Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer

The Cemetery Boys
Author: Heather Brewer
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: March 30, 2015
Goodreads ♥ Amazon ♥ BookOutlet

Allow me to begin this review by telling you, in no uncertain terms, that I adored The Cemetery Boys. Every now and then I will come across a book that is just a very Emily book. The Cemetery Boys was one of those books! It had all the things I like: a great sense of place, realistic characters, a group of bad boys, mental health issues and surprises I didn’t see coming.

Stephen is forced to move from Denver to the painfully small town of Spencer, Michigan after his mother is committed to a mental institution and his father goes broke. Living with his grandmother that hates him, Stephen begins to explore his father’s hometown and learns about the town’s urban legend…that during the “bad times” nightmare-esque creatures require a human sacrifice. At first, Stephen doesn’t believe, but after hanging out with twins Cara and Devon he starts to question whether the bad times are an urban legend or if the creatures are real.

My favorite thing about The Cemetery Boys was Devon and his crew of bad boys. Every night they get drunk in the town cemetery, aptly called the playground, and break a few laws. My favorite types of characters are those that live in the moral gray area and all of these boys, especially Devon, do. The boys in this story reminded me a little bit of Kavinsky and his gang in The Dream Thieves, one of my all time favorite books, so I loved them all the more.

This novel also deals with mental illness. Not only is Stephen’s mom in a mental institution. Cara and Devon’s mother is the town crazy and Stephen questions his sanity because he can’t figure out if the “bad times” creatures are real or not.

I really enjoyed that this novel always kept me on my toes! I was never sure if the urban legend of the “bad times,” and the nightmarish creatures, were real or not real. I was surprised right up until the last page.

Overall, The Cemetery Boys was my kind of book. From the subject matter, to the characters, to the setting I was completely immersed in this story. Do yourself a favor and grab yourself a copy of this novel now, I have a feeling it’s going to be a on a lot of 2015 favorites lists!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Blood Passage

Blood Passage
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: October 6, 2015


A jinni who's lost everything.
A master with nothing to lose.
A revolutionary with everything to gain.
When Nalia arrives in Morocco to fulfil Malek's third and final wish she's not expecting it to be easy. Though Nalia is free from the shackles that once bound her to Malek as his slave, she's in more danger than ever before.
Meanwhile, Malek's past returns with a vengeance as he confronts the darkness within himself, and Raif must decide what's more important: his love for Nalia, or his devotion to the cause of Arjinnan freedom.
Set upon by powerful forces that threaten to break her, Nalia encounters unexpected allies and discovers that her survival depends on the very things she thought made her weak. From the souks of Marrakech to the dunes of the Sahara, The Arabian Nights come to life in this dazzling second instalment of the Dark Passage Cycle.
My Thoughts: I loved the first book in this series, Exquisite Captive, and I can not wait to return to the world Demetrios created in this sequel! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan

Series: The Lynburn Legacy #3
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Goodreads ♥ Amazon ♥ BookOutlet

Unspoken is one of my all time favorite books. I love the characters and the way Sarah Rees Brennan introduces the reader to the Lynburn family. Unspoken is pure perfection and if you haven’t read it yet I suggest you stop reading this (I don’t know why you’d be reading a review for the 3rd book if you haven’t read the first anyway, but you might’ve come here on accident) and get yourself a copy!

I’ll be the first to admit that Untold wasn’t my favorite, but I was still very excited for Unmade. I needed to know what was going to happen to Kami, Jared, Ash, Rusty, and all of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Unmade begins shortly after the events of Untold. The crew is trying to figure out a way to defeat Rob Lynburn, and Kami doesn’t want to believe that Jared could be dead.

My favorite thing about this novel was the characters. Unfortunately, the plot was a little slow, and at times, I thought it was being drawn out. There was a lot of researching and sitting around when I wanted more of Kami’s headstrong running in to danger without thinking. Luckily, the characters saved this novel and I loved all the interactions between Kami, Ash, and Jared and also between Holly and Angie. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that the dialogue between Kami’s Dad and Mrs. Lynburn was hilarious! Sarah Rees Brennan excels are writing funny and relatable dialogue.

