Because who can afford books in this economy?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mini Review: The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

Title: The Exiled Queen
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Release Date: September 28th, 2010
Source: Around The World ARC Tours
Synopsis from Goodreads:
*This is a SEQUEL! Synopsis contains SPOILERS for book one!*
You can't always run from danger...

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

The Exiled Queen is an epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.

If you're in the mood for pure fantasy, then you should definitely try these books! They're a lot different than a lot of the fantasies that I've read. I love how the point of view alternates between Han and Raisa, though they're not around each other much. I really enjoyed the setting of Oden's Ford, it was kind of like a boarding school, and I love boarding school books! The characters were definitely my favorite part! They're all very likeable, but not perfect by a long shot.

The drawbacks were that I was confused about the politics many times, and that sometimes there's too much time spent explaining things and my mind would wander. I think that I would have enjoyed it more of some things were cut out and it was about one hundred pages shorter, but I'm not the editor!

Basically: I really enjoyed this book, and I'm looking forward to the next one! 4 Stars!

Cover Comments: I really like this cover, it's mysterious. It fits well with the first one also.

Monday, August 30, 2010

You by Charles Benoit

Title: You
Author: Charles Benoit
Release Date: September 1st, 2010
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A note from the author:
It's easy to forget that we spend our early teens afraid. We're afraid of fitting in, standing out, or being ignored. We worry that we'll never get a date, never get into college, and never amount to anything. Just like everyone predicts.

It's also easy to discount these fears. Looking back, it seems impossible that we would have stayed awake all night worrying about what someone else thought of our clothes or that we ever doubted our abilities, our potential. But that's only because we know how the story ends.

I wanted to write a book that started with these fears as givens, bottling them in tight and capping them off with that artificial indifference genetically required of all teens. Kyle Chase is not a bad kid. He's not a good kid, either. He's a typical kid. He's any kid. And, at one point in your life, he was you. 

So, based on the ARC cover practically being swallowed by one line praise, and the first three pages inside being filled with paragraphs of praise, I had really, really high expectations for this book. Too bad it didn't meet them. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad book by any means, and I really liked it, just not nearly as much as I expected to.

I did love the narration. A lot. I've never read an entire book in second person, and I was surprised by how easily I got used to it. Kyle was pretty cool as the main character. He had some snarky humor that I enjoyed. His fatal flaw is anger issues, big time. Besides Zach, the antagonist (though it's not evident at first), and Kyle, most of the other characters fell pretty flat. I had a hard time picturing most of them.

I think that part of the reason that I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would is because, despite what the author says, Kyle isn't me. In fact, slacker Kyle basically slams straight A honor roll kids, like me. There were a few times that Kyle did think things about his teachers and the school that I know I've thought before. I have to hand it to Charles Benoit, he really got the teenager mindset right. 

Basically, I really enjoyed this book, and devoured it trying to get to the end. Which is, well, you'll see. 

Characters: 8/10
Plot: 9/10
Originality: 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Overall: 44/50 B+
Cover Comments: I love this cover, the shattered red glass is very striking and makes a point on the black backround.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

In My Mailbox (29)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Rich and Mad by William Nicholson

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

So that's what was in my mailbox this week! What was in yours? Link in the comments!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

DNF: Rich and Mad by William Nicholson

Title: Rich and Mad
Author: William Nicholson
Release Date: September 14th 2010
Synopsis from Goodreads:
This is a compelling and beautifully written novel about first love, first sex, and everything in between. Maddy Fisher has decided to fall in love. And not just any sort of love: can't-eat can't-sleep crazy in love. Rich Ross is after the same thing. He's set his sights high, and he's going to make it happen. The problem is, in life's messy whirlwind of friends and lies and sex, the real thing can be hard to fine. But there's always a first time for everything...

I really, really wanted to like this book. I signed up for it through an ARC tour because I THOUGHT that I was going to like this book. I probably would have if it was in first person. Sadly, it's in third person and I had trouble connecting to it. It's also very British. Something that I've noticed about myself is that I have a hard time with British books. It goes way back to trying to get into Georgia Nicholson and failing. No offense to British people, I think that's just how I am. Anyway, there is definitely an audience for this book, I've seen some great reviews, but that audience does not include me!

Rating: DNF

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

Title: Cracked Up to Be
Author: Courtney Summers
Published: December 2008
Source: Bought
Synopsis from Goodreads:
When "Perfect" Parker Fadley starts drinking at school and failing her classes, all of St. Peter's High goes on alert. How has the cheerleading captain, girlfriend of the most popular guy in school, consummate teacher's pet, and future valedictorian fallen so far from grace?

