Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan

Title: Fractured Light
Author: Rachel McClellan
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc (February 7, 2012)
Source: NetGalley ARC

From GoodReads:

Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. She can’t take any chances. But when she starts to make friends for the first time in her life, she gets careless and lets her guard down. Big mistake.

As an Aura, Llona can manipulate light and harness its energy. But if she wants to survive, Llona will have to defy the Auran Council and learn to use her power as a weapon against the Vyken whose sole desire is to take her light. Now she’s caught in something even bigger than she can understand, with a power she can’t wield, and no one she can trust, except, just maybe, a mysterious stranger.

In this breathtaking and romantic adventure, Rachel McClellan delivers a truly mesmerizing story that will keep you guessing to the very end.
There is so much to be said about McClellan's beautifully written Fractured Light. While there is no shortage of Paranormal books on the market right now, McClellan manages to create something that is completely new and different while fitting solidly into the genre and market.

Llona is a girl that knows there is something about her that is different. She is an Aura and has the ability to harness light and the power it contains. Unlike other Auras, though, she lives smack dab in the middle of the real world and has to deal with real-world issues. Llona grew up different and that difference makes her a powerful adversary for those who want to see her gone. Can Llona find a place in the "regular" world and the world that is unique to the Auras and their Guardians.

I have read a lot of paranormal YA literature in the past couple years. More, probably, than I should admit. And, as much as I've read, sometimes it's hard to find something unique in the stories - but Fractured Light was still unique and told a completely new story in a crowded genre. McClellan's writing is crisp and focused, with each chapter leading the reader deeper into the world she has created.

One of my favorite parts of Fractured Light is the idea that there is magic working around us all day every day. There is a beautiful simplicity to that magic and a haunting reassurance that the unexplainable exists and cannot be defined. We live with magic inside us - and every person has the power to either make it shine or squash it down.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Blog Tour Teaser: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Fever
Author: Lauren DeStefan
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (February 21, 2012)
Source: ATW ARC Tours

From GoodReads:

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind. 

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness. 

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion...by any means necessary. 

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever.

Last year, Wither by Lauren DeStefano blew me away. So, you can imagine how excited I was to receive a copy of Fever early. I loved Wither so much, I just had to like Fever. Had to.

Well, I'm not sure that I did.

Let me explain, because there are some complex thoughts swirling around inside my head right now. I didn't dislike Fever, nor did I dislike reading Fever. There was a lot of interesting and unexpected things that happened in this book, which kept me going at a fast pace. Honestly, I probably would've read it in one sitting if I had the time.

However, Wither ends on such a hopeful note, I expected some happiness before the turmoil...and I didn't get it. By the end of chapter one, we're sucked right into a high action, high risk scenario. This is a good thing for the reader, because it pulls us in immediately. But, it also takes away the happiness and hopefulness from the end of Wither. And, we don't ever really get it back. Rhine's journey in Fever is hard. This makes sense considering the bleak world she lives in and the horrific experiences she has had to endure, but it makes it hard on the reader too. How much heartache and horror can we take before we want to give up too?

I'm not saying I ever wanted to give up reading Fever. Quite the opposite actually. I tore through the pages hoping something good would happen. There are moments here and there that help, but it's only mere moments of contentment. I think part of my problem with reading Fever is the state of mind Rhine is in for much of the book. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just say Rhine is unable to think clearly for much of the book for various reasons, and I found this a little disorienting and disconnecting as a reader. This difficulty blocked some of the happiness that I think I usually would have experienced during happy moments.

In many ways, Fever seems like a set-up for book three. Wither established the world and key players. Fever took the reader on a journey to the rest of the world and to get a sense of the devastation. I think book three is going to be the time for some action. Rhine's experiences are going to motivate her even more to not just search for the life she seeks, but to do something truly special. With the help of a certain someone(s) that shall not be named. ;)

Overall, Fever wasn't the most enjoyable book for me to read, but I don't think it's meant to be. We need to experience Rhine's pain and suffering in order to truly grasp her situation. I am eagerly awaiting book three and hoping my prediction about the action is correct.

Final thoughts: Borrow.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Recap: January 23 - 27

This week in twitter recommendations:


Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.
Review: Wow. Absolutely incredible.
I highly recommend THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin to all YA fans. Bonus points for a little creepiness.


