Monday, December 31, 2012

Review: Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman

Publisher: Random House Canada
Pages: 288
Received: Received from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: December 26, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

The Weirds have always been a little off, but not one of them ever suspected that they'd been cursed by their grandmother.

At the moment of the births of her five grandchildren Annie Weird gave each one a special power. Richard, the oldest, always keeps safe; Abba always has hope; Lucy is never lost and Kent can beat anyone in a fight. As for Angie, she always forgives, instantly. But over the years these so-called blessings ended up ruining their lives.

Now Annie is dying and she has one last task for Angie: gather her far-flung brothers and sisters and assemble them in her grandmother's hospital room so that at the moment of her death, she can lift these blessings-turned-curses. And Angie has just two weeks to do it.

What follows is a quest like no other, tearing up highways and racing through airports, from a sketchy Winnipeg nursing home to the small island kingdom of Upliffta, from the family's crumbling ancestral Toronto mansion to a motel called Love. And there is also the search for the answer to the greatest family mystery of all: what really happened to their father, whose maroon Maserati was fished out of a lake so many years ago?

My Review:

This book was so much fun to read and absolutely adorable! I have a huge thing for books that are all about family and the troubles they have and the journey they take to get through things together. This book epitomizes all that in such a short amount of pages, I felt myself wanting more from Kaufman, yet at the same time finding that he ended everything perfectly!

I was really surprised when I got this book and saw how small it was. It was a short story that I flew through in a couple of hours, I was taken in by Kaufman's writing and the world of the Weird family. Everything about this story stuck with me after reading it, there was a great amount of humour and yet a lot of emotion as well, having these siblings come together after years of not seeing or talking to each other, there are a lot of issues they need to work through together.

I really loved the quest these siblings took together, slowly we meet each of the five Weird children as they travel to pick one another up and we see how the "blursings" (curse + blessing) have impacted each of their lives in such a significant way. In such a short time Kaufman is able to bring about the lives of each of these children while they travel on a quest to cure themselves.

Kaufman also adds in a great mystery in this book, that of what happened many years ago to the Weird father. It was really interesting to see this family come together and learn about one another again and become a family once more after everything that happened. Kaufman tells this story in an interesting manner, going back and forth from past to present to show readers how everyone got to where they are now.

Everything about this book was just so beautiful and I felt that I learned things alongside these characters because many of the "blursings" are found in normal people (just these were exaggerated quite a bit...), and Kaufman really teaches how certain things can affect our lives as well. When you read this book I do say prepare to laugh a lot but also prepare to shed a few tears (I definitely did!) But definitely check this book out, with how quick it is to read it will stay with you and this is one I plan to reread again in the future!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Series: The Paladin Prophecy #1
Pages: 560
Received: Received from publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: September 25, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Will West is careful to live life under the radar. At his parents' insistence, he's made sure to get mediocre grades and to stay in the middle of the pack on his cross-country team. Then Will slips up, accidentally scoring off the charts on a nationwide exam.

Now Will is being courted by an exclusive prep school . . . and is being followed by men driving black sedans. When Will suddenly loses his parents, he must flee to the school. There he begins to explore all that he's capable of--physical and mental feats that should be impossible--and learns that his abilities are connected to a struggle between titanic forces that has lasted for millennia.

Co-creator of the groundbreaking television series Twin Peaks, Mark Frost brings his unique vision to this sophisticated adventure, which combines mystery, heart-pounding action, and the supernatural.

My Review:

Okay, wow, this book was so much more than I was expecting it to be. I came into this book a little guarded because it was so big, and the cover was kind of meh for me (something I may walk past in a bookstore to be honest...)

This book opened up with a bang and Frost really gives you a lot of action and intrigue that keeps you reading. I loved how quickly everything moved in the beginning, I found it so hard to put down I just needed more information about everything going on. I will say that I did find the book to slow down quite a bit in the middle, there was a lot of information to process but something about Frost's writing kept me going and I was not disappointed. Just like it opened this book definitely ends with action and I can say that the way Frost ended the book will definitely bring readers back for more in Book 2. The story could have possibly been parsed a little bit in the middle, so that readers don't feel overwhelmed with information. I also felt that some things that happened didn't seem that important to the overall story, which made for a bit of a longer read.

I really liked that though this book is along the similar theme as many other YA books out there today (the idea of a child with special powers and someone is after them for that), I find that Frost takes his story to a different level. His writing style is interesting and continually leaves you wondering about everything in this world. I also really enjoyed that this takes place in the real world (with a few technological liberties of course...) I thought the technology aspect was really interesting and different, it made for some fun times.

A lot of the book revolves around the friendships that Will makes at school, in the beginning we see that Will is basically a loner with no friends in his hometown, but then he comes to this special school and all of a sudden he has made all these new friends and quickly he starts questioning RULE #5: TRUST NO ONE... I really loved how quickly these characters were there for Will (and one another) in times of trouble.

There was so much to this book, that I had fun reading it and I definitely suggest checking it out! Frost is well known for bringing in weird ideas and great twists and he definitely did that in this book, and now I am off to check out Twin Peaks to see more of Frost's great writing...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Series: Caster Chronicles #1
Pages: 563
Received: Bought own copy

Release Date: March 31, 2011
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Goodreads Synopsis:

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

My Review:

So I decided to finally pick this book up (after letting it sit on my shelf for months!) because I figured it needs to be read before the movie comes out. There has been so much talk about this series and really most of the things I've heard have been how amazing this series is. I will admit this book definitely has me interested in the rest of the series, but I found I wasn't completely enthralled with the book.

