Friday, August 26, 2011

Cover Crazy (25)

Cover Crazy is a meme created by Tawni @ The Bookworms to share book covers that you are thrilled about. This week is Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey! It's kind of classic fantasy and I think the cover is just gorgeous.  I love how it looks like she's flying out of the water. Very cool.  And while there is a dress (and I'm getting tired of dress covers) it's very simple and plain.  Can't wait to read this!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (19)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb @Should Be Reading
-Grab your current book
-Open to a random page
-Share (2) teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
-no spoilers!
-Share title and author
Wow. An actual teaser. On time! College has made me punctual.  Haha.  This week's teaser is from Perfect by Ellen Hopkins! 
"Parenting should be a passion, not a part-time pursuit.  The wind kicks, stronger, branches clatter. Or maybe skeletons. Bones of abandonment. Ghosts of what will never be." 

"Ghosts take shape under moonlight, materialize in dreams.  Shadows.  Silhouettes of what is no more."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: Glow

Synopsis:What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue? Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

My Review: I'll tell  you upfront that I did not like this book.  On the back flap it says "Riveting, the next Hunger Games!" Uh no, I don't think so.  Forgive me if this review comes off a bit snotty, but I just had so many major problems with this book.  I'll do my best to be unbiased and give  you my honest opinion. 

The first issue I had with this book was that the author just throws you in.  There is no explanation as to the mission leading up to the ships departure, why they had to leave Earth, or anything about the ship itself.  Granted, the two MC's don't know hardly anything about Earth and the events leading up to their mission, but still.  The story starts and almost immediately it was "ATTACK!" I kind of need a bit more back story than that.  I felt like I was constantly trying to catch up on what was happening, because there was literally no explanation. 

Secondly, the whole idea of child snatching in order to repopulate kind of rubbed me the wrong way.  I understand the New Horizon's position, but I absolutely do not agree with Pastor Mather's decisions.  Granted the Pastor is one individual and she does not represent the New Horizon as a whole, but I just take issues with the idea in general. 

The whole tone of the novel really bothered me as well.  I'm pessimistic by nature, but I still believe in mankinds capability to do good.  People are not inherently evil.  They have a choice when it comes to their actions.  So many people in the novel made horribly immoral decisions.  I guess the author was trying to get the point across that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that right and wrong are simply matters of perspective, but I thought all the horrors being committed was absolute overkill. 

And the religious aspect of the novel.  I am an atheist, yet I found myself mentally defending Kieran when he started giving Sermon's to help raise moral.  The idea that there is some higher being out there, that has a plan, to know that you are not alone is one of the single most important concepts for humanity.  Faith is what keeps people going, to not give up, to stay strong, and to do what is right.  Pastor Mather was corrupt.  She was an evil woman who committed horrible deeds.  She was the leader of a brainwashed religious cult on the New Horizon.  After Waverly's experience on that ship, I can understand why she would be terrified of any religious activities.  Yet what Kieran is doing isn't brainwashing or abusing power.  He's trying to give these orphaned and lost CHILDREN some hope.  They've been through hell and he is simply trying to give them the gift of faith.  I just thought the attitude towards religion was unfair. 

Okay, enough of what I did not like.  By the end of the novel the only character's I still liked were Waverly and Kieran.  Waverly is strong and opinionated and makes decisions for herself.  I really enjoyed her character overall.  Until the end that is, then I got pissed with her.  Kieran was naive, but he was inherently GOOD. He's kind and tries to be fair and does what is best for everyone.  I just hope that further into the story that he does not become corrupted.  Though I did not enjoy the story I still thought the writing was exceptional.  It had a good pace (excluding the beginning) and was very engrossing.  She did a good job of keeping you interested and at the edge of your seat. 

Well, I did my best.  If this came off as a bashing critique forgive me.  I tried to be objective.  I won't be reading any further books.  I had to force myself to even finish this, and I honestly don't think I'd be able to read any more.  Who knows, maybe it will get better.  But I'll leave you to judge this book for yourself. 

And the Winners Are...

So sorry this was delayed.  My college's wifi hates  me with a fiery passion.  My laptop is currently at the tech department.  :/ However I managed to find a computer so here are the winners of the three giveaways I hosted for Back to the Stacks! 

