What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vortex by Julie Cross

Do y'all remember me just raving about Julie Cross's debut, Tempest last year? If you don't, you can refresh your memory by reading my review here. Well, I fell head over heels for main character Jackson - and since I first experienced this one as an audiobook, it really brought him to life. I was so anxious for more Jackson that I was crossing days off my calendar until Vortex was released.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Jackson Meyer has thrown himself into his role as an agent for Tempest, the shadowy division of the CIA that handles all time-travel-related threats. Despite his heartbreak at losing the love of his life, Jackson has proved himself to be an excellent agent. However, after an accidental run in with Holly—the girl he altered history to save—Jackson is once again reminded of what he's lost. And when Eyewall, an opposing division of the CIA, emerges, Jackson and his fellow agents not only find themselves under attack, but Jackson begins to discover that the world around him has changed and someone knows about his erased relationship with Holly, putting both their lives at risk all over again.

What I Liked: 1) Jackson. Jackson, Jackson, Jackson. He competes for number one on my bookboyfriend list with Ethan Wate from the Beautiful Creatures series. In Vortex, we see a different Jackson than we did in the first. After everything he's been through, he's shut down emotionally. So we got to see a different side of him in this one. 2) I loved learning more about Tempest, and their role in the CIA. I feel like we were left with so many questions about it at the end of Tempest, and I was glad that Miz Cross chose to explore that more in this new book. Now that Jackson has officially joined, we are privy to the inside scoop! 3) There were some new characters brought into the story, since Jackson has joined Tempest, we get to meet his new teammates, as well as get to know some familiar faces a little better. I was particularly interested to see Jenny Stewart again (not a surprise, since she was introduced as Tempest Agent in Tempest), and how different her personality was, and how it changed as the book progressed. The secondary characters are just as interesting in Vortex as they were in Tempest. 4) Holly. Shock of all shocks with this one. The way this all went down (vague terminology to avoid spoilers) was a huge surprise to me. I didn't even imagine it going in that direction. You get to know Holly pretty well in the first book, but you get a whole different side of her in Vortex (sensing a theme here?) - because of the changes Jackson has made to his timeline. 5) The emotion. I didn't think it was possible for Vortex to be more heart-wrenching than Tempest, but it was. There are certain parts that had me in tears. And with the ending, and everything that Jackson has learned about time travel, it makes me wonder where in the world we are going to be when the next book comes out.

What I Didn't Like: I loved it!

Overall Thoughts: I cannot get enough of this series. I love Jackson. I love how much he cares about me Holly. His sense of humor is awesome. The plot is action packed and so creative that I am literally pulled in from page one. I didn't know if it was possible to be better than I thought Tempest was, but Julie Cross has managed to do it with Vortex. If you haven't started this series with it's original and creative thoughts on time travel, add it to the top of your TBR list. Now begins the long wait for the next book!

My Rating: 5 shots

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (64)

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.... 

Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins 
Release Date: April 30th, 2013 

After revealing the cover of Sweet Peril a few months ago, I've just been counting down the days until this one comes out. I enjoyed the first one, and can't wait to find out what's going to be happening with Anna and the swoon-worthy Kaiden!

What are you waiting on this final Wednesday of January?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

A few weeks ago, I reviewed the audiobook of Under the Never Sky, the first book in this series by Veronica Rossi. You can read that review here. Well, I definitely loved the book and was very excited to see that this one was releasing soon. And I dove right into it pretty quickly after it released. Surprisingly, I decided to move forward with the audiobook even though I hadn't particularly cared for the narrator in the first book. But there was a different narrator in this one, so I took a shot.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both. Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