It’s one thing to find out you’re a vampire princess. It’s a whole other thing to actually rule. Newly married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own. Determined to clear her husband’s name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows that with no blood to drink, Lucius’s time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is—and whom she can trust—before it’s too late?

Review: I freaking love Lucius and Antanasia (aka Jessica).

I recommend JESSICA RULES THE DARK SIDE by Beth Fantaskey for fans of unique reads. Bonus points for vampires and romance.

THE BOOK OF WONDERS by Jasmine Richards

Magic, Djinn, Ogres, and Sorcerers. Thirteen-year-old Zardi loves to hear stories about fantastical beings, long banned from the kingdom of Arribitha. But anyone caught whispering of their powers will feel the rage of the sultan—a terrifying usurper who, even with his eyes closed, can see all. 

When her own beloved sister is captured by the evil ruler, Zardi knows that she must go to any lengths to rescue her. Along with her best friend, Ridhan—a silver-haired, violet-eyed boy of mysterious origins—and an unlikely crew of sailors led by the infamous Captain Sinbad, Zardi ventures forth into strange and wondrous territory with a seemingly impossible mission: to bring magic back to Arribitha and defeat the sultan once and for all.

Review: Epic adventure, energetic characters, wonderful storytelling with smooth writing, THE BOOK OF WONDERS is a solid hit!

I recommend THE BOOK OF WONDERS by Jasmine Richards to fans of fantasy and/or MG. Bonus points for multicultural aspects.

VANISH by Sophie Jordan

An impossible romance.
Bitter rivalries.
Deadly choices.

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

Review:  Super cool fantasy & dragon/draki mythology.

I recommend VANISH by Sophie Jordan to fans of fantastic fantasy. Bonus points for romance.

*Summaries provided by GoodReads

Friday Favorite: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Title: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2001
Source: Own, Beach House Discovery
Newbery Winner: 2004

From GoodReads:

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other's lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out.

I picked this book up in a book exchange at a rental house. My family went to Costa Rica for Thanksgiving one year (I know! It was awesome!) and the house had a rule - you were welcome to take any book you didn't finish reading, but you had to leave a book in exchange. It was actually a pretty awesome rule. So, I had finished a book (I don't even remember what) and traded it for this little story. It took me all of three or four pages to be completely in love with little Despereaux!

Despereaux has a heart for adventure and more passion in his little heart than most people carry in their entire bodies. This modern-day fairy tale is for the young and the young-at-heart. Beautifully illustrated, The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo is an unexpected delight with a deeply moving message - there is power in the light - and you cannot keep that magic for yourself.

This is a book you may be tempted to read quickly, but I would encourage you to slow down and really enjoy it. Take your time and fall in love with each character and the journey that brings them all together. No matter how small you may feel sometimes, Despereaux is proof that the only size that matters is the size of your heart.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Title: Vanish
Author: Sophie Jordan
Publisher: Harper Collins (September 6, 2011)
Source: My Choice; Own

From GoodReads:

An impossible romance.
Bitter rivalries.
Deadly choices.

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone. 

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

For me, Firelight by Sophie Jordan was one of the best books I read last year. It was original and well-written with a complex story and steamy romance. Don't forget the thrilling nature of running for your life and trying not to be discovered. It had everything I wanted in a fantasy book. Obviously, with a book like that, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Vanish.

Vanish was a good book, but it suffers from Book II Syndrome. The first half of the book is dealing with what happened at the end of Firelight and it seems like we don't get into the new, good stuff till about halfway through. That's not to say the first half isn't interesting or enjoyable. It is. It just isn't as good as the second half.

Also, Book II Syndrome involves a mix-up in the romance. With the way Firelight ended, readers knew Will wouldn't be in the story as much, at least at first. Without as much Will, the steamy romance can't happen. It wasn't a surprise that Cassian became a possible romantic interest. I actually never minded Cassian in Firelight, though he didn't seem like a good match for Jacinda. In Vanish, I like him even more, though I still don't want the two to end up together. I appreciate that Jordan didn't make it a full on love-triangle, but I still didn't like the romance that didn't involve Will. Thankfully, Will does show up.

The end of the book was awesome. I loved the set up for the next book as well as the turn the story took. I'd guess that Hidden is going to be pretty fast-paced and fantastic, by the way Vanish ended. Besides the plot, I also liked how Jacinda's relationships developed, particularly her relationship with her sister, Tamra. By the end, I absolutely loved Tamra. Her dialogue in the last few chapters was wonderful. :)

Overall, if you enjoyed Firelight, definitely read Vanish. It's not quite as good, but Firelight is hard to live up to. If you haven't already read Firelight, what are you waiting for? It's an awesome fantasy book.

