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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Publication Date: February 7, 2012
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile 
Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1
Young Adult
Pages: 330
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Romance
Goodreads | Amazon
Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.
Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.
If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.
The cover on this book is gorgeous, no? When I started into Born Wicked I didn't think I was going to like it because of the way that it dragged. I was trudging through page after page until something happened and clicked and I started to really get into the story and soon I couldn't stop reading. If that click didn't happen, I don't think I would have finished the novel.

The Cahill sisters are witches. No one can know. If word gets out, the Brotherhood will come after them and you don't want to know the rest. But Cate is doing everything she can after her mother died to keep her sister's powers under control as well as her own.

Cate's determination to keep her sister's safe never falters in the book, and the itching to learn about her mother's past and more about her witch powers is engrossing, besides the romance of course. The little love triangle is something that I'm able to shove aside because Cate is a fabulous and strong character who is able to decided where her hear should go in the end and that makes up for the pet peeve the cursed shape brings out within me. I happen to be team Finn by the by.

I haven't been one for witch novels but Jessica Spotswood's novel made me fall in love with the setting, the world, and the gorgeous Finn. I was even surprised during most parts, Spotswood is great at keeping things a secret and ultimately revealing them, always keeping me on my toes while reading. And I have to say, with an ending like this one, I am dying to get book two!

Final Summation: Even with a rocky start, Born Wicked is definitely an amazing novel to take off the shelf and read. I was even happy to meet Jessica herself and get my novel signed by her. Might I say, she has the cutest handwriting ever. Anywho, for anyone looking for an interesting take on setting and need a witch book to read, this is the novel for you!

First Line: Our mother was a witch, too, but she hid it better.
Story: S
Cover: XS

Monday, July 30, 2012

Netgalley Knockout! Kickoff Post!

A month long challenge of taking review copies to the curb. Netgalley style, boi!

I figured it was time to start racking up the reads and reviews for some of my netgalley copies. Thanks to Goldilox and the Three Weres and the NETGALLEY KNOCKOUT challenge, I, and yes you, too, can have a fun time to punch out some of those titles that have been sitting on your ereader for ages! I find this a blessing, ladies and gentlemen. So come on and give it a whirl, even enter to win a shiny THE BOOK DEPOSITORY giftcard, $12 in books. All for your benefit. And remember, I love your faces :)

The List:
14 books

5 books

Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Publication Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Series: Struck #1
Young Adult
Pages: 373
Genre: Dystopian, Paranormal
Goodreads | Amazon
Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.
Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.
Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

*Digital galley provided by publisher for an honest review*

Struck took me in with the introduction to the reader. A lightning addict? Okay, sign me up!

Mia has a sure-fire, captivating voice that really grew on me. And I knew that I was going to like her up until the lightning survivors start to assemble and Jeremy, mystery boy and the love interest, come into Mia's life. Her actions enacted for a barrier to come between her and me and made trying to connect difficult. The relationship between Mia and Jeremy, it was lingering on the lines of insta-love and I didn't understand what was so attractive or pulling towards him. She decides to listen to him, a boy she knows nothing about and the guy who happens to be stalking her house among other things, too. I couldn't really find much of a personality to consider him suitable as the male lead.

The lightning happens to give extraordinary powers to those it happens to strike and leave surviving with scars. The only think I didn't understand, and wish I knew more about, was how the lightning really granted these powers and how and why they differed from each survivor. I would have loved there to be more of an explanation rather than leaving me to conjectures or just pushing it off meaninglessly.

Final Summation: An interesting take on a paranormal dystopian, but I just wish that there wasn't that hint of insta-love going on and if there was some more details and explanations I would have really enjoyed this book. I will read the next book that comes out in this series, but I would like more things to be explained throughout.

First Line: When you've been struck by lightning as many times as I have, you start expecting the worst pretty much all the time.
Story: A
Cover: S

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Friday Hops (7/27/12)

*Leave a comment below with you're post. Follow and I'll follow back*

Follow Friday (#23)
Q: Summer Reading. What was your favorite book that you were REQUIRED to read when you were in school?
Junior year, AP English Language and Composition, we read THE BOOK THEIF and I was forever changed.