What I Liked: 1) Great secondary characters. So many times in books, once the main characters start to develop a relationship, in this case, Perry and Aria, we rarely see any more development of their relationships with others. But due to some of the plot twists in this story, Aria spends a lot of time with Roar, who is best described as Perry's best friend (if Blood Lords have friends?) and I loved the friendship that developed between these two. It was a very important part of the story to see how Aria is starting to fit in with the Outsiders, and not just accepted (to an extent) because of her relationship with Perry. 2) Once again I liked Aria. Her awesome development that was started in Under the Never Sky just continued in Through The Ever Night, as she is learning and developing her courage and her strength, without having Perry to lean on this time. I think she sets a great example for YA readers. She's also grown into someone I find to be very realistic and one of those "book friends" that I will enjoy revisiting! 3) I love it when I find things in books that make a good message. There are so many wonderful things to take away from this book, in addition to it just being an enjoyable place to spend a few hours. But the loyalty and love that these character exemplify is astounding, moving, and heartbreaking at times. And it isn't just the main characters. Secondary characters like Roar, Talon, and Liv have the ability to tug at your heartstrings just as much. 4) I haven't spoken much about the plot, because in my opinion, the characters outshine it simply because how well they've been written. The plot delivers a seamless transition from book one, with near perfect pacing and plenty of surprises. If you think you know what to expect from this book 2, I'm here to tell you, you have no idea.

What I Didn't Like: Once again, I thought this was a poor choice of a narrator. Under the Never Sky was narrated by a woman, who did not sound like she was anywhere near Aria's age. Well, Through The Ever Night was narrated by a man with the same problem. He did not accurately represent Perry, in my opinion. But, I knew it was a possibility since I had found this to be the case with the first book.

Overall Thoughts: Veronica Rossi's debut series is rising the ranks of my favorite books. All the elements that I personally love about books come together in her second book, Through The Ever Night. These characters are supremely real, and the plot is full of surprises that all come together in a very satisfying way and will leave you clamoring for me. (Yeah, I totally used the word clamoring.)

My Rating: 5 shots

Have you seen my On Broadway post? There is an opportunity to win a $15 amazon gift card!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

I like the cover of this book. Honestly, that's why I decided to read it. Sometimes I'm attracted to a book because of the cover, and then the summary sounds interesting, so I add it to my to-read stuff. But I try really hard to not (admit to) judge a book by the cover. But it just so happens that in this one, I did. I think it's cool. Plus, it's almost February, which means Valentine's Day (yes, I'm one of those people who celebrates Valentine's Day during the entire month of February). So Paper Valentine was perfect for right now. In theory, anyway.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls. For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness. With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

What I Liked: 1) Well, obviously I liked the cover. That's something that I already talked about. But I'm mentioning it again. 2) I liked the mystery part of it. It was fun to try and put the pieces together along with Hannah. The pace of the bits and pieces of evidence being revealed was excellent, kept the story flowing and helped to keep me interested. 3) Finny! I knew this guy was going the be one of those guys with the tough exterior, but is all warm and gooey on the inside. You definitely get the chance to learn some surprising things about him as the book progresses, and there are some big shocks!

What I Didn't Like: I didn't like Hannah. She's very whiny, and a little too trusting, especially with everything that has been going on. I did like her sense of curiosity, but overall, she was a little hard to relate too. Also, the ghosts. I knew it was coming, but it all felt out of place. Like there is supposed to be some reason that Hannah can interact with them, but I have no idea what it was.

Overall Thoughts: Paper Valentine was an interesting take on a serial murder mystery in a small town. The mystery part of it was great, and I especially liked how the reader is given little bits of evidence to keep them interested and guessing as the story progresses. I found it hard to really get into the ghost part of it, and didn't find Hannah to be one of those MCs that I just think I could be friends with. But I know for those of you who are into mysteries with well written plots, this one should be on your list.

 My Rating: 3 shots

Friday, January 25, 2013

On Broadway (and a $15 gift card giveaway!)

I'm a huge Broadway fan. I love musicals. Hard to grow up in music and theatre and dance to not enjoy them, I think. Anyway, I just found out that in 2014, they are bringing Disney's Aladdin to the stage.

