Featuring book reviews primarily in the sci-fi/fantasy, YA, and contemporary fiction genres.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 08/29/12

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

  Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Expected publication: February 5th 2013 by Feiwel and Friends

Blurb from Goodreads: Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: The Blood Keeper

  The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Blurb from Goodreads: Paranormal romance fans who are looking to up the ante will be drawn to this tale of horror, fantasy, and romance. For Mab Prowd, the practice of blood magic is as natural as breathing. It's all she's ever known. Growing up on an isolated farm in Kansas with other practitioners may have kept her from making friends her own age, but it has also given her a sense of purpose—she's connected to the land and protective of the magic. And she is able to practice it proudly and happily out in the open with only the crows as her companions. Mab will do anything to keep the ancient practice alive and guard its secrets. But one morning while she is working out a particularly tricky spell she encounters Will, a local boy who is trying to exorcise some mundane personal demons. He experiences Mab's magic in a way his mind cannot comprehend and is all too happy to end their chance meeting. But secrets that were kept from Mab by the earlier generations of blood magicians have come home to roost. And she and Will are drawn back together, time again by this dangerous force looking to break free from the earth and reclaim its own dark power.

I was pretty surprised to see that this book focused on new characters, but I ended up enjoying this one even more than Blood Magic. I liked Will much better than Nick, from the last book, and liked Mab as much as Silla. She is such a unique, brave character, and I loved reading about her and her connection to magic.

 I think my favorite thing about this book is that Tessa Gratton doesn't take the easy way out at the end of the book. It makes the story so much more real when sacrifices have to be made. I can't stand books that have endings where every single thing works out perfectly, or solved with a deus ex machina, or the conflict is resolved with "Oh, never mind then." (cough TWILIGHT cough.) 

The one thing I thought could have been better is a little more recap on blood magic. Like "binding" for instance. That came up a lot, and I was like "Ok, now why are they doing this? What is it accomplishing exactly?" And I don't think it was because I read the first book too long ago, because I just read it last week haha. But I think because Mab was so accomplished at using magic, the author glossed over some of the more basic things about it, unlike the last book where we were learning about it along with Silla.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stacking the Shelves 08/26/12

Hosted by Tynga's Reviews


Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton - (from Random Buzzers)
Sort of bought this? I used my points from doing activities on Random Buzzers. Love that website! And yes, I got this in the mail on Thursday and have already read it haha.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth - (from Amazon)
Yep, finally got around to buying this one!

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - (from Amazon)
This book, guys. I don't even know. It is SO GOOD! My absolute favorite thing I have read in the last year. I'm probably going to have to re-read this one soon.

That's it for this week! School started on Monday and I guess being a senior in college means you don't get syllabus week anymore, because I had actual homework to do this week. And still have to do more today... sigh.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 08/22/12

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

Every Day by David Levithan
Expected Publication: August 28th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Blurb from Goodreads: Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Stacking the Shelves 08/19/12

Hosted by Tynga's Reviews


Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
I was sooo excited to get this from Tea for Three: Book Review!! I can't wait to read this one.

The Blood Keeper (ARC) by Tessa Gratton
Won this from Random Buzzers! If you like YA and haven't joined this website yet, you should definitely check it out. It's totally worth it.

I somehow restrained myself from buying any books this week! Haha. Classes and my campus job start up tomorrow (boooooooo!) so I am back to being a poor college student. Ah well, at least I will have a degree in May!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Review: Downburst

  Downburst by Katie Robison

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Blurb from Goodreads: Kit’s only goal is to stay alive. Right now, that means dodging brutal gangs while peddling fake I.D.s on the back streets of Winnipeg. But things get complicated when Kit sells a license to a girl named Aura—a girl who could almost be her twin. Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, Kit is plunged into an underground society with heart-stopping surprises at every turn. To protect herself, she’s forced to assume Aura’s identity. But storm clouds are gathering on the horizon, and when Kit learns the truth about Aura, she knows she has to get out before the storm breaks. There’s only one problem: escape isn’t an option.

Suddenly, staying alive just got a lot harder.

I read this book in one sitting. It was seriously that good. I doubt I could have put this down if I tried; it caught my attention from the first few pages and the storyline stayed intense until the very end. This book was completely action-packed and full of suspense. 

I love a strong, brave female lead, and Kit definitely delivered. She and the other main characters are very relate-able, despite the magical context. The world built in this book feels fresh and original, and one of my favorite things about it is the Native American mythology entwined throughout.

