Friday, January 31, 2014

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Stolen
Author: Lucy Christopher
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: May 4, 2009
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Review:
I don’t know what it is about books written in letter form but I love them! Actually, I take that back. I do know why I love them. Reading them feels like you’re spying on someone else’s life. And honestly, I’m kind of a nosey person; so I like the opportunity to be a bit of a snoop without actually digging in to someone’s personal letters.

In books written in letter form I also feel a strong connection to the narrator, the person writing the letter. Gemma is the narrator of Stolen. She is kidnapped from a Bangkok airport and taken to a remote house in the Australian desert. This novel is her letter to her captor, Ty. The majority of the letter is Gemma’s conflicting feelings about Ty. At first she hates him. He stole her from her family and forced her to live in a completely new and dangerous place. I love that Gemma was feisty and constantly looking for a way to escape. It was also interesting to see how her opinion of Ty changes as she gets to know him. 

The thing that stood out to me the most in Stolen was the vivid descriptions of the Australian desert. Christopher has a way with words because as I was reading I could feel the sun beating down on me. I read this book in December, in South Dakota. It was impressive that she could transport me so fully to this place.

I also love the way the story dealt with Stockholm Syndrome. It doesn’t happen all at once. It was a very gradual softening toward Ty, that lad to sympathy. Ty was a sympathetic character even though he shouldn’t have been. He stole Gemma and yet even at the end of the story you can’t help but feel sorry for the guy.

Stolen is a wonderful book. The plot is engrossing, and heartbreaking. It leaves you feeling confused on your own feelings about Ty and the entire situation. It also gave me a new understanding of Stockholm Syndrome. Stolen is my first Lucy Christopher novel but it will definitely not be my last!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: The Girl from the Well


The Girl From The Well
Author: Rin Chupeco
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Goodreads

Synopsis:
You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.
She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.
And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.
Because the boy has a terrifying secret - one that would just kill to get out.

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as "Dexter" meets "The Grudge", based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.
My Thoughts: Did you just read that synopsis? No for real, This sounds amazing! I am a bit biased, I did live in Japan and after marathon watching 8 seasons of Dexter I kind of love that show. This novel really is two of my favorite things coming together and I seriously can't wait for August!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top 10 Characters I'd Never Want To Trade Places With


1 Katniss Everdeen - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This girl has rotten luck. Pulled for the Hunger Games twice, then she loses her family and her entire district. Yeah. I wouldn't want to switch places with her!

2 Cassie - The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
The waves of this alien attack were terrible. No electricity, the plague, humans that are aliens. I just don't think I'd do will in this apocalytpic world. Now the world of Legend by Marie Lu, I think I would do pretty good there!

3 Rose - Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
A concentration camp during World War II. No.

4 Phoebe - Generation Dad by Daniel Waters
So I really don't like Zombies. This is a world full of zombies trying to live alongside humans. I like the way Waters makes comparisons to 1960's era racism but I just don't think I'd ever want to switch places with Phoebe.

5 Miki Jones - Rush by Eve Silver
Technically Miki is dead and has to kill aliens in order to stay alive. If she dies in the game she dies in real life. It's high stakes and while I'm good at games, I'm not that good.

6 Deuce - Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Zombies. Gross. No. And they're like fast I Am Legend zombies not that slow kind.

7 Velveteen - Velveteen by Daniel Marks
Velveteen lives in Purgatory and everything is ashy, dark, and confusing. I wouldn't want to be stuck there.

8 Allison - The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
So I can live with vampires. But The Immortal Rules has zombies and vampires, and I really don't like zombies!

9 Anderson - The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
This is just a weird world. All the worlds seeds are kept in a seed bank but people are starving. There is disease and it's crazy hot, and a huge dichotomy between the rich and poor.

10 Mary - The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Remember how I mentioned I hate Zombies? There are a bunch of zombies and the only thing seperating them from Mary is a chain-link fence. A damn chain-link fence! I was freaked out just reading about it.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Uninvited
Author: Sophie Jordan
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Review:
Davy has the perfect life. She attends a private school, lives in the right neighborhood, has the perfect boyfriend, and is a music prodigy. When she tests positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS) she is ‘Uninvited’ from her school, loses all of her friends, and is forced to attend public school in the wrong neighborhood. Life gets hard for Davy quick.

