Friday, November 29, 2013

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: Dec 10, 2013
Goodreads Amazon

Review:
For the first part of this novel all I could imagine was Titanic in space. I know you’re thinking “Whoa snap! That sounds awesome!” (or something equally cheesy) and it was. I really enjoyed the first part of the novel, but about a quarter of the way through the novel morphs in to a survival story with a lot of walking, which never interests me, and then with the introduction of the paranormal element I found myself slipping further and further away from the story.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe, her father built Icarus, the ship she is traveling on, and everyone keeps a safe distance from her for fear of reprisal by Lilac’s father. I liked that while Lilac is obscenely wealthy she never acts snobbish or like a poor little rich girl with too many problems. She was easy to relate to and I liked that during the survival situation she never complained and was really a strong heroine despite her upbringing.

The chapters written from Tarver’s point of view were my favorite. I think that they were stronger, had more emotion, and I couldn’t get enough of Tarver’s back story. He is a military hero with extensive survival experience and is only aboard the Icarus for photo ops because that’s what high ranking officers are meant to do, schmooze. If the entire novel had been written from his point of view I would have enjoyed the story a bit more. Random rant: There are not enough YA/NA books with male perspective.

The relationship between Lilac and Tarver is very love/hate. When they meet aboard the ship there is a mutual attraction but as soon as Tarver finds out whom Lilac is his feelings morph to disdain. And Lilac pushes Tarver away because of her father. When things do finally change between them (this isn’t a spoiler you knew it was coming) it happens very fast and it felt insta-everything. I liked Lilac and Tarver as separate characters but I didn’t care as much about them as a couple.

Overall, I liked These Broken Stars the first quarter of the novel was awesome and had me hooked but as the story morphed and changed I found myself feeling ever more distant and ultimately it ended up being a middle of the road read. I’m unsure if I will be picking up the sequel but if the cover is as gorgeous as this one I might be conned in to it.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Blogiversay Celebration {2}!


My actual Blogiversary was 2 days ago but I figured since the blog is 2 years old I need to have 2 giveaways! In celebration of Thanksgiving and my Thankfulness of this blog and everyone who has helped to make it a success I am giving away an epic swag pack! 



Giveaway
There are signed bookmarks, chapter samplers, Twilight and Mortal Instruments movie posters, Etiquette and Espionage buttons and so much more buried in this pile of swag!

*Because I have to ship this prize and International shipping is crazy this will be a US Only Giveaway! (International followers can still enter my Official Blogiversary Giveaway!)

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Murder Complex


The Murder Complex
Author: Lindsay Cummings
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins
Expected Publication: June 10, 2014
Goodreads

Synopsis:
An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young's Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.
Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision. The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is-although he doesn't know it-one of the MC's programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family? Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.
My Thoughts: I think I'm going to have to change this meme from Waiting on Wednesday to Thriller Wednesdays because my last 5 WOW's have featured thrillers! I had to pick The Murder Complex though because this book just looks amazing it has murder, assassins, and a deliciously creepy cover. I'm excited!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

2 Year Blogiversary!

Happy Blogiversary!

Today I have been actively blogging for two years! I started this blog in May of 2011 but didn't begin taking it seriously until November 2011.

When I first started the blog I thought I would post a couple reviews, share my thoughts, and then like most other hobbies I would give up on it after a couple months and move on to the next thing. But after 2 years, I am still here. I honestly think I am more surprised then anyone else about this!

Through blogging I have discovered so many new books, met, interviewed, and fangirled over amazing authors, learned how the publishing industry actually works, and have gotten to know some other really great bloggers! The generosity and support of the blogging community is amazing and I am happy to be a part of it!



Giveaway

To Celebrate I am giving away your choice of any book that I have reviewed on this blog over the last two years! To give you an idea here is the list of novels! There are over 150 reviews! (This giveaway is International so if the book depository ships to your country you can enter).


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Monday, November 25, 2013

These Broken Stars Blog Tour


These Broken Stars
Authors: Aime Kaufman & Megan Spooner
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: December 10, 2013
Goodreads ♥ Amazon
Synopsis:
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?
Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

Fun Fact
The very first kernel of an idea for this book came long before we ever intended to actually write a book. Back when we were just playing around and writing things to entertain each other, we decided to start a new scenario. Amie wanted to do a shipwreck backdrop. Meg wanted to do a space backdrop. THESE BROKEN STARS was the result!