Aladdin is one of my favorite Disney movies, so I am hoping they truly do this one justice on stage. Some of them are so good (The Lion King, Beauty and The Beast) and others haven't done so well (Tarzan, The Little Mermaid). Also, I just recently saw Les Miserables in the movie theatre.

So I started thinking about my favorite books being made into movies, and movies being made into musicals, and musicals being made into movies. (Wow, you get bonus points if you read that whole run-on sentence.) What if we skipped the middle man and made some of our favorite books into musicals? Can you imagine that?

Divergent the Musical. Popular songs include: "This Little Faction of Mine", "Beyond the Pit," and "From the Top of the Ferris Wheel."

Matched the Musical. Popular songs include: "The Untouchable Waltz (the banquet scene)", "Notes from Grandfather", and "Him, Me and Sisyphus Makes Three."

How about Throne of Glass (the musical)? Popular songs include: "Once An Assassin," "Everyone Has Secrets," and "Battle Scars." This one sounds particularly cheery, doesn't it?

Okay, so I clearly had way too much fun with that. Anyone have any other suggestions as to what books we could make into musicals, or song titles for books? Come on, I'm open to suggestions! In fact, let's make it a contest! Leave your suggestions in the comments below, and I'll select a random winner! You'll win a $15 gift card to your book ordering place of choice! Make sure you leave your email address in the comments so I can contact you! And I guess we need a timeline - I'll choose a winner next Friday, February 1st, so have your suggestions in by then! And have fun with it!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rise by Andrea Cremer

The final book of the Keepers and Guardians. I was waiting a long time for this one, because the Nightshade trilogy is one of my favorites, and I was desperately curious to find out how they all came to be. And since there were still so many unanswered questions at the end of Rift, I knew Rise would have to bring it all home.

Here is the summary from Goodreads: Everything Conatus stands for is at risk. Hoping to gather enough resistance to save their order, Ember and Barrow attempt a desperate escape. But fate offers little mercy. When their mission is exposed, the couple face relentless pursuit by the supernatural horrors that act on the commands of Eira’s ally: the mysterious Bosque Mar. A shocking revelation forces Ember out of hiding, sending her back into the heart of dark magic at Tearmunn keep, where she must convince her old friend Alistair of her love or face dire consequences. Ember’s deception offers the only chance for the resistance to succeed, but what she discovers in the shadows beneath the keep will shatter her world and bring about the Witches’ War.

What I Liked: 1) Finally, finally, finally, we learn where the Guardians come from. And I was surprised to find the answer. Where it came from was completely not what I was expecting, even as I was halfway through Rise. But it was very settling to find out how Guardians came to be. 2) Ember's loyalty. You can't help but feel sorry for Ember because she is being torn in so many directions. She has a strong sense of loyalty that I appreciated in this book, and without it, I don't think the book would have been as good. It guided many of her decisions, despite the pain and anguish that she suffered because of them.

What I Didn't Like: I wish I was able to get into this prequel duo more. For as much as I loved the Nightshade Trilogy, these books seemed to be much less...emotional. Not emotional in the sense that it makes me cry or it's dramatic or anything. But where as in the Nightshade books I felt like I was right there with Calla and Co, I didn't feel that way with Ember and her friends. I think this is because Ember didn't give into the emotions the way that Calla did, they are different people after all. (Wow, I've failed big time at my "do not compare" policy). I think because Ember is from a long past time period, she has much different responses to certain emotions. This is a trend I've noticed about myself when it comes to historical fiction. Sometimes I struggle with them when they have reactions to things that I don't understand.

Overall Thoughts: I'm glad to finally find out where Calla and her packmates came from, and I was surprised by the ending, that it didn't turn out the way I was expecting. I personally wasn't able to relate with Ember very much. There are things about her that I appreciated, but my inability to personalize her made it challenging for me to get as deep into this story as I generally like to be. I think all fans of the Nightshade series should read this at least once, to get answers to the many questions we've had since first meeting Calla. I probably won't be re-reading it anytime soon, but I am thankful for the answers. I'm also looking forward to Andrea Cremer's next works, to see what she does outside the world of Keepers and Guardians.

