Aug 31, 2011

ARC Review of The Apothecary by Maile Meloy


Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: October 4th, 2011
Pages: 368
Genre: Middle-Grade
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


The ApothecaryThe Apothecary by Maile Meloy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:


It's 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows - a fascinating boy who's not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin's father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary's sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies - Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons. Discovering and testing potions they never believed could exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous race to save the apothecary and prevent impending disaster.


Together with Ian Schoenherr's breathtaking illustrations, this is a truly stunning package from cover to cover.


Review:


Okay, so it's not just me. I've been watching the reviews on this one over the last couple of days and they keep dropping little by little. Weird way to start a review, I know. But I was just really confused when I finished this book. I was really looking forward to reading it, and it just didn't live up to my expectations. I feel like I have been a broken record lately with my last five or so reviews, but I am just having a run of bad luck with the books I have been reading lately. The Apothecary was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and I was frustrated when it didn't do for me what I had hoped it would.


I guess I was looking for a book full of mystery, potions, and intrigue. Look at the cover. Look at the summary! I don't know what happened exactly, but I found it really boring. Honestly. There were some memorable parts, but for the most part I just wanted it to be over. The characters were flat, the plot and history in the were way too advanced and in-depth for middle-grade readers, and I almost felt like the book was trying too hard. Like it was a book written for adults shoved into a middle-grade package. And then, come to find out that this is the first young-adult book this author has written and I think that makes a lot of sense. There's no denying that she is a great writer, but perhaps she should stick with what she knows? This book just totally didn't work for me.


The illustrations were gorgeous. My copy of the book didn't have all the completed sketches, but the ones that were there were beautiful and really helped to create an atmosphere of mystery around the book, but the story itself was just..flat. The writing was beautiful, but again, way too advanced for a middle-grade reader. I don't read a ton of middle-grade, but when I compare it to say, Harry Potter and The Emerald Atlas, the topic of this book (nuclear war, cold war, etc.) just doesn't seem like something kids would know all that much about. I remember in middle school like spending one week on the Cold War and when the unit was over, I still didn't know anything about it. Totally just my opinion, I know. But it was something I couldn't help but think about the entire time I was reading the book. Then again, it's been a long, long time since I have been in middle-school.


I've been done with The Apothecary for a couple of days, and there's not a whole lot that I remember about it. It was severely lacking in character development, and I missed the emotional connection that I usually get when reading again. It was just an event, followed by an event, followed by an event, which I know is how most books really go, but there needs to be more. And there just wasn't. And if after reading this review you are just as lost as I am, then I guess I accomplished my goal of writing a completely nonsensical review. What else is new?

I wish the book had been as good as the book trailer. 

To pre-order The Apothecary from Amazon, click the link or the book cover below. If you order from these links, I will earn a small commission.
The Apothecary





Waiting on Wednesday #3 (I Think)

Hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Holy crap. I just found out about this book and I am dying to get my hands on a copy of it. I rarely do WOW posts, as I'm not even really sure what number I am on and am too lazy to look. BUT! I must spotlight this one.  I can only hope it is as good as it sounds. 

Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: March 27th, 2012
Pages: 416
Genre: Horror and it better be good and bloody.

Summary: 
It's Titanic meets 30 Days of Night.

When the survivors of the Titanic are picked up by the passenger steamship Carpathia, they thought their problems were over.

But something's sleeping in the darkest recesses of the ship. Something old. Something hungry.

Somebody get me a copy. STAT! 


Aug 30, 2011

ARC Review of Variant by Robison Wells

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: Oct. 4th, 2011
Pages: 356
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Series: I have no idea what it is, but it had better be one.
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


VariantVariant by Robison Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:


Benson Fisher thought a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.


He was wrong.


Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.


Where breaking the rules equals death.


But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.


Review:


Get ready for a monster rant. I just have to. This book made me so angry. But first, let me tell you something. I loved this book sooo much. I thought it was original and totally awesome and suspenseful and all the great things a thriller should be. Can't you tell I'm excited? I loved it!! I loved the characters, the imagery, but most of all I loved the plot and the pacing.


