31 December 2011

In My Mailbox (8)

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren to share books we got in the mail or the library or the bookstore, etc. that week!

I hope everyone had a GREAT holiday and that you got EVERYTHING you asked for. Especially the books!! I definitely got one of the things I wanted which was...A KINDLE FIRE! I love love love it and on top of that, I received a $50 gift card to Amazon so I went a bit crazy...you'll see what I mean below...because, you know, it's not like I had enough books to begin with.

The Kid Table by Andrea Seigel
Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Smokeless Fire by Samantha Young
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Brightest Kind of Darkness by P.T. Michelle
Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren
Dark Seeker by Taryn Browning
The Deepest Cut by J.A Templeton
Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn
The Soulkeepers by G.P. Ching
Destined by Jessie Harrell
Touch by Jus Accardo
Wander Dust by Michelle Warren

What did you get this week??

30 December 2011

Review: Cinder

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Publication date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends / Macmillan

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

I like to imagine that Marissa Meyer was watching Blade Runner and reading Cinderella when she came up with the idea for Cinder. I imagine this because the thought amuses me. Excuse me while I giggle...

I was surprised with how much I liked this book. I honestly didn't know what to expect before I opened it, but I really enjoyed it! I admit that at first I was a bit put off with the ease at which I was able to predict what was to come (I refer to the retelling of the original Cinderella story, not Meyer's own plot points), but then I soon began to have fun catching the Cinderella references. Also, Meyer does do a great job of making this story her own. It's very creative and very different from anything I've read recently.

I love the world of New Beijing and so forth that she created and the characters are all well-drawn out and likable (and, of course, hateable). I adored following the budding romance between Cinder and Prince Kai. It is so sweet! Cinder+Prince Kai=together forever!! And the end? Holy crap, I need the next one! NEED IT! I think Marissa Meyer is a fabulous debut storyteller and I eagerly await the next book in the series, as well as, whatever she chooses to write in the future. It can only get better, right?

29 December 2011

Review: Bad Girls Don't Die

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
Publication Date: April 21, 2009
Publisher: Hyperion

Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence: dysfunctional like her parents' marriage; her doll-crazy, thirteen year old sister, Kasey; and even her own antisocial, anti-cheerleader attitude. When a family argument results in tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunctional to dangerous. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green; she uses odd, old-fashioned language - and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her weird behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves, water boils on the unlit stove, and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough for the girls to see their breath.

Alexis wants to believe it's all in her head, until these seemingly harmless occurrences become life-threatening - to her, to her family, and to her budding relationship with the student council vice president. Alexis knows she's the only person who can stop Kasey; but what if that green-eyed girl isn't even Kasey anymore?

I love ghosts. I love revengeful ghosts. I hate dolls, especially haunted ones, but I love books about haunted dolls. Stories about possession are pretty cool too and Bad Girls Don't Die starts out with the scare factor and doesn't stop until the end. Once I picked it up, I didn't put it down. A ghostly light that runs after you and climbs trees, a ghost that breaks your air conditioner and boils your water for you, this all makes for some creepy crap. It's not the scariest book I've ever read, but it definitely has its many moments.

Alexis is an entertaining narrator and I enjoyed her sarcastic quips and her views of high school. The supporting characters are initially all introduced as stereotypes, but a lot of them eventually become more as Alexis talks to them and gets to know them. I liked this because we get to discover who is really inside that bitchy head cheerleader at the same time as Alexis does. I see what you did there, Katie Alender.

Bad Girls Don't Die is a squeaky clean YA novel. There's one kiss between Alexis and Carter and that's it. No language or sexual content. If you're looking for a scary book with hot, crazy make-out sex (I just coined this term right now. I don't even know what that would be) then this isn't for you. I found the relationship between Alexis and Carter cute and endearing and I'm hoping for more of them in the second book which is waiting for me at the library. Ultimately, Bad Girls Don't Die is a fun, quick, and creepy read.  My late maternal grandmother left me her porcelain doll collection and they have stayed in their boxes for years because of my fear of dolls. Unfortunately for them and because of this book, they will not be coming out any time soon in the near future.

P.S. If you want more scary doll books, check out The Dollhouse Murders. It's an elementary read, but that book could scare the pants off of an adult. 

