Sunday, April 29, 2012

May Release Giveaway!

Okay, so I have been blogging for a month already, and I thought it would be nice to do a quick giveaway. Starting today, you can enter in to win a book of your choice from the May 2012 releases. It will end on May 4th at 12:01 am. Note, if the book is not yet released, it will be preordered and shipped to to the address you provide. All you have do to enter is fill out the rafflecopter form below.

Listed below are some options, but you don't have to pick any of them. So long as the book is released in May, I will order it for you. Thank you for entering and good luck!



Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Release: May 3, 2011

In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

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So little ol’ me arrived late to the Divergent bandwagon. It wasn’t until two months ago that I cracked open the cover of my brand new Divergent paperback copy. I didn’t know much about it, really. Only that it had a VERY high goodreads score and raving reviews.

I was intrigued.

First off, let me say that the world Veronica Roth created is interesting but not believable. It’s highly unlikely that a society divided into five factions could survive the way they did--isolated from each other. What are these factions? Each represents a “virtue”, so to speak. A virtue that is held in highest regard to it’s faction members. There are five: Abnegation (the selfless), Erudite, (the Intelligent), Dauntless (the brave), Candor (the honest), and Amity (the peaceful).

When people in this dystopian society “come of age” they take a competency test that reveals that individual’s singular value. The results of the test don’t dictate the person’s choice of faction, but there's no denying it's influence during the choosing ceremony.

But at the heart of the Story is Beatrice (aka Tris). She was born into Abnegation, and when tested, discovers that she is of a rare species: she is Divergent. This means she has an affinity for more than one faction. And honestly, I think every person today is divergent. No one virtue really defines us all, but I suppose what matters in the end is what virtue we valued the most. So yeah, like I said, I had issues. However, I was able to get past the believability. And when I did it was QUITE an enjoyable ride.

So what faction does Tris choose? She aligns herself with Dauntless, the brave.

And then the story kicks off with the Tris' initiation into the Dauntless faction.

Tris is a very interesting character. She goes from rigid and conforming to brave and kick-butt and now she's one of my favorite heroines (up there with Katniss Everdeen). I enjoyed her growth and strength as she's forced to fight other initiates, as she learns out to wield a gun and a knife, and as she learns about love and friendship. The initiation is pretty brutal though (so much so that one initiate gets stabbed in the eye!) Yeah.

And it’s a far cry from the manifesto that states: we believe in every day acts of bravery.

Violence is not bravery, but somehow over time, this has become the norm of the Dauntless.

Tris learns all this during her initiation and it all leads to a pretty epic ending. It was brutal, heart-pounding, and edge-of-your seat action. I don’t know WHY I enjoyed this book so much, but it had me turning pages. Even in the quieter moments of the book, I devoured each and every page. Tris intrigued me, and her relationship with Four (which was NOT love at first sight, thank God) was very sweet. To say much more would spoil the book, but their relationship is sweet and born out of interest and compassion. Not lust. 

Whatever gripes I may have about Divergent's world building, I want people who haven’t read the book to understand that Divergent is more of commentary on human morale than a commentary on society as a whole. Many grey areas exist, and even the best of traits can be molded into something bad. Also, I find it interesting that Veronica Roth decided to write this book in response to her own moral struggle. I understand this and this is why I chose to give this book 4 stars instead of 3.

Oh, and that ending also had me salivating for MORE. Veronica Roth is a very talented writer, whose prose is flowing, readable, and engrossing. I have already suggested this book to a few of my friends, and they all loved it. So check it out and see for yourself. See what the hype is all about. And don't forget to check out my review of INSURGENT, come Monday. I was fortunate enough to win an ARC from Claire LeGrand's blog. 

And don't forget...