I thought it was really interesting that the book was told from Ethan's perspective because you get to see how a normal person reacts to being thrust into a supernatural world, but not being supernatural themselves. It was different, I'm used to reading books from the perspective of the person coming into the supernatural gift.

The main thing that kept me from loving this book was that it took so long to get into anything. I found that the book focused on describing everything and everyone in the town. I like when books focus on descriptions but I don't like when it seems like there is more focus on that then the story itself, and that is what I felt this book did.

I also felt kind of meh towards the character of Lena, I wanted her to do more about her situation. She sat there and talked about doing something, but then would complain that she couldn't. It took awhile for me to actually grow to even liking her, but I will admit by the end, I was feeling a little better about her characterization.

I did love the mystery to this book though. There was a lot of information about the past of Gatlin county that really had a lot to do with the present and I really enjoyed following Ethan and Lena as they learned about the history and what it had to do with them. What I really liked was the added in surprise that I can say I didn't see coming. There was a great influence of family in this book, with Lena's family being close in some ways and trying to be there for one another.

I can definitely see myself continuing with the next book, but it may not be for awhile. While the ending did leave me wanting more, I just feel that there are books I'm more interested in at the moment. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Series: Crewel World #1
Pages: 368
Received: Received from publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: October 16, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Enter a tangled world of secrets and intrigue where a girl is in charge of other’s destinies, but not her own.

Sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has always been special. When her parents discover her gift—the ability to weave the very fabric of reality—they train her to hide it. For good reason, they don’t want her to become a Spinster — one of the elite, beautiful, and deadly women who determine what people eat, where they live, how many children they have, and even when they die.

Thrust into the opulent Western Coventry, Adelice will be tried, tested and tempted as she navigates the deadly politics at play behind its walls.  Now caught in a web of lies and forbidden romance, she must unravel the sinister truth behind her own unspeakable power.  Her world is hanging by a thread, and Adelice, alone, can decide to save it — or destroy it.

My Review:

I was definitely intrigued when I heard about this book, the idea of women being in control of everything and everyone really caught my attention. Sadly, I was left a little disappointed with this story. Adelice is a special girl and when her parents realize what she can do they try their best to keep her under the radar, teaching her how to stay in the middle where no one will notice her. But in the end, something happens that brings her into the world of the Coventry.

I was really interested in the mystery behind everything, and the politics at play in this story, but I found that too many other things took over that. The romance part was a big thing, I felt that there were too many "partners" for Adelice and none of them were all that appealing to me. I just felt that each of the men had something that I just couldn't get behind (though I can't really say for certain what that something was). And then Adelice herself was a character I really could not connect with, I felt that there was not much characterization for her during this story and it really took away from everything.

I also found that there was a lot of description throughout the story rather than something happening in the story. I got lost at what was happening a lot of the time and really couldn't keep up with the different events and ideas being introduced. I wanted more information on the politics, that really was what kept me going. I also really liked how you never really knew who to trust, there were so many secrets that slowly unravelled during the story. Albin definitely did a great job with the world building in this book and that's what kept me going. World building is always difficult but I found that Albin described how the Coventry came about in great detail and that always brings a book higher up in my opinion.

The ending really picked up though and I am interested to see what will be next after what happened. I am a little hesitant about continuing on with the series, but I think I will attempt it just because there were parts of this story that really caught my attention. Even though I felt that I was disappointed with the story there was still some great mystery and political intrigue that may actually have me coming back for more.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Pages: 639
Received: Bought own copy

Release Date: January 8, 2008 (this edition)
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Goodreads Synopsis:

One night in 1939, Josef Kavalier shuffles into his cousin Sam Clay's cramped New York bedroom, his arduous, nerve-racking escape from Prague finally achieved.

So begins the friendship and partnership that will create The Escapist, a comic strip about a Nazi-busting saviour who liberates the oppressed around the world. It makes their fortune and their name but Joe can think of only one thing: how an he effect a real-life escape for his family from the tyranny of Hitler?

My Review:

This book has been on my TBR list for the longest time, but it's such a large book that it was hard to find the time to actually pick it up, so I was happy when I got some time off work that I set this book aside specifically to read then. There is definitely a lot to this book, but even with the weight and the many descriptions the story itself makes it difficult to stop reading.

The book opens up with Kavalier and Clay meeting for the first time as Josef has just arrived in New York and Sam comes home to find him in his room, from there an unlikely friendship between these two cousins soon grows into a beautiful partnership. I really enjoyed watching these two grow and work together and seeing how close they become that they would be there for each other through everything.

I found myself getting very caught up in the emotions that Chabon brings out in the book. You really get a sense of what Josef is going through and Chabon really tugs at your heart as we watch him doing everything to bring his family to New York. What was really interesting was how the emotions came out through Josef's drawings of The Escapist and all his escapades, readers really see the anger with the Nazi's and what Josef wishes he can do in real life. This is a huge book, but Chabon really brings to life everything that happens and it takes place over such a long amount of time.

What really caught my attention with this book was the way the story is told through the life of comic books as well. You really see how something so small affected a nation in such a large way. I really enjoyed getting the history of how comic books came around and how these two boys changed things with their great idea of a superhero.

I also really enjoyed the character of Rosa, she was a great secondary character that helps Josef through a lot of things, the romance between her and Joe was beautiful and really grows through the book. But she also adds to Sam's story and really it feels like a great threesome when these characters are all together. Chabon really brings about a great story of friendship helping get you through the tough times.

This is a book I definitely recommend, just because of the emotions Chabon brings about. He really does a beautiful job bringing his story to life. Readers need to set aside a good amount of time to get through this hefty book, but it is a story that will stay with you long after you have read it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Review: All the Broken Pieces by Cindi Madsen

Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 304
Received: Was given an e-galley from the publisher

Release Date: December 11, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

What if your life wasn’t your own?