The winner for the First in a Series prize pack is... Sablelexi!
The winner for Megg Jensen's ebook prize pack is...Lisa Richards!
And last but not least, the winner for the Second in a Series prize pack is...Christa!

I'll be emailing all the winners for your addresses so please respond promptly! Thanks again for everyone who entered!  I hope you all had a blast with this.  And hopefully you'll see it again next year.  :D

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review: Winter Town

Synopsis: Every winter, straight-laced, Ivy League bound Evan looks forward to a visit from Lucy, a childhood pal who moved away after her parent's divorce. But when Lucy arrives this year, she's changed. The former "girl next door" now has chopped dyed black hair, a nose stud, and a scowl. But Evan knows that somewhere beneath the Goth, "Old Lucy" still exists, and he's determined to find her... even if it means pissing her off. 

My Review: When I read the synopsis for Wintertown I pretty much surmised it would be a regular coming of age novel.  In essence, it was, but it had some nice additions that I really enjoyed.  The artwork and comics that are spread throughout the novel really added to the story and gave it a unique feel. 

Lucy and Evan aren’t your typical best friends.  Lucy is only there for two weeks out of the year to visit her dad for Christmas. Before her parents’ divorce she and Evan were basically tied at the hip, but even though they barely got to see each other they still remained friends.  However, this winter Lucy is different.  She’s dyed and chopped off her hair and has a nose stud.  Evan is convinced that something is wrong and Lucy just won’t talk about it.  Evan tries to be more accepting of Lucy’s new look and tries to get her to open up.  

What really kind of drove me nuts about Lucy’s “cry for help” appearance change was that it was a bunch of garbage.  People dye their hair, cut it, and get piercings all the time.  Why is this necessarily a bad thing?  Maybe it just rubbed me the wrong way because well I do the exact same thing.  A lot. Yet nobody assumes I’m having family troubles or that I’m hiding something.  Just kinda bugged me.  

Later on, we see Evan through Lucy’s eyes.  I think her analysis of him is spot on.  He’s the model son who gets good grades, volunteer work, and will attend an Ivy League college.  Yet he has an incredible talent for drawing comics and a great imagination.  He lets his parents make decisions for him, and ultimately plays it safe.  Lucy really challenges him to break out of his shell and pursue what he loves. 
Obviously the whole best friend status between Evan and Lucy kinda changes in the novel.  A romantic relationship is pursued, but I appreciated the fact that both of them realized that it wasn’t the right time.  Both of them had some growing up to do and they needed to sort out who they really were. 

Overall it was a pretty average story.  It wasn’t compelling by any means.  If anything I just wanted to skip ahead and read the comics.  They were so cute! The artist part of me couldn’t help but be jealous that I’m not good at that style.  I’ll say that I did really enjoy the end of the book.  I loved how after another year Evan and Lucy met once again by pure coincidence, and you could just tell that the timing was right for them to try and start again.  Very satisfying ending. 

Review: Pure

Synopsis:A dystopian novel about a society of haves, who escaped an apocalypse in a futuristic dome-covered city, and have-nots, who survived the nearly destroyed outside world. The have-nots are almost entirely marked or mutated in some manner.

PURE centers around the story of Pressia, a 16-year-old survivor with a doll’s head fused into her left hand, and Partridge, an unmarked Pure who has escaped the Dome to find his mother, certain that she has survived the cataclysm. 

My Review:Dystopian novels are all the rage of YA of late.  So with all these new futuristic worlds it's hard to bring something new to the table.  Well Julianna Baggot certainly has created a new and intriguing world unlike any other.

In the after effects of world wide nuclear devastation, no one has escaped the damage and horrors of mutation.  People have been fused to metal, glass, objects, animals, and even other people.  Whatever they were standing next to or holding when the detonations hit, became a part of them.  Unthinkable creatures like Dusts, people who have been fused to the earth, and Groupies, who are groups of three or more people fused together, roam the streets attacking other survivors.  The world has become a gruesome and terrifying place, where no one is left unmarked from the horrors committed. 

Pressia is just about to turn sixteen, and she fears being taken by the OSR.  The head of a doll serves as her hand, and a crescent scar and burns mar the side of her face.  She hides her deformities as best as she can, just wanting to be normal.  She wishes for a life before the blasts, for a life where she can remember her parents and her childhood.  Yet as fate would have it, Pressia’s life turns out to be anything but normal. 