 TGIF (#21)

Christmas in July: If Santa were to come down your chimney in the middle of summer, which books would you want him to leave for you under the tree?

1. A fat check for my college expenses.
2. A PS Vita equip with Persona 4: The Golden
3. A Nintendo 3DS equip with Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance
4.  Gift cards galore to Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Blog Tour Stop (Review + Giveaway) Frost by Kate Avery Ellison

Publication Date: April 18, 2012
Series: The Frost Chronicles #1
Young Adult
Pages: 194
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance

In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, one wrong move and a person could end up dead—and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone. After monsters kill her parents, she must keep the family farm running despite the freezing cold and threat of monster attacks or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides and failure just one wrong step away, she can’t afford to let her emotions lead her astray. So when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest—a young stranger named Gabe—Lia surprises herself and does the unthinkable.

She saves his life.

Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the “Farthers,” as ruthless and cruel. But Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent…and handsome. She might even be falling in love with him.

But time is running out. The monsters from the forest circle the farm at night. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Lia must locate a secret organization called the Thorns to help Gabe escape to safety, but every move she makes puts her in more danger.

Is compassion—and love—worth the risk?
*E-copy provided by author for blog tour and an honest review*

Frost really did take me by surprise, I didn't know what to expect while reading it, but Kate Avery Ellison swept me away with her world. Ominous, dark, and vivid, I felt as if I were scoping out the setting with my own eyes. The writing that Ellison prescribes is captivating and I was instantly hooked from page one.

Lia proved herself a strong character from the beginning of the story, and taking the main role of provider over her siblings is a tough job since her parents died around a year ago. Lia has the makings of a refined warrior within her feminine makeup and she's a strong main character, someone that really drew me in from the beginning and kept me with her the entire time. Though Lia was the only character that really attracted my attention. Besides Gabe, I couldn't connect with her siblings or anyone in the town really the fell victim to being too bland for me and it was a shame while reading. I would have liked more spice with them rather than just seeing a name pop up in writing.

Gabe, being the main male in the story, the Farther that Lia takes in out of pity and her sister's whim, proves to be a very complex character and made me enjoy reading when his time shines on the pages. The tortured soul plagued by nightmares and a past that haunts him through them. I wished the novel was a lot longer so I could get more out of Gabe and learn more about his past.

The length of the story made me sad. It's just so short! And it was hard to really reap the benefits of the characters and the questions and longing I had for them, to learn more about them. The writing, too. It was just too captivating and beautiful to just be so short. Hopefully the second installment is longer.

Final Summation: a chilly and bitter tale that really pulls you in from page one. The shortness of the story really cuts into the development of the characters, but the world supplies does wonders and left me begging for more. Book two anytime soon, please?

First Line: It was cold, the kind of cold that made bones feel brittle and hands ache.
Story: S
Cover: S

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter

Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: The Goddess Test #2.5
Young Adult
Pages: 395
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Romance
Goodreads | Amazon
For millennia we've caught only glimpses of the lives and loves of the gods and goddesses on Olympus. Now Aime e Carter pulls back the curtain on how they became the powerful, petty, loving and dangerous immortals that Kate Winters knows.

Calliope/Hera represented constancy and yet had a husband who never matched her faithfulness....

Ava/Aphrodite was the goddess of love and yet commitment was a totally different deal....
Persephone was urged to marry one man, yet longed for another....
James/Hermes loved to make trouble for others-but never knew true loss before....
Henry/Hades's solitary existence had grown too wearisome to continue. But meeting Kate Winters gave him a new hope....
Five original novellas of love, loss and longing and the will to survive throughout the ages.
*Digital galley provided by publisher for an honest review* 

A wonderful rendition to the Goddess Test series. Reading up on the gods and goddesses, their back story and how they've changed from their original names to the contemporary names they gave themselves, Aimee Carter does not disappoint.