Liv comes out of a coma with no memory of her past and two distinct, warring voices inside her head. Nothing, not even her reflection, seems familiar. As she stumbles through her junior year, the voices get louder, insisting she please the popular group while simultaneously despising them. But when Liv starts hanging around with Spencer, whose own mysterious past also has him on the fringe, life feels complete for the first time in, well, as long as she can remember.

Liv knows the details of the car accident that put her in the coma, but as the voices invade her dreams, and her dreams start feeling like memories, she and Spencer seek out answers. Yet the deeper they dig, the less things make sense. Can Liv rebuild the pieces of her broken past, when it means questioning not just who she is, but what she is?

My Review:

This book had an interesting premise, Olivia wakes up in a hospital with no memory of her past and what happened to put her in this situation. Add to all that, Olivia now has two voices in her head that are warring with one another and makes Olivia's decisions more difficult.

This story has a great mystery aspect to it, Olivia's parents are very protective of her and have up and moved her to this new town where no one knows her so that her life before remains a mystery. It was interesting how Madsen added the voices into the story, really making readers wonder what happened to Olivia in the accident that has made her like this. The dreams that Olivia has every so often is a really great build-up to the big reveal at the end, which though I saw coming was still a bit shocking.

The best part of this was the interactions between Olivia and Spencer, this romance is slow building  they have this adorable love-hate relationship that grows over time into an adorable friendship. Spencer is known as the bad boy but you can tell right away that there is more to him (a bit of a cliche in books, but I still enjoyed it). The one thing I did find was that once they became friends there was still a little too much of the on-again, off-again happening, it seemed like the characters were a little bi-polar with their feelings.

All in all, I did enjoy the story, Madsen added in a great mystery element and a really adorable romance (that wasn't immediate love at first sight can't get enough of each other type of thing). Though a lot of pieces of the story give away the idea of what happened to Olivia, it was still an interesting read with a really great premise!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Review: Ironskin by Tina Connolly

Publisher: Tor Books
Series: Ironskin #1
Pages: 304
Received: Recieved from publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: October 2, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.

It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a "delicate situation"—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.

Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio...and come out as beautiful as the fey.

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.

My Review:

A book that is a retelling of JANE EYRE, bring it on, I absolutely adored JANE EYRE when I first read back in my first year of university and it's what spun me into wanting to read more of the classics. I really enjoyed the little twist of the fey magic added in to this story, it brought about a completely new telling of such a classic love story.

What really stood out in this story is that how it focuses around Jane learning about herself, she has her own issues to deal with and I loved watching her grow throughout the story. A lot of this story was about the growing relationship between Jane and Dorie as well, their story was the center of everything and it was adorable to watch them grow together and learn from one another. Though there is a romance to the story it doesn't take over, the story was touching, and I loved what Jane learns about herself and how she deals with her life.

The writing in IRONSKIN is very similar to that of the classics, really bringing the story to life. Connolly describes the setting in such a way that you can put everything in it's place, and follow the characters around. It's not often I can map out a story in my head and I really enjoy being able to see and do what the characters do. What really interested me is that most of the book takes place in one setting, though Jane does travel a little bit, the main events happen at the Rochart house, and it was interesting to find out why.

This book takes some time to get into some interesting ideas, but I liked that because Connolly takes her time, letting the readers get to know the characters and understand the history. But as the story went on Connolly added in some interesting twists that I didn't see coming, Mr. Rochart's secret really surprised me, and it actually disturbed me a tiny bit. Connolly did a great job bringing this story to life, and I loved how classic it felt to me.

If you are a fan of JANE EYRE, I think this is a great read, and could even be a great introduction for younger readers into the classic genre.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress

Publisher: Dial (Penguin)
Pages: 440
Received: Borrowed from a friend

Release Date: December 4, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns –and the heroines who use them all

Set in turn of the century London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician's assistant. The three young women's lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.

It's up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder–and the crimes they believe may be connected to it–without calling too much attention to themselves.

Set in the past but with a modern irreverent flare, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike–well, relatively ladylike–heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.

My Review:

This book definitely has caught the attention of the blogging world and exploded, I love the costumes of the girls on the cover and the steampunkness of it because this book definitely delves into the steampunk world. But the one thing that really brought this book to my attention was that the story is heavily focused on the three girls.

I loved the story of this book, there is a great mystery with murders happening around the city and in some way each of these three girls becomes involved, but the story is about so much more than just the mystery. There is so much about these three girls meeting one night and a growing friendship because of the murders. Each of the girls is unique and the bring something different to the story, but they all bring a fiery attitude and a sense of justice.

This story was such a great adventure of a book but really what this book is about is female empowerment. This book really revolved around the friendship of the three girls, the little romance that was there was far in the background and it was nice to see a book where the women did things for themselves and not relying on men. I really loved the strengths of each of the girls, but my favourite had to be Michiko. She was such an amazing character, and for one who understands and speaks very little English she still had this way of communicating with the other characters. I also really liked that she had this way of trying to do things on her own and yet in the end coming to be part of this strong group.

The ending really ties up the story well, but still leaves it open for Kress to write a sequel if she wants (which I hope she does!) This book was a lot of fun to read, and I really loved how Kress brought out the female empowerment in her story! If you love mystery and action all tied up together in a nice package this is the book for you.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

I'm happy to participate in the cover reveal for a great new title from Entangled Teen, The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller, which will be released May 7, 2013! Here is the synopsis:

On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.

Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.

Sounds adorable! And here is the cover:

About the author:
Born and raised in northern Louisiana, Leah Rae Miller still lives there on a windy hill with her husband and kids. She loves comic books, lava lamps, fuzzy socks, and Cherry Coke. She spends most of her days reading things she likes and writing things she hopes other people will like. 

You can check out her website as well here. Watch for a contest in the coming weeks.
Add The Summer I Became A Nerd to Goodreads here!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Accursed

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and is a chance to let us show off some books we are excited for. So I haven't taken part in WoW for quite awhile, but I had to take part today because I am so excited for this book, I really can't stop talking about and I am literally counting down the days until I can get my hands on a copy of it...

I've been waiting to show this one off because I was waiting on the synopsis, which I just found up yesterday :D YAY

Title: The Accursed
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Ecco (Harper Collins)

Goodreads Synopsis:

This eerie tale of psychological horror sees the real inhabitants of turn-of-the-century Princeton fall under the influence of a supernatural power. New Jersey, 1905: soon-to-be commander-in-chief Woodrow Wilson is president of Princeton University. On a nearby farm, Socialist author Upton Sinclair, enjoying the success of his novel 'The Jungle', has taken up residence with his family. This is a quiet, bookish community - elite, intellectual and indisputably privileged. But when a savage lynching in a nearby town is hushed up, a horrifying chain of events is initiated - until it becomes apparent that the families of Princeton have been beset by a powerful curse. The Devil has come to this little town and not a soul will be spared. 'The Accursed' marks new territory for the masterful Joyce Carol Oates - narrated with her unmistakable psychological insight, it combines beautifully transporting historical detail with chilling fantastical elements to stunning effect.

Doesn't it just sound amazing... and I love that cover! 

What are you waiting on today?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Blog Tour: Review of ReAwakened by Ada Adams

Publisher: Self-published
Series: Angel Creek #2
Received: Given an e-copy from the author

Release Date: November 27, 2012
Check out more fun things on the ReVamped Website

Goodreads Synopsis:

Becoming a vampire guardian was Dawn Fairchild’s ticket out of the Scarlet House. Fresh off a successful mission, life in Angel Creek should have been great. But when her sort-of-maybe-boyfriend, Sebastian, disappears on a quest to help a beautiful vampire from his past, Dawn finds herself amidst a web of danger, lies, and deceit.

Joining forces with Razor, an enigmatic rebel lacking both a verbal and a physical filter, and her band of Misfits—Brooke, Sophie, Hunter, and Seth—Dawn is thrust into a race against the clock to solve the mystery surrounding brutal Born kidnappings and come to terms with the sudden discovery of her own unique powers. With time ticking away and Born vampires’ lives in jeopardy, it quickly becomes evident that someone—or something—desperately wants Dawn and is willing to shed any amount of blood to get her.

Dawn has only one chance to face her demons and overcome all obstacles standing in her way as she embarks on the biggest mission of her life—one that threatens a deadly outcome for all involved.

My Review: 

This book begins two weeks after the ending of ReVamped (review here), we start out seeing how Dawn deals with the falling out of everything that previously happened and it begins to take a toll on her. I really enjoy how Ada incorporates the new revelations into this story and yet she shocks you with even more information. Right from the beginning you can see that Adams is drawing her reader in to an thrill ride of a story, and she delivered one that was impossible to put down.

ReAwakened brings readers on a new adventure for Dawn and the group of misfit vampires where they are looking to find out the mystery of someone kidnapping Born vampires. This book was very action packed right from the beginning and I found myself looking around corners at every turn of this story. Every time I put this book down I continue thought about the story trying to figure out the mystery and found myself back reading it again 5 minutes later (shirking some housework I should have been doing).

ReVamped gave us insight into Dawn's life and her upbringing, and in ReAwakened we get a lot more background to the Misfits. I really enjoy the insight into why many of the characters act the way they do now that I know more about their lives and what brought them to where they are today. There was a lot of growth for all the characters in the first book and even more so throughout this book.

Aside from the Misfits there were so many other great secondary characters introduced in ReAwakened that I absolutely loved, the main one being Razor. He brought a lot of great humor to an intense story, and I loved the other side of Dawn that was brought out when he was around.

I loved that Adams gave us more information to Dawn's story as well and a huge twist that I never saw coming out of the book. With the Angel Creek series Adams has brought about a new idea to vampires and I find myself wanting more because everything is so much fun. As soon as I finished this book I actually had a conversation with Ada on Twitter because I needed to know that more would be coming soon. This book left me in so much pain that I actually couldn't even read anything else for awhile after (and that doesn't happen often for me)

Ada Adams is such an amazing storyteller and she really brings her own personality to her characters in her story. I love when an author puts themselves into their work, and I'm so happy to be a part of this tour and getting word out there about Ada's books. Everyone needs to go out and read these books just for a new twist on the paranormal.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Review: Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pages: 336
Received: Bought own copy

Release Date: April 10, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.

My Review:

I love fairy tales and the main draw for me with this book was that Cross took it back to the original fairy tales where everything is so dark and disturbing and not everything ends in a happy perfect way. I have been eagerly trying to find time to pick up this book because of this idea that it is a modern day take on fairy tales, it's not a retelling (which really peaked my interest).

I really enjoyed how Cross wrote the story, instead of actually being a fairy tale Beau Rivage is a place where fairy tales come to life in different people. I liked how Cross took the stories and made them into curses for the characters instead of them actually being the characters from the tales they are forced to know that one day they will be condemned to act out the fairy tale. Cross definitely took an interesting twist to fairy tales in KILL ME SOFTLY.