Parker doesn't want to talk about it. She'd just like to be left alone, to disappear, to be ignored. But her parents have placed her on suicide watch and her counselors are demanding the truth. Worse, there's a nice guy falling in love with her and he's making her feel things again when she'd really rather not be feeling anything at all.

Nobody would have guessed she'd turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth.

Something horrible has happened, and it just might be her fault.

If I could describe this book in one word it would have to be strong. Strong characters, strong emotions, strong writing. This is one of those books that doesn't let you go, even if it's driving you crazy and you just want to put it down for a second. You can't. You have to keep going, to get one step closer to figuring out what happened to Parker that night a year ago.

Parker is one of the most unique characters I've ever come across. She's downright bitchy, not just in what she says to other people, but also in what she thinks about other people. This is not common. I loved it! Her snarky attitude was so much fun to read about, and I laughed at a lot of things she said/thought, even though it was mean. I did get annoyed with her sometimes, mostly for doing something self destructive, though she had her reasons.

My favorite part of the book was the relationship between Parker and Jake. Jake is just a nice guy, and Parker, well, is not so nice. Their interactions were always fun to read about, and the way their relationship developed was done really well. I loved the way that the night of the party was slowly revealed using flashbacks. I never got the whole story until the end, and it made want to keep reading. I guarantee it's not what you think.

I don't think that there's anything specific that I can say that I didn't like about this book. It was that good.

Characters: 10/10
Writing: 10/10
Originality: 10/10
Plot: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Overall: 49/50 A+
Cover Comments: Pretty fitting, but not attention grabbing. I think it makes the book look too nice.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Title: Nevermore
Author: Kelly Creagh
Release Date: August 31st
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

This was quite a book. It's a long book, and starts out a bit slow, but once you really get into it it's impossible to put down. Edgar Allen Poe and his poems play a large role in this book, but you don't need to know anything about him before you read, it's all explained throughout. I'd read a few of Poe's poems before this, but I found him much more interesting now. The mystery surrounding his death is especially fascinating.

I really liked how long this book was because it let you get to know the characters, primarily Isobel. Isobel is one of those cheerleaders. You know the ones, the mean girl, dating the football star, airheaded, self absorbed type. Except she's not. I was very surprised by Isobel throughout this entire book and got to really like her. Varen is...well, at first glance a creepy goth guy. But he's so much more, and he and Isobel go together more than you would think. The romance in this book isn't flashy but very subtle, which makes it all the more intriguing.

This plot is very, very original. I've never read anything even close to resembling it. At all. It was so, so great to read about something that I've never read about. The whole book is very mysterious and sometimes even frustrating. It's not until the end that we really understand everything. And the ending is something else, I have no idea what I would do if there wasn't going to be a sequel. 

One thing that I didn't like is that the end gets confusing, and even though the pacing is urgent a lot of time is spent on descriptions. All that I wanted was to keep going, to know what happens next, but I was hampered by all of the descriptions. I also felt that some things weren't explained as well as I would have liked. They may be explored more in the sequel though.

Basically I loved this book! It was very original, very addicting, and very romantic. Thank goodness there's a sequel, because after that ending I'm begging for it!

Characters: 10/10
Plot: 9/10
Originality: 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Overall: 47/50 A
Cover Comments: I love it! The couple on the cover fit the descriptions of Varen and Isobel perfectly, and I love the way that she's looking at him and he's looking toward us. The words going across is perfect also, and the title is extremely fitting.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (31)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week
Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dell
Release Date: March 22nd, 2010
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation--and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much. It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal?

Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in "like" with a boy named Monster—yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…and we mean that as a compliment. Frances O’Roark Dowell’s fierce humor and keen eye make her YA debut literary and wise. In the spirit of John Green and E. Lockhart, Dowell’s relatable, quirky characters and clever, fluid writing prove that growing up gets complicated…and normal is WAY overrated.

Doesn't it just sound so hilarious? And cute? If it really is anything like John Green or E. Lockhart books, then I'm sure to enjoy it!

What are you waiting on?

Winner of my Required Reading Giveaway!

Hi everyone! First I want to say thank you to everyone who entered my Required Reading Giveaway. There were 91 entrants with almost 400 entries! That's way more than I expected! Anyway, the winner is:

Ekta Patel!

I have emailed you and you have 48 hours to respond! 

Thanks to everyone again!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

Title: Zombies vs. Unicorns
Edited by: Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Authors: Libba Bray, Meg Cabot, Cassandra Clare, Kathleen Duey, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Maureen Johnson, Margo Lanagan, Garth Nix, Naomi Novic, Diana Peterfreund, Carrie Ryan, Scott Westerfeld,
Release Date: September 21st, 2010
Synopsis from Goodreads:
It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths--for good and evil--of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn? 