Final thoughts: If you bought Firelight and/or like fantasy, buy. If not, borrow.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Reviews: A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Title: A Million Suns
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill (January 10, 2012)
Source: Own

From GoodReads:

Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.

It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

I'm not going to lie - I became a little obsessed with Across the Universe after I finally got around to reading it late last year. It's probably good that I didn't discover it until late in the year, or it would have been a LONG year! I was so glad to be able to read more of Elder & Amy's story quickly, even though I knew this would be a hard book to read and feel satisfied.

As the middle book of the trilogy, A Million Suns by Beth Revis has a very specific purpose. It has to bridge the gap between the beginning and end of the story, create conflict and mystery, and keep a reader satisfied but still longing for the conclusion of the story. And, A Million Suns delivers on every front. Picking up just three months after the end of Across the Universe, Elder is trying to run the Godspeed without the help of a mysterious drug, Phydus, that was keeping the people placated and calm. While Elder wants to do the best for the people on the ship, ruling without Phydus is complicated.

A Million Suns is the story of a ship falling apart, a civilization finding it's voice and the secret that will change everything. I don't want to spoil the secret, but wow. I was shocked and amazed at how author Beth Revis was able to weave A Million Suns into a complete story and still leave the reader completely anxious for the rest of the story. I waiting very impatiently for this book to appear in my mailbox, and I read it in one sitting. I loved this story, but am so sad that I have to wait until 2013 to finish Elder and Amy's journey to their new home!! Sometimes finding yourself in the middle of a trilogy is frustrating and stressful for the reader!

A Million Suns is told with the same lyrical and beautiful style as Across the Universe. Revis stays true to her voice, her characters and her dual narrators (Elder & Amy). This is is beautiful book, with romance, destruction secrets and lies all woven seamlessly together.

I am already anxiously awaiting the final book - and already sad that it will have to end at all.

Final Thoughts: One of my new favorite series and authors. Read now and join me in waiting for book three!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Title: Everneath
Author: Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (January 24, 2012)
Source: ATW ARC Tours

From GoodReads:

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever. 

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists. 

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen. 

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...

Lately, there seems to be a number of YA books dealing with hell or the underworld. It's interesting to read all the different versions and interpretations. Everneath by Brodi Ashton was quite distinctive. Not only does it combine the idea of the underworld with the concept of immortals, but it starts immediately with Nikki waking up with Cole after the Feed. Talk about immediately being dropped into a new world! Readers won't completely understand what's going on or what happened, but you'll be able to follow along until those answers are explained.

Nikki has a strange journey. She's been gone from her normal life for six months without explanation. When she returns, she doesn't give an explanation and she appears damaged. She's sickly, doesn't talk much, and displays very limited emotions. The rumors that she was abusing drugs are actually the most accurate explanation, given her behaviors and appearance. Nikki's journey is difficult because she came back to make things right with family and friends. She wants to give them a proper good-bye before she has to return to the Everneath forever. Oh, and she only has six months to do it.

For me, the best aspect of reading Everneath was witnessing the changes in Nikki's relationships. When she returns, there's a lot of work to do. Repairing relationships takes time and I thought Ashton did a great job showing how that happens and giving the appropriate amount of time for each.

Because of the relationships Nikki has with Cole and Jack, this story has a love triangle. It's a strange, twisted love triangle, but a triangle nonetheless. As a reader, it was hard for me to decide who would be the better choice. Overall, Jack is the one Nikki loves, but she knows it would crush him to reconnect then have her disappear again. Cole's life as an Everliving is disturbing to Nikki, but I had sympathy for him. He seems to truly care about Nikki. Plus, her other option is to be subjected to the Tunnels forever...not a good thing.

Luckily for me, I knew Everneath has a sequel. If I didn't, I think I would have been disappointed in the ending. It could have worked as a stand alone ending, but if it was the only book, I would have been very disappointed in the end. There's just so much more that can be done and I have hope for some of the characters to get better endings in the future.

Overall, Everneath is worth the read. It has more introspection into life and relationships than your typical fantasy, so it's good for both fantasy and literary fans. It has some romance too, but don't pick it up if you're in the mood for a hugely romantic book.

