Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (81) - Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy
Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
To be released: April 3, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads):

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Everything about this book just sounds awesome and full of win! Cannot wait to read!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (80) - Born Wicked

Born Wicked
Jessica Spotswood
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
To be released: February 7, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads):

A Great and Terrible Beauty meets Cassandra Clare in this spellbinding fantasy 

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.

At first I wasn’t that interested in this synopsis, but then reread it a few times and realized I’d probably really like this book. And now I really want to read it. So can it please be February now?

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Birthday Giveaway!!


So today is my 20th birthday (woohoo!) and I wanted to celebrate by hosting a little giveaway for the readers of my blog.  My birthday gift to all of you is signed copies of one of my favorite series: 13 to Life by Shannon Delany. I have a signed copy of 13 to Life, Secrets and Shadows and Bargains and Betrayals up for grabs (I'll through in some swag too. I have so much). If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend you check them out, they are awesome. You can read my reviews for each book in the series here, here and here.

Help celebrate my birthday by just entering to win some awesome prizes!!!

Giveaway Details
-Win a signed finished copies of 13 to Life, Secrets and Shadows, and a signed ARC of Bargains and Betrayals
- Fill out the form below completely!
- Open Internationally
- One entry per person. Multiple entries will be deleted
- End January 1, 2012

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (79) - Scarlet

A.C. Gaughen
Publisher: Walker & Co.
To be released: February 14, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads):

Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in. It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

I love anything related to the stories of Robin Hood. I really love the new twist on this tale and I’m super excited to see how this story plays with the original stories. Sounds super interesting!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (78) - Masque of the Red Death

Masque of the Red Death
Bethany Griffin
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’t Books
To be released: April 24, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads):

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

So I’m not really sure how to classify this book genre wise, but it sounds really interesting and good. Pretty dresses, a plague, a club called the Debauchery Club, and two hot boys. Sounds super good. Can’t wait!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (77) - Something Like Normal

Something Like Normal
Trish Doller
Publisher: Bloomsbury
To be released: June 19, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads):

A powerful debut novel about a young Marine's return home from Afghanistan and the new life and love he finds while fending off the ghosts of war.

When Travis Stephenson returns home from Afghanistan, his parents are on the brink of divorce, his brother has stolen his girlfriend and his car, and nightmares of his best friend getting killed keep him completely spooked. But when he runs into Harper Gray, a girl who despises him for trashing her reputation with a middle school lie, life actually starts looking up. As Travis and Harper see more of each other, he starts falling for her and a way through the family meltdown, the post-traumatic stress, and the possibility of an interesting future begins to emerge.

His sense of humor, sense of his own strength, and incredible sense of honor make Travis an irresistible and eminently lovable hero in this fantastic and timely debut novel.

So I heard about this book awhile ago from a friend and was immediately interested. I think that this book sounds great and deals with a very interesting subject matter, the return to life after fighting in Afghanistan. My friend has told me this book is super good, and I trust her, even if she called dibs on Travis. Can’t wait to read it! Sounds like a great debut novel!  
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (76) - In Honor

In Honor
Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing
To be released: May 8, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads):

Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn's celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn's last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn's best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn't seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn. . . and ruggedly good looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

This book sounds really good. I love me some good contemporary and this seems like it will be one. Sounds kind of heart-wrenchy in a good way. And, a journey with an attractive boy, heck yes! Can’t wait to read!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This is Teen Giveaway: The Eleventh Plague, Under Dogs, and iBoy

Check out some of the awesome new releases from Scholastic's This Is Teen. They all look pretty awesome. And thanks to Scholastic, you have the opportunity to win a copy of all three of their newest books -- The Eleventh Plague, Under Dogs and iBoy.

About the books:

The Eleventh Plague
By Jeff Hirsch
“The Eleventh Plague hits disturbingly close to home…An excellent, taut debut novel.” – Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games

In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade for food and other items essential for survival. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true, where there are real houses, barbecues, a school, and even baseball games. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank on the town bully’s family that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing forever.