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WoW: What's Left of Me

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
Release: September 18, 2012

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

What can I say? The cover is probably my favorite cover of 2012. The simple (yet edgy) cover with the elegant font...I AM IN LOVE. And the summary is pretty amazing. I honestly can't wait to dive into this book! I am crossing my fingers, because RIGHT NOW Kat is giving away an ARC (maybe two!) on her blog

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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

Monday, April 23, 2012

Recommendation: A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Release: 9/15/2012

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting— he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd— whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself— Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

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I am well aware that the book I am recommending isn't YA. And if I'm to be completely honest, I don't consider it to be Middle Grade either (although it's often categorized as MG).

A Monster Calls is a poignant tale about a young boy, Conor, who has a reoccurring "dream". A monster, resembling a Yew tree, comes to him at night and tells him three stories--each more ridiculous than the next. But there's a catch. In the end, Conor must come face to face with his own grief and tell the monster his story (a bitter and revealing truth he has thus far refused to admit to himself). Telling you what this truth is, though, would spoil the whole book, so I will say this: READ "A MONSTER CALLS". It is a phenomenal book that had tears gushing down my cheeks by the end.

This book didn't have outstanding characterization or plot. But that's not the point. A Monster Calls depicts the universal experience of struggling between holding on and letting go. It profoundly affected me, and I found myself highlighting my kindle because there were so many meaningful quotes. I'm not kidding. Words can't express how much I ADORE this book. So do yourself a favor and get a copy now (and have some tissues handy). You won't regret it.


STORM Blog Tour

Below is the Schedule for Brigid's Blog Tour for her debut, Storm. Go and read and enter the awesome giveaways!

Monday 23rd April:  Chris/Becca/Hunter Interview - Read Me Love Me Bookmark Me
Tuesday 24th April: This or That with the Boys of Storm - Shiirleyy’s Bookshelf
Wednesday 25th April: Fantasy Casting - saz101
Thursday 26th April: Brigid Q&A: YOU ask the questions! - Eleusinian Mysteries
Friday 27th April: Keeping up with the Merrick Twins + Review Roundup - Badass Bookie
Saturday 28th April: Storm Excerpt - Forget-Me-Not
Sunday 29th April: Video chat - Book Probe
Monday 30 April:  Chris Interview - Reading Wishes
Tuesday 1st May: Guest Post by Brigid: Five Secrets of the Elemental Series - Amaterasu Reads

Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: Welcome, Caller, This is Chole

Welcome Caller, This is Chole by Shelley Corriell
Release: May 1, 2012

Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

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Oh, Chole...

When I got this ARC in the mail, I had a vauge idea of what to expect. A pretty fun, quick, contemporay YA novel. I was right, but Welcome, Caller is so much more than that.

Bascially, the novel's about a girl named Chole. After a fall-out with her two BFFs, she's left alone and confused. She's used to being the center of attention and this change is well...unsettling. One thing leads to another and Chole ends up in her high school's Radio Broadcasting team. She's there to help "promote" their radio station as a part of a required school project. What happens next is really for you guys to find out. I can't give much more without spending another three paragraphs detailing the following events...

But I will say this about Welcome, Caller: it is a book that you'll either HATE or LOVE. I was more on the "love" side, to be honest, and I will explain my reasons why:

First, there's Chloe. Others say she's annoying--and yeah, she REALLY is pretty out there. She's loud, obnoxious, and in your face. Definitely not your typical protagonist. She gave me a few laughs, and I was able to continue the story, unsure if I would like book overall. Chloe is interisting, but it's easy to see why others are put-out by her behavior. A lot of the time she's really an enthusiastic know-it-all. Underneath that superficial layer, though, lies a girl who truly wants to love and belong. In that aspect, it makes her very relatable.

Duncan is also a pretty aweomse guy--fun, easy-going, but with living a far-from charmed life.

I also enjoyed the heart of the book and the times I've laughed at Chloe and her larger-than-life personality. Welcome, Caller also doesn't fail to shy away from tough topics (i.e. elderly "decline" and drug addiction). I also enjoyed what Corriell had to say about the importance of listening and being true to oneself. It's something I think any young adult reader can take to heart.