This author, who I am assuming is a dude, is brilliant. He has the mind of a psychopath, but the ideas that come out of his brain are fantastic. Well. Somewhere along the line the author and I decided we were going to part ways, because he apparently does not like to end a book in the proper manner. Then again, that also could have been the publisher's fault. HarperCollins. Harummpph. We need to talk. I don't mind cliffhangers. I realize that they are quite the norm in the book world these days. Especially when it comes to teen literature. So I want to make that clear. I am not opposed to cliffhangers. I've sort of had to develop an immunity against cliffhangers and I think I did well. What I did not, and never will develop an immunity for, is ending a book on a cliffhanger without tying up a single one (a single one!!!!) of the loose ends. There were plot elements left hanging left and right. If I had not been reading this book on an electronic device, it would have taken a swan dive across the room. Seriously. I was mad. And that is all. I promise you HarperCollins and Mr Wells, if you ever do something like this to me again, I will write letters and post on every webpage I can find how much you suck. Okay, not really, but try not to test my patience alright?


Now that that is out of the way. Will I read the next book? You betcha. But will I go into it with completely different expectations and prepared for disappointment? YOU BETCHA.


But the bottom line is, this book had it all: originality, fun characters, breakneck pacing, an awesome setting, and everything I love in a great read. But the ending was terrible. Terrible. Be prepared to be left hanging in the worst way possible. If you are prepared for that, like I wasn't, then you will come out
okay.


To Preorder (and you should), this book, click the book cover or link below. And if you do preorder it, I will earn a small commission.
Variant

Guest Post & Giveaway with Descended by Blood Author, Angeline Kace



I'm very happy to be a part of the Descended by Blood blog tour. I recently reviewed the book here if you haven't gotten a chance to take a look at that yet. I thought it was a wonderful read and I am happily looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

I've asked Descended by Blood author Angeline Kace to come and talk with us today about her writing process, where she gets her ideas, and her love of books, of course. I asked her some questions below and I absolutely loved her answers, and after reading them feel like I know her quite a bit better.





What is your writing process like? Outlines? Music? Time of day? Where do you write?

Descended by Blood was the first book I've written, so I am kind of still figuring out what works best for me. I started this book with an outline, all the major plot points were figured out and I knew of some other things that needed to happen to drive the story forward, but I didn't have a scene by scene outline. I am thinking I will for sure have that for book 2. I like to have an idea of what a scene is about and what needs to be completed by the end of the scene, so that I can let the characters go and get it done. I have very limited time for writing because I go to school and work, so getting stuck--not knowing what needs to happen next to get to the point that I know I need to get to--sucks. I've thought many times while writing this book that had I just spent the extra time in the beginning to do that extra outlining, things would have gone much faster and smoother.

I've come to the realization that music doesn't work for me when I'm writing. I started out listening to music when I would sit down and write because it seems like that's what all writers do. But I would sit down to write, and the music would distract me. At first, I thought it was because I wasn't listening to the "right" music, so I'd switch it up, but it never helped. It wasn't until I turned it off that the characters would start speaking in my head. Each of my characters has a distinct voice, and I actually hear them inside my head. I have to admit that Mirko has probably been the most fun to have in my head. Sometimes, he says things, and I'll speak out loud, "Oh, Mirko! You're killing me!" or "Hahaha! Mirko, you're so effing funny." He's cocky and snarky and thinks the world of himself, but he's still so unpredictable to me about what he's going to say next. So, no music to kill that.

Another thing that I have learned is that my muse is a night owl. I can get up early on a Saturday morning, sit my butt in the chair, and say, "Okay. I'm gonna write." But most of the time, not all the time, but it seems to be making its way to the norm, I mess around on Twitter, or Facebook, or think about this one thing I was going to look into, or that thing. And I'll spend hours doing "stuff." Then, 5 o'clock will roll around, and it's as if my muse has risen from the grave, and she's ready to roll. I'll write and write until two or three in the morning. I don't know why I can't just start writing at 9 a.m. like I set out to do and go to bed at a decent hour. But I am at the mercy of the muse, so she shall have her way, I suppose.

Where did you get the ideas for your characters and setting?