Under Dogs
By Markus Zusak
Before The Book Thief, Markus Zusak wrote a trilogy of novels about the Wolfe brothers: The Underdogs, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and Getting the Girl. Cameron and Ruben Wolfe are champions at getting into fights, coming up with half-baked schemes, and generally disappointing girls, their parents, and their much more motivated older siblings. They’re intensely loyal to each other, brothers at their best and at their very worst. But when Cameron falls head over heels for Ruben’s girlfriend, the strength of their bond is tested to its breaking point.

By Kevin Brooks
Before the attack, Tom Harvey was just an average teen. But a head-on collision with high technology has turned him into an actualized App. Fragments of a shattered iPhone are embedded in his brain. And they’re having an extraordinary effect on his every thought. Because now Tom knows, sees, and can do more than any normal boy ever could. But with his new powers comes a choice: Seek revenge on the vicious gangs who rule the South London housing project where he lives, and who violated his friend Lucy? Or keep quiet and move on? Not even the search engine in his head can predict the shocking outcome of iBoy’s actions. A wifi, thriller by YA master Kevin Brooks.

Interested? Want to win them? Just fill out the form below.

Giveaway Rules
- Fill out the form below completely!
- Open to US residents only.
- Must be 13 years or old to enter. If under 13, parental consent is required.
- One entry per person. Multiple entries will be deleted
- Ends December 6, 2011 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (75) - The Selection

The Selection
Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
To be released: April 24, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads):

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

I had the opportunity to meet Kiera Cass at the Book Blogger Convention in May and here about this book then I was instantly excited. She was very sweet and funny and peaked my interest in her book then. And then I read the official synopsis. And saw the cover. THAT COVER IS GORGEOUS!!! SO PRETTY! And I love the idea of a Bachelor-esque competition with princes. Super excited!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

The Future of Us
Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: November 21, 2011
Series or Standalone:  Standalone
ISBN: 9781595144911
Format: ARC
Pages: 309
Source: BEA
Jay Asher - Website/Blog 
Carolyn Mackler - Website 
Jay Asher - Twitter
Carolyn Mackler - Twitter

Rating: 4 Stars

I was super excited to read The Future of Us and it did not disappoint me. The Future of Us is a fun read that really makes you question what you would do if you could see what your life would be like in the future.

This book is told from alternating points of view of Josh and Emma. I really liked both of these characters. They were different from each other but I still really liked them. Emma and Josh are both effected by seeing their future on Facebook differently. Emma, I think, went a bit overboard with seeing her future. For Emma, she was constantly worried about being unhappy, about having a bad future. She got a bit obsessed with creating her own perfect future, that she ended up making decisions that made her future even worse. Emma was so obsessed with getting her perfect future, she seemed to neglect living in the present.

Josh, on the other hand, was the boy next door (literally). The disc that brings them both to Facebook brings them back together. I loved Josh. He was a sweet guy and you really could see that. Emma and Josh have a history, one that involves some heart-ache. I really liked that Emma and Josh had a past relationship that was not perfect, but that this weird fluke of seeing the future could bring them back together as friends. Josh was the more level-headed one of the pair. Josh, unlike Emma, realized that seeing his future was not the best thing and that maybe they should just let it be.

I really like how Josh and Emma’s relationship grew over the course of the book. There were ups and there were downs for Emma and Josh, mostly because of what Emma was learning in her future, but their relationship was perfect. I loved the ending and how their relationship was building to that point the entire book.

While I was reading this book, I felt like I was thrust back into my childhood. I grew up in the 90s and this book just reminded me of everything from it with dial-up internet that used the phone lines, walk-man, CD-roms for free internet, and a world without Facebook. I loved it. I also really liked how Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler incorporated Facebook into the story. Facebook is a completely foreign concept in 1996 and I loved Emma and Josh’s reactions to the website. Who would have imagined that through Facebook we would be sharing our life’s details with the world. I liked how Facebook was integral to the plot, but the story did not focus solely on Facebook. This book was very character driven and what they learned on Facebook influenced the characters. 

