way they had before. That is what the ending was all about. I absolutely loved every bittersweet word of it.

What I Didn't Like: Are ya kidding me? Ha ha!

Overall thoughts: Wonderful! Fabulous! I had some high expectations for this book, and Andrea blew them out of the water. Bloodrose is a wonderful conclusion to a series that I know I'll read over and over again. I was sad to see it end. If you haven't ventured into this world, you should take some time to check it out!

My rating: 5 shots

For those of you who've read it, I'm curious, what did you think of the ending? If you can say without being spoilery, feel free to let me know in the comments!! Thanks, loves!!

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle

I received The Lure of Shapinsay from the author for a fair and honest review.
Check out the summary from Goodreads: Ever since Kait Swanney could remember, the old crones of the village have been warning her to stay away from the selkies. They claim that like sirens of old, the seal men creep from the inky waters, shed their skins, and entice women to their deaths beneath the North Sea. But avoiding an encounter becomes impossible when Kait is spotted at the water’s edge, moments after the murder of a half-selkie infant.

Unexpectedly, Kait is awoken by a beautiful, naked selkie man seeking revenge. After she declares her innocence, the intruder darts into the night, but not before inadvertently bewitching her with an overpowering lure.

Kait obsesses over a reunion deep beneath the bay and risks her own life to be reunited with her selkie. But when she lands the dangerous lover, the chaos that follows leaves Kait little time to wonder—is it love setting her on fire or has she simply been lured?

I thought the summary sounded really interesting, so I was eager to dive into it.

What I Liked: 1) The selkies. This was the first book I've read that really focused on this specific myth. I didn't know much about them, other than they lived in the sea, or the ocean. It was fun to get into this story and learn more about them. 2) Kait. Kait was the MC, a mortal girl living on the island of Shapinsay, which is surrounded by many myths and superstitions about faeries and selkies. Kait has this, to hell with you attitude that made her a really interesting and unique person to her community. 3) The storyline. Maybe it's because I was so unfamiliar with selkies in the first place, but there was nothing ordinary about this story. I had no idea where any of the plot twists were taking me, and it kept me engaged as a reader from the beginning. 4) The ending. The ending was unexpected, to say the least, but I think anyone who reads this story will be happy with the way it ends. Sometimes there are just characters who you want to get everything they want, and that's how I felt about these. They get...what they want, even though they may not have known it's what they wanted at all.

What I Didn't Like: The book was set in the 1800s, on an island that's either Irish, or Scottish. I wasn't sure which. But my biggest issue was that it was written in a form of old english with Irish or Scottish phrases and terms that I was not familiar with. I found myself having to disrupt my reading to look up a word, and I'm not comfortable with that kind of disjointed reading.

Overall thoughts: The Lure of Shapinsay is a fun and definitely intriguing book if you can get past any vocabulary barriers (people smarter than me won't have any trouble). The characters are unlike any I've encountered before, and the plot has all sorts of twists that will drive you to keep turning the pages. At it's core, this story is a love story, so allow yourself to get swept away off the shores of Shapinsay.

My rating: 3.5 shots


To our Winner of the Bone Dressing e-book giveaway!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (27)

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

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

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
Release Date: April 10, 2012

Attention Once Upon A Time fans, because I think this one's going to be right up your alley! I'm a big OUAT fan, and can't wait to get my hands on this new book! Check out this summary from Goodreads: Mirabelle’s past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents’ tragic deaths to her guardians’ half-truths about why she can’t return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who’s a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren’t pretty things, and they don’t always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy-tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy-tale curses of their own ... brothers who share a dark secret. And she’ll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.

What books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate

Ever wonder how your favorite characters spend their holidays? Well, you get a chance to spend Valentine's Day with some of our favorite characters from Lauren Kate's Fallen series in Fallen in Love.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: What makes your heart race a little faster? Just in time for Valentine's Day, it's FALLEN IN LOVE, four wholly original new stories collected in a new novel set in the Middle Ages by Lauren Kate. FALLEN IN LOVE gives fans the much-talked about but never-revealed stories of FALLEN characters as they intertwine with the epic love story of Luce and Daniel. The stories include: Love Where You Least Expect It: The Valentine of Shelby and Miles , Love Lessons: The Valentine of Roland; Burning Love: The Valentine of Arriane; and Endless Love: The Valentine of Daniel and Lucinda.

