Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: Level 2

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Release: Januar 15, 2012 
Source: ARC provided by publisher*

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

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

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

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

Level 2 was undoubtedly unique. The idea for purgatory is simple enough, but Appelhans manages to make it extremely unique. In this world, in Level 2, people are placed in memory chambers where they relive memories from their past life--mostly the good and rarely the bad. These good memories can also be traded and used as currency to relive other people's memories. I definitely found the premise intriguing.

At the center of the story, though, is Felicia. She died just before her 18th birthday, and now she's reliving memories and mourning the loss of those she loves. Specifically, she mourns the loss of Neil, her boyfriend. This kind of situation could lead to excessive angst, moaning, and a "woe is me" mentality, but Felica is a strong and compelling character. When strange things start happening in Level 2, when a boy from her past appears and tells her there is a rebellion, she is quick to step into action (although hesitant to trust the boy). The boy, Julian, says he knows where Neil is and if she helps him, he can reunite the two lovers.

What follows is a story full of twists, turns, and flashbacks.

There are times when flashbacks become too much, to the point where it becomes the main story, but this never happens in Level 2. Every flashback, every memory, serves to paint a picture of Felicia and her relationship with Neil. It also depicts the toxic and complicated affair she once had with Julian. Both boys represent two points in Felicia's life, and serve as a foundation for her character arc.

And now, the big question: team Neil or Julian? Despite the things he did, and being overall un-trustworty, I think Julian is a more well-rounded and interesting character. Neil never stood out and he never caught my interest (which made it hard to understand why Felicia kept obsessing over him). I'm hoping to see more development with Neil in the future. So for fun, I'd stick with Julian. For being sweet and dependable, though, Neil is your guy.

Overall, Level 2 was a quick, face paced read, but it never seemed too short. Given the length, this is definitely a plus. And with that twisty, cliff-hangery (yet satisfying) end, I am dying to read more!


*receiving ARC from publisher, in no way, affects my opinion of the book*

Friday, December 14, 2012

Review: Iron King

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Release: February 1, 2010
Source: Purchased 

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Let me preface this by saying Eileen of Singing and Reading the Rain convinced me to read this book. Her enthusiasm, and the overwhelming positive reviews, convinced me that I needed to read this series. ASAP.

With that said, the Iron King was an interesting read. It's full of action, twists, and turns! Meagan Chase has an ordinary life, although she's always felt different. Then her brother begins to act strange, and suddenly, she is thrust into a whole new world of Fey. The brother she knows has been taken and replaced by a changeling. She will stop at nothing to rescue him.

The things I love about the Iron Fey include the world, the action, and pace. So much goes on in this book! Never once did I lose interest, as I kept turning the pages to find out the truth behind her brother's disappearance. Were some of the twists cliched? Yes. But that's part of the fun in reading this book.

Now, I admire Meagan's devotion and dedication, but I found her character uninspired. Typical. Thankfully, there are other characters who make Meagan's journey a riot. Puck is hilarious and dependent and Ash is...aloof and intriguing. From reviews, I know there is a love triangle between the two guys. But honestly? I don't feel like I know either of them well enough to choose. Thankfully, this story doesn't focus on the romance, so okay with letting the romance slowly develop over four books. And my favorite character? It has to be Grimalkin, the ingenious cat. Oh, how I love him! 

Needless to say, I will be back for more. Thanks, Eileen, for introducing me to this series! 


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WoW: Dare You To

Dare You To by Katie McGarry
Release: May 28, 2013

"I dare you..." 

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....

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So the cover was revealed 2/3 weeks ago, I think? And It's STEAMY! And I love the use of text. After reading Pushing the Limits, I've been dying to read Katie's next book. I'm hoping it's just as heart-wrenching and steamy as her debut. What are you all waiting on this week? 
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. Book bloggers present upcoming books they can’t wait to read and share their enthusiasm about new releases.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Review: If I Lie

If I Lie by Corrine Jackson 
Release: August 28, 2012
Source: Purchased 

A powerful debut novel about the gray space between truth and perception.

Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.

Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise

I bought If I Lie on a whim. The cover was eye catching, and the reviews raved about this book.

Now, I see what the hype is all about.

Quinn kissed a boy who isn't her boyfriend, days before he was set to be deployed. In a very military-centric town, this is unthinkable and unforgivable. The problem? Quinn never cheated on her boyfriend, Carey. There are things that happened prior to her being caught that Quinn has promised to keep quiet about. It's not her secret to tell, and she's bound by that promise.