The Future of Us is an enjoyable read that makes you question if you had the chance to see your future would you and would you try to change it? With friendship, romance, and the future, The Future of Us is an interesting new story that is fun to read. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (74) - Unraveling Isobel

Unraveling Isobel
Eileen Cook
Publisher: Simon Pulse
To be released: January 3, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads):

Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.

But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.

This book just sounds really cute and really fun. Can’t wait to read it! 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (73) - The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
John Green
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
To be released: January 10, 2011

Summary (from Goodreads):

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

It goes without saying that I am excited for John Green’s new book and have been for ages now. I cannot wait to read it! I love all his other books and it’s been a while since we have got something new from him. And of course I have had it pre-ordered since the day he announced the title. DFTBA!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick
Joe Schreiber
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone 

ISBN: 9780547577388
Format: ARC
Pages: 192
Source: Borrowed

Rating: 4 Stars

An action adventure movie meets young adult novel in Joe Schreiber’s young adult debut novel Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick. In a relatively short novel, Joe Schreiber manages to lead his characters on a wild adventure that takes course over one surreal night.

It is anything but an ordinary prom night for Perry Stormaire. Much more willing to play in his band then go to prom, Perry’s mom forces him to take their quiet and geeky Lithuanian exchange student Gobi to prom. The night is going to be a disaster, but not in the way Perry expected. Gobi turns out to be a trained assassin who leads Perry on a wild and dangerous adventure through out Manhattan whether he wants to go or not. The escapades grow as Gobi’s intentions become clear, leaving Perry with one wild story to tell at night’s end.

In a book that is little shy of two hundred pages, a lot happens. Perry’s world is literally flipped upside down in the course of one night. One minute Perry and Gobi are at prom, and then they are in a New York City club and a dead man is being flown through a window and landing on Perry’s car. The events in the book continue in a rapid-fire pace until the very last chapter. The quick pace wraps the reader up in the action of the book, feeling flung around and confused at times just like Perry is. The fight and action sequences of the book occur very quickly, but are detailed enough that the reader understands who is fighting who and what is occurring. The plot builds momentum until the climax where a large, epic, action-packed scene occurs that wraps up the major storylines in a hail of bullets.

Since the story is so plot driven and fast-paced, the characters almost become secondary figures to action of the book. Perry is meant to be a typical high school boy who enjoys playing in his band and worrying about getting into a good college. He develops little as a character, even though he is put in situations that threat his life and would have a stronger impact on most people’s lives. . He goes on a wild adventure, but in the end, he is still the same Perry as in the beginning, but has an awesome story to tell. Gobi, on the other hand, was a more complex character. Gobi seemed to be a shy, strange foreign exchange student but was really covering up a mountain of secrets that are revealed over the course of one night. While Gobi might be an assassin who is leaving a trail of bodies across Manhattan, the reasons for her actions are noble and the reader can sympathize with her.

Schreiber’s writing captures the voice of a teenage boy thrown into some crazy situations perfectly. Perry’s reactions to the far-fetched situations he was in were exactly the sort of reactions I would have had if I were being forced to participate in car chases, heists, and murder. Perry is just as bewildered and confused by Gobi’s actions as the reader is. Schreiber also is able to balance the intense action with humor. Some of Perry’s comments on the events he is taking place on made me giggle aloud. Schreiber had some very witty lines that highlighted the absurdity of the actions Perry countering the high-paced action with some well needed humor.

The book tries to incorporate romance between Gobi and Perry but the romance falls short. The action is the primary focus of this book and everything else gets pushed aside. Perry goes from not wanting to associate with Gobi to somehow falling for her while she is putting his life in danger. The characters and their relationship needed to be better developed to make the romance between them plausible, but the focus was mostly on the action instead.  