I know a lot of people had mixed feelings about this book. I didn't. I've actually gotten more and more interested in the series as we've gone along. So I was excited when I learned that this book was coming out. I always feel tense when I'm reading a Fallen novel, because anything can, and often does, happen. But I took this one for what it was: Fluff. Just a little bit more information about some of our favorite characters from the books, and watching them in some of their most vulnerable states. So much of the novels are focused on Luce and Daniel (well duh, they are the main characters!), that it seems like the only purpose the supporting characters serve is for those two. But this gives us a glimpse into their lives, and the important people and things in their lives. That was what I really enjoyed about these stories. Something that was unique about this story was how one flowed into another. We begin with Shelby and Miles, then at the end of their story, Roland comes on the scene. When the story is over, we pick up the next story with Roland in the same time and place as he was with Shelby and Miles.

I thought this was a fun piece of fluff to add to the Fallen series, giving readers a fun look at a different side of some of the characters. Anyone whose been enjoying this series should give this one a chance. It's a sweet Valentine's Day read!

My rating:

Falling For Books

Happy Valentine's Day, my bookish darlings! 

How often do you fall in love with a book? Not like, you think it's really good, or even great. I mean, fallen in so deep that you're sad when you realize that it's a book, and not real life? What does it feel like? I can probably count on one hand the books that I have fallen in love with. Okay...maybe I'd need both hands. There's something that happens when I'm reading, like I've tumbled headlong into a new world, and I'd much rather be there than in my own reality. Anyway, this post was inspired while I was listening to the audiobook of Julie Cross's Tempest. It wasn't far into the book when I just got this goofy grin on my face, and I realized I'd been talking back to Jackson as I was listening. Luckily, I was alone in my car and no one else could hear me. Reading and re-reading these books (or listening to them on audiobook) just brighten my day! So how often do you fall for a book? Do you know what it is that brings on the tumble? What does it feel like?

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day, and that someone touches your heart today (be they real or fiction!) Love to you all!


Monday, February 13, 2012

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

Jeff Hirsch's The Eleventh Plague was first brought to my attention a few weeks before I attended a young adult book festival hosted near my home, called YAK Fest. I always look up the books of authors who are attending book events that I'm going to! The summary I found for The Eleventh Plague sounded really interesting, so I decided to pick up a copy while I was there.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: The wars that followed The Collapse nearly destroyed civilization. Now, twenty years later, the world is faced with a choice—rebuild what was or make something new.

Stephen Quinn, a quiet and dutiful fifteen-year-old scavenger, travels Post-Collapse America with his Dad and stern ex-Marine Grandfather. They travel light. They keep to themselves. Nothing ever changes. But when his Grandfather passes suddenly and Stephen and his Dad decide to risk it all to save the lives of two strangers, Stephen's life is turned upside down. With his father terribly injured, Stephen is left alone to make his own choices for the first time.

Stephen’s choices lead him to Settler's Landing, a lost slice of the Pre-Collapse world where he encounters a seemingly benign world of barbecues, baseball games and days spent in a one-room schoolhouse. Distrustful of such tranquility, Stephen quickly falls in with Jenny Tan, the beautiful town outcast. As his relationship with Jenny grows it brings him into violent conflict with the leaders of Settler's Landing who are determined to remake the world they grew up in, no matter what the cost.

What I Liked: 1) Stephen. Stephen has had to face a lot in his life and as a result, he's become very strong, but also very wary and untrusting. But what I really liked was watching him slowly change over the course of the book, learning what he was really looking for, and starting to trust the new people in his life. 2) Jenny. Honestly, I wasn't sure about this girl for a while. She was kind of closed off, a little like Stephen, so it was hard to get to know her at first. But then I learned a bit more about her and started to understand a bit more about why she was...the way she was, I guess would be the best way to say it. She's a major influence on Stephen, and changes the outcome of the story. 3) Emotional turmoil. I can always tell a book is really good when I experience a range of emotion while reading. There were tears, happiness, satisfaction, a lot of different emotions that all went into this book. 4) At the end of the book, you have to realize that there was this message that no matter what happens, people try to rebuild and reclaim the life that they always want. Among the many things to take away from this book, I think that was my favorite.

What I Didn't Like: Do you remember when you first learned to drive a car? Was there a lot of stopping and starting as you got used to the amount of pressure needed to brake or drive? I felt like there was a little bit of that going on with The Eleventh Plague. Not stopping and starting, but hurry up and slow down. In future books by Jeff Hirsch, I'd hope to see a more even pace for the book.