Sadly, though the premise of the story caught my attention the story itself was not for me. I had trouble really getting into the story because I found myself disliking many of the characters. The main character of Mirabelle was a bit infuriating for me. I felt like she was overly naive for her age, I understand that she was very sheltered growing up but I just found that when things were clearly laid out for her she still refused to believe in it. Throughout most of the book I was yelling at her for being so closed-minded and not looking at what was right in front of her.

A lot of the secondary characters got on my nerves at times too. I just felt that the characters were very immature and I couldn't connect with any of them. I think I would have enjoyed this story a little more if the characters were more relatable. The story itself was very interesting and I enjoyed learning about the mystery behind Mirabelle's history.

I did enjoy how the story ended giving readers more insight into these fairy tales. But in the end this book just sadly wasn't for me.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Review: Origin by Jessica Khoury

Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 394
Received: Borrowed from a friend

Release Date: September 4, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home--and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin--a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost.

My Review:

Everyone has been talking about how interesting this book was, so I had to check it out for myself and I found myself in love with another one of Penguin's Breathless Reads (and am understanding more why these are the chosen ones...) I have to express my love that this is a standalone novel, I feel like the story was perfect and Khoury definitely gives a satisfying ending (though I wouldn't necessarily mind seeing a little more of Pia and Eio).

The whole book is told from Pia's perspective, as she slowly learns that there is so much more out in the world than she has ever known about. Pia is content with her life until she realizes that there is more to know and from there her life changes drastically. Khoury really brings out questions about morality and mortality in this book, what would you give to live forever? Even more so what would be the lengths you would go to for that purpose?

Pia was an interesting character, she was raised to be scientific and think about everything around her in that way. Her life is comprised of working on experiments and she is also taught that emotions have no place in her world. What I really sympathized about with Pia was how she is this perfect being but she never feels like she belongs, even though she is similar to the scientists around her, there is one glaring difference... her immortality. Pia strives to be perfect for her family (the scientists) she spends her time trying to make them happy so that she can finally join their team and find the secret to immortal life so that she can help create more people like her. I was actually surprised what the secret was to immortal life, I wasn't sure what exactly I was expecting but it wasn't that...

My favourite thing about this book though was the morality issue brought up again and again. Readers see this epitomized in many of the characters throughout, but it definitely is seen the most through Pia's warring thoughts between what is right and wrong. I loved watching Pia learn more about herself and really begin to understand what is asked of her to be the perfect scientist.

This book is absolutely beautiful and Khoury's writing really draws you into Pia's life and her emotions. I recommend checking out this book if you're a little tired of the same old dystopia books and you're looking for something a little more real.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Series: Shadowfell #1
Pages: 410
Received: Received from publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: September 11, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Its name is spoken only in whispers, if the people of Alban dare to speak it at all: Shadowfell. The training ground for rebels seeking to free their land from the grip of the tyrannical king is so shrouded in mystery that most believe it to be a myth.

But for Neryn, Shadowfell's existence is her only hope. She is penniless, orphaned, and utterly alone--and concealing a treacherous magical power that will warrant her immediate enslavement should it be revealed. She finds hope of allies in the Good Folk, fey beings whom she must pretend she cannot see and who taunt her with chatter of prophecies and tests, and in a striking, mysterious stranger, who saves her from certain death but whose motives remain unclear. She knows she should not trust anyone with her plans, but something within her longs to confide in him.

Will Neryn be forced to make the dangerous journey alone? She must reach Shadowfell, not only to avenge her family and salvage her own life, but to rescue Alban itself.

My Review:

This book was just wow, I had so much fun reading it and I can't wait to check out more from Marillier now. Shadowfell is this secret place where rebels gather together but no one actually knows if it truly exists because no one speaks of this place. This book was such an adventure and I am so excited for book 2!

Neryn is alone, over time she has lost her family and her only hope is at Shadowfell, a place that she doesn't even know if it's just a tale or not. What I loved about Marillier's writing was that you could really feel the loss that Neryn dealt with. The guilt she carries with her and all the love for her family really shows through her thoughts and actions and I could really sympathize with her.

The world building was done amazingly well in this book as well, I could picture the woods and the little towns that Neryn passed through on her journey. This story is all about Neryn and her learning things about her power along her journey. This story does not have a romance line to it, but I do see it coming up later in the series, you can see the beginning of it at the end of the book, but for the most part this book is all about Neryn learning about herself.

Neryn is a character I am very quick to get behind, she has her issues and she is very slow in fully trusting someone with her secrets because of past experiences. This is a world where you have to watch everything you say in case you draw out the wrong question, everyone is on their toes because of this evil king ruling the land. Throughout the book I had issues trusting everyone that I met along with Neryn. She is very conscious of her safety and will make things up so that she is not suspected of anyone, but what I really loved about her was that even though she was concerned for her own safety she was also concerned for those around her. There are many times when she says to someone that she doesn't want them to follow her on her journey because it would put them in danger as well, so instead she decides to travel alone even though it would be better at times for her to have help.

The secondary characters were also so much fun. I loved the "Good Folk", Sage was my favourite she was so adorable and very much like a mother hen. The characters have so much confidence in Neryn and really help her realize many things.

This book was an adventure to read and all of the characters helped make this book what it was. There is no one that wasn't necessary in this story. Each and every person Neryn meets helps her journey in some way or another. This is one story that deserves so much love!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 310
Received: Extra copy from Christa @Hooked on Books

Release Date: October 1, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

On one side of the Rift is a technological paradise without famine or want. On the other side is a mystery.

Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life and has no idea of what might be on the other side of it. Glenn's only friend, Kevin, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft, but magic isn't for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn's mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming work on the mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies and dreams about the day she can escape. But when her father's work leads to his arrest, he gives Glenn a simple metal bracelet that will send Glenn and Kevin on the run---with only one place to go.

With MAGISTERIUM, Jeff Hirsch brings us the story of a complex, captivating world that will leave readers breathless until the very last page.

My Review:

This book had me really interested from the creepy cover to the synopsis keeping everything very mysterious (I have been finding lately that the synopsis have been giving away too many things in books lately). I really enjoyed this world that Hirsch brings to life in MAGISTERIUM, Glenn has grown up believing that on the other side of the Rift is nothing and she is in for a big surprise when she realizes what is really there.

I really liked the character of Glenn, she has a great head on her shoulders and she is always thinking about her future and yet looking out for her dad. What really interested me was how Glenn viewed the world, she looked at everything in scientific terms and tried to keep her feelings at bay as much as possible  I understood why Glenn hid behind science, after her mother left it was easier for her to put all her energy into something that always has answers.

Glenn's friend Kevin always seemed to make the scenes he was in so much more fun. He had a great sense of humour and you could see that he really cared for Glenn. The romance aspect of this book was far in the background of everything else that was happening, which I really enjoyed. Though there were a few adorable moments between Glenn and Kevin it wasn't what the story was about. There was so much more to the story with this mysterious world on the other side of the Rift and learning all the secrets of the world.

The one issue I did have with this book was that I could tell what was going to happen pretty early on. Some of the bigger twists were not all that surprising to me because I guessed that it was going to happen. I like books that surprise me and always feel a little let down when I know what will happen (even though I do have fun taking the adventure with the characters).

The most interesting part of this book for me was to see the fight of science versus magic. It's hard for Glenn to grasp the concept of a world with magic because she sees everything as black and white. This is what really interested me about the book in the first place and I think Hirsch did a great job bringing these two opposite ideas together.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review: The Gilly Salt Sisters by Tiffany Baker

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 370
Received: Given to by Nicole @Nicole About Town

Release Date: March 14, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

The author of the New York Times bestselling The Little Giant of Aberdeen County returns with a magic-tinged tale of dreams, family secrets, and betrayals on a New England salt farm.

In the isolated Cape Cod village of Prospect, the Gilly sisters are as different as can be. Jo, a fierce and quiet loner, is devoted to the mysteries of her family's salt farm, while Claire is popular, pretty, and yearns to flee the salt at any cost. But the Gilly land hides a dark legacy that proves impossible to escape. Although the community half-suspects the Gilly sisters might be witches, it doesn't stop Whit Turner, the town's wealthiest bachelor, from forcing his way into their lives. It's Jo who first steals Whit's heart, but it is Claire--heartbroken over her high school sweetheart--who marries him.

Years later, estranged from her family, Claire finds herself thrust back onto the farm with the last person she would have chosen: her husband's pregnant mistress. Suddenly, alliances change, old loves return, and new battle lines are drawn. What the Gilly sisters learn about each other, the land around them, and the power of the salt, will not only change each of their lives forever, it will also alter Gilly history for good.

My Review:

This book has been on my TBR list for awhile, so I'm glad that I finally found some down time to pick it up. I can gladly say that all my anticipation made this book worth the read, Baker did such a beautiful job with this story. I always love a family story with a great mystery behind it.

The town of Prospect is a small town where everybody knows you and it is hard to keep a secret (kind or reminds me of the town of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls). Little towns like that have always been my dream place of living, I want to be somewhere where everyone knows everyone else and you always run into someone you know wherever you go.

Early on in the book you learn there is a mystery behind the salt, it seems to harbour some sort of magic and no one knows how or why (there is a rumour that the Gilly women are witches). I felt like the salt was the main part of the story for some time, it affected everyone around, the townspeople even had a bonfire every year where salt is thrown into the fire to determine what will come in the future (good, bad, love?). But there is also this huge family mystery, I was thinking this story was going to take a different turn than it actually did.

I really wanted to know what this big thing between the Turner family and Gilly family was, why do the two most important families in town hate each other. This is the big mystery of the story, there are secrets that are not known in the town. As the story continued on I really wanted to know more about the Turners and Gillys history and I had a bit of a guess of what some of it was but at the same time I was still pleasantly surprised by the reveal.

Baker's writing is amazing and she really draws you into the story of the Gilly women. I enjoyed how the story is told from the perspectives of these three different women all with a heart for Whit. Everything changes with the arrival of Dee and her father and this is how we learn a lot about the past of Prospect.

This is an emotional read at times as we watch the characters grow and learn that life is not always perfect. This book is on my list of recommended reads for those who enjoy a little mystery with their family drama.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Review: Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Publisher: G. P. Putnam
Series: Black City #1
Pages: 384
Received: Extra copy from Sara @Geek Girl's Book Blog

Release Date: November 13, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

My Review:

The whole vampire idea seems to have been overdone lately, so though I was excited about Black City I was also hesitant. Richards takes an old idea and makes it new again in this book. These are not regular vampires we are dealing with, they are called "Darklings" and each of them are unique in various ways (it was actually interesting reading about the different species of Darklings).

I really loved most of the characters right from the beginning, but my favourite by far was Day, she becomes Natalie's friend at school and she is just so sweet and adorable, and I could totally relate to her. I also don't think I would have liked Natalie as much as I did when she was around Day, she seemed a lot less selfish and stuck up (which was my first impression of Natalie). I actually found myself more interested in the secondary characters, the friendships between Natalie and Day and Beetle and Ash were fun and I wanted more of them together. Natalie also has a sister who I really hope there is more of, she has a tragic story and she is the one that is Natalie's anchor, I loved their scenes together.

