Monday, September 22, 2014

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Black Ice
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
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Review:
I began Black Ice wearily. Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series was a guilty pleasure of mine but Finale left something to be desired and I really debated even reading Black Ice. But I am glad that I did! Black Ice is completely different than Hush, Hush and took me on a twisty-turny story of survival.

Britt has been training for a backpacking trip through the Teton Mountain Range. After her boyfriend broke up with her Britt wants to prove to him, and to herself, that she can make this trip. But her plans get derailed and she ends up stranded in a snowstorm with her best friend. The girls have no choice but to seek refuge in a remote cabin, a cabin inhabited by two fugitives. Britt strikes a bargain with the men, she will lead them off the mountain and they won’t kill her.

This novel was a total thriller! I was instantly engaged by Becca’s writing, it was so easy to get sucked in to the story. I didn’t trust any of the characters and it was fun to riddle out their motives along with Britt.

Britt was an interesting main character. At times she was a bit immature, especially when it came to her ex, but this immaturity was a good foil to the perfect student, perfect daughter image Britt felt she had to portray.

My favorite thing about Black Ice though was the way the story continued evolving. At first it was a coming of age hiking story, then it was a story of escape, and finally it became a survival story where Britt was forced to battle the elements and her captors.

Overall, Black Ice was a thrilling psychological story of survival. I was constantly questioning characters motivations and if Britt was going to make it out alive. This is definitely a book to read curled up with a blanket on a snowy day.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Firebug by Lish McBride

Firebug 
Author: Lish McBride
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
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Review:
Ava is a Firebug which comes with its perks. She can set fires with her mind, keep things burning, and be all around badass. It also comes with its downsides though. Ava has to have her house enchanted to be fireproof, wear pants with special pockets, and she has to work for the Coterie, the magical mafia.

The world building in Firebug was well thought out. You could tell that McBride had spent time constructing the setting and characters. The problem was everything was new to the reader and was packed in to the first 100 pages of the novel. It made the beginning feel very slow and I wished there hadn’t been so many flashbacks. I cared about Ava’s life pre-Coterie but not as much as I cared about what was going on in her present life.

Despite the slow beginning I found myself liking Ava. Ava was a fiery character (pun completely intended) I liked her snappy, independent attitude and the fact that she was always willing to stand up for herself. Despite being basically enslaved to the magical mafia she did small acts of defiance and was willing to go toe to toe with Venus, the mob boss. At times though Ava did make dumb decisions or she didn’t pick up on basic social clues and that kind of bothered me.

The best part about Firebug was the secondary characters. I adored Lock and Ezra, Ava’s mafia killing team/best friends. Lock is half-dyrad so he can do…well…tree-stuff and Ezra is a were-fox. I know this isn’t my usual cup of tea but these two characters sucked me in! Ezra especially was a scene stealer he was a bit of a player, a snappy dresser, and he was always good for a funny zinger. It was Ezra and Lock that kept me turning pages and it will be because of Ezra and Lock that I will read the sequel.

Overall, Firebug was a fun, funny, and interesting novel. It was definitely unlike anything else I’ve read in recent memory. I was drawn in to the world that McBride created. I have the first novel in her Necromancer series, Hold Me Closer Necromancer, and I can’t wait to start reading!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Marie Lu - Don't Miss A Word Giveaway


The Young Elites


Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Penguin Teen
Publication Date: October 7, 2014

Synopsis:
I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.
Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.
Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.
Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.
Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.
It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

Marie Lu is the author of the New York Times bestselling Legend series. She spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing Assassin’s Creed, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with one boyfriend, one Chihuahua mix, and two Pembroke Welsh corgis.

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LEGEND. PRODIGY. CHAMPION. ELITE. Don’t miss a word. Enter for your chance to win the full list of Marie Lu titles including the completeLegend trilogy and the all-new release The Young Elites.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno

The Half Life of Molly Pierce
Author: Katrina Leno
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
GoodreadsAmazon

Review:
Molly Pierce has a problem. She loses minutes, hours, even days and she is beginning to think she is losing her mind as well. When a car accident and death force Molly to start remembering her world beings unraveling and she has to take a look at who she is, and what has been happening during her missing time.