Now Carey is declared MIA and the people in her town are livid. They blame everything on Quinn.

This book was phenomenally written. I remember being so moved by the writing and Quinn's struggle, that it brought me to tears. If that isn't a sign of how emotionally invested I was in this book, I don't know what else could convince you.

Yes, I guessed the secret within the first 40/50 pages, but I still found the reveal satisfying enough. I found myself hating Carey, hating the people at Quinn's school, and even hating Quinn for keeping the secret. And yet, keeping that secret was what made me admire Quinn as a character. She's so strong, the silent and brave type. I don't think I would have been able to remain sane if I had been placed in the same situation.

But not everyone is vindictive towards Quinn. In particular, there is a older gentleman. I loved George because he was honest, senile, but also because he refused to believe all the rumors. He helped to provide a safe haven from school, and for some time, he helped her forget Carey and the drama he started by having Quinn keep his secret.

I also appreciate that the ending managed to tie up all the loose ends, while still managing to remain open-ended. It's not a happy ending, but it's definitely a satisfying one. And again, the writing was phenomenal. Corrine Jackson is a author to look out for in the years to come.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

WoW: Just One Day

Just One Day by Gayle Forman 
Release: January 8, 2012

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.
I've heard nothing but good things about Gayle Forman's work. Why can't I just read faster? I honestly think, though, that this book appeals to me more than If I Stay did. And luckily, the book releases in a month, so it's not too long of a wait! I am hoping it will be heart-wrenching and thought-provoking as others have made it out to be. What are you waiting on?

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. Book bloggers present upcoming books they can’t wait to read and share their enthusiasm about new releases.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: The Darkest Minds

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Release: December 18, 2012
Source: ARC (via trade)

When Ruby wakes up on her tenth birthday, something about her has changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. 

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. 

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her--East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. 

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

The Darkest Minds was one of my most anticipated books of the year. So when I received an ARC via trade, I was ecstatic. I began to devour its pages.

The Darkest Minds is about a society in which, upon reaching a certain age, kids acquire superpowers. Dangerous powers. No one knows why or how, only that these kids are dangerous. To keep everyone else safe, these kids are locked up in camps meant to keep them in submission.

There are different levels of powers, described by color: blue, yellow, green, and (the most dangerous) orange. Ruby is one of the dangerous ones, with a power that is never fully explained until halfway through the book. While I appreciate the fact that Bracken wanted to show and not tell, withholding this  information frustrated me.

As Ruby becomes imprisoned, and as Ruby escapes and travels in search of a safe haven, pieces of Ruby's past and pieces of her society are revealed in a similar "show and not tell" process. At times, I found it brilliant and immersive. Other times, it was confusing.

I found Ruby a great character. She's broken and full of self-loathing, but there is a glimmer of strength that shines through as the story progresses. Her character development is great. I would also like to express my love for Chubs, Zuzu, and Liam. They, like Ruby, are in search of East River--a safe haven for kids like them. Chubs manages to add humor to a story that is, in reality, very dark. He's such a lovable character! Zuzu is the youngest, and while she never speaks a word, she never fails to leave an impression on my reader heart. Then there is Liam, the love interest--determined, dependable, and a natural-born leader. While I think aspects of the romance could have been improved, I was ultimately satisfied with the slow-building relationship that Liam and Ruby have, based on mutual trust and respect.

And that ending? It shattered me. I was near tears when I turned the last page. If there was any doubt if I'd be reading the sequel, that ending sealed the deal.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (22)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

So sorry for the delay! Meant to post this yesterday, but I had technical difficulties. Yeah.

ANYWAY! It's been a little over a month, and here are all the goodies I've received since then:

Prophecy by Ellen Oh (ARC; Won)

Out of the Easy (ARC; For review from author)
Venom by Fiona Paul (Preordered)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Purchased)

Doomed by Tracy Deebs (eARC; For Review)
Dance of Shadows by (eARC; For Review)
Hooked by Liz Fichera (eARC; For Review)
Greta and the Goblin King by Chloe Jacobs (eARC; For Review): Tour post/Review
Renegade by J.A. Sounders (eARC; For Review)

Pivot Point by Kasie West (eARC; For Review)
Taken by Erin Bowman (eARC; For Review)

The Survivors by Amanda Havard (ebook; Purchased/Free)

That's it! I hope everyone has been doing well. I apologize for being a horrible blogger. School and work have consumed my life as of late. Hopefully, I'll be able to find the right balance.