I knew I wanted to write the story from first person point of view and from a girl's perspective. Then, I knew I wanted her to have a best friend, but then I also needed to have a boy interest in there, too. I'm a sucker for romance, what can I say? The characters' personalities just started to come out once I started writing. I had some traits in mind of what I wanted them to have, and they ran with them.

The setting came to me because I had lived in Buena Vista, Virginia for 4 months. And it was during the fall. I love the fall, but then to see it from the Eastern United States' idea of what fall should be, I knew I wanted to live there forever, even if just in my imagination. So, that's where Brooke and her friends got dumped. But finding a place for the vampires to originate from was a bit trickier. All the cool places were already taken: Russia, Romania, Italy. I would have ideally liked to have used Italy because that was always number one on "My Places to Visit" list. But like I said, taken, so that couldn't work. I had to get creative, so I Googled a map of the world (I know, it doesn't sound as cool as "I pulled out a map") and started with Italy and looked for a cool country near it.

I had a communications class once where we would have to give 5 minute speeches on the most random things. Well, one kid in the class was from Croatia, and did his talk on the country. I don't remember much of what he had to say about it, but I remember it piqued my interest. When I saw Croatia on the map, it felt like THE place. I started researching more about Croatia and more about vampires, and you know what I found out? The first written record of a vampire sighting just so happens to take place in Croatia. So, to me, that says Croatia had vampires first. And I loved it. 

Did you go to college? What did you major in?

I'm actually still in school. I'm working on getting my Bachelors in Accounting.

At what age did you figure out you wanted to be a writer? Is there anything else you want to do besides write?

I wanted to be a lot of things when I was growing up; an ice cream truck driver (yes, this is the first career I ever said I wanted), a teacher, a vet, an actress, ect. I'm not sure if I ever dreamed of being a writer, though. Which is strange because I always felt that I'd write a book. I never really knew what it'd be about, but figured it might be about my life or something. I wrote poetry in junior high, but never really did much writing outside of English classes. To be honest, I never even really read much when I was younger. I used to be a big fan of books about animals and those Goosebumps books, but after elementary school, I never read more than the minimum to get by on book reports. That all changed after I read Twilight, but that's a different interview all together. But after I read that series, I was an addict for reading and found out that I could get the same buzz from writing as I could from reading, so I tried it.

Now that I'm here, I can't imagine my life without writing, or scenes being played out in my head, or characters speaking to me. It's as if a beast had been within me all my life, and now that I let it step out of its cage, there would be no going back in for that bad boy.  And a cool thing I found out not too long ago was that my dad's mom (I don't know his side of the family, so that's why this is all news to me) and two of his sisters are writers. I know that one of them even published a book. That pretty much confirmed what I had been thinking: writing's in my blood.

Which classics are your favorites, if any? Why?

I really haven't read many classics because I never read for pleasure, and when I started to, I chose to read books with vampires, and werewolves, and all things paranormal. So, the only classics are ones that I read in school, and the only one that I really liked was Wuthering Heights. I can't really remember what about the book that made me like it. I think it had to do with the struggles Catherine faced with choosing between Heathcliff and Edgar. See? I'm a sucker for romance, no matter how tortured it is.

What was difficult about writing Descended by Blood? Easy? Can you talk about your next project?

The hard parts of writing where always the parts where I didn't know what needed to happen. I knew where I needed to go, but wasn't really sure how to get there. The most difficult part about the whole process was the editing. It's such a huge task, and being my first book, it was hard to find the confidence to trust myself--that I would know what parts to change and what to change them to.

The easiest parts of writing the book were the parts when Brooke is talking with another character. For the most part, the characters just tell me what their saying.

I'm working on book 2 next, but after this series, I do have another paranormal romance in mind. It will also be a young adult series, but the paranormal aspect is a bit different, so I can't say much about it.


Thank you so much for hosting me, Kara. I've always admired what you do for the book world, and I really appreciate your hosting me.

Find Angeline Online:

Blog/Website | Twitter | Facebook

Order a copy of Descended By Blood:


And now on to the giveaway!!