Well, I think that it goes without saying that I've never read anything quite like this! It was highly entertaining. I thought that the little notes from the editors before each story, explaining their thoughts and giving a little backstory, were a nice touch. And funny. As it usually goes with anthologies, there were stories that I loved (Libba Bray's Prom Night) and ones that I didn't (Margo Lanagan's A Thousand Flowers). 

The stories ranged from dark to funny, to darkly funny. Starting each story was like opening a present. I think that some of them are going to stick with me for a while. There are a couple rather disturbing ones in there. And the ones that I found most disturbing were unicorn stories. Surprising, I know. One of my favorites was Meg Cabot's Princess Prettypants, a unicorn story. It was really funny, and lightened the mood. I was surprised by how much I loved Carrie Ryan's zombie story, as I wasn't a fan of The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

I think that I enjoyed more zombie stories than unicorn stories. But that's probably because more authors that I like are team zombie. Now, I've tried, I really have, but I simply cannot figure out which team I'm on! Both have their strengths and weaknesses. Maybe I should try for Team Zombie Unicorn? I'd read a book about those! Wouldn't you?

Basically, if you like any of these authors, this book is worth a shot. Since I don't see how I could use my regular rating system in this situation, I'm just going to use stars: 4 stars!

Cover Comments: This is possibly the most awesome cover EVER. The inside is great too!

Just a few randoms

#1 Today is the last day to enter my Required Reading Giveaway! It ends tonight at 11:59 EST! I'm giving away ARCs of Nightshade and Infinite Days!

#2 As you surely are aware, today is the release day of the highly anticipated Mockingjay, which I pre-ordered from Borders. Well, it hasn't even shipped yet, and at this rate I won't get it until Saturday. BUT my awesome friend was planning on buying it, but she can't read it because her mom won't let her until she reads her required reading for school ( I know! Moms...). This means that she can give it to me! Today! So I can read it before Saturday! AHHHH! I told her she was made of awesome ;)

That's all!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire: Reread

*Warning: This post contains mild spoilers for these books, if you haven't read them yet then I recommend you don't read this*

So, I reread both of these over the weekend. Wow. I can't believe how much of Catching Fire I forgot! It was a lot. I basically remembered all of The Hunger Games though, since this is my third time rereading it, not my second.

There are so many emotions in these books that I forgot about. Katniss's conflicted feeling, her desperation, her strength. I forgot other things too, how much happens before the games actually start in both of them, how big a part Cinna plays, what happens to Peeta at the end of Catching Fire. 
I also forgot how superb the writing is. I was hanging on to every word. Suzanne Collins has the thing where she makes you never want to stop reading. She gives you enough information to keep you from dying, but not enough that you're satisfied. And those cliffhangers, the ones at the end of chapters and the end of the books, are so killer! If you're planning on stopping at the end of a chapter, you might as well forget it because it's definitely not happening!
I was previously Team Peeta, but no I'm Team Katniss. There is definitely not enough information on her feelings to choose a clear winner, and I trust Suzanne Collins to do it right!

I'm so, so excited for Mockingjay to come out tomorrow! TOMORROW! Although I probably won't get it until around Friday because I pre-ordered it. I'm a little apprehensive though. Who knows what could happen? All that I have to say is, Peeta better not die!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ignore That

If you see a post about The Hunger Games and Catching Fire from me, it wasn't supposed to go up until tomorrow (Monday) so ignore it, you can read it when I really post it! Thanks!

In My Mailbox (28)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Sorry, no vlog this week! I only got three books and didn't have time!

From Around the World ARC Tours:
You by Charles Benoit
From Smitten With Book ARC Tours:
Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

Won from Jean at Magic Bean Review:
No and Me (UK Edition) by Delphine de Vigan
So that's it for me this week! Not bad if I do say so myself! 
What did you get?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Title: Sisters Red
Author: Jackson Pearce
Published: June 2010
Source: The Library
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris-- the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax-- but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they've worked for.

Twenty-five-year-old Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless.

I love fairytale retellings. Even though this one isn't obvious, it still has that magical quality that makes retellings so awesome. Little Red Riding Hood was never my favorite story, but I really, really liked this book! It gave the thinly veiled cautionary tale some edge. A lot of edge, actually.

Rosie and Scarlett are both really different, but they "share the same heart." Each of them would do anything for the other. Scarlett once saved the life of Rosie, something that Rosie thinks she has to live up to. That's why she hunts, even though it doesn't drive her the way it drives Scarlett. I connected more with Rosie, but it wasn't like I didn't connect at all with Scarlett. Scarlett was just more raw, where Rosie was soft.