Final thoughts:  Borrow or buy. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (September 27, 2011)
Source: My Choice; Own

From GoodReads:

Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.
Wow. That about sums it up. Wow.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin was incredible. It wowed me in every single way. The cover, the story, the characters...even the title is amazing. I could gush forever, so let's make it easier and take it one by one.

The Cover. Just look at that cover! If that doesn't draw you in, I don't know what will. When I first saw it (in a tiny little thumbnail), I thought it was two dancers. When I realized it was actually two people in water, I definitely did a double-take. Looking at the way the girl is almost lifeless, barely bobbing her head above the surface and the way the guy seems to be holding her afloat...breathtaking. Such a good cover for the story too.

The Story. After inspecting the cover and getting a kind of creepy, disturbing vibe, it isn't surprising that the story mimics this feeling as well. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is not for someone who scares easily, though I wouldn't call it scary either. In a nutshell, the main character is going crazy...or, she thinks she is. Keeping that in mind, there's a lot of strange events that occur. I couldn't tell what was real and what wasn't, just like Mara couldn't. From a reader's perspective, this was very interesting. It made the whole plot completely unpredictable. Without knowing what to expect (or honestly, what the heck was happening!), I was alert the entire time and pulled to keep going till the end. Though, the end doesn't wrap things up because there's another book coming! Even so, I enjoyed the ending and can't wait to read what happens (or doesn't happen) next. :)

The Characters. I loved all the characters in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. All of them. Mara herself is a very interesting to share headspace with. We only know what she knows and what she experiences, which is quite a bit. Unfortunately, because we're in her head, we don't know what is real outside of her head. This makes her intriguing and I enjoyed experiencing her POV. Her thoughts about her hallucinations and experiences help ground the reader with all the weird going on. Plus, her voice is typical, normal teen, and I enjoyed that. While I definitely loved her brothers and new friend, Jamie, I also could not get enough of Noah. He's got a lot of mystery about him, but not in the typical mysterious-bad-boy way. He's not even really a bad boy, though his reputation suggests he's been a jerk in the past. Either way, I loved him and I super loved him with Mara. Here's to hoping there's more Noah in the next book!

The Title. Can you believe this title? It's so original and out-of-the-box for typical YA titles. It strikes me as so odd and different that I absolutely love it. Doesn't hurt that it's also so fitting.

Final thoughts:  Buy it. Seriously.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Recap: January 17 - 20

This week's twitter recommendations were:

TEMPEST by Julie Cross
The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.
Review:  One of my favorite books I've read in the past year.

I highly recommend TEMPEST by Julie Cross to everyone who reads.

GOING TOO FAR by Jennifer Echols

All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn't make it back.
John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won't soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won't be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge -- and over....
Review: Fun, sexy romance.

I recommend GOING TOO FAR by Jennifer Echols to readers looking for a good, mature YA romance.

SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now. 

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 

Review: 100% awesome in every way.

I highly recommend SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi to anyone who reads books. Bonus points for being so cool.

SPIRIT BOUND by Richelle Mead

Salvation has its price.
The words stunned Adrian for a moment, but he kept going. "You're lying. What you're describing is impossible. There's no way to save a Strigoi. When they're gone, they're gone. They're dead. Undead. Forever." 

Robert's next words weren't directed at Adrian. They were spoken to me. "That which is dead doesn't always stay dead...." 

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s—and to her best friend, Lissa Dragomir. It's graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives outside of the Academy’s cold iron gates to finally begin. But even with the intrigue and excitement of court life looming, Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri. He's out there, somewhere. 

She failed to kill him when she had the chance, and now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and she knows in her heart that he is hunting her. And if Rose won't join him, he won't rest until he's silenced her...forever. 

But Rose can't forget what she learned on her journey—whispers of a magic too impossible and terrifying to comprehend. A magic inextricably tied to Lissa that could hold the answer to all of Rose's prayers, but not without devastating consequences. Now Rose will have to decide what—and who—matters most to her. In the end, is true love really worth the price? 

Review: Unputdownable.

I highly recommend SPIRIT BOUND by Richelle Mead for people who like to read a good series.