I did enjoy how the romance between Ash and Natalie came about, it takes a bit of time to actually get to it, they really begin as this can't stand the idea of the other because they come from different worlds. Reading the scenes between these two in the beginning was fun because there was an edge to it and I always love when characters start out arguing. Though there is a bit of a love triangle in this book, I found it interesting how Richards brings out this idea of romance.

There is a big mystery behind Natalie's family, something happened to her father and it's continually mentioned but it's not until closer to the end that we find out the real details, and they are actually horrifying. There were quite a few scenes in this book that disturbed me, the ways a lot of the punishments were doled out, I just couldn't handle (but that didn't take away from the story in my opinion).

I've seen a few mixed reviews on this one, but I definitely enjoyed it, there were some interesting ideas thrown into the story and some twists that actually surprised me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Series: Unraveling #1
Pages: 445
Received: Borrowed from library

Release Date: April 24, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed--as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows--with every fiber of her being--that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something--but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened--the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life--points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets--and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl's fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming.

My Review:

I had been hearing a lot about this book this year but never got around to it, so when I saw it at the library I jumped at it just to see what all the hype was about.I was pleasantly surprised with this book, it was quite a long book (and I did feel it at times) but it was so much fun to read!

The first thing that really jumped out at me when reading this book was the chapter headings, they were the countdown, so readers are continually reminded that something big is going to happen at the end of this book. There is always this mention of the countdown to something big and obviously not good, but when I found out what everything was counting down to my mind was blown! I really couldn't believe what this story was really about in the end, it just didn't cross my mind.

I really enjoyed Janelle's character, she grew up as more of a parent in her family making her strong and able to deal with what comes at her easier. I was impressed with how Janelle holds up, a big part of this story is loss. Janelle loses a lot of things and people and there were so many scenes that were heartbreaking and yet Janelle is still standing. It's also nice to see that family is a big part to this story. Janelle has a little brother that she would do anything for, and her and her dad are very close (which I always love to see).

The ending of this book was done well in my opinion. This book could be a standalone if you really wanted which is what I really like. Though you are left with questions it is not imperative to read the next book if you aren't into it. I love that it doesn't end in a huge cliffhanger, though it does end leaving you want more Ben and Janelle (which I'm excited for!)

As a side note I had to give this book extra points for bringing in Jack Bauer from 24 as a mention, definitely one of my favourite shows when it was on!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Review: Venom by Fiona Paul

Publisher: Philomel
Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1
Pages: 432
Received: Borrowed copy from Christa @Hooked on Books

Release Date: October 30, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.

My Review:

First I need to express my absolute love for this cover! It's so gorgeous (and I can imagine the shinieness of the mask on the hardcover of this book). The cover really shows off that this book is intriguing (in my opinion). The first couple of chapters of this book does start out a little slow, it opens up with the funeral of Cass' friend Liv. But just keep going because the story gets intense and does it when you are not expecting it at all.

This book has everything in it, a murder mystery, romance and even a masquerade ball (seriously I love books that have a fun party like that included). I also love that it takes place in Venice... I am all about the Italian settings in books, it's so romantic and beautiful. What really perked my interest in this one is that it's a historical book with no magic or anything, this is a book set in real life and those books are becoming few and far between in YA (other than contemporary books). I also love books with mystery to them.

The characters in this book really caught my attention. I loved how Cass is a character that nobody can control, she acts like a teenager, sneaking out and having her own fun despite rules (but she does feel guilty about things at times). Each of the characters were so unique and so much fun, I loved Falco (who was very swoon-worthy) but also Cass' fiancé, it's such a hard choice between these two guys, they were both so awesome!

I loved that everything that happens in this book is so surprising. I could not guess what was happening with the murders, I would flip a page and my guess would continually change, and yet I was still left flabbergasted with what actually happens. This book had me gripping my chair and needing more information on everything. I absolutely love the ending and what Cass decides in the end, even though this is the beginning of a series, I was so happy with her decision. I'm excited to see what will come next for Cass and friends.

I definitely think this book should be at the top of your Penguin Breathless Reads choice! This story epitomizes a breathless read! :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #1
Pages: 402
Received: Won from EpicReads contest

Release Date: June 12, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jump-starting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society... or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen's PersuasionFor Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

My Review:

Wow, how do I actually put this review into words. This book was so heartbreakingly beautiful that it is hard to actually write about it. I love the Austen novels that I have read so when I heard that this was based off Persuasion I know I needed to read it (even though that is one of the books I have yet to read). And this book is in my list of top books of the year, there were just so many emotions going through me while reading this book it was an amazing experience.

One thing that really made the book for me was the letters between Kai and Elliot, though readers hear about their story throughout the book, these letters give us the chance to experience their past ourselves. I was a little confused at times because the letters are not presented to readers in a chronological way, there is a lot of back and forth between many years, but you really get to see the change in the characters.

I really loved Elliot in this book. She knows what she believes in and she does everything to protect those she loves the most. Seeing what Elliot has to deal with on her own really makes her shine, she is strong and really tries to do her best while helping her family (not that they deserve it).

The romance in this book was beautifully written as well. Elliot and Kai were childhood friends but were on different sides of the fence, and now he is back with a huge chip on his shoulder. These two are so hot and cold around each other that you feel it when you're reading as well. Everything between these two is said between looks, there is barely any touching, which makes this romance even more heartbreaking.