My Rating: 2 shots

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (63)

Waiting on Wednesday! Also known as TBR Expansion Day! It's a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that highlights the books that we are looking forward to the most!

This week my WoW is....

The Elite by Kiera Cass
Release Date: April 23rd, 2013 (two days after my birthday!)

I loved The Selection. I've read it a couple of times, and it's just as good every time. I know there was a lot of controversy surrounding The Selection, but I thought it was fabulous, and can't wait to read more. You can check out my review of The Selection here, and get excited for The Elite.

What are you waiting on this Winter Wednesday?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl is an adult novel, which is outside the normal for me, at least on this blog. 99% of what I review on here is YA, but I've seen and heard so much about this book that I decided to check it out. It was also the winner of the Best Mystery and Thriller 2012 award on Goodreads. So, clearly someone thinks it's good.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

What I Liked: 1) I loved the way this was written. Written like diary entries that recap the day or part of the day that Nick has experienced. I think it was the best way for the reader to get into the book and to piece together the details of what has been happening. 2) Amy. The missing wife. It's hard for me to explain her without giving a huge part of the book away, but I thought her character was great. (For those of you who've read it, I didn't think she was a great in a "I want to be like her" kind of way. Great in a "she made the story really interesting" kind of way.) 3) The mystery and suspense. My family is really into crime shows, so we watch a lot of those. I always enjoy the ones where we (the viewers) know more about what is going on than the characters in the show. So I liked that aspect of the story. Since we got several different perspectives in the book, not just Nick's, the readers get information that Nick doesn't get, or that the police don't have. Instead of the reader having to wait for the police to solve whatever crime this is, we can make our own conclusions. It makes me feel smart when I can solve it (before the fictional characters). Wow, I have some high standards, don't I? Being smarter than fictional people. 4) The crazy, insane ending. This ending makes the whole book worth it. Again, I won't say much to avoid giving anything away, but I was fascinated.

What I Didn't Like: Nothing!

Overall Thoughts: If you like mystery, step outside your YA comfort zone to give this one a read. It definitely deserves the awards it has won. Gillian Flynn has a gift for throwing curves at you that you never expect and for pulling together a fascinating story with a killer ending. I'm keeping her on my list of authors to watch!

My Rating: 5 shots

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

I rushed right into Sapphire Blue after after finishing Ruby Red because I had enjoyed it so much. That's one thing about getting into a series after several of the books have been published. Less of a wait to find out what happens next!

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean. At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

What I Liked: 1) Gwen. Once again, I found myself really enjoying Gwen as an MC. She's funny, and even though she's been handed this huge responsibility, the things that I like about her don't change. She is remarkably grounded for someone who can suddenly time travel. She's a very normal teen girl other than that fact, and it makes her a very likeable main character. 2) The questions. I love how many questions there are surrounding this story. I couldn't quite tell who to trust, or who was on the right side. It really gave me a lot to think about as I was reading along, and because Gwen was such a likeable MC, she's the only one I really trusted, and her questions were the same as mine. 3) Historical detail. I liked how much attention was paid to the historical detail. It's obvious in the details how much research was put into the periods that Gwen and Gideon visit. But at the same time, you don't get too bogged down with the details that the action isn't moving forward. That line between the two was met with great accuracy. It was awesome. 4) Supporting characters. There were some great supporting characters in Sapphire Blue. Some of them played a role in Ruby Red, but unlike the first book, in Sapphire Blue we know enough about Gwen and what is going on with her that we get more information about the supporting characters. Lesley, as Gwen's best friend takes to the idea of time travel remarkably well. While it was a little suspicious how well she accepted it, she offers a great amount of support to Gwen. James, her ghostly friend who attempts to teach her to fit into her time period. Both he and Xemerius (what a mouthful) add a lot of humor to the story. I think their humor was what was missing from the first book. Just when things are starting to get too serious, one of them shows up to lighten things up.