Each chapter in Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick starts out with a college essay from different college. I was a bit unsure if these were real college essay questions or ones that Schreiber created for the purpose of the book, but the events that took place in each chapter could loosely be related in some form to the college essay topic. Each chapter could be read separately as a college essay and would still make sense, but could also be read together as one large story. The essay questions as chapter titles ended up tying all the action in the book together and become part of the plot itself. The book is Perry’s college essay, albeit a very long college essay, telling the story of one night that changed his life.

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick is a quirky quick read that would appeal to both boys and girls. Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick is not too serious or extremely special, but it will take the reader on an action packed adventure. With the pacing of an action movie and the humor of high school comedy, Schreiber’s young adult debut is full of fun.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

YA Spooktacular: Story 2

Welcome to another stop for the second annual YASpooktacular, hosted by Frenzy of Noise and Wicked Awesome Books.

This year, there are three stories written by some of your favorite authors that will be posted throughout the week. Each story is a choose your adventure, where you get to decide what path to send the character down. Sometimes you live, sometimes you die, and sometimes you fall into a pit of no return.

There are also some TRICKS or TREATS scattered throughout the story, where you can enter to win prizes and get bonus points toward the prize packs. The prize pack for 2 will be up tomorrow! On Halloween day, the grand prize pack will be posted. You can click the banner above to see a full list of the YASpooktacular prize packs!

About the Author
Gretchen McNeil writes YA urban fantasy, paranormal and historical fiction. Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys and currently sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. She’s a founding member of vlog group the YARebels where she can be seen as "Monday" and an active member of both The Enchanted Inkpot, a group blog of YA and middle grade fantasy writers, and The Apocalypsies, a group blog of 2012 (oops) children's book debuts. Her debut YA horror/paranormal POSSESS was published by Balzer and Bray for HarperCollins in August 2011.

You can find Gretchen on Twitter, on her blog, and on Goodreads. You can order her books at the following places: Amazon, Barnes and NobleThe Book Depository.

To start the story from the beginning, click on this image!

Without opening your eyes, you answer your phone. “What?” you snap. “Des, if this is your idea of a joke I’m going to—“

“Things are about to get…scary.” It’s the same pseudo-male voice as before, whispering and speaking extra slowly so you don’t miss a word. “And you’ll have choices to make.”

“I don’t know who this is,” you say, trying to sound braver than you feel. “But I don’t appreciate the prank calls, okay?”

“Good luck,” the voice says. The phone goes dead.

You stare at the phone in your hand, trying to make sense of what the caller told you. Things will get scary? You’ll have to make choices? Before you can even process, your phone screams again. This time you recognize the phone number.

“Stace!” you say. “Finally.”

You hear your best friend sobbing on the other end, calling your name.

“Stace?” you said. “Stace, what’s wrong?”

“I don’t know where I am.” Her voice high and shrill with panic. “Help me. Help me!”

Holy shit, is this a joke? Stace couldn’t act her way out of a box and her terror sounds so real it sends a chill down your spine.

“Are you there?” she sobs.

“Stace,” you say quickly. “What happened? Where are you?”

“I don’t know!” she screams. “Someone was in my car. Grabbed me when I was coming to your party. I woke up here and…” Her voice trails off. Despite the static on the line, you can clearly hear heavy footsteps coming through the phone. “Oh my God,” Stace whispers. “He’s here. He’s—“ Stace pauses then screams.

The phone cuts out, but you realize you can still hear Stace screaming. And it’s coming from inside the house.

You run down the hall, following the scream, cursing the ridiculously high heels you’re wearing with your Zombie French Maid costume. It dies out just as you reach the stairs leading to the basement. Oh my God, is Stace okay? You pick up your phone to call 911 but when you push the green button, you accidentally answer an incoming call.