There was a lot more action in this book than I was expecting. Quite a bit of gore as well. It was pretty awesome. After a while I felt that the hunting and fighting scenes got a little repetitive, but there was always something new to keep my interest. Something that I didn't really like was that I saw a major shocker WAY, WAY early. Like even before the characters had started to try and figure it out. I was happy to be right, but I kind of wish that I hadn't seen it coming.

Basically, this was an action packed, awesome retelling. I loved every second of it!

Characters: 9/10
Plot: 8/10
Originality: 10/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Overall: 45/50 A-
Cover comments: This cover is really cool! I hear that the UK version has shiny foil...that must be awesome!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

Title: The Ghost and the Goth
Author: Stacey Kade
Published: June 2010
Source: Trade
Synopsis from Goodreads:
After a close encounter with the front end of a school bus, Alona Dare goes from Homecoming Queen to Queen of the Dead. Now she’s stuck here in spirit form with no sign of the big, bright light coming to take her away. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser/outcast type who hates the social elite. He alone can see and hear her, but he wants nothing to do with the former mean girl of Groundsboro High.

Can they get over their mutual distrust—and this weird attraction between them—to work together before Alona vanishes for good and Will is locked up for seeing things that don’t exist?

If I had to describe this in one word, it would have to be cute. You might think that it would be hard to make a story that begins with someone dying cute, but Kade manages! I really liked it as a quick summer read.

I loved that it was told from the POV of both Alona and Will. Both of them are so different, so it was fun to switch from person to person. Alona was snarky and no nonsense, Will was more cynical. I loved how their perceptions of each other and their relationship evolved throughout the book. 

The majority of this book is lighthearted fun, but there are a few more serious things mixed it, which gave it a little bit of depth. But only a little. The one thing that I didn't like about this book was the lack of depth. 

Basically it's a very fun, cute read that I would recommend if you're looking for something...well, fun and cute! I really liked it.

Characters: 8/10
Originality: 9/10
Writing: 8/10
Ending: 10/10
Overall: 43/50 B
Cover Comments: The cover is super cute! They got the character right, though I think that Will looks a bit too...pointy? I don't know, he just doesn't appeal to me. I love the title font! And the title is cute!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (30)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week:

Steel by Carrie Vaughn
Release Date: March 15th, 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads:
When Jill, a competitive high school fencer, goes with her family on vacation to the Bahamas, she is magically transported to an early eighteenth century pirate ship in the middle of the ocean.

Okay, so, I know that's not much of a description, but do you really need more? I mean, seriously? Just that one super long sentence is enough to make me salivate. Well, that and the seriously awesome cover. What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Radiance by Alyson Noel

Title: Radiance
Author: Alyson Noel
Release Date: August 31st, 2010
Source: Review copy received from publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Riley Bloom left her sister, Ever, in the world of the living and crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. Riley and her dog, Buttercup, have been reunited with her parents and are just settling into a nice, relaxing death when she's summoned before The Council. They let her in on a secret—the afterlife isn't just an eternity of leisure; Riley has to work. She's been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a curious boy she can't quite figure out.

Riley, Bodhi, and Buttercup return to earth for her first assignment, a Radiant Boy who's been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But he's never met Riley...

My favorite character in the two Immortals books that I've read was Riley, so I was happy when I heard about the spin off. It's a Middle Grade book, but I enjoyed it. You don't have to read the Immortals series to understand this, though I would recommend it.

Riley is a really spunky girl. She doesn't just do what she's told, she questions, and makes her own decisions. I like that about her. She's also very smart. The supporting characters didn't really have much depth, which was unfortunate. I think that at least one of the characters will be more fully developed in the next books.

It's a really short book, as in it took me less than two hours to finish it. I kind of thought that it might have been a little too short. But that might just be because I'm used to reading longer YA books.

Something that I didn't like about this book is that I thought that some of the words and descriptions used didn't fit in with the Middle Grade aspect. I don't think that MG books should be dumbed down, but there was some vocabulary that I thought was maybe a bit too advanced for everything being from Riley's point of view. I mean, I don't even describe things like that.

Basically, it was a really cute MG book, and I enjoyed knowing what happened to Riley after she crossed over the bridge. I wish that the supporting characters had been a bit more developed, and that the vocabulary was maybe more age appropriate.

Characters: 7/10
Writing: 8/10
Originality: 10/10
Plot: 8/10
Ending: 10/10
Overall: 43/50 B
Cover/Title Comments: I'm not really sure what the title has to do with anything, but I love the cover. It really captures the story.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Linger by Maggie Steifvater

Title: Linger
Author: Maggie Steifvater
Published: July 2010
Source: The library
Synopsis from Godoreads:
In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her par ...more In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past…and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves…and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love–the light and the dark, the warm and the cold–in a way you will never forget.