Inside the Dome, another teenager is questioning everything he’s been taught.  The Dome is sanctuary.  The only place free from nuclear devastation.  Partridge’s father is one of the most important people inside the Dome.  They’ve always been taught that they were just the lucky ones, and the fate of their “brothers and sisters” outside of the Dome was a bad case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Partridge thinks his mother died a martyr, trying to get people to the safety of the Dome when the blasts hit.  Yet when his father refers to his mother in the present, he can’t help but wonder if what his father says about that fateful day is true.  He’s convinced his mother is still alive and determined to reach the outside and find her.  Pressia and Patridge’s stories collide in a devastatingly remarkable story full of horrors that our generation could never imagine.  

I absolutely loved this book.  It truly took dystopian novels to a new level.  Other novels kind of skimp around nuclear war.  It’s kind of just an awful subject to deal with, and I really appreciate that the author really dived into the horrible consequences of a nuclear holocaust.   The whole society in the Dome is sketchy to begin with, so you know immediately that something is not what it seems.  The plot was fantastically done.  I was constantly on my toes while reading, never knowing what was going to happen next. I called a few plot twists, but overall I was pretty pleased with where the plot went.  

As far as the romance went I thought it was perfect! I absolutely loved Bradwell! He kind of seemed like the guy who was always going on about conspiracy theories, but of course, he was right.  He’s smart and tough, and I thought he complimented Pressia very nicely.  He definitely had his sweet moments, and that really endeared him to me as well.  He really cares for Pressia and they have a nice budding relationship.  Of course it doesn’t get to develop much since so much crap is going down, but it really added to the novel.  Partridge had a small little romance as well, but it wasn’t as strongly developed. I have a feeling in the next one that it will flesh out more.  

To say that I am dying for the next one is an understatement.  Pure is truly unlike any other dystopian novel.  I’d even go so far as to say that it’ll be the next Hunger Games.  It’s dark and gritty, and doesn’t hesitate to show you the atrocities that mankind can commit.  Highly original and a very compelling read, Pure will be a huge hit.  

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Winding Down Back to the Stacks!

It's the end of the day! I hope you have enjoyed today's festivities and awesome prizes. Thanks again to all the wonderful bloggers and authors who helped make this possible! We couldn't have done it without you! After a very hectic day it's time to wind things down with two last giveaways.  Andrea and I will be closing Back to the Stacks together with two giveaways, just like we opened. Here's Andrea's GIVEAWAY! Once again, thank you!

Alright last one! This time it's the second book in a series!  Notice a theme here? Once again the prize is a package of three books, each the second in a series! The books are Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld, Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick and Kiss of Life by Daniel Waters.  All you have to do to enter is comment on this post with your email! Sorry U.S. only.  This bundle is gonna be a heavy SOB and expensive enough as it is. Remember all giveaways close tomorrow at noon!

Hope everyone had a fabulous day!

Back to the Stacks Giveaway with Megg Jensen!

Why hello there! Having fun so far? It's time for the next giveaway! Megg Jensen has so generously offered ebooks of the first two novels in her Cloud Prophet Trilogy for today's festivities! You've all probably seen my reviews and my ravings about how awesome the covers are. To learn more about Megg and her books click HERE! Lol. This giveaway is international as well! All  you have to do to enter is leave a comment with your email address! Remember all giveaways are open until noon tomorrow! So get crackin!

The next giveaway is in an hour at Andrea's HERE!


Kicking Off Back to the Stacks!

It's time for the fun to begin! Andrea and I are kicking off Back to the Stacks with two giveaways at once! Remember there will be a giveaway every hour until 8 p.m. CST tonight! We will not be posting the full giveaway schedule, but rather we're doing a follow the leader.  You can find where the next giveaway will be at the bottom of this post, and so on and so forth.  Kind of like a scavenger hunt to find books. Andrea's giveaway can be found HERE!

So at my local bookstore I found the best deals ever.  Hardcover YA books for six bucks, buy two get the third for a dollar.  I know, I'm a wonderful bargain shopper.  So you lucky people get a bundle of three books that are the beginning of different series! The books one lucky person shall be receiving are: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima, Nevermore by Kelly Creagh, and Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton. All you have to do to enter is comment on this post with your email! Sorry U.S. only! Remember all giveaways close at noon tomorrow!