This time, you hear Michael’s shaky voice on the other end, saying your name. “Michael, I need your help,” you blurt out. “I need you to call Stace’s phone. I think something’s happened.”

“Listen very carefully,” Michael says. He’s speaking slowly, just like the anonymous caller, and even though he’s not crying like Stace had been, you realize immediately that something is very, very wrong.

“Are you there?” Michael says. This time, his voice cracks. “Are you listening?”

“Yeah,” you say. Your heart is pounding again. Your mind is racing and you have no idea what’s going on, but you force yourself to focus on what Michael says.

“Where are you?” you ask.

“I don’t know how I got here, but… there’s gasoline everywhere. I can smell it. I can’t move. I woke up with my phone and there’s a note that said I had to call you and say you had to make a choice.”

“A choice?” Your mouth goes dry. “What kind of a choice?”

“There’s a candle burning and if it burns too low I think…” His voice trails off and once again, you hear heavy footsteps on the other line. “What are you doing?” Michael says. His calm demeanor has vanished and you can hear the panic in his voice. “Who are you? What are you—“

The phone goes dead. Out of the corner of your eye, through the large window in the dining room, you see a bright orange glow.

The garage is on fire.

If you run to the garage, go to Red House BooksIf you run downstairs into the basement, go to The Book Cellar.

Make sure you visit Lisa M. Potts tomorrow and enter to win the prize pack for story 2!

And visit Frenzy of Noise or Wicked Awesome Books. on October 31st to enter the GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY for a ton of books and a ton of swag!!

Fill out the form by clicking on the image above or clicking here to be entered to win an ARC of Shifting by Bethany Wiggins and an ARC of Between by Jessica Warman.

Waiting on Wednesday (72) - Insurgent

Veronica Roth
Publisher: HarperCollins
To be released: May 28, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads):

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. 

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. 

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

I like need this book. Now. I LOVED LOVED LOVED Divergent and I cannot wait for it’s sequel. I’m super excited. Divergent was one of my favorite books this year and I cannot wait to see where Veronica Roth takes the characters next. A lot of stuff went down in the first book and I cannot wait to see the repercussions and how they are dealt with plays out in the second book. I also love how this cover matchs the first one, I actually like it more than the first one's cover.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fateful by Claudia Gray

Claudia Gray
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Series or Standalone:  Standalone
ISBN: 9780062006202
Format: ARC
Pages: 328

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Walk into a bookstore and you will see a large portion of the young adult section devoted to paranormal romance. Having a werewolf or a vampire in your book makes it part of the popular trend in young adult literature. Frankly, I have become quite sick of the number of novels revolving around supernatural creatures; every other book seems to deal with some paranormal creature and the books are starting to feel like washed-up versions of the same story.

In a crowd of paranormal romances, Fateful by Claudia Gray stands out from the crowd. Fateful is an atypical werewolf story; instead of having to deal with school or feuds with vampires like in most young adult werewolf novels, the characters in Fateful have to deal with the sinking of the Titanic. That’s right; Fateful is the story of werewolves…on the Titanic. Gray mixes paranormal romance with historical fiction to create a refreshing werewolf tale.

Gray is familiar with the genre of young adult paranormal fiction. Gray has written the Evernight series, a series that centers on the star-crossed love of a vampire and vampire hunter at a high school boarding school, and has a firm grasp on writing paranormal romance for teens. I really enjoy the difference in Fateful from her previous novels; Fateful is fresh and exciting, while at times the Evernight series was slow and even a little dull. I actually never finished reading the Evernight series because I lost interest; the series started to feel like every star-crossed paranormal romance. In Fateful, Gray tries something different from her previous series that kept me captivated: blending historical and paranormal elements to create a new subgenre of paranormal romance. Very few young adult novels are historical novels, and even fewer historical novels have paranormal elements. Fateful blends the two genres together and plays off certain elements from both paranormal and historical fiction, twisting the reader’s expectations from both genres.