So, I must admit that I was a bit afraid of this book. I mean, Shiver's ending was absolute perfection. Would Linger take something away from that? No, no it wouldn't. It added to it. It continued the absolutely beautiful story that Shiver set up.

The most noticeable difference between Shiver and Linger are the two new POV's that we get to read. One of them is Isabel's. She was in Shiver, and played a rather large role. I liked being in her head a lot. She's a very multi-dimensional character. The other is Cole. He was not directly in Shiver, though he was indirectly mentioned. What a character. I didn't know whether to love him or hate him most the time, and I was always struck by his frankness.

I loved the continuation of Grace and Sam's relationship. It was just so honest and real. And sweet, very sweet. I got really, really annoyed with Grace's parents by the end of the book. They were just so frustrating.

The mystery of the wolves, how they change, and why they change was still a big part of this book. We learn that some of the things we thought were tied up at the end of Shiver are far from it. I thought that everything that happened in this book kept with Shiver really well. It was all consistant.

Basically I loved this book, and thought that it was a fitting sequel to Shiver. I'm really, really looking forward to Forever!

Characters: 9/10
Plot: 8/10
Originality: 10/10
Writing: 10/10
Ending: 9/10
Overall: 46/50 A-
Cover/Title Comments: I love this cover! I think that it's just gorgeous. The title's nice too.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

In My Mailbox (27) VLOG

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

From Traveling ARC Tours:
Delirium by Lauren Oliver

For Review:
Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

From the library:
Linger by Maggie Steifvater
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Lost For Words by Alice Kuipers from McKenzie at The Book Owl
Freak Magnet by Andrew Auseon from Kristi at The Story Siren
Willow bookmarks from Alea at Pop Culture Junkie
I Am Number Four T-shirt from HarperTeen

Thank you everyone!

Be sure to let me know what you got in your mailbox this week!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Review: Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Title: Brightly Woven
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Published: March 2010
Source: Bought
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.

In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.

Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry. 

I've had this book for a long time, but for some reason I kept putting it off. I think that I was scared that it wouldn't meet my expectations. I've read so many great reviews of it, some even saying that it's their favorite book, and I didn't want to be disappointed. I so wasn't disappointed.

This is one of those books that just calls to you. You start it, then have to stop and do something else, but it's always in the back of your mind, forcing you to rush whatever you're doing so you can get back to it. I love books like that! I think that a big part of the call was the characters. They are so, so well developed.

Syd is a strong heroine, but she has faults. She's stubborn and a bit rash at times. North is unlike any hero I've ever encountered. He doesn't like bathing, is an expert at evading questions about himself, and has a terrible sense of direction. But as the novel progresses we get to know him. We find out why he is the way he is, and that he's more than we thought at first glance. The way the relationship grows between them is so natural, I loved reading about it.

The world that Bracken created was wonderful. It's completely unlike our own, but it doesn't leave you confused. Everything is explained is such a way that you don't realize it's being explained. There were a few times when I wasn't sure about the politics, and a couple when something magical confused me, but more or less I sailed right through it.

Basically, I loved this book and I would recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy, adventure, romance and comedy. It's definitely staying on my shelf, and I really, really hope that there's a sequel!

Characters: 10/10
Writing: 9/10
Originality: 10/10
Plot: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Overall: 48/50 A
Cover/Title Comments: This is one of my favorite ever covers, it's just so beautiful. The title is a great fit too.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kersten Hamilton Blog Tour and Guest Post!

Kersten Hamilton is the author of the awesome book Tyger Tyger, that's going to be released in November.

You can find my review of Tyger Tyger here.

On to the guest post:

Hi, Taylor! Thank you for having me over for a guest post today and for asking how traveling so much in my childhood influenced or inspired me. It wasn’t my choice to have a perfect childhood for a writer, but I did. My official bio reads:

"Kersten Hamilton was born in a trailer in the mountains of southern New Mexico. She escaped electrocution when a typhoon blew power lines down over yet another trailer in a swamp in Washington state, and drowning when a station wagon spun out of control and onto thin lake ice in Alaska. Most of the bullets missed, and none of the incidents with bears, snakes, wolves, and angry moose were fatal."

That’s the short version, of course. The long version includes throwing knives, shooting guns (though I always preferred a bow), riding horses, raising goats, reading books and running wild.

The short version doesn’t include the painful parts, either.