Leave a comment below, with a link, so I can see all your goodies as well. ;)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Day Scorpio: 13th Sign Preorder Contest

Welcome to DAY SCORPIO of 13 Days of THE 13TH SIGN Preorder Contest! SCORPIO is traditionally considered to be the eighth sign of the zodiac. SCORPIO characteristics include: intense, successful, kind, sarcastic, brooding, and loving. (Want to learn more about your 12-sign horoscope, your 13-sign horoscope, and which horoscope sign you ACT like? Take THE 13TH SIGN quiz!)

I (Citrus Reads) am happy to host Day Eight of this contest!

So. What is this contest all about?
If you preorder a copy of THE 13TH SIGN by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, you will be entered into a contest! Where you can WIN THINGS! And there are new prizes every day!

And. EVERY preorder will be *matched* by a $1.00 donation to RIF, a literacy program committed to placing books in the hands of kids who need them most.

About the book:
What if there was a 13th zodiac sign? 

You’re no longer Sagittarius, but Ophiuchus, the healer, the 13th sign. 

Your personality has changed. So has your mom’s and your best friend’s. 

What about the rest of the world? 

What if you were the one who accidentally unlocked the 13th sign, causing this world-altering change, and infuriating the other 12 signs?  

Jalen did it, and now she must use every ounce of her strength and cunning to send the signs back where they belong. Lives, including her own, depend upon it.

What can I win TODAY?
If you preorder THE 13TH SIGN today, Friday, November 30th, you could win:
-key charm
-Signed copy of THE DARK UNWINDING by Sharon Cameron
-signed 13th Sign swag
-signed paperback of AUTUMN WINIFRED OLIVER DOES THINGS DIFFERENT by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb
-a 13th SIGN tshirt

How do I enter?
Preorder THE 13TH SIGN! You can preorder it through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, or through your local independent bookstore. Then email your receipt TO KRISTIN at ktubb@comcast.net. You will be entered into that day’s drawing, the grand prize drawing, and your purchase will be *matched* by a $1.00 donation to RIF!

Are there other ways to enter the contest?
Yep!  You can be entered into the daily prize drawings by doing one or more of the following:
-Each preorder of THE 13TH SIGN = 10 entries into grand prize drawing and 10 entries into that day’s drawing
- Each person who blogs about the contest = 10 entries into that day’s drawing
-Each person who changes Twitter or Facebook avatar to cover = 5 entries into that day’s drawing (for each day it is present)
-Each Tweet or Facebook status mention of the book and contest = 2 entries for that day’s drawing (must include hashtag #the13thsign)
-Each RT of book and/or contest = 1 entry for that day’s drawing

BUT. You have to preorder THE 13TH SIGN to enter to win the grand prize and to have your purchase matched with a RIF donation.

ALSO. To make sure you get the correct amount of entries, please let Kristin know if you’ve done any of the above! You can email her at ktubb@comcast.net with everything you’ve done to enter.

What is the grand prize?
A Nexus 7 ereader! BOOM. The grand prize winner will be announced on Kristin’s blog on Friday, December 7.

How long does the preorder contest last?
13 days total! You can visit these other blogs for each day’s prizes:
DAY ARIES: The Book Vortex
DAY TAURUS:  The Housework Can Wait
DAY GEMINI:  Magnet 4 Books
DAY CANCER:  Abby the Librarian
DAY SCORPIO:  Citrus Reads
DAY SAGITTARIUS: Bloggers [heart] Books
DAY CAPRICORN: - Middle Grade Mafioso
DAY AQUARIUS: Smack Dab in the Middle

Good luck! And don’t forget to take THE 13TH SIGN quiz! J

Friday, November 23, 2012

Review: Renegade

Renegade by J. A. Sounders
Release: November 13, 2012
Source: From Publisher via net-galley

Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.
Renegade is just...wow...

It blew my socks off.

Let me start off by saying this is a very disturbing and bloody book. Evie is the daughter of the people. She's groomed to be a shining beacon in her underwater utopia, free from savage surface dwellers. But things are not what they seem, and her world is far from perfect. Slowly, Evie begins to uncover secrets that make her question everything she's ever been told.

What follows is an action-packed, but thought-provoking story about learning the truth and finding oneself.