In college I majored in criminology. Then I went to law school and also focused a lot on crime. So, I kind of have a lot of experience with the subject matter in Uninvited. I think that is what stopped me from loving this story. Despite trying, I couldn’t suspend my disbelief about HTS; and the multitude of constitutional violations present throughout Uninvited.

It didn’t help either that the world building in this dystopian story was almost non-existent. How the HTS test was developed, or how the United States first began segregating the infected isn’t discussed. Mexico is mentioned and it seemed that they weren’t having the problems the United States was. In fact, Mexico closed their US borders. But a reason is never given for why the US is having such problems but Mexico isn’t experiencing a similar criminal influx.

Davy wasn’t a bad heroine, she was a little naive but that comes from her sheltered upbringing and lifestyle. At times I did feel like shaking her because some of her realizations throughout the story were obvious and she should have figured things out much earlier. She was supposedly a very smart girl, but her actions were kind of dumb.

I also wasn’t too keen on her relationship with Sean, a fellow HTS carrier. Sean had that brooding, stay away from me, air. This quickly shifted to him wanting to protect Davy. Davy was drawn to Sean despite his outward appearance and HTS carrier status. The romance was never really believable. I wish more time had been invested on showing why these two were a good match. Did they have common interests? It felt like the only reason they liked each other was because of HTS.

Overall, Uninvited wasn’t really my thing. I thought I was going to love it because of my connection to the subject matter, but the lack of world building and lackluster romance stopped me from enjoying this story. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Stacking The Shelves 93


Week In Review
Cover Reveal: Ringer by CJ Duggan
Review: Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd
Waiting On Wednesday: Forget Me by KA Harrington
Review: Champion by Marie Lu
ARC/Bought
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (Thanks Macmillan!)
The Curiosities by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton & Brenna Yovanoff
Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle
Ebook
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Champion by Marie Lu

Champion
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Goodreads Amazon

Review:
It’s been a little over a month since I finished Champion. I’ve put off writing this review because I wanted to let the ending sit. I always find it hard to write reviews for series enders. There is so much going on, and in a lot of ways, finishing a series is a private thing. You have to say goodbye to characters you’ve come to know over three books. That’s hard!

June has grown so much over the last two books and it was interesting to find out just how much more she has changed as the Princeps-elect. It was a position she was ill-suited for but had thrust upon her. June was forced throughout the novel to play a political game and that isn’t her. I enjoyed watching her strive for excellence (which is her personality) and then come to terms with the fact that she couldn’t really excel in this environment. June had to decide what she really wanted after being told her whole life what to do.

Then there is Day…*sigh* This boy has lost his whole family, is trying to care for his brother, be the hero to a crumbling country, and is dying! Then on top of that he loves June but is having trouble coming to terms with all of the obstacles surrounding their relationship. Day has it rough. I really didn’t think he was going to make it out of these situations. Lu’s writing shined during Day’s chapters though. Instead of feeling like the deck was stacked against him I felt like Day was competent, and was going to pull out a last minute victory, because that is what Day does. 

That brings us to Anden. He is not the Elector his father was and I loved seeing how he was steering the country in a different direction. The plot of Champion revolves around a plague, and an impending war with the colonies. Anden is crucial to solving both of these problems and I liked his portrayal as a strong leader.

Lu also greatly improved on the world building in this finale. I liked the traveling the characters did. It was interesting to see how the rest of the world panned out in this dystopian series. The entire world wasn’t bleak which was a nice surprise. It further cemented the “North Korea” vibe I was getting last book.

My absolute favorite thing about Champion was the epilogue. It is so difficult to end a dystopian series. Readers want a happily ever after but they don’t want it to be disingenuous, or to not match the tenor of the story. Champion ends beautifully with just the right amount of bittersweet and hope for the future.