Usually I don’t like being in the dark during novels. There is a fine line between creating suspense and just being annoying, or worse gimmicky. Katrina Leno plays the line so perfectly! The reader finds out along with Molly about each plot twist and there was always the right ratio of answers coupled with new questions to keep the story driving.

And boy was the story driving! From the first chapter The Half Life of Molly Pierce consumed my life. I couldn’t stop thinking about what was happening to Molly, why she was losing time, who these new people in her life were to her. It was a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Okay, okay, so I might be overselling but I really did want to know what was happening!

What I loved about The Half Life of Molly Pierce was that there were times when I thought things would take a turn for the paranormal, but they never did. Leno’s novel was a total psychological contemporary thriller and the fact that it could have taken a turn for the paranormal but never did made me like it even more. Some of the most interesting things in life aren’t paranormal at all.

I also liked Molly. I admired her determination to find out the truth, even when doing so could really harm her. The supporting characters were also stellar, especially Molly’s siblings who were both supportive in their own ways. I love seeing sibling relationships in YA.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Half Life of Molly Pierce, the mystery was gripping, the characters were interesting, and it kept me up late turning pages. I will definitely be reading whatever Leno decides to write next!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Crown Of Ice Blog Tour {Review & Giveaway}


Crown of Ice
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Publisher: Month 9 Books
Publication Date: September 9, 2014

Synopsis:
Thyra Winther’s seventeen, the Snow Queen, and immortal, but if she can’t reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she’s doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.
Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal.
A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai’s childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles. Thyra’s willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts — to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her breast. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup’s devotion and the fire of a young man’s desire, the thawing of Thyra’s frozen heart could be her ultimate undoing.
CROWN OF ICE is a YA Fantasy that reinvents Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” from the perspective of a young woman who discovers that the greatest threat to her survival may be her own humanity.
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Review
Crown of Ice is a retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen tale The Snow Queen. I’d never read, or even heard of The Snow Queen, until I began this novel. Crown of Ice follows the frosty and calculating Thyra Winther who is tasked with assembling a broken mirror before her eighteenth birthday. If she fails Thrya will become a wraith, doomed to wander the castle. 

What I really enjoyed about Crown of Ice was watching the Snow Queen thaw. Thyra is presented as a rather cold character, willing to do anything to complete the mirror and escape a terrible fate. As the novel progressed though we began to see other sides of Thyra and by the end she was nearly unrecognizable from her former self. 

The catalyst for this change was Kai Thorsen. Kai is a boy that Thyra met before she became Snow Queen. Thyra remembers Kai as being good at math and calculations and believed he could help her assemble the mirror. She recruits Kai through lies but her feelings for him are real. 

Another reason for Thyra’s change was Kai’s childhood friend Gerda. I didn’t care for Gerda. She was kind and loyal almost to a fault. I honestly should have liked her but I felt like she kept getting in the way and hindered rather than helped the story. Gerda was a part of the original story though and I can see why she was included in Crown of Ice even if she wasn’t a favorite of mine. 

Overall, Crown of Ice was a fun re-telling with a lot of character development. I was rooting for Thyra and Kai to both finish the mirror and realize their feelings for each other the entire novel. Crown of Ice is a perfect novel to curl up with on a snowy night with a cup of tea!
About The Author
Vicki Lemp Weavil was raised in a farming community in Virginia, where her life was shaped by a wonderful family, the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an obsession with reading. Since obtaining her undergraduate degree in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she’s gone on to acquire two masters degrees, living in places as diverse as New York City and rural North Carolina. She’s currently the library director for a performing an visual arts university. Vicki loves good writing in any genre, and has been known to read seven books in as many days. She enjoys travel, gardening, and the arts. Vicki lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and some very spoiled cats.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Jackaby by William Ritter

Jackaby
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
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Review:
I consider myself a bit of a Sherlock Holmes buff. I’ve read all of the original Holmes stories and many other novels from the Victorian Detective Lit era so I was really excited to dive in to Jackaby which was pitched as Doctor Who meets Sherlock (two of my favorite shows). Unfortunately, Jackaby ending up falling flat.