The writing was exquisite, and I loved Evie. She's strong, The story was also well-paced. I was glued to my kindle from page one because I needed to find out what was going on! And I love the J.A. Souders managed to keep me guessing! It's not often that that happens. Even the romance, while verging on instalove, was decently done. There's no love triangle and I really think Gavin and Evie complimented each other well.

I really want to say more, but it's a book better read and experienced.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Five Books & Authors I Am Thankful For

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I hope you all are having a good one. To celebrate, I've decided to do a post on Books and Authors I am thankful for.

In no particular order...

Stephanie Perkins
She writes books that make me smile, giggle, and swoon. Her books just make my day that much brighter. So thank you, Stephanie, for making me smile.

Throne of Glass & Sarah J. Maas
I was a fictionpress reader. Sarah's journey has taught me that dreams can come true. Sure, publishing has it's ups and downs, but if it's what you want, it's a dream worth pursuing. So thank you, Sarah, for inspiring me.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This book, believe it or not, really got me into YA. I remember hearing good things about the book, so I picked it up at my local B&N. I started reading, and was hooked. Ten minutes later, I was in the check-out line. I love this series to death, so thank you Suzanne, for introducing me to a wonderful new world of books. 
Ruta Sepetys
Ruta is extremely talented. She writes YA historical, which isn't a popular genre. But believe me when I say that Ruta's books are powerful. She writes about life and death with such an honest voice. No sugar coating. So thank you, Ruta, for touching my soul and writing the truth.
Jane Austen
I remember reading Pride and Prejudice, and struggling with the language. Still, I loved the challenge and I savored each moment. When I came to FINIS, I knew I was a reader for life. Thank you, Jane Austen, for introducing me to timeless classics. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WoW: The Archived

The Archived by Victoria Schwab 
Release: January 22, 2012 

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.
This book looks SO GOOD and unique. I also like that there's little focus on the romance and more focus on the dangers and the world. After all, it's the world I'm curious about. "Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books?". Fascinating! And Victoria is a local Nashville author, so I can't wait for it to release and get my copy signed.

What are you all waiting on this week?

 - - - -
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. Book bloggers present upcoming books they can’t wait to read and share their enthusiasm about new releases.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: Meant to Be

Meant to Be by Laruen Morrill
Release: November, 13, 2012
Source: eARC from publisher

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question. 

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be
"Cute" does not even begin to describe this book!

On a spring break class trip to London, Julia is determined to take in some culture. What she didn't expect was to find love. After all, she already knows who she will end up with: her childhood crush  Mark Bixford. She believes he's the perfect match for her in every way...

Then the straight-laced, straight-A, student is paired with Jason and things get interesting.

Julia's voice just oozes off of these pages. She's honest, direct, and even a little funny! Throughout the whole book, I couldn't stop comparing it to Anna and the French Kiss. Sometimes, comparing two books means the death of one, but this isn't so. Both have so much charm and humor, it's hard not to to love them both.  The whole time I was reading, I  had this ridiculous smile on my face...and I am still smiling just thinking about Julia and her London adventure.

I also really liked Jason. He's not your stereotypical "bad boy" or "class clown". There are many more layers to him than he'd ever like to admit. But they are there and it makes him that much more realistic.

 Was the book predictable? Yes. Did I care? No. Sometimes you just need something lighthearted and fun. This is one of those books and I cannot recommend it enough.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review: Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys
Release: March 22, 2011
Source: Purchased 

Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life—until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father's prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive?

How can I even begin to describe my love for Between Shades of Gray? It's just an ordinary book about an ordinary girl just trying to survive. So why did I love it? What made me turn the pages until I reached the end? Maybe it was the writing. Maybe it was Lina's courage and sense of determination. Maybe I was impacted by the brutality Lina described with her honest and poignant voice.

Like I said, Between Shades of Gray is a book about survival. Lina is looking forward to attending art school, when her world turns upside down. Forced to pack and leave her home in the middle of the night, Lina and her family travel the desolate and chilly landscape as prisoners and victims of Stalin's reign. Yes, this is a book about World War II. Yes, this book is historical.

Groan and moan all you want, but I urge every reader (young and old) to read Between Shades of Gray. Unlike most historicals, Ruta's writing is not bogged down by descriptions and facts. Lina's narrative is honest and choppy, but Ruta still manages to make it beautiful and believable. By the end, my eyes were filled with tears. My heart ached for all those who suffered during World War II--be they Lithuanian, Jews, or military officials coerced into doing unspeakable things.