Overall thoughts: The Eleventh Plague is a great debut with some very real characters, and a plot line that will keep you guessing. If you are a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction without the dystopian slant that so many seem to have these days, add The Eleventh Plague to your TBR list!

My rating: 3.5 shots

Friday, February 10, 2012

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

The cover of this story got me very excited. I love that dress, first of all. I'm also really into Greek mythology, and I thought this story sounded like it was going to be a modern day version of Persephone's story.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...

What I Liked: 1) I was surprised by this book from the start. Part of that was because I made assumptions based on other reviews I'd read about the book. DON'T DO THAT! I should know better, really I should. I was expecting a modern re-telling of the Persephone and Hades story. This book was a lot more than that. It was more of a loose correlation to the Greek myth that I am familiar with. Like a, "hey remember when this happened, well, it's happening again," kind of thing. I'm always happy when I get into a book and it's able to surprise me. 2) Plot. The plot of this book is really what drives the story. Page after page I found myself wondering what is going to happen?! with an intensity that is rare for me when it comes to plot. If you've read many of my reviews you know it characters that drive me more than plot. But Everneath is an exception to that rule. With each turn of the page, there is something new to discover and will keep you reading long into the night. 3) Jack. Miz Ashton knows how to write perfection in a boy, that's for sure. Okay, maybe he's not perfect, but I fell for him! He was the character that I felt the most connected with, the one that I wanted to get what he wanted in the end. He's very sweet, and caring, looking out for everyone in his life. 4) The bittersweet end. I loved and hated this one. It was the perfect way to end it for these characters, because I really don't think that they could have remained true to themselves as Miz Ashton had created them had it ended differently. It would have felt wrong. And I'm glad she decided to end it this way, knowing that it was going to be bittersweet. She stuck true to the characters she'd created, so they didn't have to become someone they weren't. <--Great job!

What I Didn't Like: 1) One thing, and one thing only. I never really cared that much for Nikki. I always feel like, when I really like a character, I want them to get everything they want. And it wasn't that way for me with Nikki. I didn't want bad things for her, I just...didn't feel the need to fight for her. When I did find myself wanting her to have what she wanted, it was because it was tied to Jack's happiness. So, I found myself wanting to know a little more about Nikki. To make her more of a friend, less of an acquaintance. I can't say this was the fault of the writing though. Nikki has been in the Everneath for a long time. So no wonder she keeps everyone at arms-length.

Overall thoughts: Everneath is a great, plot-driven novel with a total sweetie as one of the male MCs. Some of the characters have been created to keep everyone at arms-length, so it's a bit of a challenge to break through those walls, but once you do, you'll want everyone to get what they want in the end. Be prepared for tears as you come to the bittersweet end, but if you're anything like me, you'll definitely be looking forward to more! Was it really the end?!

 My rating: 4 shots

This book was read as a part of my Debut Author Challenge 2012!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan

I received Fractured Light from the author for review.
Check out the summary from Goodreads: Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. But she never felt ready to face them---until now. Defying the Auran Council and everything she's been taught, Llona must learn to use her power over light as a weapon if she wants to survive.
I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this story, because it sounded unique! The idea of Auras as people sounds really cool.

What I Liked: 1) May. May is Llona's best friend, and really the only friend she has for a while. May seems to be friends with everyone at the school, floating around from group to group. But she's funny, and bubbly, and reminds me a lot of my sister. I was always wondering who we'd find May hanging out with next. And what she'd be wearing! 2) Christian. I wasn't sure about Christian at first. He's kind of mysterious, so I was wary if he was going to turn out to be a good guy or a bad guy. But he's also sweet, and not in a, "I'm trying to get you to trust me" kind of way, so he definitely grew on me. 3) The idea of using light to manipulate life and energy. I can't go into much detail about this because I don't want to give away any spoilers. But this is definitely something that was unique in a world of paranormal books, and something that a lot of people will find very intriguing. 4) The writing style. Miz McClellan's prose was very descriptive and smooth. She makes it easy to forget that you are reading a book, instead of living the life of the characters spring to life from the pages.

What I Didn't Like: 1) Someone died that I didn't want to die. I'm all okay when it's random people whose deaths are being talked about (okay, not in real life), but when one of the characters that I've gotten to know gets killed, it bums me out. Though, I know why it had to happen. But none the less, when it happened, I said "NO!" out loud. 2) The ending felt a little...rushed. Like there was all this build up, and then...it was over quickly. But I didn't worry too much, because I realized it wasn't really over. There's another book!