Adventures are more fun to read about than they are to live. There were times when I was very hungry, very cold, very afraid, and very alone. Sometimes I was all of those things at once. I was often in very dangerous situations.

I wouldn’t want any of my children to live the way I lived, or do some of the things I did. But I wouldn’t change my life, either. Because I have a lot to write about!

Thank you for answering my question Kersten! I don't think that I would have handled a lot of the things that you went through very well!

If you want to know more about Kersten and Tyger Tyger please visit her website.
If you'd like to see the other stops on the tour please go to the official tour page.
If you'd like to pre-order Tyger Tyger with free shipping at The Book Depository go here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


OH MY GOODNESS! I have 200 followers! It feels like I'd finally reached 100 like last week! But I guess it was longer than that =P Thank you guys SO, SO much! I would have a contest but I kind of already have one going, so consider it my thank you to all of you!

Required Reading Giveaway!

Waiting on Wednesday (29)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we post a book that we're looking forward to the release of.

This week:

All You Get is Me by Yvonne Prinz
January 1st, 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads:
What happens when a city girl is transplanted onto a ramshackle organic farm in the middle of nowhere? Everything.

Sixteen-year-old Roar has been yanked from her city life and suddenly she’s a farm girl, albeit a reluctant one, selling figs at the farmers' market and developing her photographs in a rickety shed. And then she witnesses a crime that will throw the whole community into an uproar. Caught among the lure of a troublemaking friend, her love for a brooding boy, and her complicated feelings about her father’s human rights crusade, Roar is going to have to tackle it all. And with a camera around her neck, she’s capturing it all, too.

Yvonne Prinz and her novel The Vinyl Princess have ignited the teen blogosphere and entertainment media. Once again, she’s taken the pulse of culture and emerged with a book that is timely, quirky, and unforgettable.
This is so my kind of book. I love realistic fiction, and this has the potential to be funny, sweet, romantic, and inspiring all in one! I haven't read any of Prinz's other books, but I really want to! I think that this cover is really cool, especially the camara.
What are you waiting on? 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Required Reading Giveaway!

So, if you're like me right about now you're scrambling to get all of your required reading for school done. The problem is, most of the books assigned are boring, old, and impossible to relate to. Well, here aer two books that I think should be on every YA lovers required reading list that aren't any of the things listed above!

Yep, I'm giving away ARCs of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer and Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel! Both books are near the top of my favorites list this year! 

So when you're finished with your school books reward yourself by reading these!

This contest is for US/Canada residents only (Sorry International peeps! I love you but I'm broke :( )
You DON'T have to be a follower to enter!
It will run from today, 8/10, until 8/24 at 11:59 PM EST.
You must fill out the form HERE to enter! Comments are appreciated but will not give you an entry.

Good luck! ENTER HERE!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Body Finder
Author: Kimberly Derting
Published: February 2010 (Maybe March? Goodreads has two dates)
Source: Won
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her “power” to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he’s claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay’s intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she’s falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.

This book makes me wonder why I don't read more mysteries. That was one of my favorite elements of the book. Violet's special ability was interesting too, but what kept me reading was the mystery. And the romance, but you can find that in any book.

Violet was a great protagonist, and I related to her well. I thought that the way that she was dealing with her new feelings for her best friend made her very likeable. Everyone views bestfriends turned boyfriends as cliche, but reading this I realized how little of it you see in young adult. I thought that it was done perfectly.

The interludes when we were in the serial killers head were fantastically creepy. I would read them and feel grossed out and disgusted afterword. That was awesome! 

One thing that I didn't like was that the supporting characters, like Violet's friends, were pretty one dimensional. We only got to see one side of them. It was the same with the mean girls. It really wasn't that important to the story, but I would have liked to have seen a different side of some of them.

Basically I loved this book! I just wish that the supporting characters had been less one dimensional.

Characters: 8/10
Writing: 9/10
Originality: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
Ending: 9/10
Overall: 46/50 A-
Cover/Title Comments: Love the title! It sounds creepy and fits. The cover is beautiful but has nothing to do with the story.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

In My Mailbox (26) Vlog

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where we share the books that we bought, received, checked out, etc. the previous week.

This week my IMM is what I got in the last three weeks.

Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson

Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman
The Ghost and the Goth by Stacy Kade
Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher
My Love Lies Bleeding by Alexandra Harvey
Thanks Lisa at a Life Bound by Books! She also sent me some awesome chocolate and stuff from the UK!
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Thanks Fallen Archangel!
Forget You by Jennifer Echols
Thanks Cass at Words on Paper!

For Review:
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Becoming Chloe by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Radiance by Alyson Noel
Thanks to Penguin, Knopf, and MacMillan!