19 December 2011

On Hiatus until Dec. 27th

Hello readers,

I haven't posted since last Wednesday due to finals and all that and then I leave for the holidays this week, so I'm putting my blog on a short hiatus until December 27th. I haven't seen my mom in about two years and my brothers in three or four! I'm really looking forward to the trip!! My goal this week is to read and have some reviews to post when I get back. I'll still be around on Twitter and email so you can always get in contact with me.

I hope everyone has a great holiday no matter what you celebrate (or don't celebrate)!

My Top 5 (actually 6) Books of 2011

It's getting towards the end of the year (it has gone by so fast!), so I've put together a top five list of my favorite books released in 2011. I feel it has been a great year for excellent books and it was hard to narrow it down to my top five, so I added a sixth because it's my blog and I can. I also could have made the list a top ten, but where's the complication in that? Here is a countdown of my favorite books released this year with my reviews attached:

                                  6. Cleopatra's Moon         5. The Space Between

                                   4. Blood Red Road                       3. Chime

                                                      2. The Scorpio Races

                                              1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone

What were your favorite releases this year?

14 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine which asks what book we're most looking forward to.

Publishing date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux

After seventeen-year-old Felicita’s dearest friend Ilven kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburg’s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven's death has called out of the sea a dangerous wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg's caste system, and the whole city along with it.

Do I really need to explain why I want this one? I don't understand how vampires fit into story, but I don't care and still want it. I love dark stories and this one sounds right up my alley!

What are you waiting for??

11 December 2011

Review: Death Watch

Death Watch by Ari Berk
Publication date: November 15, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

One night, Silas Umber's father Amos doesn’t come home from work. Devastated, Silas learns that his father was no mere mortician but an Undertaker, charged with bringing The Peace to the dead trapped in the Shadowlands, the states of limbo binding spirits to earth. With Amos gone, Silas and his mother have no choice but to return to Lichport, the crumbling seaside town where Silas was born, and move in with Amos’s brother, Charles.

Even as Silas eagerly explores his father’s town and its many abandoned streets and overgrown cemeteries, he grows increasingly wary of his uncle. There is something not quite right going on in Charles Umber’s ornate, museum-like house—something, Silas is sure, that is connected to his father’s disappearance. When Silas’s search leads him to his father’s old office, he comes across a powerful artifact: the Death Watch, a four hundred year old Hadean clock that allows the owner to see the dead. Death Watch in hand, Silas begins to unearth Lichport’s secret history—and discovers that he has taken on his father’s mantle as Lichport’s Undertaker. Now, Silas must embark on a dangerous path into the Shadowlands to embrace his destiny and discover the truth about his father—no matter the cost.

I'm kind of shocked that I haven't seen this book featured or reviewed on other blogs. Somehow it flew under the radar and people seemed to have missed its release. Well, I think it's time to change that.

Death Watch is for fans of the horror genre. It's been a while since a book freaked me the heck out. Sure, Anna Dressed In Blood has its moments, but Death Watch takes it to a whole other level. This mainly comes from Berk's descriptions and prose. The whole book played exactly like a movie in my head and I saw every scary and sometimes horrific detail in my mind. And Berk's characters? AMAZING and so well fleshed out. I felt like they were all straight out of a Dickens novel. The whole book has a very classic feel to it even though it's set in modern times. It might be because the town of Lichport hasn't really changed since its founding in the 1600s. All of its inhabitants seem to be happily stuck in the past, though the outside world has changed around them.

This isn't a book for people looking for a quick read. It's a little over 500 pages which is mainly unheard of in the young adult category. Even I, the *Queen of Patience, struggled with it sometimes. Berk goes into GREAT detail about the architecture of Lichport and sometimes I found myself skimming those passages. Though if you like architecture, more power to you, and pick this book up. If you're more a fan of fast-moving books like Legend, as a most recent example, you may not like this one. Death Watch takes its time to get started, but when it gets there, it's full of fabulousness.

I can assume from the first book that The Undertaken Trilogy is going to epic. Unless the next two books are going to be, like, 300 pages, then not so much. I can't wait to see how Silas develops in the rest of the series!

*I am not the Queen of Patience, I lied to you. I am not even the Duchess of Patience. I am a person with no patience and always in need of instant gratification. But yet, I still enjoyed the book.

In My Mailbox (7)

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren to share books we got in the mail or the library or the bookstore, etc. that week!