My prize pack is the SKIN prize pack, which includes-


~ A Kindle or Nook skin
~An EBook
~ SIGNED bookmark
~ A nail polish matching the cover + has a cute crown on top! (Do your nails then read the book!)


To enter to win this awesome prize pack, just comment on this post with your name and email address. 


Extra entries (+1) can be earned by:


~Tweeting or Facebooking the contest
~Being a blog follower, either by GFC or email.


If you have any extra entries, just let me know in the SAME COMMENT. One comment per person.


Entries will be accepted until the end of 8/31/11. This contest is US only.


The rest of the blog tour will continue through the end of September. If you don't win here, feel free to enter any of the contests on any of the other blogs! But remember, you can only win one of each prize pack. The other hosting blogs are as follows:


Friday, August 26, 2011 ~ A Life Bound by Books, Character interview with Paperback *
Saturday, August 27, 2011 ~ Hesperia Loves Books, Interview with Skin 
Monday, August 29, 2011 ~  Magical Urban Fantasy Reads, Shorty Story with Paperback 
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 ~ Great Imaginations, Guest post with Skin 
Wednesday, August 31, 2011 ~ Confessions of a Bookaholic, Fun post with Paperback *
Thursday, September 01, 2011 ~ A Cupcake and a Latte, Guest post with Skin 
Friday, September 02, 2011 ~ The Bookish Brunette, Guest post with Paperback 
Saturday, September 03, 2011 ~ Fiktshun, Interview with Skin 
Monday, September 05, 2011 ~ Book Passion for Life, Interview, Paperback-US & ebook-Int
Tuesday, September 06, 2011 ~ Two Chicks on Books, Guest post with Skin 
Wednesday, September 07, 2011 ~ I'm a Bookshark, "This or That" with Paperback 
Thursday, September 08, 2011 ~ Seeingnight Reviews, Character Interview with Skin 
Friday, September 09, 2011 ~ My Cute Bookshelf, Interview with Paperback 
Saturday, September 10, 2011 ~ Letters Inside Out, Interview with Skin
Monday, September 12, 2011 ~ The Unread Reader, "When I'm Not Writing" with Paperback 
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 ~ Two Readers Reviews, Guest post with Skin 
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 ~ Magnet 4 Books, Guest post with Paperback
Thursday, September 15, 2011 ~ Mundie Moms, Interview with Skin *
Friday, September 16, 2011 ~ The Book Faery, Guest post with Paperback
Saturday, September 17, 2011 ~ Books with Bite, Guest post with Skin 
Monday, September 19, 2011 ~  Me, Myshelf, and I, Guest post with Paperback
Tuesday, September 20, 2011, The Cait Flies, Guest post, Skin
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 ~ Tynga Reviews, "Book's Cover Creation" with Paperback *
Thursday, September 22, 2011 ~ Electrifying Reviews, Guest post with Skin 
Friday, September 23, 2011 ~ La Femme Readers, "Vamps from Croatia" with Paperback *
Saturday, September 24, 2011 ~ The Book Swarm, Guest post, Skin *
Monday, September 26, 2011 ~ Absconditas, Fun Character post with Paperback 
Tuesday, September 27, 2011 ~ The Bookworms, Guest Post with Skin *
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 ~ Bewitched Bookworms, Skin *
Thursday, September 29, 2011 ~ Flippin' Fabulous, Guest post with Skin











Aug 26, 2011

Book Review of The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: March 16th, 2010
Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
*I own a copy of this book.


The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1)The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:


Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.


Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.


Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.


Review:


This book was all kinds of awesome. It wasn't perfect, but man, I loved it. Really! The whole idea of Violet sensing echoes from the dead and murderers was just so cool. Every body had a different echo and whoever or whatever killed it carried the same echo. Violet was able to sense the killer in this way. Some echoes were sounds, some were visual, etc. Super cool.


The writing. It was gorgeous. Like seriously. I love beautiful prose. It blows me away every time. It just flowed so well and really was almost calming to my senses. I hope all of her books are like this because I am a huge fan already! I'm not a fan of the cover, but whatever.