Abigail Rook is a new arrival in New Fiddleham, New England. She leaves the comfort and safety of her wealthy family to strike off on her own and become an explorer. I admired that about her but it failed to endear her to me. After reading an entire book written from her perspective I felt like I didn’t know her at all. I actually felt like the reader got a better glimpse of Jackaby than Abigail and what I saw of Jackaby I didn’t really care for.

Jackaby was meant to be a paranormal Sherlock Holmes but I found him lacking. He felt more like a caricature of the original Holmes than his own person. I wanted to see more flair and pizzazz instead Jackaby was constantly running from place to place with seemingly no rhyme or reason.

What I love about Holmes is that he has an arrogant air which he backs up with facts and observations. Jackaby solved mysteries in much the same way as Holmes but I felt like his conclusions were always told and painstakingly explained rather than presenting the facts and letting the reader riddle it out for themselves.

Overall, I think if I hadn’t read all of the original Sherlock Holmes stories and a plethora of Holmes-esque spinoffs I might have enjoyed Jackaby. Instead, the story was fighting an uphill battle to stand out from its considerable competition and it failed to do so.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Glass Arrow


The Glass Arrow
Author: Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Expected Publication: February 10, 2015
Goodreads

Synopsis:
The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.
In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

My Thoughts: Honestly this book wasn't even on my radar until Jenna Does Books wrote a stellar review for it. Now, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy because it sounds absolutely fabulous!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Illusions of Fate
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
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Review:
As soon as I began reading Illusions of Fate I knew I was going to love it. Jessamin drew me in to her world and I couldn’t reading stop until I knew what was going to happen to her and Finn!

Jessamin was from the island, Melei, which was colonized by Albion where she attends school. Jessamin, the illegitimate daughter of a professor at the school she is attending, works and lives in a hotel unbeknownst to her class obsessed mother. The letters between Jessamin and her mother were a fun and funny aspect of the story.

Ya know what? I just loved Jessamin in general! She was funny, spunky, and really independent. She didn’t care what the upper-crust people around her thought, she was her own person and was proud of her Melei heritage.

As much as I loved Jessamin I liked Finn equally as much. He was from a completely different world than Jessamin, born to a life of titles, power, and magic. I enjoyed watching the relationship between Finn and Jessamin develop and the entire idea of shadowing someone. It added an interesting (and romantic) layer to their story.

I also appreciated that while this book had magic and fantastical elements White also included the real-world aftermath of colonization in the story. It showed what being a colonized nation really entailed and how it affected life on Melei.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Illusions of Fate it is one of my favorite reads so far this year. My only complaint is that there wasn’t more to the story. It was a little on the short side and I was sad when I learned it wasn’t part of a series. I could have curled up and lived inside the wonderful world that White created.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann

Poisoned Apples: Poems For You, My Pretty
Author: Christine Heppermann
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
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Review:
I usually don’t review poetry or short stories. I like reading them but I have a hard time justifying what I liked or didn’t in the short format. In poetry especially, I find myself making snap judgments. I either love it or I hate it, there is no in between. Christine Heppermann’s novel Poisoned Apples: Poems For You, My Pretty was no different I found myself either loving or hating each poem.

The poems were loosely based on fairytales which was one of the aspects that I really enjoyed. I liked that the author took something fantastical and brought it to the modern day struggles of teens.

The poems dealt with topics such as body image, eating disorders, substance abuse, and many other issues. I found myself really loving the poems that dealt with substance abuse and not really caring for the ones that dealt with eating disorders or confidence issues. Probably because I just couldn’t relate to the subject matter.

And therein lays the crux for why I enjoy some poems and hate others. Relatability. Either the subject matter speaks to you or it doesn’t. Some of Heppermann’s poems spoke to me while some fell flat. I think reading these poems will be a unique experience for each reader and if you’re looking for something different this might just be that something.

Overall, Poisoned Apples was a very quick read (under an hour for me). And if you like poetry or fairy tales this might just be the book for you!