Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Sarah Beth Durst

368 Pages

Expected publication: August 27th 2013 by Walker Childrens

Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she's in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember.
At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.
This book sounds right up my alley, and oh so intriguing!! Magic-wielding killers? Buttons being sewn into skin? Strange powers and elusive but terrifying memories? Count me in!

Top 10 Books I've Read So Far in 2013

I've read a lot of great books so far this year, that's for sure. I only started blogging about 2 months ago, and since then have read around 20 books. Before then I didn't keep count of exactly what I read, so most of these books are choices from the past two months. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Review: Sever by Lauren Destefano


Lauren Destefano

371 Pages

Published February 12th, 2013

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.
Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.
In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.
I've had this one on my shelves for a few months now, and I knew it was time to pick it up since I'm working on finishing off some of my series. I've really enjoyed the Chemical Garden books, this particular installation being no exception. Plenty of character growth and even some hope and secrets finally revealed take place in this final book, it was definitely a great conclusion to the series.

We start off where the 2nd book left off, with Rhine recently rescued from the experimental hell of Vaughn's dark and dreary basement. Linden is a bit weary of her, not quite believing the terrible things his father has done to her. As time wears on she slowly acquires his trust again, securing faith in him. Cecily is a main character as usual, pregnant again so soon after birthing small Bowen. The pregnancy proves difficult and disastrous, almost killing her in the end.

It was interesting to see how much Cecily had grown as a character. In previous books she was childish, whiny and naive, but still lovable. She's grown a lot and become stronger for the benefit of her child, no longer the little girl she once was. Linden gradually grows as well, realizing that his father may have ulterior motives at times, his growth leading him to seeking bursts of freedom. Rhine has grown as well, gathering some hope from the dark recesses of the world she's living in. At times she even begins to see Vaughn as a person, though a slightly deranged one.

We get to know Rowan, who wasn't at all what I was expecting. Another new character introduced is Vaughn's eccentric brother, Reed, who was quirky and wise, the perfect role model for Linden. He does his best to keep his brother in control, all while keeping the rest of the characters safe. I liked how he had more knowledge of the world than others, you could tell he knew the truth about the virus and the rest of the countries of the world.

Sever was a story full of hope, grief, and mysteries gradually unveiled. The ending was perfect for me, leaving things happy but a bit open ended for interpretation. As usual Lauren Destefano's writing style was poetic and engaging. I'll be sure to read her upcoming series!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
The Bitter Kingdom

Rae Carson

435 Pages

Expected publication: August 27th 2013 by Greenwillow Books

The epic and deeply satisfying conclusion to Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.
"Carson joins the ranks of writers like Kristin Cashore, Megan Whalen Turner, and Tamora Pierce as one of YA's best writers of high fantasy."-Locus magazine
Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she's never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most. Riveting, surprising, and achingly romantic, Rae Carson has spun a bold and powerful conclusion to her extraordinary trilogy.
I love these stories and the intricate plot and world-building behind them. I'm just itching to finish off this amazing series!

Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed In Blood

Kendare Blake

316 Pages

Published August 30th, 2011 by Tor Teen

Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
I've been hearing rave reviews for this book for months now, so I finally gave in and bought it. Our story follows the journey of Cas, a ghost-hunter/killer who is following in his father's footsteps. He's onto the biggest and most frightening ghost of his life - a mysterious and exceptionally deadly ghost nicknamed Anna Dressed in Blood. Anna holds a lot of pent up anger, killing everyone who steps foot into her fortress, with the exception of Cas.

Cas was a strong character, foolish at times though. He listens to no one, often putting himself in dangerous situations he doesn't need to be in. He has chosen to shove normal life to the sidelines, instead carrying on the family legacy of banishes ghosts to who knows where. I liked hearing about his adventures, though I did feel sorry for him at times, not being able to lead a normal life and all.

Anna was an interesting character, very unique being a ghost and all! She had no remorse for the things she'd done in the beginning, but as the story progresses she gains some control over her anger, and even tells Cas and the others her story. She goes from being scary killer girl to sweet, but troubled dead woman.

The story wasn't super fast-paced until the end when a lot of things are at stake. The ending was a bit of a cliff-hanger and my next book purchase will likely include the second in the series.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Blog Tour and Book Review: In Too Deep by Michelle Kemper Brownlow

In Too Deep

Michelle Kemper Brownlow

Expected publication: June 6th 2013 by Sapphire Star Publishing

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17408300-in-too-deep?ac=1

--Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Too-Deep-Michelle-Kemper-Brownlow/dp/1938404602/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369835521&sr=1-1