Be sure to check out the next giveaway at 9 a.m. CST at Shelley Workinger's Blog HERE!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cover Crazy (24)

Cover Crazy is a meme created by Tawni @ The Bookworms to share book covers that you are thrilled about.This week is Fever by Lauren DeStefano! Sqqquuueeeeeeee!!!!!! I am sooo excited! I abolutely love these covers! Their a wonderful mix of heroin chic and modern touches. Not only am I thrilled for the gorgeous cover, but I can't wait to get my hands on this! Wither was fanastic and I can't wait to read the sequel!

Back to the Stacks Reminder!

Hello peeps! Just a quick reminder that Back to the Stacks is tomorrow Saturday the 20th! It's an all day giveaway-a-thon from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST with a different giveaway every hour! It's to celebrate going back to school, whether it be middle school, high school, or college! Ironically enough I'll be participating in my college's "Welcome Weekend" tomorrow so this shall be interesting. Haha.

Remember, a whole bunch of other bloggers and authors are going to be participating as well! Not all the giveaways will be posted on my blog.  Andrea and myself will start out the day and there will be links to the next giveaway on every post! It'll be like a book scavenger hunt! The rules to enter will vary from blog to blog so make sure you read instructions! There will be a variety of different giveaways: physical books, ebooks, U.S. only, and international.  Also, all giveaways close by noon Sunday CST.  It's gonna be quick, but it'll be a lot of; fun! So spread the word, cuz there will be plenty of great prizes to go around!  Hope to see you all tomorrow!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Review: Dark of the Moon

Synopsis: Ariadne is destined to become a goddess of the moon. She leads a lonely life, filled with hours of rigorous training by stern priestesses. Her former friends no longer dare to look at her, much less speak to her. All that she has left are her mother and her beloved, misshapen brother Asterion, who must be held captive below the palace for his own safety.

So when a ship arrives one spring day, bearing a tribute of slaves from Athens, Ariadne sneaks out to meet it. These newcomers don’t know the ways of Krete; perhaps they won’t be afraid of a girl who will someday be a powerful goddess. And indeed she meets Theseus, the son of the king of Athens. Ariadne finds herself drawn to the newcomer, and soon they form a friendship—one that could perhaps become something more.

Yet Theseus is doomed to die as an offering to the Minotaur, that monster beneath the palace—unless he can kill the beast first. And that "monster" is Ariadne’s brother . . .

My Review: We’ve seen fairytales and classics being retold for modern day audiences in the past few years, but retelling Greek myths has never been done.  This fact alone was enough to make me want to read this.  It was just such a brilliant idea.  The idea that the tale of the Theseus and the Minotaur was one huge overblown story was great.  Plus I’m a huge Greek mythology fan and love ancient Greece in general so this was doubly appealing for me.  

Though I’m a huge Greece nut, there was so many things that I was clueless about.  For instance I had no idea that in different parts of Greece they called the gods by different names.  I mean, logically it makes sense, but no one ever tells you that! And I had no idea that Artemis was also the goddess of childbirth.  The way the Kretian’s worshiped her was so similar to Hathor in Egypt I was flabbergasted.  The cows head and the horns, it just kinda shocked me.  Had no idea.  Now it totally makes sense with Wiccans and the Goddess and the connection to the moon.  Perfect example of religious evolution. Yes, I’m geeking out, but I can’t help it.  It’s so cool! 

The whole island of Krete and the city Knossos was so well researched.  Historians barely know anything about Knossos because of the huge catastrophe that devastated the whole island.  The few mosaics and wall paintings that remain depict the famous bull dancer/leapers.  I really don’t know how much was true historical facts, and how much was just filled in with well educated guesses, but the islands culture and practices were flawlessly done. I felt like I had been transported through time. 

I absolutely loved Ariadne  (Inception! Haha) and Theseus.  Ariadne’s character was very intriguing.  Though she longs to travel and wishes that people wouldn’t treat her differently because she is She-Who-Will-Become-Goddess (it’s a mouthful I know), she still believes full heartedly that she will become divine and become one with the Goddess.  For a modern audience it’s hard to grasp that someone would think that they were actually a Goddess, but I still greatly enjoyed her story.  She was caring and loving young woman who would do anything to keep her people safe.  I really liked Theseus as well.  I absolutely loved how his “heroic deeds” were just stories he told to impress his father, the King of Athens, because he didn’t want to seem like a boring country boy.  What’s so funny is that’s probably exactly what happened.  He was an honest and noble character, yet he wasn’t the fantastic hero that stories make him out to be.  Still loved him though.  