The biggest gripe I had with this book, though (and hence my slightly lower rating) is the overuse of slang. And not just slang, but the WRONG slang. BF=boyfriend not best friend. At least, that's how I've always known it. But I digress. It was a minor issue that I was able to look past because I was sucked in by the story and the characters. I also had issues with how quickly things were resolved in the end and how little some of the secondary characters (i.e. Haley) were developed. This book could have benefited from about 30/40 more pages, but that's really not my decision to make.

A word of caution to readers before beginning this book: Chole is not a character everyone will immediately like. I found her funny, but unappealing at first. Stick with it, though, and you just might find a rather enduring character.

**ARC provided by author (won via giveaway)**


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Recommendation: Everneath

Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Release: January 24, 2012

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever. 

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's..

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So we all know the story of Hades and Persephone (or at least, the basics). Everneath by Brodi Ashton takes it to a NEW. LEVEL. I had heard so many good things from reviewers that I had to read for myself and I absolutely loved it.

Everneath is a retelling of Hades and Persephone in modern day. In an attempt to free herself from all the pain, Nikki Beckett rashly agrees to leave with this guy, Cole. He takes her to Everneath with the promise that she'd no longer feel pain. Nikki believes him, and yet, during the 100 years spent in Everneath she never forgot the people she left behind: her boyfriend, her father, her brother. So she decides to return home, knowing she'd only has 6 months to decide her fate: return to Everneath with Cole and become his Queen, or refuse and be exposed to something called "the tunnels". In a way, it's a version of Hell. The story opens up with Nikki returning home, where she's been missing for six months, and what follows is a heart wrenching story that I highly recommend.

I know that I am not doing a spectacular job of explaining what Everneath is about, but at least I tried. It's actually a complicated book, going between past and present and weaving in themes of love, obligation, redemption, and family. Perhaps the change between past and present puts off some people, but I liked peeling back the layers and slowly getting to see the build up to Nikki's decision to leave. Not only that, reading about the past helped develop the relationship between Nikki and her boyfriend, Jack. It made me care about them even more...

And Cole. Oh Cole. He's quite possibly my favorite character in Everneath. I found myself grinning at his  snarky comments, despite the fact that I was rooting for Nikki and Jack the whole time. And what is interesting is that this isn't your usual love triangle. It's a 'which boy do I love the most' it's more 'how can I be with the RIGHT boy'. The world building was the main thing that fell flat. I think the world and rules of Everneath could have been explained and/or further developed BUT I have a feeling that this will happen in the sequel, Everbound. And can we talk about that ending? It made me tear up! I didn't want it to happen, but really, it was the ONLY way for the book to end. I think.

All in all, Everneath is a book that I highly, highly recommend.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

ARC Madness Giveaway

There's an awesome giveaway going on, guys, at Click the image below to enter. You don't want to miss this. Seriously. It ends April 24th.

Lots of ARCs Giveaway from!

Team Amity FTW

So, in case you haven't noticed, there's a nifty little picture on the sidebar. What does the picture mean, you ask? It means that I've chosen to be a part of TEAM AMITY, and you can join too. It's purpose is to promote the release of Insurgent by Veronica Roth, releasing May 1rst. Go preorder you copy today! Eh'hem.

Back to business.

What does supporting TEAM AMITY mean? It means you spread the word about Insurgent and encourage others to join Team Amity. There is a contest between the five factions right now, and the faction with the most "clicks" wins. Whoa. Clicks? Yeah, all you have to really do to support Team Amity is to click this here link:

Simple, right? So get going, then! There's also a HUGE Team Amity giveaway that you can enter over at the Faction Leader's website HERE. And to keep up with the latest Amity news, visit the tumblr website HERE.

Go team AMITY! Peace out.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Review: Croak

Croak by Gina Damico 
Release: March 20th, 2012

Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure. 