The setting is of the best things about this book. The setting of Fateful instantly separates the book from other paranormal novels. Everyone knows the story of the Titanic, the unsinkable ship that -- spoiler alert -- hits an iceberg and sinks on its maiden voyage. As an avid fan of anything Titanic related, I was curious to see how werewolves would be incorporated into this famous story. Before reading the book, I wondered if setting the book on the Titanic was more gimmicky than essential to the story; the pitch for a book with were werewolves on the Titanic will definitely make people pause. However, if Fateful were set anywhere else, the book would lose most of its appeal and just would be another werewolf story. Having the story take place on the Titanic adds a whole other level to the book; the setting heightens the tragedy and the obstacles the characters have to face. The readers know what is going to happen to the ship, but the characters do not. Not only does Tess, the main character, have to try to survive the dangers of being attacked by werewolves, she must survive a disaster. As the reader, knowing the story of the Titanic made every action in the plot feel more urgent because we know there are only a couple of days left until the ship sinks, but the characters do not. The happy moments become so much more tragic with the knowledge that the happiness cannot last. Tess and Alec can try to overcome the obstacle of Alec being a werewolf, but the readers do not know if they can survive an event that resulted in the death of over a thousand people. I was both excited for the sinking of the ship, but dreading it at the same time. I wanted to see how Gray incorporated the sinking into the story, but knew that the sinking could only result in tragedy for the characters.

Gray establishes the world Tess lives in beautifully through the writing. The writing, thankfully, is more formal than the writing of a contemporary novel, reflective of the time-period, which helps to establish the setting. Compared to her writing in Evernight, which at times felt clunky and awkward, Gray’s writing in Fateful is fluid and vivid. Gray’s descriptions of the Titanic capture the grandeur and beauty of the ship, making the reader feel like they are with Tess on this famous ship. The story is told from the first person perspective of Tess; a servant to a wealthy British family who is journeying to America on the great ship Titanic. Tess has been raised to feel inferior to her employers and accept whatever they have to say. Gray demonstrates knowledge of the workings and treatments of servants during the time-period through Tess’s commentaries and descriptions of her life. The contrast between Tess’s life and that of Irene Lisle, the daughter of the family Tess works for, is firmly established. Irene has to be paraded around like a prize in first class, while in third class, Tess works and has little free time. Social status proves to be an obstacle for most of the characters in Fateful; not only is class an obstacle in the main storyline involving Tess and Alec, but it provides interesting conflicts for the secondary storylines. I was fascinated by the class differences and thought it added an interesting element to the story.

I was swept away by the plot of this book. Even though the majority of the events take places over six days, the plot did not feel rushed. When dealing with such a short time span, other young adult novels’ plots seem to be rushed and characters tend to be left underdeveloped, but Gray had no issues with the short time span. Instead, Gray immediately dives into the story, wasting no time introducing us to main players of the novel in the first chapter. From there, the plot slowly builds and gains momentum until the very end of the novel. The reader follows Tess’s life and unravels the secrets surrounding her as she does. Gray has a perfect balance between the romance and the action; there is not too much of either. The twists and turns in the plot were perfectly executed, leaving me surprised and not confused with each twist. Fateful is an emotional rollercoaster as well: sometimes, I would be ecstatic, other times I would be on the brink of tears and at the end I was a bundle of emotions. The plot is addicting, so much so that I was wishing that the Titanic did not have to sink so I could keep reading. Sadly, no matter how much I wished Gray could alter the course of history, the ship did have to sink, but the story did not end there. I was grateful that Gray continued Tess’s story after the Titanic sunk to wrap up loose story lines caused by the sinking that interrupted the main plot. The ending is thoroughly satisfying and wraps up all the lose ends perfectly; I could not have wished for a better ending.   