Vesper by Jeff Sampson
A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma
The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Burn Marks by Laura Powell
Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill
The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors
Switched by Amanda Hocking
Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough

Thanks to Macmillan and Netgalley for the ARCs! Not to single any books out as I want to read all of them, but I'm particularly looking forward to Long Lankin. I've been craving scary stories recently and am excited for this one. I'm currently reading Death Watch by Ari Berk right now and am loving it (creepy as heck!). Look out for my review of Death Watch soon! I hope it stays good...

What did you get this week?? Leave me a link and I'll come and visit your IMM!

05 December 2011

Future Release: Dragonswood

Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey
Publication date: January 5, 2012
Publisher: Dial Books / Penguin

Wilde Island is in an uproar after the recent death of its king. The uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans is fraying, and a bloodthirsty witch hunter with a hidden agenda whips villages into frenzies with wild accusations. Tess, a blacksmith’s daughter from a tiny hamlet near the mysterious Dragonswood, finds herself caught in the crosshairs of fate when she is accused of witchery and has to flee for her life along with her two best friends.

Not even Tess’s power to see the future can help the girls as they set off on their desperate journey, but she keeps having visions of a man wielding a sword. And when she finally meets him, Tess has no idea how to handle the magnetic attraction she feels for him, or the elusive call she hears from the heart of the Dragonswood.

In this epic romance, an ancient prophecy comes true in a way neither dragon, fairy, nor human would have predicted.

I, Angie, the writer of this blog, am calling out Dragonswood as a must read for fantasy fans. I loved every minute of it. Dragonswood made me remember why fantasy is my favorite genre and has given me a kick in the pants to read more. Why did I ever stop? Oh yeah, because most YA authors stopped writing it (except for the rare few, of course). Dragonswood made me nostalgic for the high fantasies I read as a teenager.

Carey does a great job of synthesizing fantasy with historical elements: Great Britain in the twelfth century, princes, fairies, enchanted woods, and dragons. I really liked Tess's narration and felt for her as a character. It's easy to fall into the trap of writing a Mary Sue, especially in young adult literature, but the author was successful in avoiding this. Even Tess has her faults. I also loved the quiet romance in the story. It was a nice change from the heavy "I met you a minute ago and now we're in love forever" romances I've been reading recently. There was one draw back for me, though: I wasn't a big fan of Tess's friends. Meg was fine. It was Poppy who I had a problem with. For the majority of the book I found her to be pretty annoying and wanted to push her off an imaginary cliff. I'm speaking figuratively, I say imaginary because I don't actually want her harmed.

It's kind of an easy book to predict some of what happens as clues are dropped but that didn't detract from the story at all. I recommend this to fans of Tamora Pierce and, really, anyone who has been looking for a great new fantasy to tide them over until Kristin Cashore's new book. ;) Granted this one doesn't come out until January 5th, but I'm hoping you might be interested in it enough to add it to your TBR list and, of course, I'll be reminding everyone closer to its release date.

Daughter of the Centaurs Giveaway

My store has received two ARCs of Daughter of the Centaurs and I will not have time to read it nor will any of my coworkers. So that these two copies don't go to waste, I'm giving them away to two people who will be able to give the book the proper attention it deserves.

Publication date: January 24, 2012
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Malora knows what she was born to be: a horse wrangler and a hunter, just like her father. But when her people are massacred by batlike monsters called Leatherwings, Malora will need her horse skills just to survive. The last living human, Malora roams the wilderness at the head of a band of magnificent horses, relying only on her own wits, strength, and courage. When she is captured by a group of centaurs and taken to their city, Malora must decide whether the comforts of her new home and family are worth the parts of herself she must sacrifice to keep them. Kate Klimo has masterfully created a new world, which at first seems to be an ancient one or perhaps another world altogether, but is in fact set on earth sometime far in the future.

Please read my contest policy before entering!

There will be 2 winners!

This giveaway is only open to the US and Canada!

You may not be familiar with Rafflecopter so here are some things to note:
  • Your name will be viewable by everyone. A nickname or alias is preferable.
  • On the other hand, I am the only one to see your email address. Please make sure it is correct, as this is how I will be contacting you.

The winner will be announced on this post once the contest ends.

04 December 2011

In My Mailbox (6)

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren to share books we got in the mail or the library or the bookstore, etc. that week!

The Alchemy of Forever BY Avery Williams
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Death Watch by Ari Berk
Ditched by Robin Mellom
On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Thank you Disney-Hyperion and Harlequin Teen!

What did you get this week??