I will definitely be reading the second book when it comes out, but for now I highly recommend checking out Downburst. A fantastic debut. It's only $2.99 on Kindle right now, too!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Last Days of Freedom Giveaway Hop

This giveaway hop is hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer, and The Elliot Review.

This is my first giveaway, guys! I'm so excited!

Here is what I have up for grabs: Paperback copies of the first two books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

I don't really need to explain what these are, right? Unless you've been living under a rock, I'm sure you know all about George RR Martin's epic fantasy series. Anyway, I'm giving these books away because... I couldn't make it through A Game of Thrones. I got about 600 pages in, which seems like a pretty fair chance to me. Apparently I'm missing something, as the rest of the world loves these books. So even though I don't want these, I'm sure someone else will! =) Enter via the Rafflecopter below!

1) US entries only please
2) Must be 13 or older to enter
3) Must respond to email within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Be sure to check out the other blogs in this hop!

Review: Ready Player One

  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Blurb from Goodreads: It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved--that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt--among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life--and love--in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

I think I should probably preface this by declaring: I AM A HUGE NERD. As in... I did marching band for 8 years in a row in high school and college, my D&D character is a dwarf barbarian, and I have a huge fangirl crush on Wil Wheaton. So I am going to surmise that this is one of the reasons I loved this book so much. 

Another reason is my love of 80's music and movies. Any book that references Ferris Bueller (FAVORITE MOVIE EVER) three times by page 65 is probably going to be a winner for me. While I know little to nothing about the classic video games of this era, missing out on a lot of those references did nothing to diminish my experience of reading this book, so don't let that stop you from trying it. 

Cline did a great job with the treasure-hunting aspect of the story, keeping the tension at a high enough level that I HAD to stay up last night to finish. I especially enjoyed the sections when Cline explored the culture of this world he created: a society based around an MMO game. People in this book pretty much abandoned their real lives in favor of a virtual one, and although this trope has been used in dystopian/sci-fi novels before, it still made for an interesting, fun read.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Stacking the Shelves 08/12/12

Hosted by Tynga's Reviews


Withering Tights by Louise Rennison - (from Overflowing Bookshelf)
Alright, so Danielle over at Overflowing Bookshelf is giving away a bunch of extra books that she has, and all I had to do was pay for the shipping! So I kinda bought these, but kinda not... haha. Check out her list and see if you spot anything good! I was so sad that the Georgia Nicholson books ended, but this new series is just as hilarious.

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher - (from Overflowing Bookshelf)
Same as above! I haven't read this one yet, so I'm super excited to check it out!

Angelfall by Susan Ee - (from Amazon on Kindle)
I was REALLY trying to hold out on buying this until it came out in paperback, but obviously that didn't work out. I have heard nothing but fabulous things about this book, and the Kindle version is only $2.99.


Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft by Jody Gehrman (on Kindle)
Won an ecopy of this book from Book Haven!

Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski

So that's it for this week! I have really been slacking on reviews lately, since I have been pretty busy finishing up my summer job/getting ready to move back to my apartment at college (tomorrow! eek need to finish packing!)/spending my last bit of time with the fam. But I have a whole week off from work and school this week, so plenty of time for reading. Super exciting!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

NPR's Top 100 YA Books

Recently, NPR held a poll to determine the top 100 books for young adults. There were 235 finalists to vote on, and I can't exactly remember all 10 I voted for (it was so hard to pick only 10!) but I did end up choosing more of the classics, such as The Catcher in the Rye, A Separate Peace, and The Hobbit. I was surprised at some of the books that didn't make the finalists, such as A Wrinkle in Time.

Anyway, here's the final list they came up with. I crossed off all the ones that I have already read, so now I have a go-to list when I need something good to read! Are there any books you were surprised to see on here? Any you think should have made the top 100?