Gracie has just finished her freshman year of college in Memphis when she takes a job at a local pizza joint in her home town of McKenzie, Tennessee. She is the epitome of innocence when she meets Noah. Noah is unabashedly handsome, intriguingly reckless and just cocky enough to be sexy. Gracie’s instincts tell her to stay far away from him and based on the stories she hears from her co-workers he leaves broken hearts in his wake. But still, she can’t explain her fascination with him.
Noah puts aside his bad boy ways when what he thought was a summer crush has him unexpectedly falling in love. But soon after Gracie transfers to UT Knoxville to be with Noah, their unexpected love becomes riddled with anger, deceit and humiliation.
Jake, Noah’s former roommate and Gracie’s best friend, can no longer be a bystander. Gracie’s world falls out from beneath her and when she breaks she turns to Jake for strength. As Jake talks her through a decision she’s not yet strong enough to make, together they uncover a truth so ugly neither of them is prepared for its fallout. Will Jake pull her to the surface or is Gracie Jordan finally In Too Deep?
In Too Deep is a very emotional read. Gracie is a good girl, or used to be before she started dating her womanizer of a boyfriend, Noah. While she did annoy and confuse me at times I still felt for the main character through all her pain. Even if I wanted to shake her a little at times.

When Gracie first got with Noah he was a sweetheart, changing his rebel ways to be with her. As time wears on and he beings to pledge into Sigma Chi things take a drastic turn for the worst. While he isn't psychically abusive to Gracie his is obviously controlling her, abusing her emotionally, which can sometimes do more damage than a slap or punch. Noah has her so wound up and confused that she's convinced she's doing something wrong, that she isn't good enough for any other man. 

I like watching her slowly gain the strength to leave him, though it did upset my a little when she kept craving him and straying back when another man clearly loved her! Speaking of that man.. he seemed like a total heartthrob. I would date him if I were Gracie in a nanosecond. He seemed that hot, caring and truly empathetic all the times she cries on his muscled shoulder..

Overall I enjoyed this new adult novel quite a bit. While I was frustrated at times, other parts of the story made up for it. An important look at dating abuse in young adults, In Too Deep is a must read. 

Michelle Kemper Brownlow has been a storyteller her entire life. Her debut was on the high school cheerleading bus granting requests to re-tell her most embarrassing moments for a gaggle of hysterical squadmates.

Earning her Bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in Art Education and then marrying her very own “Jake,” she moved to Binghamton, NY where she taught high school. After having two children she quit work and finished her Master’s degree in Elementary Education at Binghamton University.

The Brownlow family of four moved to Michelle’s hometown of Morgantown, PA while the children were still quite young. A few years after moving, her family grew by one when they welcomed a baby into their home through the gift of adoption. The family still resides in PA, just miles from where that high school cheer bus was parked.

Michelle has been an artist for as long as she can remember, always choosing pencils and crayons over toys and puzzles. As a freelance illustrator, her simple characters play the starring roles in numerous emergent reader books published by Reading Reading Books.

“Writing is my way of making sense of the world. When I give my characters life on the pages I write, it frees up space in my mind to welcome in new stories that are begging to be told,” says Brownlow


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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Never Fade

Alexandria Bracken

512 PAges

Expected publication: October 15th 2013 by Disney-Hyperion

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?
Darkest Minds left me breathless and wanting more. I am shaking in my boots waiting for this one, haha! Totally fangirling here..

Monday, June 3, 2013

Best Books Ever Giveaway Hop!!

Welcome to The Best Books Ever Giveaway Hop! This hop is hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer and The Best Books Ever.

Giveaway Rules:
1. Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL! (as long as The Book Depository ships to your country)
2. Must be at least 13 years old to enter.
3. Winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected.
4. I am not responsible for any lost, stolen or damaged items.
5. Please follow the entry directions in the rafflecopter. (I do check and will delete entries that do not follow the directions. If you have any questions on how to enter, please ask!)
I had a hard time choosing a category, but in the end I decided on books that kept me up all night, because there are SO many! Winner can choose from ONE of these titles:

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Book Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall

Rachel Hawkins

323 Pages

Published March 2nd 2010 by Hyperion Book CH

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
 I'd been hearing about these series for what seems like forever when I finally decided to take the plunge and read it. I was pleasantly surprised with the storyline, even with the huge cliffhanger ending, and will for sure be reading the rest of this series.

Sophie has a lot going on in her life. She's recently discovered she's a witch, her never-around father a powerful warlock. On occasion she tries to do magic, but everything always manages to go all wrong, usually landing her in a heap of trouble. When a simple love potion goes awry she is sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for misbehaving supernatural beings. Here she discovers she's not alone, meeting witches, warlocks, fairies and even a vampire, whom she has for a roommate.

Not too long into her stay at Hex Hall, a girl is almost killed by what looks like a vampire, though Sophie has her doubts about this, which nobody hears her out on. I felt like Sophie was a very inquisitive character, always questioning why things were the way they were, and if circumstances were really what they seemed. I really liked her spunky attitude, along with her kindness and ability to stay calm in stressful situations.

I also enjoyed the setting. Hex Hall had a very historic vibe that I enjoyed quite a bit, and it was also a bit spooky at the same time. The author threw out a lot of twists and turns that kept me guessing the entire book, and that I really enjoyed. Though I gotta say, the ending was a killer cliff-hanger!