Thursday, January 31, 2013

ARC Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publishing Date: February 5th, 2013
Genre: YA, Fairy Tale Re-telling
Pages:464 pgs
ISBN: 9780312642969
Source: ARC borrowed from a fellow blogger

Summary from Goodreads:
Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

My Review: 

Well, what can I say about this book?  I really really enjoyed it!  This is one of my fave books of 2012.  I listened to Cinder on audiobook earlier in the year and I have to say that it took me awhile to get into the story line.  I'm not sure why I didn't love it as much as everyone else but I just didn't.  By the end I was intrigued and wanted to know more so when a blogger friend of mine got this book for review and it was making its rounds around the Ottawa blogging community I was excited to get a chance to read it.
This book doesn't quite take off right where Cinder ends. It begins by introducing some new characters.  We meet Scarlet Benoit who is searching for her missing grandmother (Red Riding Hood anyone?) and her life becomes intricately involved with Wolf, a man seemingly on the run from his former gang.  I just loved these new characters!  I think the reason I was kind of meh about Cinder is because I didn't quite get invested in Cinder's character.  This was not a problem with this book.  The book flip flops between scenes with Scarlet and Wolf and scenes with Cinder and Thorne, a fellow inmate/escapee until finally they meet up.  These books are fairy tale retellings but they are nothing like anything I have read before.  There are cyborgs and "aliens" and they bring a new dimension to old favourites.  Meyer's writing is beautiful and her world building is amazing. 
If you were on the fence about Cinder and were wondering if you wanted to read this series I would highly suggest picking it up.  You will not be disappointed.  My only negative for this book is that I have to wait until the next one is released.   

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WoW: Unravelled

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.

Summary from Goodreads:

tick, tick, tick, tick, tick
it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.

Well, I'm sure I'll see this on everyone's WOW this week but I will follow the pack on this one.  Shatter Me was great and I have to see what happens next.  I don't have long to wait as this book comes out February 5th.  Yay!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

ARC Review: Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date:February 12th, 2012
Genre: YA Dystopian
Pages: 384 pgs
ISBN: 9781442409095
Source: ARC received from publishers for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads: 

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.

My Review: 

 Okay, what can I say about this book?  I read this book weeks and weeks ago and I'm just getting to writing my review now.  Why, you ask.  Well that's simple, I can't quite put into words how much I really love this whole series.  I mean there is a kickass heroine, a conflicted character (is he good or is he bad?), a super villain, and a reason to fight.  I still can't quite form coherent sentences at this point without either sounding silly or giving away spoilers.  
This book is the third book in a series and it concludes the series quite nicely.  I like that it was not all rainbows and unicorns because the series is not at all like this.  There are many sad things in the world that DeStefano creates but in the midst of this there are many glimpses of hope for the future.  
What I liked about this novel is that you could really start to understand the motives behind some of the characters.  Even with the characters you hate, you can really start to kind of understand why they do the messed up things that they do.  In a way you almost start to feel sorry for them because they can never truly be happy, nor can they find the good amongst all the bad.  
This book sent my emotions all over the place.  Without giving too much away, there is a point in this book when things aren't as they seem and this just threw me into overdrive.  I was calling everyone I knew to see if they had read the book yet and if they had read that far in the book.  Then I continued to read and my tear ducts dried up but only momentarily.  Oh Lauren DeStefano you know how to make a girl cry.  To me this is the sign of a good book but if I'm being honest I'm an easy customer because it seems like I can cry at almost anything.  
Well, this review is a little disjointed but I feel like there is nothing I can say to do this book justice.  I loved it and I loved the whole series.  What am I going to do now that it's done? 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WoW: Madman

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.

Goodreads Summary: 

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

This book is out January 29th and it looks fantastic!  I can't wait to read it  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WoW: Boundless

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.

My pick this week is:

Goodreads Summary:
The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California - and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.

As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfil her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.

In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must decide her fate once and for all.

I love this series!  I can't wait to see how Hand ends it all.  It comes out January 22nd and I'll be rushing to the store to buy it

Happy Reading!  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

ARC Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: August 28th, 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 288 pgs
ISBN: 9780373210527
Source:Received from Harlequin Teen for review at Ontario Blog Squad Meetup

Summary from Goodreads:
Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.

My Review: 

 I was excited when I got this book in my bag of goodies from the Ontario Blogger Meetup in Toronto.  This book had been on my radar for a while and I couldn't believe my luck when I saw it.  It took me a little time to pick it up because I was in a bit of a reading slump at the time.  As soon as I was out of my reading slump I went promptly to my bookshelf and picked this book up.  
To start with, let's discuss the cover.  When I first saw it I thought that it was just for the ARC but I have seen the finished copy and it is exactly like the cover shown.  It is plain white with the title embossed on the front.  It is shiny and beautiful and while it may not be the first book that catches your eye, it is pefect for the plot of this book. 
The book is about a young girl, Chelsea who, through gossip, indirectly causes harm to someoneAfter it happens she decides to try to set things right and as a result she is ostracized by her friends and her peers at school.  She then decides to take a vow of silence to try to right her wrongs.
I quite liked Chelsea as a character.  She, not unlike me, has a big mouth that can get her into trouble.  I can definitely relate to saying the wrong things at the wrong time.  I have often had to say to people that things sounded better in my head.  I liked her because she was a flawed character.  I also liked that the author introduced people who would be upset with Chelsea, not just her superficial former friends.  
Harrington writes beautifully and I remember thinking the same thing when I read her other novel Saving June.  Her writing just flows and it keeps you interested.  You can't help but fly through her novels, eating them up like chocolate cake.  
This book also invokes a lot of emotions and I found myself crying during some of it.  This is not really something that is difficult to do though; I admit to being a bit of a cry baby.  Overall, I quite enjoyed this novel and I would definitely recommend it.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WoW: Second Rate Chances

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.