Blogger Mentioned:
Alex at Tales of a Teenage Book Lover

Oh, and after I did this vlog I went to the library, which was totally unplanned, and got these:

Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Captivate by Carrie Jones
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Mother Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick

So that's it! Let me know what you got!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Title: Shadow Hills
Author: Anastasia Hopcus
Published: July 2010
Source: Bought
Synopsis from Goodreads:
His love captivated her... his secrets might kill her.

Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.

This book blew me away! I'd expected it to be good, but not that good! It has all of the aspects of a paranormal book, without there actually being anything paranormal. That was awesome!

I loved Phe right from the beginning. She was a very real character, and it took me no time at all to get used to being in her head. There were times when I thought that she was a bit too rash, but that's my only complaint about her. Zach was great as a love interest too. He's sweet, but a little rebellious. It was easy to see that he really cared about Phe.

I thought that all of the supporting characters were wonderful also. They all had their own multi-dimensional  personalities. Zach's sister was bitchy, but that's not all there is to her and I liked reading about her. 

The mystery element of this book is completely unique. I've never read anything like it. At first I thought that it was revealed pretty early in the book, but then something happened that made me go "Oh, so this is the main storyline!" I loved Phe's whole situation with her sister and why she's at Shadow Hills. It gave the book another dimension.

One thing that I found a bit strange was that other out of towners besides Phe had to have noticed strange things with the townies, yet she's the only one who really pressed it. Her friends never noticed anything that we know of. It seems a bit unrealistic to me. 

Basically: I loved it! It's a great mystery and romance and I can't wait for the sequel!

Characters: 10/10
Writing: 9/10
Originality: 10/10
Plot: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Overall: 47/50 A
Cover/Title Comments: I like the title, but the cover is just okay. It's really cool, and the title font is awesome, but it has nothing to do with the story.

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Favorite Book Plots

This is part of Favorites Week here on my blog. Be sure to check out the other posts!
10 plots that I wish I'd thought of...

10. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
A genius on a roadtrip. That's really all there is to it, but it's SO MUCH MORE.

9. The Morganville Vampires Series by Rachel Caine
A town ruled by vampires where everything looks fine and dandy, but underneath darkness lurks. It's a town. Ruled by vampires.

8. Maximum Ride by James Patterson
Kids who were born with 2% avian DNA, and as a result have wings. They spend their time running from and fighting the people who made them and then raised them in cages in a lab, while simultaneously learning about their supposed destiny to save the world.

7. The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot
Suze can see ghosts, and  has a hot dead Spaniard living in her bedroom. She has to help guide ghosts to the other side, but they're not all so willing, and it's not as easy as it might seem.

6. Wake by Lisa McMann
Janie sees other peoples dreams, and can use that to help solve crimes. Awesome! Too bad about the side effects.

5. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Popular Samantha relives her last day seven times, trying to make things right. Groundhog Day for teens.

4. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Clay listens to tapes recorded by a girl who committed suicide, explaining why and who was involved. Heartbreaking.

3. The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare
A secret world of demon's and those who hunt them, an evil man who believes that what he's doing is right, and twists and turns in abundance. Plus romance, lots of romance.

2.The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Seriously, pitting twenty-four teenagers against each other in a fight to the death is highly entertaining.

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
A boy finds out that he's a wizard. And? And everything that has to do with the wizarding world is flipping fantastic.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Favorite Book Settings

These are my top ten favorite places to read about!I try to keep it as spoiler free as possible.

10. Mag Mell in Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
The world of Goblins, where nothing is as it seems. It's beautiful but treacherous, and one wrong step could cause your death.

9. The United States of America in The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
I love the thought of the gods living above, below, in, or around our landmarks. It's just cool.

8. The Maze in The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Maze is extremely imaginative. It's ever changing, evolving, and frustrating. The monsters that come out a night are terrifying, so you better be inside the walls when they close.

7. Indonesia in Sea by Heidi R. Kling
Post Tsunami Indonesia was amazing to read about. So much loss, so much pain. Yet there's still that glimmer of hope. I felt like I was really there, experiencing the extreme heat and rough living conditions.

6. The Beach House in The Summer I Turned Pretty
If I could count how many times I wished that I had a house by the beach...well, this just makes me want one more! Living by the beach, tracking sand in the house, having a bathing suit as your only uniform. Heaven.

5. The Theatre in Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Matchev
The Theatre is unlike anything I've ever read about. The characters in the plays come to life to perform, it's truly amazing to imagine. I love thinking about the characters personalities off of the stage!

4. New York 1899 in The Luxe by Anna Godberson
Ah, the lives of the rich and famous. And the not so rich and famous. Godberson did an amazing job describing life in New York in 1899. The clothes, the society, everything screams decadence, propriety, and entitlement.