Tess is a strong heroine, particularly in a time when women were viewed as weak things that needed protection. Constantly, Tess is being thrown in danger and having her life threatened, but she does not waiver from trying to protect those she loves and cares about. Tess is no weak damsel in distress stress that is all too common in young adult novels; Tess can take care of herself. I admired Tess’s strength and motivation. With a lot more courage then most, Tess is determined to leave her employment and try to start a new life when the Titanic ports even if she has no way to support herself. As a 17-year-old girl in 1912, that takes guts. Many obstacles threaten Tess’s goal, but still she holds onto to dream of starting fresh in America.

Tess’s compassion and kindness is admirable. Tess is willing to risk her life to protect those she holds dear to her heart. This brings us to Alec. Alec is the son of an American millionaire steel tycoon who is troubled by his past and the fact that he is a werewolf. While reading, I could not help but think Tess and Alec’s relationship was comparable to Rose and Jack’s relationship from James Cameron’s Titanic, well, except for the fact that in Fateful the classes of the characters were reversed and one of them is a werewolf, but otherwise, Tess and Alec’s relationship is on par with Rose and Jack’s. Tess and Alec’s relationship is intense yet sweet, exactly what I hoped it would be. Unlike so many paranormal romances, Tess and Alec’s romance does not revolve around the fact that Alec is a werewolf; instead, their relationship has substance and is not defined by Alec being a werewolf. If anything, Alec being a werewolf is one of the least important aspects of their relationship. Their relationship did not suffer from “instant-love” either; there was no “BAM! They’re in love.” Even though they have only known each other a short time, Gray took time to establish their relationship so that over the course of a few days Alec and Tess’s genuinely come to care for each other.

One of the best characters in Fateful has to be Mikhail. Gray creates a purely evil villain. He just exudes evil and is meant to be hated. Mikhail, the main antagonist in the book, is part of a secret society of werewolves after Alec and something in the possession of Tess’s employers. Mikhail does not care if he hurts anyone to get what he wants; in fact, he is willing to try to kill Tess for satisfaction it would bring him. Killing and violence is pure fun for Mikhail. He brings on the shudders for creepiness and evilness. Mikhail would always be popping up at times when you would least expect it and causing trouble. He is pure evil and is constantly scheming; he should be the archetype of villains for all other books of this genre.

Fateful combines a familiar genre with a familiar event to make a refreshing new story. At no point did Fateful feel like a wash-up or recycled version of some other werewolf story. I am head over heels in love with this story. I am not the biggest fan of werewolves, yet I still love Fateful. Fateful is unlike any other young adult paranormal romance I have read. Personally, I would love if more authors took a page out of Gray’s book and would set their books in the past to give a story more life. In addition, not every book needs to be a series and Fateful is a prime example of a paranormal novel that functions best as a standalone, a rarity in young adult paranormal fiction. As paranormal romance, Fateful brings new life to a genre that has become bland and has the ability to stand apart from its peers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (71) - Second Chance Summer

Second Chance Summer
Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
To be released: May 8, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads):
Taylor's family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then Taylor's dad gets devastating news that changes everything. Her parents decide that the family will spend the summer together at their old vacation home in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former summer best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend. . . and he's much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they’ve ever been before. But all of them are very aware that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance – with family, with friends, and with love.

I loved Morgan Matson’s first book Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and I’m very excited to read her second one. I love second chances and this sounds like a really good contemporary novel. 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (70) - The Treachery of Beautiful Things

The Treachery of Beautiful Things
Ruth Frances Long
Publisher: Penguin Group USA, INC
To be released: August 16, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads):

A darkly engaging mix of romance, adventure, fairytale, and folklore, about a teenage girl thrust into a faerie world where nothing is what it seems, no one is who they say, trust is a variable commodity, love can be used against her, and where the veil slowly lifts until she finds herself faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice — and not just her own.