Overall, the Legend series is one of my favorite dystopian series. There is something special about June, Day, and this future Marie Lu has created. I have enjoyed every second of this thrill ride and can not recommend the series highly enough. I am now firmly in Lu’s fan camp and can’t wait for the next novel she writes!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Forget Me


Forget me
Author: KA Harrington
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: August 7, 2014
Goodreads

Synopsis:
An edge-of-your seat psychological thriller with a romantic twist
On the three-month anniversary of her boyfriend Flynn’s death, Morgan uploads her only photo of him to FriendShare to get some closure—but she’s shocked when the facial recognition software suggests she tag him as "Evan Murphy." She’s never heard of Evan, but a quick search tells her that he lives in a nearby town and looks exactly like Flynn. Only this boy is very much alive.
Digging through layers of secrets and lies, Morgan is left questioning everything she thought she knew about her boyfriend, her town, and even her parents' involvement in this massive web of lies.
My Thoughts: I featured this as one of my most anticipated releases of 2014 and decided to showcase it as part of Waiting on Wednesday because I'm still so dang excited for it! Plus that cover is perfect. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

Her Dark Curiosity
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Review:
The Madman’s Daughter was the creepiest debut I read in 2013. I mean, the opening scene is the vivisection of a rabbit. It doesn’t get much creepier then that! I had high hopes for the sequel especially when I heard that it would be loosely based on The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.

Her Dark Curiosity begins a year or so after Juliet returned from the island her father was living and experimenting on. The events changed her in a lot of ways and I loved seeing how her character handled all of the things she saw now and how that has affected her returned to London. I really liked Juliet in The Madman’s Daughter and I came to like her even more in Her Dark Curiosity. In this novel she must come to terms with both sides of her personality her animal side and her human logical mind. It was a fun dichotomy.

One thing I wasn’t too keen on was the resurrection of the love triangle from book one. I thought with the death of Edward, then Montgomery pushing her off in a boat, that Juliet would get some time to herself. Unfortunately, that isn’t how things pan out and I think the back and forth took away from the interesting bits of the story.

I did love the Jekyll and Hyde aspect to the story though. Any problems I had with the love triangle were completely overshadowed by how much I enjoyed this exploration of character. It wasn’t just Edward either Juliet also has a huge Jekyll and Hyde complex.

Overall, I enjoyed Her Dark Curiosity. I thought it was a great continuation of The Madman’s Daughter and the ending set the story up for an epic finale which will deal with Frankenstein!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cover Reveal: Ringer by CJ Duggan

Ringer by C.J. Duggan 
(Summer #3.5) 
Publication date: April 2nd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:
“They say it’s the quiet ones you have to worry about, and she was quiet, very quiet—when she wasn’t busy despising me with a burning passion.”
Ringo ‘Ringer’ James has a no-strings-attached policy.
Love them, leave them, and remain the eternal bachelor.
After a summer in which every one of his mates has succumbed to settling down, or so it seemed, Ringer is on the lookout for a quick exit. Having had enough of the stomach-turning love fest witnessed over the past three months, Ringer jumps at the opportunity to help out his mate, Max, by heading to Max’s dad’s property for a working holiday.
It’s just what he’s looking for. A remote, dusty homestead in Ballan, with only hard work, a cold beer and a comfy bed to worry about – no women.
Until Miranda Henry.
The privately educated daughter of his boss has returned home from overseas and things are about to get very complicated, very fast. As summer draws to its end, Ringer is about to learn that sometimes attraction defies all logic, and that there really is such a thing as ‘enemies with benefits.’

About The Author

C.J Duggan is an Australian author who lives with her husband in a rural border town of New South Wales, Australia. The Boys of Summer is Book One in her Mature Young Adult Romance Series. For more on C.J and ‘The Summer Series’, visit www.cjdugganbooks.com

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Stacking The Shelves 92


Week In Review
Top 10 Debuts I'm Excited For
Waiting On Wednesday: Sublime by Christina Lauren
Blog Tour: Avalon by Mindee Arnett (Review & Giveaway)
Review: Cracked by Eliza Crewe
Trade
The Diviners by Libba Bray (Thanks Laura!)
Poison by Bridget Zinn (Thanks Anya!)
Won/ARC
Dark Star by Bethany Frankel (Thanks Latoya @ Little Library Muse!)
Second Star by Alyssa B Sheinmel (Thanks Macmillan!)
Netgalley
Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
The Tyrant's Daughter by JC Carleson

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cracked by Eliza Crewe

Cracked
Author: Eliza Crewe
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Review:
Cracked started off really interesting. Meda is a female paranormal version of Dexter. She kills people and eats their souls, but she only eats the souls of people who are murderers. She does this to please her deceased mother who instilled these values in her. See? Very similar to Dexter, Meda even talks to her dead mother when she is feeling extra “killer-y”.