Overall thoughts: Fractured Light is a unique YA paranormal book with some really great characters and a unique plot line. As with series books, we know that the end is not really the end, something that with this particular book makes me happy. The reader is left with the feeling that while Llona may have won the battle, the war is far from over. I can't wait to see where the Light takes us next!

My rating: 4 shots

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cover Reveal: Bad Hair Day by Carrie Harris

Did you read Bad Taste in Boys? I reviewed BTIB for the Big Bad Halloween Event here in October. And she's just revealed the cover of the second Kate Grable book, Bad Hair Day.

Here's the summary as it's posted on Goodreads: Kate Grable is geeked out to shadow the county medical examiner as part of her school’s pre-med program. Except when he’s arrested for murder, she’s left with the bodies. And when Kate’s brother Jonah stumbles upon a dead gamer girl, she realizes that the zombie epidemic she cured last fall was only the beginning of the weirdness taking over her town. Someone’s murdering kids—something really hairy. And strong. Possibly with claws.

Is it werewolf awesomeness like Jonah and his dorktastic friends think? Kate’s supposed to be a butt-kicking zombie killing genius...but if she can’t figure out who’s behind the freakish attacks, the victims—or what’s left of them—are going to keep piling up.

I'm sad to say it won't be out in time for the next Halloween event, but that doesn't make me any less excited!

Waiting on Wednesday (26)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that highlights the books that we are anxiously awaiting. Wanna know what book I'm waiting on this week?

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

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Release Date: May 1st, 2012

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.

Divergent was one of the first books I ever reviewed here on Fuzzy.Coffee.Books, so it has a special place in my heart. Not to mention, I thought it was a fantastic book, and I am going crazy with curiosity about what is going to happen next with Tris and Four. So I am definitely excited to Insurgent to come out in May!

What books are you waiting on?

Win a copy of "Bone Dressing" by Michelle I Brooks!

If you missed my review of Bone Dressing by Michelle I. Brooks, let's have a recap! First, check out the summary from Goodreads!
Time is running out & the Dark that's been chasing Syd for many lifetimes has finally caught up with her.

Sydney Roberdeau lost her parents as a young girl. Waiting for her life to start and the freedom that will come with her eighteenth birthday, Syd spends much of her time haunting the local cemetery. It is there, stretched out among the dead, that she feels most alive, most at home. Until one rainy night when Beau, Sarah and T.J. crash her ghostly sanctuary, appearing out of nowhere, turning her already inside-out world one degree past upside down.

Syd must now revisit past lives, dressing in the bodies of her previous selves & bone dressing. Her only chance to outrun the evil breathing down her neck is to face her own worst nightmares and her strongest desires. But if she can't stay out of trouble in this life, how can she possibly fix mistakes from past lives? And just how many lives has she lived, loved and lost? What is Syd exactly, and what will she risk for the life of a man she doesn't remember, the man she spent a lifetime with, the man she loves? Everything including her very own life?

Here are my overall thoughts: Bone Dressing will stun you, startle you, and ultimately, make you fall in love with it as you explore the dark recesses of love, loss, karma and good vs. evil. I loved the story and the plot, and can't wait to see where the characters go next! This is definitely one to add to your TBR list!

To see my full review check it out here.

Well, lucky for y'all, Michelle has offered an e-copy of Bone Dressing for a giveaway! (This is an e-book via smashwords coupon)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Destined by PC and Kristin Cast

I've been a follower of the House of Night series for at least 3 years now, and this is the ninth book of the series. I think this may be the longest I've stuck with a series since Sweet Valley High: Senior Year.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Zoey is finally home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, by her side, and preparing to face off against Neferet -- which would be a whole lot easier if the High Council saw the ex-High Priestess for what she really is. Kalona has released his hold on Rephaim, and, through Nyx's gift of a human form, Rephaim and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together -- if he can truly walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father's shadow.

But there are new forces at work at the House of Night. An influx of humans, including Lenobia's handsome horse whisperer, threatens their precarious stability. And then there's the mysterious Aurox, a jaw-droppingly gorgeous teen boy who is actually more -- or possibly less -- than human. Only Neferet knows he was created to be her greatest weapon. But Zoey can sense the part of his soul that remains human, the compassion that wars with his Dark calling. And there's something strangely familiar about him . . .

Well. At this point, unless you've read at least some of the series, this means nothing to you. Literally, if this is a series you are interested in, you have to start at the beginning. Destined is not something you can jump into without having read the preceeding books. You'll just be lost. I know this because I've read all eight of the previous books, and I was lost at times.