The romance is hot, the rage is searing, and the gods and goddesses of Olympus are fighting to survive and cope with bounds of power and the blight of love and marriage. Given the stories of Hera, Aphrodite, Hermes, Persephone, and Hades you learn more about their backgrounds, their desires and quarrels against one another. I enjoyed the back stories: the forging of Calliope's revenge, the truth behind Persephone's betrayal to Henry, and many more. It was an insight towards the minor characters in Kate Winter's story and it gives a feel as to who and what they were and became over time until the first book The Goddess Test.

I have to say though, Henry's story was my absolute favorite. I was a little unhappy that every other story was in first person, while Henry's was the only one in third, but I still enjoyed his the best. Calliope's had me feeling for her. Hermes was my least favorite, which is a shocker because he's my favorite god, on par with Hades. I just couldn't touch with his story and didn't really enjoy it that much in the beginning and found myself really liking it by the end.

Final Summation: The Goddess Legacy does a wonderful job in bringing the world of the gods to light, and does a wonder to help remember some of the revamped names they began calling themselves since the first installment of the series. Because I for one had trouble trying to remember the contemporary names each god and goddess was calling themselves. Definitely recommend to those enjoying The Goddess Test and those who cannot wait for the final book to hit shelves.

First Line: In all the years I'd existed, I'd never expected to be free.
Story: S
Cover: A

Waiting on Wednesday (21): The Summer Prince

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Publication Date: March 2013

Four hundred years ago, the world ended. And now, on the coast of what was once called Brazil, women rule in the legendary pyramid city of Palmares Três. The city's Queen only cedes her power to a man once every five years -- to a Summer King, whose story will grip the city like a fever.
For June Costa, art is everything. Her brilliant creations -- from murals and holograms to a delicate pattern of lights in her skin -- have impressed (and irritated) her classmates and teachers alike. Her dream is to win the prestigious Queen's Award, and the instant fame and success that come with it. It's a dream she never questions -- until she meets Enki. Enki, the newly-elected Summer King, is the hottest thing in Palmares Três. But when June sees Enki, she sees more than piercing amber eyes and a lethal samba: She sees a fellow artist.
Together, June and Enki will create art that Palmares Três will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government's strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, tragically in love with Enki. 

Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.
The cover is completely gorgeous and captivating. I don't think I can wait until May of 2013. Too far away! So, what are you waiting on (hopefully not for a long time like this beauty) this Wednesday?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: All These Lives by Sarah Wylie

All These Lives by Sarah Wylie
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Stand Alone Novel
Young Adult
Pages: 245
Genre: Contemporary
Sixteen-year-old Dani is convinced she has nine lives. As a child she twice walked away from situations where she should have died. But Dani’s twin, Jena, isn’t so lucky.  She has cancer and might not even be able to keep her one life. Dani’s father is in denial. Her mother is trying to hold it together and prove everything’s normal.  And Jena is wasting away.  To cope, Dani sets out to rid herself of all her extra lives.  Maybe they’ll be released into the universe and someone who wants to live more than she does will get one.  Someone like Jena.  But just when Dani finds herself at the breaking point, she’s faced with a startling realization.  Maybe she doesn’t have nine lives after all.  Maybe she really only ever had one.
*Digital galley provided by publisher for an honest review*

All These Lives I had a bit of controversy over with whether I liked it or not. The writing and the nine lives quirk the story revolved around I enjoyed, but Dani herself that left me wanting to put the book down and walk away. 

Dani was a character that made me hate reading her story. She's a stuck-up, rude, sarcastic bitch that I really couldn't stand putting up with, but did anyway to read more into the "nine lives" portion of her story. That's the only finite reason I put up with her constant bullshit. She's immature, reckless, and just plain mean. How she was treating herself towards her sisters sickness just made me shake my head at her angrily. 

The nine lives portion of the story did take me through a loop for a little bit. Dani goes on and on about how her sister is only given one life and dying, while she's got nine, living, and wasting them. Her actions failed to invite me into her character and her world and just left me watching in the distance going "Girl, your F'ing stupid!!!" I lost respect for her reckless and an unstable character. 