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. The Hunger Games (series), by Suzanne Collins
3. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
4. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
5. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
6. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
7. The Lord of the Rings (series), by J.R.R. Tolkien
8. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
9. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
10. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
11. The Giver (series), by Lois Lowry (hmmmm I've only read the first one I think)
12. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (series), by Douglas Adams
13. The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
14. Anne of Green Gables (series), by Lucy Maud Montgomery
15. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
16. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
17. The Princess Bride, by William Golding
18. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
19. Divergent (series), by Veronica Roth
20. Paper Towns, by John Green
21. The Mortal Instruments (series), by Cassandra Clare
22. An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green
23. Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
24. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
25. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
26. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
27. Twilight (series), by Stephenie Meyer
28. Uglies (series), by Scott Westerfeld
29. The Infernal Devices (series), by Cassandra Clare
30. Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt
31. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
32. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (series), by Anne Brashares
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
34. Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green, David Levithan
35. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
36. Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones
37. Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli
38. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
39. Vampire Academy (series), by Richelle Mead
40. Abhorsen Trilogy / Old Kingdom Trilogy (series), by Garth Nix
41. Dune, by Frank Herbert
42. Discworld / Tiffany Aching (series, by Terry Pratchett
43. My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
44. The Dark is Rising (series), by Susan Cooper
45. Graceling (series), Kristin Cashore
46. Forever..., by Judy Blume
47. Earthsea (series), by Ursula K. Le Guin
48. Inheritance Cycle (series), by Christopher Paolini
49. The Princess Diaries (series), by Meg Cabot
50. The Song of the Lioness (series), by Tamora Pierce
51. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
52. Delirium (series), by Lauren Oliver
53. Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins
54. Hush, Hush Saga (series), by Stephanie Perkins
55. 13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson
56. It's Kind of a Funny Story, by Ned Vizzini
57. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy (series), by Libba Bray
58. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
59. The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
60. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
61. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
62. Just Listen, by Sarah Dessen
63. A Ring of Endless Light, by Madeleine L'Engle
64. The Truth About Forever, by Sarah Dessen
65. The Bartimaeus Trilogy (series), by Jonathan Stroud
66. Bloodlines (series), by Richelle Mead
67. Fallen (series), by Lauren Kate
68. House of Night (series), by P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast
69. I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
70. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlsit, by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
71. Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver
72. Unwind, by Neal Shusterman
73. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
74. The Maze Runner Trilogy (series), by James Dashner
75. If I Stay, by Gayle Forman
76. The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley
77. Crank (series), by Ellen Hopkins
78. Matched (series), by Allie Condie (again, only read the first one in this series so far) 
79. Gallagher Girls (series), by Ally Carter
80. The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale
81. Daughter of the Lioness / Tricksters (series), by Tamora Pierce
82. I Am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak
83. The Immortals (series), by Tamora Pierce
84. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (series), by Patricia C. Wrede
85. Chaos Walking (series), by Patrick Ness
86. Circle of Magic (series), by Tamora Pierce
87. Daughter of Smoke & Bone, by Laini Taylor
88. Feed, by M.T. Anderson
89. Weetzie Bat (series), by Francesca Lia Block
90. Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen
91. Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (series), by Louise Rennison
92. Leviathan (series), by Scott Westerfeld
93. The House of the Scorpion, by Scott Westerfeld
94. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci (series), by Diana Wynne Jones
95. The Lullaby, by Sarah Dessen
96. Gone (series), by Michael Grant
97. The Shiver Trilogy (series), by Maggie Stiefvater
98. The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley
99. Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson
100. Betsy-Tacy Books (series), by Maud Hart Lovelace

Whew, looks like I have a lot to choose from! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 08/08/12

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

 The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Expected Publication: January 22nd 2013 by Hyperion

Blurb from Goodreads: Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous—it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Stacking the Shelves 08/05/12

Hosted by Tynga's Reviews


Divergent by Veronica Roth - (from Amazon)
How did I not have this one already?? Honestly.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez - (from Amazon)
This is such a beautifully written book, I can't wait to reread it! One of those books I've been meaning to buy for years. 

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake - (from Amazon on Kindle)
I've been seeing this one everywhere, and at $2.99 how could I say no? Unfortunately it looks like that was a short sale, as the Kindle price is back up to $9.99 already.

Hourglass by Myra Mcentire - (from Amazon on Kindle)
I got this one because I keep seeing great reviews about it, too. Still going on Amazon for $1.39!!


Downburst by Katie Robison (on Kindle)
Won this from Amanda's Writings! I'm so excited to read this one... it sounds really great!

And yeah.... forgot to take a picture of the two non-digital books before I shipped them off with the boyfriend to take back to our apartment at school. Oh well.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 08/01/12

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Expected publication: November 6th 2012 by Little, Brown & Company

Blurb from Goodreads:  In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed "Daughter of Smoke and Bone," Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was declared a "must read" by Entertainment Weekly, was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com, and The New York Times called it "a breath-catching romantic fantasy."