What I Liked: 1) Well, it's happened. The writing, which was immature and and simplified to the point of insulting in the beginning, has changed. Complex sentence structures and more variety in language and idioms. It only took 9 books, but it seems that someone finally informed these authors that teens know more than 7 words. 2) New characters. It seems finally we see the influx of some new characters. I actually found myself rushing through certain parts so that I could get to the parts with some of the new people. It's little things like this that keep me reading this series. 3) The teens, they're growing up! I'm not sure what kind of timeline these books follow. It seems that, with all that's happened, we should have at least been through two years. And I'm pleased to see that these characters are growing. Starting to have minds and thoughts of their own. This was especially shown when Shaunee and Erin have a blowout. I wonder where that will go!?

What I Didn't Like: 1) Remember how I said that the writing is finally improving? Well, unfortunately it seems as if writing and plot are inversely related. As the writing improves, the plot gets worse. As annoyed as I was by the writing in the first few books, when the immaturity was almost too much to take, I was addicted to the plot, riddled with curiosity at the end of each book. Unfortunately now, there is little to keep me interested. I can trade poor writing for an intriguing plot. But I'm not sure that I'm willing to trade plot for good writing.

Overall thoughts: I've stuck with this series through nine books. I've seen the writing style change and drastically improve. I've loved and hated the characters all at different points. But I'm sad to say that I am losing interest in this series, although this one was better than the last. It seems to me that something new needs to happen or it's time to wrap it up. Thankfully with this book we saw the introduction of several new characters, and that's what's going to keep me going until next time!

Overall rating: 3 shots

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Ahhh!!! I could barely stand to wait for this book, I was so excited! I could have only looked at the cover and have known that I was going to read it. Yes, I judged a book by it's cover, but I can't help it. Throw in a little fairy tale, and I'm a goner.

Did you know that Cinder was available as an audiobook from Macmillan Audio? I love listening to audiobooks, they just make books come alive for me. This clip of the Cinder audiobook was provided to me from Macmillan audio, to share with you all! Check out this clip and then visit Macmillan Audio or to purchase the full audiobook!

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

What I Liked: 1) Cinder. Cinder is a strong character with a unique personality that's strong but quiet. I definitely related to her in that she did what she needed to do to keep the peace in her family, as it was. 2) Correlation with Cinderella. Funny in a very ironic way, but what I thought was great was how obvious, yet unique they were. She's got two stepsisters, and a stepmother who is wretched. She's caught the Prince's attention, but he doesn't know exactly who she is. It's familiar, but unfamiliar at the same time. How can you even do that? Marissa Meyer managed to! 3) Her relationship with Peony. Peony is the younger of the two stepsisters, and she and Cinder have a good relationship. I think Peony looks up to Cinder as more of a big sister than she does Pearl (the other stepsister). I liked their familial relationship and I liked Pearl a lot too. 4) The story. The science-fictiony space aspect really brought a new dimension to this story. Everything about the plot was fascinating, it was filled with intrigue and mystery, and of course what I think all good fairy tales should have: Hope. 5) The humor. There was a lot of humor, and much of it was ironic. Which is my favorite kind! 6) The setting. A post apocalyptic setting where we stay primarily in New Beijing, though we learn some about the Lunar settlement. There was so much imagination and creativity in the setting that it really helped everything come alive.

What I Didn't Like: I didn't like the way Cinder was treated, but that's all part of the story, right? You aren't supposed to like the way she's treated as a second-class citizen.

Overall thoughts: This unique debut by Marissa Meyer brought a creative twist to a familiar story. Truly dynamic characters come to life and a the plot sparks the imagination to keep readers engaged from the first page. I positively devoured this book and recommend it to anyone who loves fairy tales and creative and unique re-tellings!

My rating: 5 shots

This book was read as part of my DAC 2012!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Egyptian by Layton Green

In a break from my norm, I took some time to read Layton Green's The Egyptian. I think I was initially drawn into the book because I'm always curious about Egypt and it's history and lore. But the story itself is more of a Balducci-esque mystery/thriller!
Here is the summary from Goodreads: At a mausoleum in Cairo’s most notorious cemetery, a mercenary receives a package containing a silver test tube suspended in hydraulic stasis.

An investigative reporter tracking rogue biomedical companies is terrified by the appearance of a mummified man outside her Manhattan apartment.

A Bulgarian scientist who dabbles in the occult makes a startling discovery in his underground laboratory.