About The Authors
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are longtime friends and sometime flatmates who have traveled the world (but not yet the galaxy), covering every continent between them. They are sure outer space is only a matter of time. Meagan, who is also the author of the Skylark trilogy, currently lives in Asheville, NC, while Amie lives in Melbourne, Australia. Although they currently live apart, they are united by their love of space opera, road trips, and second breakfasts.

Visit the These Broken Stars website for the latest news on the series and follow the authors on Twitter at @AmieKaufman and@MeaganSpooner. You may also sign up for their newsletter as well! These Broken Stars will be available in North America on December 10, 2013.

If you pre-order the book from Malaprop's Bookstore, you can also get a collectible TBS poster autographed by the authors!

Giveaway 
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Friday, November 22, 2013

Pawn by Aimee Carter

3/5 Stars
Title: Pawn
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: November 26, 2013
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Review:
Being a dystopian story in an oversaturated market is hard. It’s not that thinking of a bleak dystopian future is hard, that is actually really easy and keeps becoming easier as public opinion is progressively more jaded toward government. What is hard about being a dystopian is that because the market is oversaturated it is impossible to avoid comparisons. Pawn would have been great had it not reminded me of The Selection by Keira Cass (although more bleak), Tandem by Anna Jarzab (although the world building in Pawn wasn’t nearly as good), and The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau.

The basic premise of Carter’s dystopia is that at 17 each teen is tested and given a roman numeral (I-VII) that they will carry for the rest of their lives and determines the kind of life they will have. When Kitty, the main character, is tested she receives a III which means a terrible life at the poverty level which she attempts to escape to stay with her boyfriend Benjy.

Kitty was likeable and fun to read about. When Kitty was faced with difficult decisions I never knew exactly what she would choose but that was okay because Kitty’s opinions changed throughout the novel. She was a real person! Kitty underwent some great character development. She goes from a girl barely surviving to a reluctant member of a rebel movement. What I didn’t like was that other characters kept calling her spunky but I felt like I was told she was spunky rather then experiencing it.

My other favorite character was Lennox Creed, or Knox as he would rather be called. Lennox Creed has the most badass name I have heard all year. Knox Creed would make a really excellent villain. In the story though he is more of a gray area character who you both want to trust and don’t really trust just because of who he is.

The romance in this story was close to, but not really, a love triangle. Kitty is very serious about her boyfriend Benjy and spends a great deal of time thinking about and trying to protect him. I admired the fact that she was steadfast toward Benjy but at the same time because he got so little page time and there were no flash backs to them falling in love or doing cute things I didn’t care about Benjy. I had trouble caring if he lived or died because I wasn’t invested in his character.

What set Pawn apart from other dystopians, and kept me reading, was all of the political intrigue and backstabbing. The Hart’s are the ruling family, the only people ranked VII in the nation, they are constantly trying to kill on another or plot a different member of the family’s downfall. I loved watching them be evil. Daxton, the current prime minister, is trying to kill his sister Celia who is trying to kill him because he had her daughter, Lila, killed. And all the while Augusta, the real leader of the nation, is pulling the strings. The only kind person in the entire family is Greyson, and he isn’t even interested in ruling.

My Unsolicited Advice: With the second half of this book focusing greatly on the political aspect of the story Carter could have written this as high fantasy set in a different world rather then making it a dystopian (this would have been fairy easy to do too, just add a few more pages of description and re-name the cities). Being a dystopian this novel is just one in a sea of others. Had it been high fantasy the novel would have been something unique.

Overall, while Pawn did remind me of the plethora of other dystopian novels on the market I still enjoyed the story. The pacing was quick and the length was rather short so Pawn was a quick, exciting, read.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Secrets of Lily Graves


The Secrets of Lily Graves
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Publisher: Blazer + Bray
Expected Publication: May 13, 2014
Goodreads