I love ANY book set in the Pacific Northwest. It is such a mysterious and mesmerizing setting. I fell in love with the location through Twilight. Obviously. I think Stephenie Meyer's imagery was fantastic. Kimberly Derting did a nice job, but I didn't feel the impact quite as much. It was still good though. I liked the fact that the locations in the book really existed.


Things I thought could've been better: The end. What the heck? That crap was like a throwback to Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine novels of the 90's. It was so cliche and a bit corny. I wanted to give it five stars, but because of the way it ended I just couldn't.


Oh, and I can't end the review without mentioning how much I loved Jay. I thought he was super sexy and he was like the perfect boyfriend that every girl always wants and never gets. He could have been a bit more flawed, but for some reason it didn't bother me here. I think he was just amazing. I love how Violet and Jay were BFF's before they started dating. I thought it was cute and something new that I haven't read about before. Or at least not lately.


Anyway, I can see why everyone loved The Body Finder. It was a lot of fun and I will be reading the next book as soon as I can. I'm really anxious to see where the story goes. I like the characters, but I don't love them. I'm hoping that changes as the series continues.

To order The Body Finder from Amazon.com, click the link or the book cover below. It's only $6.80 right now, and I know for a fact that price won't last. Keep in mind if you order anything from these links, I will earn a small commission.
The Body Finder

ARC Review of All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin


Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Release Date: September 6th, 2011
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
*I received a physical ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

All These Things I've DoneAll These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:


In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidentally poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.


Review:


I really wanted to give All These Things I've Done five stars because it was so darn unique. I mean REALLY original. But in the end I couldn't, for a couple of reasons. Number one, chocolate and caffeine were illegal and considered as drugs. I thought the idea was pretty cool, but it just didn't work for me because I couldn't imagine people clamoring for the stuff like addicts do for cocaine and other serious drugs. It's just hard to suspend disbelief for things like that. But I can honestly say I appreciate the effort of trying to be original.


The other thing that I didn't care for was the lack of world-building. As a dystopian novel, I just felt world details were needed and they were severely lacking. I kept waiting and waiting to get more information about the world and what had happened to make it that way, and they never came. Good thing it's a series and it might get more detailed as it goes on. There's always that hope.


I really loved Anya/Annie as a protagonist. I just thought she was awesome and I wanted to know her. She is a kick-ass heroine and I loved how loyal she was. I loved her never give up and fighter attitude. She was sexy, smart, and a lot of fun. I loved her voice and adored being inside her head. Her relationship with Win was super-hot and I love them as a couple.


I loved the details of the mob, and how the family worked. I think eventually Annie will end up taking over and being the head of the family and I really cannot wait to see where this story goes, because I think there are so many different directions it could possibly go in.


There wasn't a whole lot of action in the book, I can honestly say it was a more character-driven young adult novel, and that is truly a rare occurrence in young adult. That was another thing I appreciated. And yet, even though it was character-driven, it was still a quick read. I couldn't put it down. All in all, I really, really liked it. Yeah there were things that could have been improved upon, but overall it was a lot of fun and I appreciate the originality. I did not intend to read this originally because it didn't interest me, and I am truly glad that I changed my mind.

To pre-order All These Things I've Done from Amazon.com, click the link or the book cover below.
All These Things I've Done (Birthright)

Quickie Review of 25 Random Facts by E.J. Mack


Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: June 24th, 2011
Pages: 180
Genre: Adult, Psychological Thriller
*I generously received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


25 Random Facts25 Random Facts by E.J. Mack
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:


A lot can happen in twenty years and who knows what secrets might be hidden in the passage of time?


Old school friends reunite but what should be a happy affair is marred by the news of a horrifying death. The details seem straightforward but one woman knows otherwise. Tormented by the truth and now living a lie she is bent on unravelling the details behind a friend's betrayal but in the process unwittingly reveals her secret to another.


Sinister phone calls threaten to uncover her unless she admits to her deception. Should she face up to her tormentor and tell the truth? And if so, what will be the price for their silence?


'25 Random Facts' is a psychological thriller about a betrayal between two women which leads to murder, deceit, blackmail and ultimately, self sacrifice.


It's well worth remembering that just because you knew someone years ago, it doesn't mean they are still the same person today.