I really like this cover and I love the title. The title alone makes me want to read the book. This book doesn’t come out until next year but I’m already excited for it!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (69) - Dark Companion

Dark Companion
Marta Acosta
Publisher: Tor/Macmillan
To be released: June 2012

Summary (from Goodreads):

When foster teen Jane Williams is invited to attend elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls and escape her violent urban neighborhood, she thinks the offer is too good to be true. She's even offered her own living quarters, the groundskeeper's cottage in the center of the birch grove. 

Something's not quite right about the school -- or is it Jane? She thinks she sees things in the birch grove at night. She's also beginning to suspect that the elegant headmistress and her sons are hiding secrets. Lucky is the gorgeous, golden son who is especially attentive to Jane, and Jack is the sardonic puzzling brother. 

The school with its talented teachers and bright students is a dream for a science and math geek like Jane. She also loves her new friends, including hilarious poetry-spouting rich girl, Mary Violet. But the longer Jane stays at Birch Grove, the more questions she has about the disappearance of another scholarship girl and a missing faculty member. 

Jane discovers one secret about Birch Grove, which only leads to more mysteries. What is she willing to sacrifice in order to stay at this school...and be bound to Birch Grove forever?

This sounds awesome. An elite school, mystery, disappearances, I’m certainly intrigued. Can’t wait to read this one!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blog Tour: Character interview: Tiki from The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

Welcome to today's stop in the Faerie Ring blog tour hosted by the lovely Mundie Moms. I'm super excited to share with you guys an interview with Tiki, the main character of The Faerie Ring! Kiki's debut novel is in store NOW and I highly recommend you go pick up a copy. To find out more about the blog tour you can go here.

And don't forget to go to tomorrow's stop at Girls in the Stacks with a guest post from Kiki. To find out about all the stops on the tour go HERE.

Hi Tiki thanks for being here today. How would describe yourself in five words or less? 

Hallo Dani, thanks for inviting me over. I guess I would say this: sixteen, orphaned, caring, some say clever and perhaps a bit sneaky at times.

Tell us two truths and a lie.
Do I have to tell you which is which? Since you didn’t say so, I think not. Let’s see if you can figure it out.
1. My parents died two years ago and I was sent to live with my aunt and uncle.
2. My mum would tease me as a little girl and tell me I’d been marked by faeries.
3. Rieker taught me how to pick a pocket.

I know you are an avid reader. If you could live in any book, what book would it be? 
There’s a book called Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen, a writer from Bath, that is quite enchanting. Mr. Darcy seems the prig, but in the end is rather charming.

What is one of your favorite childhood memories? 
I used to love when my father would read faerie stories to me. We’d sit before the fire and he’d read out loud. My mother would do her fancy work in a nearby chair and my cocker spaniel, Scotty, and I would sit on the floor and listen. I loved that time.

What is your favorite place in London to escape from the chaos of daily life?
St. James Park is about 15 minutes from Charing Cross. And then beyond that there is the Queen’s Park and Hyde Park. I love all those parks – the trees and the water – it’s like visiting another world.

What is your biggest fear? 
That I’ll be caught and thrown into the workhouse and separated from the others. That I wouldn’t be there to help care for the little ones.

About the book:

The Faerie Ring
Kiki Hamilton
Publisher: Tor Teen
Released: September 27, 2011

Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…


Waiting on Wednesday (68) - Reunited

Hilary Weisman Graham
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
To be released: June 12, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads):

1 Concert 
2,000 Miles 
3 Ex-Best Friends 

Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends. 

Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3. 

But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books. 

Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show. 

Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse. And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town. Good thing Alice’s graduation gift (a pea-green 1976 VW camper van know as the Pea Pod) is just the vehicle to get them there. 

But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over?

I first heard about this when I met the author at Book Blogger Con and it peaked my interested. I mean road-trip, ex-best friends, a rock band and VW van, how could I not be interested. Also, the author went to BU which makes me want to read it even more to support BU alum. (GO TERRIERS!) Definitely cannot wait to read this one!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.