* Summaries provided by GoodReads

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Favorites: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Title: The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Author: Elizabeth George Speare
Publisher: Sandpiper
Source: Library, Newbery Winner

From GoodReads

Orphaned Kit Tyler knows, as she gazes for the first time at the cold, bleak shores of Connecticut Colony, that her new home will never be like the shimmering Caribbean island she left behind. In her relatives' stern Puritan community, she feels like a tropical bird that has flown to the wrong part of the world, a bird that is now caged and lonely. The only place where Kit feels completely free is in the meadows, where she enjoys the company of the old Quaker woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond, and on occasion, her young sailor friend Nat. But when Kit's friendship with the "witch" is discovered, Kit is faced with suspicion, fear, and anger. She herself is accused of witchcraft!

Kit is a girl thrown into a world unlike any she has ever experienced before. Growing up on a tropical island, she lived a carefree and joy-filled life. When she goes to live in the Puritan Connecticut Colony, she knows things will have to be different. But how different? She can't even imagine that her friendship with the local "witch" could cost her everything.

I have always been fascinated with these stories - stories of societies that are so scared of everything that isn't just like them that they're willing to kill to silence what they don't understand. I feel like, in a lot of ways, these stories of witchcraft and witch hunts were precursors to the modern Paranormal YA genre. There are similarities - those that are different being the outcasts of their society, understanding something that makes them different, trying to fit into a different world - and those things have become staples of YA literature.

I first read The Witch of Blackbird Pond when I was a young girl. I remember liking it but not really caring a whole lot about it. When I read it again as an adult, I found myself both fascinated and disgusted that this is part of our history. Books like this are important because we need to know where we were to see how far we've come - and how far we still have to go. Books like this remind me that we've just replaced the Witches or our history with new things we don't understand (religions, people groups, etc).

People should read this book not just because it's a classic and on a very prestigious list, but also because it's part of who we were and who we should avoid becoming again. It will probably take all of three hours to read, but it will be three hours worth it!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: Harper Collins (November 15, 2011)
Source: My Choice; Own

From GoodReads:

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. 

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now. 

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 

I've been dying to read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. Dying! As a child, I was always a huge fan of X-Men and my favorite has always been Rogue. Just as I was super excited about the movies that focused on Rogue (& Wolverine), I was just excited to learn about Shatter Me. Doesn't Juliette sound just like Rogue? What better way to combine my love of X-Men and my love of books?

The writing style in Shatter Me is completely unique. I feel like it breaks all kinds of rules, but it doesn't really. Writing is good when it draws someone into the story and this type of writing definitely does that. It doesn't matter that the sentences aren't all proper sentences, that words are scratched out and rewritten, that phrases are repeated. It's very much like the reader is in Juliette's head. The words are her thoughts. It's this type of out-of-the-box thinking that makes the writing so unique and interesting. I can't wait to read more from Mafi.

Okay, so the writing's good. But what else? 



The story kept me interested throughout. There was never a moment where I wanted to put down the book. Honestly, if I hadn't been so sleep deprived, I probably would've read straight through from beginning to end. Since I was, I finished it early in the morning after sustaining sufficient sleep (something I think Juliette could appreciate :D). 

The characters were just as intriguing. I adore Adam. I don't want to spoil him for readers, so I won't say more, but I just absolutely loved him, through and through. I can't wait to read more about him. Warner was an interesting character also. I wanted to hate him, but I couldn't quite hate him as vehemently as I wanted too. Mafi created him so carefully that I could see his humanity, the chinks in his armor. I felt bad for him just as much as he repulsed me. Kudos to you, Mafi. 

And dude, there's another character we don't see till later so I won't even say his name, but I really enjoyed Adam's friend. ;) I didn't know what to think about him when first introduced, but I think I love him. He's hilarious and exactly the kind of guy that would be fun to hang out with. He's the kind of guy you slap because he's so rude, but you're smiling and forgiving him as you do it. I hope we see more of him. 

Overall, Shatter Me is a home run. There's action, mystery, tension, awesome writing and great characters. There's romance for those that like it, but not overpowering for those that don't. There's depth without becoming an exercise in introspection. It's just great. Read it.

Final thoughts:  Buy it. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Publisher: Speak
Source: Library

From GoodReads:

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A stunning debut, it marks John Green's arrival as an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

From the first word of the first page, you know this book is counting down to something, but you're not sure what. It's coming, and you know it's coming. Through the first half, all you can do is read along and wonder. Miles is a quiet and unassuming kid who is looking for something new in the world, and he finds it at Culver Creek. He found his place by memorizing the last words that people utter - from the unlikely to the auspicious - and those words form the foundation for the decisions he makes as the book counts down to the inevitable "the day of" that you know is coming.