Review:


25 Random Facts was a gorgeously written piece of literature. But I have to be honest, and say that it really didn't do anything for me emotionally. Simply put, I lacked a connection to this book. It's been happening to me a lot lately. And I can't help but wonder if it's my fault. Either way, I have to write the review the way I feel, and that's what happened.


It was just missing something. The plot was definitely interesting, but left me feeling confused. I didn't know how I was supposed to feel, who I was supposed to be mad at, and I just felt kind of lost. Not necessarily a bad thing, it just isn't what I hope to get out of something I am reading.


I liked the idea of the plot, I just didn't find it suspenseful. I was expecting a thriller and it was more of a character study. The one thing I did enjoy was Claire's character. I thought the actions that she took were interesting and I often wondered how I would react in the same situation. What would I have done if I had watched that helicopter crash in front of me? Would I have done the same things? Hard to say, but something to think about.


Ultimately, it was an interesting read. I think the author had some great ideas, but my personal opinion is that the execution was a little off. But. I am definitely interested to see what she comes up with next, because like I said, her writing is absolutely fantastic. Beautiful prose.

To purchase 25 Random Facts from Amazon.com, click the link or book cover below. Right now you can purchase a copy for only $1.49. Great deal!
25 Random Facts

Book Review of Descended by Blood by Angeline Kace


Publisher: Accendo Press
Release Date: August 26th, 2011
Pages: 263
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
*An ARC of this book was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Descended by Blood (A Vampire Born Trilogy, #1)Descended by Blood by Angeline Kace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:


Brooke Keller is a high school junior who has never spent much time living in one place. She is finally in a town long enough to almost snag the boy of her dreams, until her life is threatened after killing a fanged man in his attempt to kidnap her. Brooke begins a dangerous journey in an effort to find out who is after her and how to stop them. In a world with powerful and prejudiced vampires, Brooke must tap into the side of her that she never knew existed at the risk of losing her life in order to save it.


Review:



Descended by Blood and I got off to a shaky start. It took me about 5 chapters before I became interested in the story and its characters. I'm not going to lie, I was worried about it for a little bit. I was afraid I wasn't going to like it and I so didn't want that to happen. Well. I can gladly say, that the small issues I had with the pacing and lack of action in the beginning worked themselves out quickly. As I read further on, I felt like I was reading an entirely different book.


I really liked Brooke as a character. I thought she was a bad-ass. She's frightened about what is in store for her, but is still ready to face it head-on no matter what. Here's the thing though. I kind of think Brooke was extremely selfish when it came to choosing between her boys Jaren and Mirko. Now I am no fan of Jaren. He's a total skirt chaser and I thought Brooke could do much better than him. So what I can't figure out is why she didn't just cut him loose. He's a douchey douche. I get that she still had feelings for him, but I have no problem letting go of someone when I realize they turn out to be a completely different person than what I expected.


Oh yeah. And I'm totally Team Mirko. When I saw the bookmark I knew I would be. Mirko is the bad boy with a huge heart. And he totally rocks. I didn't care for the way Brooke treated him either. She denied her feelings for him for so long and in the meantime kept stringing jerky Jaren along. I didn't get it, but it sure made me want to keep reading.


I thought the vampire mythology in Descended by Blood was different and a lot of fun. It's hard, because the vampire genre has gotten a little tired and overdone, but I didn't feel that happened here at all. I liked how the author worked vampire prejudice into the story and the different classes hating each other. I thought it was unique.


I loved the setting of Utah as well. I don't know how accurate it was because I have never been to Utah, but I love the way it was described and now I kind of want to see if it's really like that. I kind of pictured it as just rocks and desert, but apparently there are forests too! Who knew?


All in all, I did truly enjoy Descended by Blood. I didn't think it was perfect by any means, but it was a great read and I am really looking forward to continuing on with the series and seeing where the story goes.  Brooke better choose Mirko or I am going to be angry.

Additional information: I am also participating in the blog tour for this book, which started today. The tour kicks off at A Life Bound by Books. My post for the blog tour is August 30th and there will also be an awesome giveaway that day. You could win an ebook, ereader skin, signed bookmark, and matching nail polish. So make sure you come back that day for a guest post with the author!!