What I Didn't Like: No complaints here!

Overall Thoughts: A great second book that did not fall into that "second book trap" at all. The pacing picked up a little bit, the book continued to have it's great historical detail, and the character development was wonderful. I loved the humor that the supporting characters brought to the story, and can't wait until book three, Emerald Green is released in the US!

My Rating: 5 shots

Friday, January 18, 2013

Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

I met Rae Carson at ATBF this year, she was such a sweetheart. I had loved The Girl of Thorns and Fire, so I was definitely excited to read Crown of Embers when it was released.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone's power. That is not all she finds.

What I Liked: 1) Hector. If you didn't see this one coming (in the book), then you're just not having enough fun in romance. He's the strong silent type that fits in with the setting of the book, and can quietly steal someone's heart without even realizing that he's done it. I really like how much better we get to know him throughout this story. 2) The traveling. A lot of this story (both in The Girl of Fire and Thorns and Crown of Embers) is dedicated to travel. I especially love the perspective this gave me about this world. As the reader, it gives you the opportunity to explore a lot of the world and understand how everyone lives and why there may or may not be discord - which obviously there is, since in the summary it mentions the country crumbling. 3) The....Bachelorette? As Elisa is a young, new ruler, and a widow, naturally she is urged to choose a husband, to help her rule. It was pretty comical, the way people were pushing different men towards her. And there was one man in particular who I knew she was getting close to, and I could see that going somewhere...and was not surprised at all in the way that one turned out.

What I Didn't Like: I had mentioned in my review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns how much I liked Elisa's growth, how strong she'd become in the end. However in this one, it seems she's gone back to the whiny person she was in the beginning of the first book. I didn't like seeing her digress like that, and thought it wasn't the best direction for her, given the direction of the story. But she's still likeable, and I am curious about what's to come.

Overall Thoughts: While Crown of Embers didn't excite me as much as The Girl of Fire and Thorns, it was still a nice continuation. There were some things that I liked better about book 2 than book 1, and vice versa. I was glad to get to know some of the characters a little better, and pleased with the addition of some humor (though I think some of it was unintentional). Crown of Embers is a nice continuation of an already good storyline.

My Rating: 3.5 shots

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

In my quest to read all of the books from the Breathless Reads tour, Falling Kingdoms was the last on my list (because it was the last to be released).

Here's the summary from Goodreads: In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined: Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct. Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making. Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield. Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword. . . . The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

What I Liked: 1) I liked the setting. It was a completely new world, with it's own rules, it's own cultures and traditions. And because there were three kingdoms being explored, there were three different cultures to learn about. Some of their traditions were the same or similar across the land, but many were different. 2) I liked the magic that was in this world. I actually would have liked more, but it's inclusion made everything even more unstable while the kingdoms were at war. 3) I liked Cleo for the most part. She was the character that we got to know the best, and while she was a little whiny, she was reckless and impulsive, and very caring. Everything she did, while reckless, was to save her sister, and I thought that was great. It was something I would definitely do.

What I Didn't Like: There were too many "main characters." The way it's written, Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are all main characters, and we explore the story in different times from their perspectives. It's very confusing to decide who it is to trust, and for me, I don't particularly like unreliable narrators. When it comes to main characters, I want to be able to get to know them well enough to decide what side they are on.

Overall Thoughts: This has been called a YA Game of Thrones. Well, I've never read or watched Game of Thrones, so I can't make any comparisons. I can tell you that the somewhat medieval setting and the magical properties of this world are very well written and are the shining stars of this book. However, the number of main characters to keep track of started becoming tedious. Thank goodness they weren't Russian, or I'd have never kept track of them. I don't know if I'll be sticking with this series, but fans of the Game of Thrones series should definitely give this one a shot!