I loved this book. I loved the way Miles was written and the way all the supporting characters make Miles more believeable and interesting. It was about halfway through the first section that I realized what was going to happen. I knew what was coming, and there was a big part of me that wanted to stop reading just so I didn't have to go through it. But, I did read it. And I cried. And I wanted to reach through the pages of the book and tell Miles that life would go on and it was going to be okay.

John Green's debut novel is just a glimpse of things to come from him as a writer. Looking for Alaska is about love and loss. It's about the demons we all battle, and whether or not we let those demons win. Looking for Alaska is about redemption and pain and love and life. It's about the simple things that become the important things and the big things that don't matter in the end. Looking for Alaska is a glimpse of life-laughter, tears and everything in between.

If you haven't become familiar with Green or his writing, start with this book. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tempest Audiobook Giveaway

If you've been following the blog or twitter the last few months, you may remember several gushing moments concerning Tempest by Julie Cross. I loved, loved, loved this book! So much so, that I gave away my personal ARC so someone else could read it too. Then, I reviewed it. Then I gushed some more on twitter.

Well, today's the day it's finally released! You should all go pick up a copy. I know I'm buying one too since I gave away my ARC (yes, I do absolutely need to OWN this book!).

Now, I've got another great way to share Tempest with you:  audiobook. Today, with the help of the wonderful MacMillan Audio, I can give away a copy of the Tempest audiobook to one lucky winner! Since this is coming straight from the publisher, only people with US addresses can enter (sorry!).

Not sure if you'd like audiobooks? Preview this clip of Tempest:

Got hooked? Want to win? Fill out the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Teaser Tuesday: Fracture by Megan Miranda

Title: Fracture
Author: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Walker Children's (January 17, 2012)
Source: ATW ARC Tours

From GoodReads:

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine
-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.

Fracture by Megan Miranda was compelling from the very first sentence. The ARC I received came with a note from the editor playfully warning readers that they may want to make sure they have some spare time ahead of them because they won't want to put this book down. I wish I had heeded that warning. Then, maybe I wouldn't have found myself staying up till three in the morning in order to finish.

I seriously couldn't stop reading Fracture. It wasn't the racing pace of an action based novel, like The Hunger Games, or even the high drama and urgency of something like If I Stay. Instead, Fracture had a steady pull throughout the entire story. Think of those heart rate monitors in hospitals. Most books would have a heart rate that is going ballistic. First it's steady, then it goes into shock. Just as it's steadying out again...another heart attack! Fracture's heart rate is much steadier, but it's beating at an elevated rate. The steady pulse of new, captivating information, keeps the reader glued to the page.

I rarely have an opportunity to say this about a book, but I loved ALL of the characters. There was no "bad guy." There were characters that did not act in the most flattering ways (sometimes, even horrific ways), but I could see why they did so, even if I didn't agree with it. This helped me connect to not just Delaney, but to her friends, family, and new people she meets. I couldn't help but feel sympathy for all of them as they dealt with the near death of Delaney, along with the other twists and turns Miranda had to offer.

Throughout the story, I felt as conflicted as Delaney. She didn't always act in ways I'd choose, but I couldn't fault her choices either. The most endearing and frustrating relationship was the one between Delaney and Decker. They both have profound experiences and need to work their way through them. Sometimes, getting what you want is harder than it should be. Life is hard. Miranda gave an extremely realistic look at relationships and how people relate to one another during difficult moments.

For me, reading Fracture was an experience. I got as much psychology and philosophy as I would in a textbook, but through the lends of a beautifully written story. It's a book that'll stay in my mind and my heart. The story is completely timeless. It asks the basic life questions about life and death and what it truly means to live. I imagine Fracture will be a book I'll periodically pick up throughout my life, just to relive the experience and see if my perspective on any of the issues or characters has changed.

Overall, Fracture is touching. It's emotionally and mentally stimulating. It's a book I'd recommend to anyone who likes to read.

Final thoughts:  Buy it. Actually, buy two and give one to a friend.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

In My Mailbox #16

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren

So many good books...so little time. :( Hoping I'll be able to pick up my reading speed again once my dissertation is done. :)


Legend by Marie Lu


Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood & The Duchess of Northumberland

Suggestion Saturday

Because I Love Him by Amanda Grace
Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt 

What books did you get this week?