In the meantime, please be sure and visit the author's website for more information here: http://www.angelinekace.com/

To purchase Descended by Blood from Amazon.com, click here: Descended by Blood (Vampire Born Trilogy). It's currently only $0.99 and it won't be that for long!

Aug 22, 2011

ARC Review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Publisher: Greenwillow (HarperCollins)
Release Date: Sept. 20th, 2011
Pages: 432
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


The Girl of Fire and ThornsThe Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:


Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.


Elisa is the chosen one.


But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.


Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.


And he’s not the only one who needs her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.


Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.


Most of the chosen do.


Review:


The Girl of Fire and Thorns was a pretty awesome book. And I gotta say, I had read a few of the reviews before reading and I was a little worried. Because of the religious undertones. But guess what? It didn't bother me in the least! There was a lot of God talk, but absolutely no talk of Christianity. It's very hard to explain, but the book wasn't about God in the Christian sense at all. They just believed in a God, period. And to be honest, the religion in the book was pretty cool. I thought it was interesting and I totally did not picture myself going there.


I also really enjoyed the atmosphere and imagery. I can't really say that I have ever read a book set in the desert before. And I didn't think it would be something that would interest me. Again, I was wrong. I thought the world-building and the descriptions were fantastic. The setting felt very real and I love how the author used it to her advantage. It really became a part of the story. I loved the scene set in the jungle where the royal caravan was attacked by the Perditos. Awesome imagery and action. I also really enjoyed when Elisa was captured by the Inviernos. Really fantastic and it almost played out like a movie in my head.


I really wish I could give The Girl of Fire and Thorns five stars, but I can't because once again, I felt a lack of emotional connection to the story. And I wish I could figure out why, but I just can't figure out where it went wrong. There was one event that happened where I was just shocked that the author went there. And if it had been written by one of my favorite authors, I would have been devastated. And I didn't even shed a tear. This is a problem for me. I need an emotional connection to my books. It is what pushes a great book into amazing territory. Ya know? Maybe it's just me. But the fact of the matter is, that even without the emotional connection, this was still a great book and a ton of fun to read.


I loved Elisa as a character. I like adored her. She was quirky, fun, normal, and very interesting. She was flawed and felt very real. But yet, she could not have been more likeable. She was a beautiful person inside and out and she totally made me want to root for her. I think this is going to be a series that just keeps getting better as we progress into the books. I don't know how many books there will be, but I definitely will continue. I can't wait to find out what happens next. Oh yeah, and the message that came with the story was great too. I cannot recommend it enough.

Pre-order The Girl of Fire and Thorns from Amazon by clicking the link or the book cover below.  Anything ordered from these links will earn me a small commission from Amazon.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns





Book Review of The Scorch Trials by James Dashner


Publisher: Delacorte
Release Date: Oct. 12th, 2010
Pages: 360
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Series: Maze Runner #2
*I own a copy of this book.

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2)The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:


Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.


In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.


Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal.


The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.


Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?


Review:


Okay, let's be real. I'm a little confused as to why this book has a higher rating than The Maze Runner. I really enjoyed reading this book, but it did not compare to the magic of the original. I guess my expectations were extremely high going into reading The Scorch Trials.The reason? The first book was extremely original and was unlike anything I had ever read, plus it was so suspenseful and to be truthfully honest, I was terrified while reading it. Those grievers were friggin scary!


That being said, I really enjoyed The Scorch Trials, and had it been a stand-alone novel, it would have been absolutely amazing. This is the reason I still gave it four stars, because it was an awesome read by itself. It still had the suspense and the fantastic world-building that the first book had. I did really miss the maze though. There was this feeling of claustrophobia in The Maze Runner that really helped the reader feel trapped in the story.


I really loved the section of the story that took place in the city, which based on descriptions, I assumed was Las Vegas. If it wasn't, well then that's how I pictured it anyway. The cranks were really scary and the scenes that took place in the tunnels were riveting. I also really enjoyed the scenes in the beginning that took place in the safe house. After a few days, they still remain very memorable to me.