Summary from Goodreads:

Sam wakes up in the hospital expecting to find his girlfriend by his bedside. Instead, he finds a bleached-blond diva, claiming to be his fiancĂ©e, hovering over him. When he learns that he's just woken up from a coma and has lost the last three years of his life, any semblance of stability he thought he had falls down around him. All he wants – all he needs – is Lil.

After countless visits with her shrink and too many sleepless nights waiting for the one man she loves to walk back through the door, Lil wants nothing more than to separate herself from the life she used to have. But the moment Sam smiles at her, Lil knows it's going to take more than self-restraint to stay away.

Second-Rate Chances is about a young man fighting to regain his memory, and the one thing in his life that felt real. A modern-day Samson and Delilah, it's a look at what it means to love and be loved, and to fight though it seems hopeless.

Well if you know me and you read this blog you know that I love a good book about memory loss.  This book comes out January 11th and I will have to check it out. 

Happy Reading! 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Review: Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: January 15th, 2013
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Pages: 288 pgs
ISBN: 9781442441859
Source: Borrowed from Kathy

Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:

In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning.Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.

Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

My Review:  
This book has been sought after in the blogosphere and when a super great Ottawa blogger Kathy from A Glass of Wine came back from BEA with this book I was super excited to read it. A group of us are having our own little ARC tour with this book and I was lucky enough to be the first to read it.
I have to start by saying that this book is unlike anything I have ever read before and I really don't know what to think of it. It is centered on Felicia who is living in Level 2. Level 2 seems to be a place you go to when you die and in this afterlife you spend your time reliving your memories. I think that the premise for this book is unique and it really starts getting you to think about what happens when you leave this world. Now, this is not to say that this "afterlife" is peaceful; in fact, this Level 2 is full of action and there seem to be some conspiracies going on. I don't want to give too much away but I have to hand it to Appelhans for creating such an interesting world.
I have to say that I loved reading about the flashbacks to Felicia's life on Earth. For some it may be confusing because you're never quite sure what the time frame is but for me, I really liked how it added to mystery of the story. The flashbacks were my favorite part and I kept trying to figure out which boy Felicia should be with. I kept going back and forth between Neil and Julian.
One thing that I have to say though is that this novel at times got a bit confusing. I found myself wanting to read too quickly to try to figure out what was going on and it distracted me from really taking the time to enjoy the book. There was a lot going on in such a short book and then it ended in a bit of a cliffhanger. I felt like I still didn't quite know exactly what was going on when the book ended. I suppose now I will just have to wait for the next book to come out. Overall I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

ARC Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Publishing Date: September 18th, 2012
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Horror
Pages: 592 pgs
ISBN: 9780316126113
Source: ARC gifted from another blogger

Summary from Goodreads:
Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.

My Review: 

Well, I'm not sure what to say about this one.  I can appreciate Bray's writing and world building but for some reason I just couldn't get into this book.  It wasn't for me unfortunately despite my best efforts to life this book.  It took me a really long time to get invested in the storyline and once I did get a little sucked in it was after a few weeks of trying to read it.  I'm glad that I didn't put this book down as I had originally planned to do because in the end it was a decent storyI think my issue was that I really wanted to know what was happening with Evie and when it jumps to other characters I just didn't care.  I wanted to skim through those parts to get to the parts with Evie.  Evie is just a spunky, fun girl and you can't help but love her even when she should be driving you bananas. I did like the creepy parts but as this is a YA book I found them to be a bit less horrific than I am used to.  I like a good adult mystery/horror/thriller and I find that sometimes it is difficult to do this in a book marketed to teens.  Again, I don't think my indifference to this book has anything to do with Libba Bray in general.  I do think she writes well and she has good ideas, I think that perhaps her writing style is just not for me.  As I'm writing this I realize that I have said this about her other 2 novels that I have read as well (Beauty Queens and Going Bovine).  I have her Gemma Doyle series on my shelf and I'm hoping that this is the series that I can get really into.  
I think that many will enjoy this book, as it is set in the 20s and NYC.    It also features several murders and a paranormal element to the story.  It is written well and as I mentioned above has an unforgettable main character.  For me, the book was 3 stars but check it out for yourselves.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

WoW: Shadowlands

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.

Summary from Goodreads:

Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived… and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection with her father and sister, Darcy, leaving their friends and family without so much as a goodbye.

Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children, but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. But just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?

This book sounds great.  It comes out January 8th, so not too long left to wait.  I have heard some good buzz about this book and can't wait to read it.

Happy Reading!