Bottom line: read this book. I can't recommend it enough.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Review + Playlist: Greta and the Goblin King (Blog Tour)

Greta and the Goblin King by Chloe Jacobs 
Release: November 13, 2012
Source: e-ARC from publisher 

While trying to save her brother from a witch’s fire four years ago, Greta was thrown in herself, falling through a portal to Mylena, a dangerous world where humans are the enemy and every ogre, ghoul, and goblin has a dark side that comes out with the eclipse. 

To survive, Greta has hidden her humanity and taken the job of bounty hunter—and she’s good at what she does. So good, she’s caught the attention of Mylena’s young goblin king, the darkly enticing Isaac, who invades her dreams and undermines her will to escape. 

But Greta’s not the only one looking to get out of Mylena. An ancient evil knows she’s the key to opening the portal, and with the next eclipse mere days away, every bloodthirsty creature in the realm is after her—including Isaac. If Greta fails, she and the lost boys of Mylena will die. If she succeeds, no world will be safe from what follows her back..

Greta and the Goblin King was an interesting read about a bounty hunter just trying to survive. Ever since Greta fell through a fire portal into the world of Mylena, she's been trying to find a way back home. The world of Mylena is imaginative, filled with goblins, witches, curses, and a snow-covered landscape. It's very haunting, fascinating, and atmospheric. 

However, I wanted more. For example, what was Greta's training like? How did she specifically become a bounty hunter? How do Goblins and Humans differ in appearance? I don't think that distinction was ever made clear. 

In addition, the romance was frustrating. I liked Isaac. He was a fascinating character. While forceful, he never actually hurt Greta. He understood his boundaries, and never became obsessive. What I didn't like was the inclusion of a love triangle. It was ill-placed and had no purpose. At least Isaac and Greta's romance made sense, based on their past. I just wish Chloe Jacobs stuck with a straight-forward star crossed romance between Isaac and Greta. The little time spent developing the love triangle could have been used to describe Greta's first few years in Mylena. I would have loved to see Greta's growth in those years as she trained and hunted. 

But I do understand why Jacobs chose not to begin the story with Greta first falling into Myelna. It would have ruined the pace, and it would have taken forever to get to the heart of the story. Still, I want to know more about Greta's prior life and how she made a name for herself in Mylena. 

My favorite aspect of the book was the homage to fairytales (i.e. Peter Pan and Hansel and Gretel). I also think Greta was a strong, competent character, and she carried the story well. 

I enjoyed Greta and the Goblin King but there were a few key issues that kept me from loving it. If you are looking something quick, interesting, and fast-paced with a wintery and atmospheric setting that's filled with mythical creatures, then this might be the book for you. The ending promises more adventure, though, so I'll definitely check the sequel out if/when it releases. 


And, as part of the blog tour, here is my (very short) playlist: 

1. Stay With Me (composed by Clint Massel for The Fountain Soundtrack)

This song is so...atmospheric and perfectly describes the opening scenes of Greta and the Goblin King. 

2.  Morningside by Sara Bareilles 

The strong piano cords and defiant lyrics very much remind me of Greta. It also somewhat represents the sort of relationship Greta and Isaac have.

3. Sway by Vanessa Carleton 

4. Set Fire to the Rain

I sort of think this also represents the relationship between Greta and Isaac. At this point, Greta is more broken, less sure of herself, and confused. But there's no denying her love.  

5. Moombassa (composed by Hans Zimmer for Inception Soundtrack)

This instrumental song fits the mood of the end of the book perfectly. There's a lot of secretes revealed. lots of fighting. The stakes are high, and this song depicts the fact-paced movement so perfectly. 

And lastly (but not least ) a GIVEAWAY

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Renegade Blog Tour

So guys, I was SUPPOSED to have a character interview, along with a review, for the blog tour but there were issues. I never got a copy to review, so here I am. Just promoting Renegade in any way I can.

Anyway, thanks for letting me be a part of this tour! I look forward to reading Renegade when I get the chance. It looks FANTASTIC.

Some information about the book::::

Renegade by J. A. Sounders
Release: November 13, 2012 

Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.

Some information about the author PLUS links::::

J.A. Souders lives in Florida with her husband and their two children and is an active member of RWA, DFRW, YARWA, SCBWI, and SFWA. RENEGADE is her first novel.




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