If it weren't for the writing, an involving and enjoyable flow, and the idea of her having this strange sensation of nine lives, I would have dropped the book in a heartbeat because Dani really is that bad in my eyes. She is a troubled character who is trying to deal with her sister dying and there's nothing she can do about it. I understand the hurt and torment building within her and I do feel sorry. But when I read her story, I find a teenager who is kinda-sorta seeking her parents attention and pulling Bella Swan moves all over the place.

Final Summation: If only writing style and a captivating plot were enough to make me really like this book. Sadly, when the main character is too much for me to handle or take seriously, then I know that the book will not work for me, even when reading All These Lives all the way though.

First Line: This is how it feels to die: It starts from outside and works its way in.

Two targets slayed

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Friday Hops (7/20/12)

*Leave a comment below with you're post. Follow and I'll follow back*

Follow Friday (#22)
Q: Christmas in July! Someone gives you a gift card for two books (whatever that costs). What two books will you buy?

Tough decision, I'd probably pick:

1. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
2. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (20): Spellcaster

Spellcaster by Claudia Gray
Publication Date: March 5, 2013

When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in the town. Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that a curse has been placed on his family that will cause him to go insane. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl—Nadia—from a car accident come true, he knows he’s doomed. Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his family's terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone in the town. Shimmering with magic and mystery, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray’s new novel is sure to draw fans of the Hex Hall and Caster Chronicles series, and fans of the hit CW TV show The Secret Circle.
The cover is completely gorgeous and captivating. I am excited for this one but heartbroken for the wait. 2013? Really? Why you so far away D: So, what are you waiting on (hopefully not for a long time like this beauty) this Wednesday?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Publication Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Stand Alone Novel
Young Adult
Pages: 304
Genre: Retelling, Romance

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .
Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.
Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything--her family, her future--to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.
With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.
Tiger Lily happens to be my new favorite 2012 read. Instantly I was captivated by the writing style Jodi Lynn Anderson has to offer. It's beautifully descriptive and poetically smooth, I took in the pages, never wanting to let them go.

The book was told from Tinker Bell's point of view, and I found the angle to be a rather different take, and she made for an interesting narrator. Tiger Lily grew on me from her entrance. She's strong and brave, something girls from her tribe are looked down upon being. But Tiger Lily stood out from the rest and the tale of how she became "The girl with the crow feather in her hair" was eerily enchanting. My emotions grew around Tiger Lily because I wanted the world to be gifted to her character, and all who've read or seen Peter Pan, know that the world is not what Tiger Lily is allowed to have. But the ending did leave me with a smile, and I grew equivocally happy as she did.

Peter Pan, I did fall for Anderson's rendition of the immortal boy. He was charming and stubborn, headstrong but lonesome and I just wanted to shove Tiger Lily and Peter together and wrap them in an unbinding bow. The supporting character that I really liked knowing about was Smee. His back story really chilled my bones and I kept wanting to know what was going on with him throughout the novel. Captain Hook drew me in as well. The only ones that I couldn't connect with and I failed to really regard were the Lost Boys. They fell flat for me and I didn't bother learning their names or even wanted to read their dialogue. But, out of all the supporting characters, Tick Tok touched my heart and I loved him and his unique touch to this story and to Tiger Lily's life. 

Final Summation: Overall, I truly enjoyed this novel like I knew I would. I happened to hype this book up and it didn't fail me. The Lost Boys could have used some work, but other than that, all the characters fit snugly together in this story and I felt the emotions pour out from me and onto the pages the more I read the story of Tiger Lily. I definitely recommend this to any lover of Peter Pan, because this retelling is a beautiful masterpiece.