This book has definitely made me want to read Persuasion with how beautiful the story was. I am so happy that I finally got to read this one! I'm also happy that the story of Kai and Elliot ends with this book, though it is part of a series, it's one that has other characters in the next book (I don't think it's necessary to read them in order)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Review: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Series: Mystic City #1
Pages: 416
Received: Received from publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: October 9, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

For fans of  Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels.

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.

My Review:

From the opening of this book I was hooked, the prologue definitely grabs readers attention. My first thought was... THIS is how you start a book. It is such an intense opening scene and leaves you needing to know more about what is happening. There is a huge mystery aspect to this novel involving Aria and her memories, I could see where the story was going with the memories as we slowly watch Aria begin to remember.The air of mystery behind each of the characters (who they are and what they really want) and what happened to Aria really keeps you invested in the story as well.

There was so much happening throughout this book that at times it was hard to wrap my head around everything. I liked the aspect of magic throughout this story. There are certain people that have magic (known as the mystics) and everyone is scared of what they will do to those without the powers, so magic is used to power the city. But there is more to the story, there is an politic aspect in the background of the story, and we are watching as the non-mystics attempt to join forces against the mystics.

I do admit that I wasn't the biggest fan of Aria, for a main character I found her getting on my nerves at times. Though later on in the book when she started figuring things out I became to like her a little more, she's just one of those characters that it takes time for them to grow on you.

My favourite part of this book was the ending, there is this huge fight scene that gets quite disturbing at points. But throughout you can't stop reading because it's the one thing that you are really waiting for throughout the book and it definitely is awesome. You get your fix of action in this one scene (not that there isn't some action throughout other parts of the book).

I was so excited for this book because it just sounded so interesting (disregard the idea that it is all those books mixed in one, this book is all it's own), and I have to say that it definitely delivered. I suggest checking this one out for those who are a fan of dystopians with some magic involved as well.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Review: Renegade by J.A. Souders

Publisher: Tor Teen
Series: The Elysium Chronicles #1
Pages: 352
Received: Received an E-copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest reivew

Release Date: November 13, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.

My Review:

In the beginning everything seems perfect. Every person in Elysium is the perfect blonde haired, blue eyed specimen (Side note... why are blondes always the perfect ones, I object to this!) I was confused with things in the beginning (at one point I actually thought there was an issue with my ereader or the ecopy I had). Can't really say why but you will understand when you read it, I actually laughed at myself.

I did find the book to take some time to get into things, but once it did I was hooked on the story (the cover is very misleading in my opinion). Souders really gets into the idea of a perfect world and what lengths they will go to to keep everything as they imagine it. The world that Souders creates in this story is breathtaking and we get a lot of history detailing how this new world came to be.

The characters were definitely interesting in this novel, especially that of the Mother. I really enjoy these novels with an evil parent type. What I really enjoyed was that though you know she is evil there is a big part  of her history that is revealed later on, that really makes you see things a little differently. It was interesting to learn more about this new world. I loved Evelyn, the girl on the cover makes you think that this is a very peaceful and naive girl, but Evelyn is nothing like that. She is strong-willed and very smart, and there is a whole secret history to her as well.

The romance is the main part I was not sure about, there is this idea of only certain people being able to "mate" with one another because they want the perfect genes and there is this whole genetic matching thing (which is interesting, and yet disturbing to me..) But the romance between Evelyn and Gavin (the "Surface Dweler") seemed to be one of those instant romances (I have heard from some people that it could also be seen as more of a romance for necessity because of the danger [If you've read the book, what do you think?])

The ending of this book was perfect in my opinion, after everything Evelyn goes through to see what happens to her at the end was amazing and I definitely can't wait to see where Souders is going to take this story next.  This book was so much fun to read, and after a few chapters was definitely heart pounding with everything that happens. The cover makes this book seem a lot more girly than it really is. This is a book full of action scenes (some which are actually kind of gruesome at times).

Friday, November 2, 2012

Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Series: Everneath #1
Pages: 370
Received: Borrowed from library

Release Date: January 24, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she's returned--to her old life, her family, her boyfriend--before she's 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 precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance--and the one person she loves more than anything. But there's just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is 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 queen.

"Everneath" is a captivating story of love, loss, and immortality from debut author Brodi Ashton.

My Review:

I really can`t believe I waited so long to check out this book, the story didn`t seem to interest me all that much. But once I started this book I didn't want to stop reading, prepare yourself to read this in a day (I did...) This is not a book that is filled with action but despite that this book was still heart pounding. It is a beautiful love story (this is the kind of romance I dreamed of as a kid).

I enjoyed the back and forth of past and present to tell the story, we get a glimpse of what caused Nikki to choose the path she did, and see what how her life is different now that she's come back. Ashton switched the time periods at a perfect time in the story, and everything lead up to that ending. I really enjoyed seeing the difference of everyone's attitude following Nikki's return compared to how she was treated before, it was realistic and genuine.

What really sets this book apart is the depth of emotion that you really get from the characters while reading this story. Ashton brings these characters to life and you can really feel every little thing from love to hate to indifference through her writing. Emotions play such a huge part in this book that I felt they were a character of their own at times. Nikki's emotions ring through the most and are the strongest and honestly at times I had goosebumps because I could just imagine everything she was going through.

I found myself putting the book down because I needed to do something else but then putting that off because my mind kept going back to these characters and I longed for more of their story. And even after finishing this book, I need more of them (I'm glad I don't have to wait long for book 2), also that ending killed me and I swear I shed a few tears for these characters at that ending.

Ashton really did a beautiful job with this story and brings a love story that really resonates with you long after you've read this. I will say for a book with very little action in it, this book has you jumping to finish it and yet yearning for the story to last forever.


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