Asterion (aka the Minotaur) was a very interesting twist as well.  The fact that he was just horribly deformed and had a child’s mind, and not some horrible man eating monster was a very cool change.  Though he is abnormally strong, he’s still relatively harmless and even sweet.  I felt horrible for him because he was stuck underneath the palace all alone.  Ariadne visited him almost daily and even Theseus sort of made friends with him, but it was clear that he was still very lonely.  

I think it’s pretty clear that I really loved this book.  The fact that Ariadne and Theseus didn’t end up having a romantic relationship gained it extra points in my book as well.  Dark of the Moon will transport you through time to when Gods walked among mortals and old myths become reality.  Amazingly innovative and a wonderful retelling of a famous Greecian story, Dark of the Moon is a can’t miss read.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cover Crazy (23)

Cover Crazy is a meme created by Tawni @ The Bookworms to share book covers that you are thrilled about.  So this is super late but I've got 15 minutes till midnight so it counts! This week is Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. Is that just not startling gorgeous? It's just so BAM! In your face! Not sure what's up with the butterflies, but it's a cool effect. 

Review: Double

Synopsis: When the sixteen-year-old runaway Chap is mistaken for a missing boy named Cassiel, his life changes dramatically. Chap takes on Cassiel’s identity, gaining the family and friends he’s always dreamed of having. But becoming someone else isn’t as easy as he hoped—and Chap isn’t the only one hiding a secret. As he teeters on the brink of discovery and begins to unravel the mystery behind Cassiel’s disappearance, Chap realizes that he’s in much deeper danger than he could have imagined.

After all, you can’t just steal a life and expect to get away with it.

Award-winning author Jenny Valentine delivers an explosive mystery where dark secrets, betrayal, and loss pave the way for one teen’s chance at redemption.

My Review: This book interested me from when I first read the synopsis.  A case of mistaken identity is always intriguing, and I figured I’d give it a shot.  I was pleasantly surprised with this novel.  I should have predicted the ending from a mile away, yet somehow I didn’t.  It was a bit of a mix of thriller/mystery/murder story and I thoroughly enjoyed it.   

What I really thought was unique about the novel was the writing style.  It definitely wasn’t tradition, yet it just fit with the story.  Chap is lost and wandering in the world, and the writing style reflects that.  It was really kind of a cool effect, because you truly grasp how Chap feels like he is a nobody and the loneliness he feels.  

I really loved Chap.  Granted his decision to pretend to be somebody else to fill his loneliness wasn’t the best one, but you can’t help but feel sorry for him.  He literally has no one, and the idea of a life with people who love him is just too much to pass by.  Plus it’s not like he was intentionally steeling someone else’s life.  Things just kind of accumulate into a snowball picking up more snow as it rushes down the hill.  I found it highly ironic that Chap, the boy who’d spent most of his life on the street with no family, was more compassionate and polite than Cassiel, who was a spoiled little brat and treated everyone around him like shit.  It just really goes to show you that you can’t judge someone by their looks.  

As Chap gets deeper and deeper with Cassiel’s family, he discovers that he genuinely cares for these people.  He searches for clues to what really happened to Cassiel, yet there is nothing but smoke and rumors that his newfound family can’t answer.  When he meets another boy in the village, who claims to have spoken to Cassiel right before he disappeared, he finally starts getting some answers, but they aren’t ones that he would have liked.  There are bigger secrets than Chaps little farce going on in the house, and if Chap wants to figure out what really happened to Cassiel then he is going to have to play with fire.  

Another added twist that I really loved was that as Chap is playing Cassiel, he really doesn’t know who he is either.  Through flashbacks, it is revealed that what little family Chap used to have, wasn’t at all what he thought it to be.  It was just another layer of cool plot twists that I greatly enjoyed.  

Double was a short and stimulating read that will have you imagining all sorts of grisly ends for what really happened to Cassiel.  The ending was a surprise, at least for me anyway.  I was probably just reading it too fast to pick up on the blatant hints.  Overall a pleasant surprise, and a refreshing read.