My Rating: 2 shots

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (62)

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

This week I'm highlighting a book that I'm sure we are all anxiously waiting for. In fact, most of you have probably already used it on your WOW. But here it is...

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Release Date: March 19th, 2013

Am I wrong? Anyone not as ready for this as me? I can't wait to see how this story is going to end, and what else we will find that somehow leads to the characters that we've already learned to love (The Mortal Instruments characters)!

What are y'all waiting on this lovely Wednesday?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes + Giveaway

Next week, Jennifer Lynn Barnes' new book Nobody hits the shelves. I was interested in this one as soon as I heard about it, based on this awesome summary.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away. That’s why they make the perfect assassins. The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated. Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.

What I Liked: 1) The idea. Such a unique idea that it's even hard to describe. With how many books I read, I always love it when I come across something that can take me completely by surprise, and is so different than everything else. That is a big part of this story. 2) Nix. I wasn't sure if I liked him at first, but the more he get to know himself, and then I got to know him, the more I liked him. One of the ingenious things about how the book was written was how little Nix and Claire knew themselves. At first, it frustrated me because I like feeling connected to the characters. But the more I thought about it, that was kind of the point of Claire and Nix being Nobodies. People don't get to know them. They are considered to be nothing. No personality, no influence, nothing. And so that's kind of how they were written in the beginning. It wasn't until they started acknowledging that they were something, started knowing each other, that as a reader we could get to know them. That made character development very interesting. 3) The ending. It ended quite perfectly, in my opinion. Enough questions were answered to satisfy me for a one-shot novel, but there was enough left open as well, so the reader is left to imagine what the next steps were for Claire and Nix's lives, and several of the other characters they've encountered along the way. I love it when you are left with a feeling that their lives continue even after the book ends. It makes it more realistic.

What I Didn't Like: Parts of the story moved a little slow for my taste, but nothing that really hindered my ability to read and enjoy the story. I sometimes found myself needing to re-read something to understand what was happening, which breaks up the flow. But this did not bother me too terribly, and shouldn't warn anyone off from reading the book!

Overall Thoughts: Jennifer Lynn Barnes' newest book, Nobody is a completely unique and intriguing story. She knows her characters well, and develops them in a way that makes complete sense with the story, and the plot is very nearly seamless as it transitions throughout the book. I definitely recommend Nobody to anyone who is looking for something new to add to your shelves. This is unlike anything you've ever read!

My Rating: 4 shots

In addition to sending me this ARC to read and review, Egmont has graciously offered me a hard copy of Nobody to giveaway, as well as a new paperback copy of Jennifer Lynn Barnes' Every Other Day! This giveaway is US/Canada only. Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ARC was received from Egmont USA in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Burned by Sara Shepard

Oh, Pretty Little Liars. I'm addicted to this series. I can't stop, no matter how much I may want to. So of course, I eagerly devoured Burned once it hit shelves.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: It's spring break, and the pretty little liars are trading in Rosewood for a cruise vacation. They want nothing more than to sail into the tropical sunset and leave their troubles behind for one blissful week. But where Emily, Aria, Spencer, and Hanna go, A goes, too. From scuba diving to tanning on the upper deck, A is there, soaking up all their new secrets. Emily is smooching a stowaway. Aria's treasure-hunting partner is a little too interested in her booty. Spencer's going overboard trying to land a new boy. And a blast--or rather, a crash--from Hanna's past could mean rough waters ahead for everyone. The liars better tighten their life jackets. A perfect storm is brewing, and if they aren't careful, A will bury them at sea. . . .

What I Liked: 1) The humor. The Pretty Little Liars books always have some humor, mostly in how outrageous they are. But there was more...what I viewed as intentional humor in this one. Oh, some of the things happening were still pretty outlandish, but the intentional humor was a new angle that I enjoyed. 2) New characters. Sometimes it's nice to break up this story with some new and fresh characters. They don't always stick around for very long, but as long as it can throw "A" suspicion on someone else, it's great fun. 3) A new setting. I think it must have been hard to come up with things that "A" could pull on the girls while on a cruise ship. It definitely made this one stand out from the other stories which have kind of started to run together.