So what went wrong? Honestly, I’m not really sure. It wasn’t that I hated Meda. I thought she was an interesting and different kind of main character. I liked that her thoughts weren’t boy-centric, and that they occasionally went a little morbid.

So why did this book end up falling flat for me? I think it was the plot itself. There was a lot going on; Meda’s past and what she is, a battle between good and evil, a secret society/boarding school. Because there were so many things going on none of the individual elements of the story were really done well, everything was just kind of mediocre. I couldn’t find anything that really stood out and made me love, or care about, the story.

I also wasn’t very keen on the supporting characters. Jo was, I think, supposed to be sympathetic because of her injury and crush on Chi. But I just found her annoying. Chi had a complete hero-complex and, much like Superman (who’s my least favorite superhero), I found him boring. Chi even had his own sort of kryptonite, Jo. Then there was Uri, the token young kid tag-along.

Cracked also lacked a romance element to the story. At least not for Meda. Jo and Chi had their own situation that I won’t even begin to delve in to. While it was refreshing for a female protagonist to not be focused on a swoony boy, for me, the story felt like it was missing something.

Overall, Cracked had an interesting premise but it just didn’t live up to my expectations. There was nothing in the story that made me love it and so it became a middle of the road read.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Avalon by Mindee Arnett Blog Tour



Avalon
Author: Mindee Arnett
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 21, 2014

Synopsis:
A ragtag group of teenage mercenaries who crew the spaceship Avalon stumble upon a conspiracy that could threaten the entire galaxy in this fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi adventure from author Mindee Arnett.
Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.
Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they're damn good at it. Jeth doesn't care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents' ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he'll go to get the freedom he's wanted for so long.
Avalon is the perfect fit for teens new to sci-fi as well as seasoned sci-fi readers looking for more books in the YA space-and a great match for fans of Joss Whedon's cult hit show Firefly.




Review
There are a lot of reasons I shouldn’t have liked Avalon. I’m not really in to space-y stuff. I mean, I like Doctor Who but I wouldn’t exactly call the Tardis a spaceship. I prefer character driven novels over action, and Avalon has a lot of action. And I usually hate it when each character’s are not given a separate distinct personality. But for some reason Avalon and I clicked and I found myself really enjoying the story.

Avalon follows a group of teens who are mercenaries for a space crime boss, Hammer. Jeth, the main character, lost his parents and through a series of bad events Hammer comes to own Jeth’s parents ship, Avalon. After a botched job Hammer asks the crew to go and retrieve a ship from basically the Bermuda Triangle of space and offers them enough money to finally own Avalon. Except, this deal is too good to be true.

Jeth was a likeable character. He is the leader and I liked seeing how the other characters deferred to him. It was also interesting to see how he made decisions during tough situations and riddled out the motives of those around him. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Jeth and his sister Lizzie.

My one gripe with the story was that because this was kind of a rag-tag group there were quite a few characters and some of them got lost in the shuffle. A few of the characters were never given solid personalities and only made appearances when it was necessary to the story. There were two I kept getting confused and honestly they were interchangeable in my opinion. I hope as the series continues these characters are further fleshed out and given their time to shine.

Much of Avalon was action based. There was always something new going or some kind of plot twist thrown at the crew. It was a very different read from my usual thing. I usually love character driven books but all of the action of Avalon made up for the lack of character development and by the end I couldn’t wait to see what Arnett was going to throw at the crew next.

Overall, while Avalon isn’t my usual thing I ended up really enjoying the story. It was exciting, different, and I think it has a lot of crossover appeal for both male and female readers. It will also appeal to readers, who like me, don’t often enjoy space-y things.



About the Author
Mindee Arnett lives on a horse farm in Ohio with her husband, two kids, a couple of dogs, and an inappropriate number of cats. She’s addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space. She has far more dreams than nightmares.



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