I spent the whole book wondering what the heck was going on between Thomas and Teresa, and still received no answers, just more questions. That's okay though, because I'm pretty sure they will all be answered in The Death Cure, which thankfully comes out in October. I really need to know how this series ends.


The one thing I have to complain about, as always, is the lack of character development. This still really bothers me, because I wish I was more emotionally invested in the characters. That way, when something bad happens to them I would care more. It's the end of the second book in the series, and I still have really no idea who Thomas is as a person. He's just a name with a face. The books would be a lot more disturbing if the characters felt a little more real.


The Gladers language that I hated in the first book was here in the second book, but for some reason didn't bother me as much. I'm not sure if it's because I got used to it or because it was used in a less awkward way. Either way, it annoyed me a lot less this time around.


The Scorch Trials really impressed me, and as a follow-up book to The Maze Runner, I think it was a great effort, but as usual it fell victim to sequel disease. It was good, not great. And I can't help but feel a little bit disappointed. Still, it is really worth reading. The suspense is worth it alone.


Check out other reviews for The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner Trilogy) on Amazon by clicking the link or book core below. Any purchases through these links will earn me a small commission.
The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner Trilogy)
Like I said, The Death Cure (Maze Runner Trilogy) comes out in October and is available for pre-order from Amazon by clicking the link.
The Death Cure (Maze Runner Trilogy)


Aug 21, 2011

In My Mailbox #8

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

This is kind of the addendum to my earlier IMM. This is everything else I have gotten over the last couple of weeks. 

First up, I won a copy of The Looking Glass Wars from a giveaway and I wish I remember the blog I won it from. I usually save the emails, but for some reason this one disappeared. So if it was you, please comment so I can give you credit!!
The Looking Glass Wars

I also won the Joe Ledger Series Patient Zero: A Joe Ledger Novel, from Kristin at My Bookish Ways.
Patient Zero: A Joe Ledger NovelThe King of Plagues: A Joe Ledger Novel (Joe Ledger Novels)The Dragon Factory
I can't wait to read these. Zombies!! Brains!!

I also must give thanks to Macmillan and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for a physical ARC of All These Things I've Done (Birthright).
All These Things I've Done (Birthright)

From NetGalley, I have been approved to read:
Light from a Distant Star: A NovelThe Night Strangers: A NovelThe Goat Woman of Largo Bay: A NovelThe Lantern: A Novel
The Sixes: A NovelAmbitious (Kimani Tru)WanderloveShattered Dreams: A Midnight Dragonfly Novel
1. Light from a Distant Star: A Novel by Mary McGarry Morris
2. The Night Strangers: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian
4. The Lantern: A Novel by Deborah Lawrenson
5. The Sixes: A Novel by Kate White
6. Ambitious (Kimani Tru) by Monica McKayhan
7. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

From Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab, I picked out:
Past PerfectVirtuosity
1. Past Perfect by Leila Sales
2. Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Then, yesterday I took a trip to Books-A-Million. I seriously intended to not spend that much, but when you stick me in front of a bunch of shiny and new books, I guess I can't resist. I learned the hard way. And now I am on a serious book buying ban until I get through some of these. Anyway, here is what I bought:

Song of the Silk Road13 TreasuresHow to Be an American HousewifeThe Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
The Street of a Thousand Blossoms ($9.99 ed.)The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A NovelThe Tower, the Zoo, and the TortoiseA & L Do Summer
Swamplandia! (Vintage Contemporaries)Shanghai Girls: A NovelGirl in TranslationThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
The Girl in the Garden

1. Song of the Silk Road by Mingmei Yip
2. 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison
3. How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway
4. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
5. The Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama
6. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki Murakami
8. A & L Do Summer by Jan Blazanin
10. Shanghai Girls: A Novel by Lisa See
11. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
13. The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair

See what I mean? The good thing is that they were all softcovers except the last one, which means they were cheaper. Still a small fortune, hence the book buying ban. I am also extremely lucky that I have an amazing husband who supports my addiction and eccentricities.  So that's it for the last couple of weeks. What's in your mailbox?






Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...