Sarah Rees Brennan also excels at writing scenes that tug at my heartstrings. There is one scene involving Rusty that I was not prepared for and I’m still not ready to talk about. Maybe later, maybe someday, but not today.

Overall, I enjoyed this conclusion to the Lynburn Legacy series but I didn’t love it. At times it lagged and I had trouble seeing Rob’s evil motivations. Still, it was a satisfying ending to a series I enjoyed.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop

Hello and welcome to my stop on the spring cleaning giveaway hop! The lucky winner will get to choose one of the books pictured below. All you have to do to enter is fill out the rafflecopter and make sure to keep hopping!

Adrenaline Crush by Lauri Boyle Crompton
Salvation by Anne Osterlund
On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane
Killer Instinct by S.E. Green
Arclight by Joslin L. McQuien
The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole

Dead of Winter
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: January 6, 2015

I make no secret of my love of Kresley Cole. There is something about her writing that sucks me in and forces me to keep reading. I felt that keenly in Endless Knight but when it came to reading Dead of Winter something was missing. That usual ‘suck me in’ feeling wasn’t there and I found myself fighting to get through this novel.

Dead of Winter begins where Endless Knight left off. Jack has been kidnapped by The Twins (The Lover Card) and Evie is riding from Death’s house to save him. Evie still isn’t sure who she wants to be with and for some reason everyone is calling Jack, J.D. I don’t know if I missed it in the last book but I couldn’t remember anyone calling him that and it detracted from my reading of the story.

My least favorite thing about this novel was the fact that everything revolved around the Love Triangle. While the last two novels dealt with love triangle-y stuff there was enough other plot that it wasn’t all about that. Unfortunately, the love triangle took center stage here and was all the story ended up being about. Also, fair warning, whatever ship you are on you won’t be happy.

Because the entire story was based around the love triangle the plot was really predicable. You knew exactly what was going to happen until the very end, which was a surprising cliffhanger.

Overall, despite not really enjoying this installment I’m still looking forward to the next book in the series. I want to know what’s going to happen with all the Arcana, and if they will be able to stop the game. And yeah, a secret part of me wants to know what's going to happen between Jack, Death, and Evie.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Top 10 Books On My Spring To Be Read List

This was a hard list to make because there are so many fabulous books coming out this spring but, after much consideration, these are the 10 that I am most excited to finally read!

1 Lion Heart by AC Gaughen
2 Novice by Taran Matharu
3 The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

4 Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff
5 The Duff by Kody Keplinger

6 Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
7 Paradise City by CJ Duggan
8 Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

9 The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
10 Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

The Sculptor
Author: Scott McCloud
Publisher: First Second

Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Goodreads ♥ Amazon ♥ Book Outlet

The Sculptor showed up on my doorstep, from the publisher, and honestly I didn’t know what to make of it. I have never reviewed a graphic novel. The last one I read was Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi back in 2008. Needless to say I was skeptical, but I shouldn’t have been! The Sculptor is a interesting, well rounded story, with the added bonus of wonderful art.

The Sculptor is about David Smith, a formerly famous sculptor, who trades his life for his art. This graphic novel follows David’s struggle to survive in New York, his difficulty in creating sculptors that find commercial success, and him finding love in the year he has left.

Initially, I had a hard time relating to David, he was so focused on his sculptor’s that everything else was pushed to the back. He ignored the few friends he had and treated them poorly. I did feel bad for the guy though; he lost his apartment and was wandering the streets before Meg entered his life. It was Meg that became his muse and forced him to look outside of himself, despite her own problems.