Synopsis:
With the intrigue of Pretty Little Liars and plenty of romance, bestselling author Sarah Strohmeyer weaves a story of secrets and lies—set in a funeral parlor.
Growing up in a house of female morticians, Lily Graves knows all about buried secrets. She knows that perfect senior-class president Erin Donohue isn’t what she seems. She knows why Erin’s ex-boyfriend, hot football player Matt Houser, broke up with her. And she also knows that, even though she says she and Matt are just friends, there is something brewing between them—something Erin definitely did not like.
But secrets, even ones that are long buried, have a way of returning to haunt their keeper.
So when Erin is found dead the day after attacking Lily in a jealous rage, Lily's and Matt’s safe little lives, and the lives of everyone in their town of Potsdam, begin to unravel. And their relationship—which grew from innocent after-school tutoring sessions to late-night clandestine rendezvous—makes them both suspects.
As her world crumbles around her, Lily must figure out the difference between truth and deception, genuine love and a web of lies. And she must do it quickly, before the killer claims another victim.
My Thoughts: I have never read Pretty Little Liars but I love the TV show, so the comparison caught my attention. I am really looking forward to reading this because it sounds like it's got just the right amount of mystery and romance, also I'm kind of in love with that cover!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top 10 Books I'd Recommend to People Looking for a Thrill


I like thrillers. I don't know when I started liking them or what pushed me in to the genre but I've kind of become obsessed with the thrill of the chase and all the danger and action. I like my thrillers YA, Adult, New Adult. I will take them wherever I can get them, so I thought for this weeks top 10 Tuesday I would recommend books for people looking to add that extra thrill to their lives.

*Some books on the list are genuine thrillers and others just gave me a thrill, fair warning.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Smart teens working for the FBI hunting serial killers. I think so! Then one of those killers targets one of their own, even better! The criminal minds of the YA thriller genre.

Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne
After her abusive boyfriend dies someone leaves a note in her locker saying 'You're Welcome' and the story takes off from there

3 The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston
A girl and her family are forced in to witness protection. The problem is the person they are being protected from is about to find them.

Paris Love Match by Nigel Blackwell
Wrong place at the wrong time. Now the two main characters have to run around Paris avoiding the mafia and trying to find out why a man was murdered.

The Hunt for Atlantis by Andy McDermott
A real hunt for Atlantis except these scientists aren't the only ones looking, and the other group is a cut throat group of baddies.


6 The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
A girl's father abandons the family after a scandal and moves to a remote island. The reason he left is shocking and what goes on on the island is absolutely thrilling!

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Murders that look like they were done by Jack the Ripper at a British boarding school. Awesome.

8 Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
All of the Robert Langdon books are awesome thrillers but this one is my favorite.


9 Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino
The main character is a high up corporate worker. Her sister dies and she has to come to terms with her relationship that she had with her sister while at the same time she becomes a hooker. Told in flash backs and present day this novel was also a critique of Japan's focus on the corporate world.

10 Pawn by Aimee Carter
I just finished this one and while it was a dystopian story it was also very much thriller with political intrigue, backstabbing, and murders!

Monday, November 18, 2013

This Wicked Game Blog Tour

This Wicked Game
Author: Michelle Zink
Publisher: Dial
Publication Date: November 14, 2013

Synopsis:
Claire Kincaid’s family has been in business for over fifty years.
The voodoo business.
Part of the International Guild of High Priests and Priestesses, a secret society that have practiced voodoo for generations, the Kincaid’s run an underground supply house for authentic voodoo supplies. Claire plays along, filling orders for powders, oils and other bizarre ingredients in the family store, but she has a secret.
She doesn’t believe.
Struggling to reconcile her modern sensibilities with a completely unscientific craft based on suspicion, Claire can’t wait to escape New Orleans – and voodoo – when she goes to college, a desire that creates almost constant conflict in her secret affair with Xander Toussaint, son of the Guild’s powerful founding family.
But when a mysterious customer places an order for a deadly ingredient, Claire begins to realize that there’s more to voodoo – and the families that make up the Guild – than meets the eye.
Including her own.
As she bands together with the other firstborns of the Guild, she comes face to face with a deadly enemy – and the disbelief that may very well kill her
 Interview
What were your three favorite things about writing This Wicked Game?
1. Researching New Orleans, Louisiana and Voodoo.
2. Being completely immersed in so rich a setting.
3. Working in a contemporary time period (my previous books were all Gothic and set in the 1890s).

What was your least favorite thing?
Because of a delay with my publishing house, I had less than a month, start to finish, to write the book. Nice to know I can do it, but not something I'm anxious to repeat!