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business. 

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer. 

Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in? 

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Writing this review was stressful because, well, Croak was an “okay” book. Nothing more, nothing less. But, I admit it, the hook line drew me in:

Life’s not fair--why should death be any different?.

I must be honest, though: Croak didn't interest me. Not at first. I couldn’t connect with Lex at all and I thought the writing  to be different--odd, even. A few weeks later, I determined to give Croak another try, and I’m glad I did. 

For those who have no idea what Croak is about, here’s a short summary. Lex has turned delinquent. So, her parents decide to send her to Croak to live with Uncle Mort (a fitting name, if I say so myself). Lex is under the impression that her uncle works on a farm, but really, his job is much dirtier. Mort is a Grim Reaper, and he has invited Lex to Croak to learn the family business. Things turn ugly, though, when deaths of mysterious and unknown causes occur. And it’s only a matter of time before one of the Grims becomes a target.

It wasn't until Lex arrived at Croak that I actually enjoyed the book. I was pleased to see more depth to the main character as she changed and developed into someone I could actually root for. Kudos to Damico for a believable character arc! I also loved the world that she created, and the people that inhabited it. By page 200, I was ready to forget the rocky start and give this book a rockin' review.

But the last third of the book fell flat, in my brutally honest opinion.

Damico has a way with dialogue, but the moments of conviction, passion, and grief were severely underplayed. These “tough subjects” were brushed under the floor in favor of a more fast-paced and edgy novel. It didn’t work for me. And yes, there were surprising twists, but the “who-done-it” mystery was kind of predictable. I also wasn't pleased with a certain death. It felt contrived and unnecessary

However, there are plenty of reasons for why I enjoyed reading Croak--the witty humor, the dialogue, the "world building", and the character development. As I said, though, it was an “okay” novel. Others will like it more than I did, and that's fine. My suggestion? Give it a chance and see what you think. I certainly don't regret reading Croak and I look forward to Scorch when it comes out in September. Perhaps I will like it better. We'll just have to wait and see. 


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Welcome to 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge!!!
Read the rules and enter the giveaway HERE.


1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

Evie from Bookish - @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read - @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life - @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading - @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read - @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea - @alouetteuette 
Christa from Hooked On Books - @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction - @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision - @mermaidvisions

Wrap-up POST Schedule:

January - Donna (Theme: Let It Snow + Book Cover Challenge)
February - Nicole (Theme: Un-requited Love/Love Gone Wrong + Advice Column Challenge)
March - Rie (Theme: Green or Pinched + Green Cover Challenge)
April  Bonnie (Theme: Easter + Mini Challenge)
May - Christa (Theme: MayDay - Disaster Books! + Cover Disaster Challenge)
June - Jenna ( Theme: Camping + Sentence Challenge)
July - Rie (Theme: International Day + Cover Comparison Challenge)
August - Angel (Theme: Summer Memories + Send Your Fav Character On Vacation Challenge)
September - Nicole (Theme: Life Changing Books + Mini Challenge)
October - Caitlin (Theme: Thanksgiving Theme + Share-A-Book Challenge)
November - Vicky (Theme: Spooky Halloween + Book Puzzle Challenge)
December - Evie (Theme: Xmas Bliss + Book Bachelor Challenge)

My TBR Books:

  1. On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
  2. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones 
  3. Graceling by Kristen Cashore
  4. Fire by Kristen Cashore 
  5. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
  6. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
  7. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta 
  8. Torn by Erica O'Rorke 
  9. Soulless by Gail Carringer 
  10. Changeless by Gail Carringer
  11. Blameless by Gail Carringer
  12. Heartless by Gail Carringer
  13. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  14. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
  15. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
  16. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  17. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  18. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendrae Blake
  19. Switched by Amanda Hocking
  20. Lisel and Po by Lauren Oliver
  21. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  22. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  23. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
  24. Demon Glass by Rachel Hawkins