I was honestly surprised by how deep and introspective The Sculptor was. I expected something lighter and instead discovered this great story about art, the creative process, living and dying in New York. This would have been a story I enjoyed if it hadn’t been a graphic novel. The fact that McCloud’s art was lovely was an added bonus. I especially liked seeing what David’s sculptors looked it.

Overall, The Sculptor was a wonderful read. I appreciated its depth and beautiful artwork. I’m looking forward to reading more of McCloud’s work.

*Quick note to my YA readers: This is a review for an adult book.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Stacking The Shelves 135

Week In Review
Netgalley/Review Request
Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel
Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt

Death Wish by Megan Tayte 

New on the Shelf
Finding Lubchenko by Michael Simmons
The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Fracking King by James Browning

The Fracking King
Author: James Browning
Publisher: New Harvest
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Gooreads ♥ Amazon  Book Outlet

I had no idea what fracking was before moving to South Dakota. It turns out North Dakota is a fracking state and once I learned what fracking was I was understandably concerned.

Here is the quick overview from my understanding. Fracking is removing natural gas from the earth. Frackers dig a really deep hole, pump water and other fracking fluids in to said hole and miraculously natural gas comes out. The problem is this contaminated water can leach in to underground waterways and then make the water in your house flammable. Then fracking companies have the audacity to tell you it isn’t dangerous. Well, now that that lecture is over, The Fracking King is set at the intersection of fracking, Scrabble and a boys boarding school.

Winston Crwth (it rhymes with truth) is a competitive scrabble player who just got a prestigious Dark Oil & Gas Scholarship to attend Hale boarding school in rural Pennsylvania. At the boarding school Winston makes friends, plays scrabble, chats with the states poet laureate, and plots to get a meeting with Pennsylvania governor Linda King LaRue to talk about the fact that Hale kids are getting sick and the water in his room caught on fire.

I liked this novel. But I have a soft spot for novels that make little sense and then wrap up in impressive ways. The problem with The Fracking King was that things never really made a lot of sense and then the book ended without the satisfying wrapped up feeling. With the short length of this book there was plenty of space for the author to expand on ideas and wrap things up more thoroughly. So, while I liked it, mostly because I was interested in the subject matter, I didn’t love it.

Overall, The Fracking King was about two things I’m really interested in, Scrabble and fracking but the disjointed storyline and the lackluster ending made this only an okay read for me rather then something I could thoroughly enjoy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Infandous by Elana K. Arnold

Author: Elana K. Arnold
Publisher: Carlrhoda Lab
Publication Date: March 1, 2015
Goodreads ♥ Amazon ♥ BookOutlet

I’ve been obsessed with Venice Beach for a while. I don’t know what it is but there is something about the artists, shops, the sun and the surf breaking against the shore in Venice Beach that I find whimsical. The entire reason I picked up Infandous was because it was set in Venice Beach. Unfortunately, Infandous was set in a very different Venice Beach then the one I know. It was set in the back alleys and dark shadows.

Infandous follows the story of Sephora, a Venice Beach local, and her mother a former model. Sephora is in summer school, trying to figure out how she feels about her mother dating, and she is keeping a secret. Sephora has a very weird relationship with her mother. The thoughts she has about her, and the ways she acts around her made it feel like she had an Oedipus-esque complex.

Infandous was well written but very gritty and actually kind of gross. Sephora has a strange relationship toward sex and her descriptions bordered on lurid. I thought for a large portion of this book that it was because she was raped (she wasn’t) but when Sephora’s secret came out I kind of understood her strange way of thinking, even if I didn’t like it.

One of the elements of this story that I enjoyed was that greek fables and fairy tales were interwoven with the story and told in their original format rather than the Disneyfied versions. It was interesting to read these stories and see how Arnold wove the story around them.

Overall, Infandous was a short and gritty read. It is very different from other books set in Venice Beach and I liked seeing the darker side of the town. Although I can’t say I fully enjoyed this novel, because I didn’t care for the subject matter, it was well written and I will definitely check out other novels Arnold writes in the future.