3. The Future in Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Come on, a future where everyone is pretty? With hoverboards, and a ton of other awesome futuristic stuff? Awesome! Well, except for that part that would be a spoiler if I told you.

2. The Arena in The Huger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The Arenas are really, really awesome. I have no idea how Suzanne Collins imagined half of the stuff she did, but it is all amazing. The one in Catching Fire is especially awesome.

1. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
The school that none of us would mind going to! Seriously, if I had classes like Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts it would be a lot easier to get up in the morning! It just sounds awesome!

So there you have it, my top ten book settings. Be sure to stop by tomorrow for another list.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (28)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine where we showcase the books that we just can't wait to be released.

This week is my Favorites themed WoW, so what's more fitting than the end to my favorite series?

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Release Date: August 24th, 2010
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

I think that this speaks for itself: I had it preordered in January.

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My Favorite Book Covers

This post is part of Favorites Week on my blog, be sure to check out the rest of the posts!

My top ten favorite book covers! 
10. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
I adore the way the sea glass is in the shape of a heart, and the one red piece is perfect for the story!
9. The Luxe by Anna Godberson
 Seriously, that dress is AMAZING! And the title font is perfect. I love the way the girl is looking over her shoulder also. The black backround really makes everything else stand out.

8. Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
It's just completely gorgeous. Everything about it. The colors used, the light, the trees and lightning in the background, everything.

 7. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
 This fits the book so perfectly. I love how they're holding hands, and the title font rocks my socks!The road as the backround is really cool, and the rocks make it all relevant.

6. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Creepiest cover ever. And so intriguing. I love the fog in the backround. And the red letters all in caps.The baby carriage just adds a whole new level of creepy, and the way that it's decorated is really cool.

5. Wondrous Strange by Leslie Livingston

 I'm not really sure why I love this cover so much. Maybe it's because everything has a bluish tinge which gives it a sort of otherworldly feel that just screams fae. If you couldn't already tell I'm a total cover font whore, and that font is awesome.

4. Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
Basically? It's gorgeous and oh so relevant.

3. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
Also gorgeous, and oh so accurate. 

2. Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
The hair, the dress, the fingers on her lips, the bed of black roses. What more can you ask for?

 1. Matched by Ally Condie
It's so simple, yet it's beautiful. The girl in the bubble is really symbolic, and the bright green on the plain white background is eye catching. I think that it's very easy to see that this book is futuristic.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for some more favorites!

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Favorite Book Heroines

This is part of my Favorites Week here on the blog, be sure to check out the others!

These are the girls that I feel like I can look up to simply for being awesome ;)

10. Dru from Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
She lost her grandmother, and her father. Now she has to fight the evil things that go bump in the night all by herself. She kicks butt the whole time, but she still has emotions and acknowledges them.

9. Cammie from The Gallagher Girls Series by Ally Carter
She's trained to be a SPY and she's a TEENAGER! She's super smart and excellent at sleuthing, but has guy troubles like the rest of us. Plus she's a great friend.

 8. Thirrin from The Icemark Chronicles by Stuart Hill
So Thirrin is basically a viking, though it's sort of an alternate reality. Her father, the king, dies, and she's left to lead her country in to war, and does it wonderfully. Badass!

7. Meggie from Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
She's normal. Then she finds out her father can read characters out of books. Even then she's still a normal, book loving girl thrust into situations that she never imagined. She's strong, and clever, and yet still has an air of normalcy.

6. Tally from Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Tally is fun to read about, because you never know what she's going to do. She has faults, and a lot of them, but that's why it's so awesome to see her making the right choices.  Especially after messing up (again).

5. Rose from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Rose kicks major ass. She is the best fighter in her class, despite the fact that she wasn't in school for two years. She truly cares about her best friend Lissa, and wants what's best for her. She does what she wants, but it's all for what she thinks is right.

4. Ella from Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
She's gifted (more like cursed) with having to do whatever anyone tells her to do. The decision she's forced to make when she falls in love with a prince is heartbreaking. I'm tearing up just thinking about it!

3. Hermione from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
The idol of bookish girls everywhere! Sure she's kinda shy and a little bit bossy, but she always knows what to do to get Harry and Ron out of sticky situations.

2. Suze from The Mediator series by Meg Cabot
She can see ghosts, and she OWNS it. She doesn't need anyone's help, and is sure to let them know it! She has a snarky sense of humor that always makes me laugh and doesn't rely on any guy to help her, ever.

1. Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Do I even need to explain this one? She's basically the definition of awesome!

Come back tomorrow for another list of favorites!
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