What I Didn't Like: Y'all know I love this series, but I'm ready for the ending. It seems like it's just being dragged out longer than it needs to be. I think there is only one book left, but it's about time. I'm ready to find out where this has all been leading, and this book especially just felt like it was reaching.

Overall Thoughts: Honestly, this book, while it added a new setting, and some new characters, felt like a filler just propelling us forward to the next book. As much as I have enjoyed this series, I know I can't be the only one who is ready for "A" to have her butt kicked once and for all.

My Rating: 3 shots

Friday, January 11, 2013

Venom by Fiona Paul

I featured Venom back during Halloween when I was talking about books with masks on the covers. Well, over the holidays I finally got a chance to read it so I could share my thoughts with you!

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancĂ©, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape. When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancĂ©, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco? Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.

What I Liked: 1) I'm starting to read more historical fiction, and I really enjoyed that aspect of it. The historical details were obviously well researched and added a lot to the story, without feeling like I was just inundated with info. 2) Falco. Ah, the rogue artist. This guy fit perfectly in the time period, and had just the right mix of attitude and charm to pull off the heartthrob of the story. And there was a lot of mystery surrounding him, so as much as I liked him, it was hard to decide whether or not I wanted Cass to trust him (or if I wanted to trust him). 3) The romance. Sneaking around Venice in the middle of the night? *swoon* That tugs at my heartstrings. But I'm a romantic to begin with. Maybe it doesn't sound so romantic to you. Also, some of the places they visit are utterly unromantic. But still. 4) The details. I already mentioned this once, but the details were all so vivid that it was definitely easy to find yourself swept up in the story. I particularly loved the details about Cass's clothes. I would have loved to live in this story for her dresses alone.

What I Didn't Like: Have you ever tried to put together a puzzle where it wasn't cut quite right, and the pieces didn't quite fit? There were some parts of Venom where I felt as if that was the case. Everything made sense, like you could see the clear picture, but it was just a little skewed. It's not a big complaint, just a few scenes that were jarring. It was also a long read for me, took almost a week and a half (and I usually get through books in two days). I don't know if it was because of the skewed plot, or if it was just a slower pace. But either way, it was kinda long for me.

Overall Thoughts: I definitely recommend Venom for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. The luscious details of this story will plant you firmly in Renaissance Italy, and the romance will keep you sighing for hours. Be prepared for a long read as you dive into it, and watch for those little events that might step out of the lines for a few minutes, but they'll get back on track soon enough. I for one am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series!

My Rating: 4 shots

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

I've seen this book around for a while, picked it up a few times, and put it back down because of the size of my reading stack. But during December, when there were fewer releases on that list, I had some time to check on a few books I'd been considering but hadn't had the time to read. So of course, Ruby Red came up. I picked up the paperback, which has a different cover than the hardback, and sank in.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon—the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

What I Liked: 1) I was surprised to discover a few pages in that this was a translation. Clearly I hadn't been paying attention when I picked it up. But Kerstin Gier is a German author, so the book was naturally translated from German to English for publication here in the US. I figured it out, by the way because of some interesting phrasing during the dialogue. It felt a little unnatural at first, but once I got into the story, I thought it lent an air of authenticity to the story. Kind of refreshing. 2) Gwen. I liked Gwen a lot. She was funny, she was nice, curious, and eager to learn. All excellent traits for a main character. Personable, which is my favorite way to describe good characters. Like someone I would be friends with, were she a real person. I am always able to get into stories when I feel like I've become friends with them. I care more about what happens. 3) Gideon. Love him or hate him, I'm not really sure. Gideon remains pretty mysterious throughout the whole thing. The pretty boy that you really want to trust, but still have a little prickle of doubt every time he enters the scene. I love the depth that all of the characters seem to have. 4) The time travel aspect. It wasn't until I read Julie Cross's Tempest that I started to really enjoy time travel as a subgenre. But like Tempest, this one has a unique slant to the purpose and cause of time travel, and I thought it was very interesting and very fun.