First Line: She stands on the cliffs, near the old crumbling stone house.
Story: XS
Cover: XS

Monday, July 16, 2012

Blog Tour (Review + Giveaway): Eden's Root by Rachel Fisher

Publication Date: December 17, 2011
Series: Eden's Root Trilogy #1
Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction

The year is 2033 and the world hovers on the edge of explosion as unexplained crop deaths lead to severe global food shortages. In the United States, the Sickness is taking lives slowly, creeping its way into every family. Fi Kelly has already faced the Sickness in her own family, toughening her beyond her years. But a shocking confession from her dying father will push her toughness to its absolute limits. Saddled with an impossible secret and the mission of saving her little sister, Fi sets out to transform herself into the warrior that she must become to survive the coming collapse. Along the way, she will discover that evil can be accidental and that love can be intentional.
 *Copy was provided by Rachel Fisher for the blog tour and an honest review*

Dystopian happens to be a large chunk of Young Adult novels nowadays with tough characters that learn to fight for themselves and stand up against a rivaling factor whether it be government or environmental factors. Eden's Root happened to be a wonderfully executed dystopian novel.

Fi truly grew on me from the beginning of the book. In the beginning Fi begins to learn about the food, in a world where famine and starvation are common, she is distributing to her family is filled with harmful chemicals that are detrimental to ones health. Taking her father's advice, Fi goes off to hunt, gather, and fight for her family. I felt for her character and the drastic change in her role in her family, the thirteen-year-old needed to grow up faster than normal. And Fi really didn't have it so easy to begin with. The bullying in the beginning didn't really make me feel sorry for Fi, but rather made me disgusted at the characters. Bullying is a common thing with teenagers and kids in younger grades but the execution of the bullying just had me rolling my eyes and some parts didn't register quite like insults but more like praises.

The strength that is exhibited through the characters really got me liking the book, but Fi most of all. She rocked my socks off most of the time. With the weight of the world on her shoulders and bringing a long some extras besides her family, Fi is faced with challenges left and right but barrels through. I'd giver the BAMF character award if there was such a thing.

Final Summation: Eden's Root is definitely a novel that get's you wondering about the future. It also creeps up on you while you're reading, having thoughts of a future like Fi where famine is everywhere and what food you can get is actually killing you slowly in the end. The lose-lose situation is not a pretty outlook. Besides some dialog refurbishing, the novel was a well executed and enjoyable read.

First Line: Thirteen gaunt faces stared at Fi Kelly with hopeful eyes as they lined up in the dusty farmhouse kitchen, cups in hand. 
Story: S
Cover: B

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Review: Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge

Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Illustrator: Andrea Dezso
Stand Alone Novel
Young Adult
Pages: 96
Genre: Retelling

Once upon a time, there was a strung-out match girl who sold CDs to stoners. Twelve impetuous sisters escaped King Daddy's clutches to jiggle and cavort and wear out their shoes. A fickle Thumbelina searched for a tiny husband, leaving bodies in her wake. And Little Red Riding Hood confessed that she kind of wanted to know what it's like to be swallowed whole. From bloodied and blinded stepsisters (they were duped) to a chopped-off finger flying into a heroine's cleavage, this is fairy tale world turned upside down. Ron Koertge knows what really happened to all those wolves and maidens, ogres and orphans, kings and piglets, and he knows about the Ever After. So come closer- he wants to whisper in your ear.
*Digital galley provided by publisher for an honest review*

Short and entertaining, lyrical and heinous. Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses retells different fairy tales from Cinderella to Red Riding Hood all jam-packed in this short but savory book with really interesting but intriguing artistic cutout styles that go along with some of the fables. I for one found it as a bonus while reading.

I didn't really know what I was going to get when I fist requested the novel because my cover lusting ways found it and wanted it solely because of the really interesting and unique cover and title. The dark and intricate contemporary retelling in a free verse style caught my eye and had me adoring the story and some of the poetic lines that Ron Koertge presented.

Final Summation: With only 96 pages, this contemporary retelling does hit dark tones, because really, the fables that they derive from are the dark and grim originals. It was witty, poetic, and funny and had my attention the entire time. Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses is short a quick read that does justice.

First Line: I write this on a brailler, a kind of typewriter for the blind.
Story: S
Cover: S