How was writing This Wicked Game different or similar to writing your previous novels?
My other books were set in worlds were the paranormal aspect was more or less accepted. With This Wicked Game, I was walking a much thinner line between reality and the supernatural, both because Voodoo is still practiced today and because Clare, my main character, doesn't believe in the craft that's part of her family lineage. Setting was also much more important and detailed here, which meant that I had to spend a lot more time on little things like streets that intersect, the architecture of old New Orleans homes, and the kinds of stores that are common in certain districts of the city. 
What does your writing space look like or consist of?

My writing space is an in-home office adjacent to my bedroom. It's my sanctuary, although somewhat spare. I work, practice yoga, and meditate there, and I'm always overrun with boxes of swag and foreign editions. My work is published in over 30 countries and I receive complimentary copies of each edition -- it's a lot of books! Someday I'll have to invest in proper decor, bookshelves, etc., but it's functional and comfortable and those are really the only things that matter to me.

If This Wicked Game had a theme song what would it be?
Wicked Game by Chris Isaac, of course. Dark and very sexy. ;)


About The Author
Michelle Zink is author of the Gothic fantasy series, Prophecy of the Sisters (Little Brown Books for Young Readers) and A Temptation of Angels (Penguin/Dial). Her next book, This Wicked Game, releases November 14, 2013 (Penguin/Dial).
Learn more on Michelle's blog at www.michellezink.com.

Giveaway


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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Stacking The Shelves 84

Week In Review
Review: Endless Knight by Kresley Cole
Waiting on Wednesday: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Discussion: In which I reconsider book ratings
New On The Shelf
A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller (ARC Tour)
Champion by Marie Lu

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I got both of these at Goodwill for a $1!

Netgalley
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Vengeance by Megan Miranda
Drawn by Cecilia Gray

Friday, November 15, 2013

In Which I Reconsider Book Ratings

I don't often change my mind. I am the type of person who struggles over decisions but once I have made a choice I a fully committed. The problem I have found while blogging is that I have to make decision quickly on what to rate books. I have to figure out a rating and get my review up usually within 24 or 48 hours so I don't have the luxury of time for the full effect of a story to sink in. At the time I issue ratings I don't know if I will be thinking about the book months later or if it was a read once and then forget deal. 

That is why, after much consideration, I have decided to change some ratings. There are certain books that I rated lower or higher then I should have and now I want to make some official changes and give reasons as to why they are being changed.
Moving up to 5 Star Status
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
I haven't stopped thinking about this book since I finished it. Even when I rated it 4 stars and gave a reason the reason seemed shaky. Plus, Kavinsky alone demands 5 stars. I want a book all about Kavinsky, I love that motherfucking thief.

Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke 
I am a sucker for a Gothic novel, and my original justification for 4 stars was that the ending wasn't creepy enough? If I'm being real with myself the creepy children hunting the devil in a cemetery was awesome enough to warrant 5 stars. And while I do wish River had been the bad guy I wanted him to be this isn't an episode of Dexter. It's hard to love a murdering psychopath and I'm glad he wasn't one.


Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
I didn't even write a review for this because I wasn't sure what to stay. But after reading it 8 months ago I still remember exactly what went down and secondary characters names so I think it's time to get real this wasn't a 4 star book it was a 5.

Moving up from 3 to 4 Stars
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
I know the exact reason I gave this book 3 stars. Length. This book was too long but now with some distance I can objectively say this book is better then 3 stars so I'm bumping it up to 4.

Moving down from 3 to 2 Stars

Dance of Shadow by Yelena Black
The only reason I can come up with as to why I gave this book 3 stars in the first place is that I was on the blog tour. With some distance and the blog tour in the past this book is moving down because all I can remember is how much I disliked it.

In Summary
Although I only reconsidered 5 books I am glad to have done so, it's freeing being able to change ratings rather then being stuck in a rigid number structure. Now I am curious:

  • Are there books you have rated and then gone back and changed? 
  • Are ratings on blogs/goodreads/amazon helpful? 
  • Would you be for or against getting rid of the rating system on this blog altogether?

 Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Vanishing Season


The Vanishing Season
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher: HarperTEEN
Expected Publication: July 1, 2014

Synopsis:
Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter's come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I've watched the danger swell.
The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I'm the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I'm tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.
I'm tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don't know why. I think it's because death is coming for one of them, or both.
All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.
From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind
My Thoughts: I absolutely loved Tiger Lily, Jodi Lynn Anderson's last novel, and I can not wait to read The Vanishing Season either!