These seemingly separate events collide when Dominic Grey and Viktor Radek, private investigators of cults, are hired by the CEO of an Egyptian biomedical firm to locate stolen research integral to the company’s new life extension product. However, after witnessing the slaughter of a team of scientists by the remnants of a dangerous cult thought long abandoned, Grey and Viktor turn from pursuers to pursued.

From the gleaming corridors of visionary laboratories to the cobblestone alleys of Eastern Europe to a lost oasis in the Sahara, Grey and Viktor must sift through science and myth to uncover the truth behind the Egyptian and his sinister biotech – before that truth kills them.

What I Liked: I spend so much time these days reading paranormal and young adult fiction that I'm amazed sometimes when I get into a book and there aren't werewolves or vampires or fairies. Or teens, for that matter. So this book was kind of like taking a vacation from that world. That was fun for me. 1) If I could only choose one word to describe this book, it would be intricate. There are so many different things going on at once, that I was worried for a bit that I might have trouble following it. But I didn't. The storylines that were woven were intricate, but easy enough to follow and still be intriguing. 2) The strength of the characters. All of the characters that we followed through the books were very strong in their own way. And it was their strength that really drew me into the story, because I was kind of in awe of them, in a way. Especially Veronica. I thought she was a great female lead amongst the other male MCs. 3) The second half of the book. This is where I really sank into the story. Everything seemed to get deeper and more complex once I reached a halfway point. The storylines, the relationships, even the reason behind the stolen object. Yet at the same time, it all become more clear. I think the depth of the story here really helped to bring some things to light. This is where the development both of plot and characters really took off.

What I Didn't Like: 1) The first half of the story. I didn't so much dislike it, as I felt a little disconnected. Especially with the jumping around in the plot. There is a lot of information to process in a short amount of time. But once I started understanding more about who and what was going on, once everything became a bit more developed, I liked the story a lot more.

Overall thoughts: For fans of mysteries and thrillers, Layton Green's story is definitely one to check out. It will keep you guessing until the very end, when you'll be surprised at the final outcome. You won't know which characters you want to root for, but you'll feel compelled to learn all of their stories. Check this one out!

My rating: 4 shots

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Spread Love, not Hate

Spread <3, Not Hate is an event hosted by authors K.C. Neal and K.M. Parr, to stop the spread of bullying. Bullying happens everywhere. To kids, to adults, at home, school, work and in cyberspace. A lot of people have been victims of bullying at some point in their life, and it's time for this abuse to stop. It's time for people to step up when they see or hear of someone being bullied and say something. If we fight back against bullying, maybe we can make a change in someone's life. Never forget that it is a small group of people who can change the world.

There are a lot of books out there that tackle the subject of bullying. In honor of Spread <3, Not Hate, I decided to read and discuss the book Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers, which deals with bullying in a high school setting.

Here is the summary of Some Girls Are from Goodreads: Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around. Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.

In Some Girls Are, Regina Afton starts as the second in command of the feared and revered popular clique of girls at Hallowell High School. But after another member of the group stabs her in the back, she becomes public enemy number one. All of the torment and torture Regina and her friends have inflicted on the less popular students in their school is now turned back on her, tenfold.

This book takes a rather unique look at this jungle-like atmosphere. Regina knows what's coming from her "friends" and she fights back. She bullies them as much as they bully her, though each time it breaks her down a little further. Regina understands that with the lengths she's gone to to hurt people, there can't be a forgive and forget. But slowly, she does begin to change and her selfishness melts away.

I hate characters that are mean simply for the sake of being mean, which it seems like many of these characters are. I felt sympathy for Regina when it came to some of the things that Anna and her minions were doing to her, but it is hard for me to conjure much sympathy for her "friends." Herein lies the brilliance of Miz Summers' writing. In my heart, when I separate people from action, bullies vs. bullied is a good vs. evil, black-and-white kind of issue. But Miz Summers reminds readers that you can't separate the actions from the person. Is it possible there is a gray area? Can you honestly say that a bully being bullied is getting what she deserved?

This book is edgy, honest, and downright scary at times. To believe that there are people that treat others the way that, and that there are people out there who live in the constant state of fear that Regina finds herself in, who are overwhelmed with loneliness and sadness, this astounds me. And it reminds me once again that events like this one, Spread <3, Not Hate are important. No one should have to suffer at the hands of a bully. So let's take a stand to stop all bullying once and for all. 

For some other YA fiction books that examine bullying, check out these titles:
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
Bystander by James Preller (middle grade)
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Piccoult

Please visit these other wonderful authors and bloggers who are participating in Spread <3 Not Hate!