What I Didn't Like: It moved just a tad slow for me, but other than that I thought it was very fun.

Overall Thoughts: Great plot, personable characters, and time travel, the all add up to a really awesome book. Don't hesitate if you aren't one for time travel, because there is a lot more to the story than that. It's kind of...background. I mean, it's an important part of the story, but the relationships and how they are developed are written so well that it's easy to get wrapped up in that. I had a little problem with the pacing, but it didn't mess with me too terribly much. If you haven't had a chance to check out this series from Germany, give it a shot!

My Rating: 4 shots

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (61)

Hi! Welcome to my first Waiting on Wednesday of 2013! It's taken me some time to get my act together for the New Year, but I am back and ready to talk more books with y'all! There are a ton of new books coming out in the upcoming months, so many that I am excited for that I can hardly stand it. So of course I'm ready to jump back in to Waiting on Wednesday. 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...

Mind Games by Kiersten White
Release Date: February 19th, 2013

I haven't read anything by Kiersten White, though I know she is the author of the popular Paranormalcy series, and is also well known for having a very fast turnaround of books - writing, editing, and publishing all very quickly. But I think this summary sounds interesting.
Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future. Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways… or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.
So I'm looking forward to reading this one next month!

What are you waiting on this lovely Wednesday?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Hi everyone! Sorry I've been away for a while! Needed some time to catch up on reading, get back into work, the boss man was out for a bit after surgery...you know, just general non-cyber things. But I'm back now, and easing back into the blog. Expect that in the next few weeks I'll be back to our regularly scheduled programing!

But for now I did want to let you know of a few things going on!

First, congratulations to our 2012 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway winner!

Amy from Denim Jacket Librarian Dishes!

And thanks to everyone who participated! It was a lot of fun for me, and I hope y'all enjoyed it too!

I have some more giveaways coming up soon, one in just a few weeks, so stay tuned. I've also got a couple of tour stops for some upcoming releases!

Hope you are all having a wonderful New Year so far and can't wait for more fun!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Broken by A.E. Rought

Broken by A.E. Rought
Version: eGalley from NetGalley
Release Date: January 8th, 2012

 I'll be honest, when I came across Broken, I read "modern spin on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" and I was sold. That's all it took for me to get interested. So when I was approved on NetGalley, I jumped right in.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where a young couple’s undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all. A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry's boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetery and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog. When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she's intrigued despite herself. He's an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely... familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel's. The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there's something very wrong with Alex Franks. And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks' estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows.

What I Liked: 1) I liked the concept. The idea of a modern Frankenstein was what initially appealed to me. 2) Emma. I thought she was written very realistically, especially in her emotional response to both Daniel's death and Alex's appearance. She's easy to empathize with, and makes for a very likeable character. 3) The last 100 pages, where the Frankenstein story really came into play.

What I Didn't Like: This book is 406 pages long. The first 300 pages bore little resemblance to the story I was expecting to see - the modernized version of Frankenstein. In fact, the first 300 pages were so generic I wasn't sure I was going to get through it. It could have been any story, in any book. It felt forced, like it was following a set formula to simply get to the end. There needed to be more exploration of the Frankenstein story, like bringing it in from beginning, to truly be a modernized version.

Overall Thoughts: Despite the creativity and realistic and personable characters, I was disappointed in the lack of true Frankenstein story. It just didn't become present until near the end of the story, leaving the beginning lacking any true direction and becoming a rather generic version of YA fiction. The premise was good, but I just was hoping for more.

My Rating: 2 shots