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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
ISBN: 9780062085481
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Series: Shatter Me #1
Released: November 15, 2011
Duration: 9 hours, 12 minutes
Source: Audiobook from my public library

"Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. 
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior."
First Lines:

"I've been locked up for 264 days. 
I have nothing but a small notebook and a broken pen and the numbers in my head to keep me company."
Page 1

This was one of those books I listened to pretty much only because it was available at my library. I've sort of figured out that might be the only way I get to some of these titles these days. But I am so glad I did! There was much more to it than I was bargaining for!

So, Juliette is unable to be touched. The last time someone did, she accidentally killed them. The government put her away until she was granted her freedom - by Warner. Someone who wanted to exploit her abilities. She also finds that she has someone on her side - someone who would do anything for her. But to what end? How will they survive in a world where things are falling apart?

Can I just say how much I loved this book? I feel like I haven't read as many dystopians that take place as the government is actively falling. Typically, it is after the fall and the people dealing with it. This book is smack in the middle of it. And I think that makes it very unique. You start very simple - a girl in a locked cell. Then she gets a roommate. Then she's let out... It just keeps growing and growing. I loved that feeling of learning just a little more each chapter. You could actively feel the story building. It felt like really good writing and storytelling. I was impressed.

The idea that there is a girl who can't touch people is very X-Men. Truly, it gets even more X-Men-y toward the end. But I feel like the way the story is told kept me from thinking about that until the very last second. I can only imagine that the next book is going to be even more so. I've heard good things, though... so I am eager to get that one.

I did listen to this book. And let me tell you... there are some steamy bits. Like, fan your face as you're driving... steamy. I mean, you can imagine... Girl who can't touch people. But there's one boy who miraculously can. What to you expect to happen? So everything is just overly sensual, I think. I'm not sure if it comes across that way in the normal reading. But listening to it? Whew!

I give this one a solid two thumbs up. I'm a little late to this party - as the book came out over a year ago. But I'm so glad I've finally joined in! I have already talked to a couple of people about the second book - so I can only imagine how I am going to feel after reading that one. I'll keep ya posted. :)
Other Blog Reviews:

Book Addict
Novels on the Run
Awesomesauce Book Club
The Z-Axis
Afternoon Book Party
Alice in Readerland
Sarah's Reviews
Alexa Loves Books
Mariela O. Blogs
A Year of Books

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Out This Week (Feb 24-Mar 2)

Some awesome titles coming out this week. Take a look...
  •  2.26.13 Also Known As by Robin Benway
  • 2.26.13 Pulse by Patrick Carman
  •  2.26.13 The Murder Notebooks: Killing Rachel by Anne Cassidy
  • 2.26.13 Dualed by Elsie Chapman
  • 3.1.13 The Summer Prince by alaya Dawn Johnson
  • 2.26.13 The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson
  •  3.1.13 Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
  • 2.26.13 The Ivy: Scandal by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur
  • 2.26.13 The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik
  • 2.26.13 Fragments (Partials #2) by Dan Wells

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Title: Through the Ever Night
Author: Veronica Rossi
ISBN: 9780062072061
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Series: Under the Never Sky #2
Released: January 8, 2013
Pages: 341
Source: From my public library

"It's been months since Aria learned of her mother's death.
Months since Perry became Blood Lord of the Tides, and months since Aria last saw him.

Now Aria and Perry are about to be reunited. It's a moment they've been longing for with countless expectations. And it's a moment that lives up to all of them. At least, at first. Then it slips away. The Tides don't take kindly to former Dwellers like Aria. And the tribe is swirling out of Perry's control. With the Aether storms worsening every day, the only remaining hope for peace and safety is the Still Blue. But does this haven truly exist?

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night? In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and sci-fi elements to create a captivating adventure—and a love story as perilous as it is unforgettable".
First Lines:

"Aria was here.
Perry followed her scent, moving swiftly through the night. He kept his stride even as he scanned the darkened woods, though his heart hammered in his chest."
Page 1

If you haven't read Under the Never Sky, I would suggest you do so. I don't think I can leave out any spoilers from that one in this review. Plus, it's really good. You'll be happy you did.

This second book is still about Aria and Perry and their newfound relationship. They have been apart for months, but not by any choice of their own. Both of them have had huge life changes. Perry is now the leader of the Tides and Aria has lost her mother. She has also been given the task of finding the Still Blue - a place where the Aether doesn't attack. Unfortunately, they can't spend time together because of their quests. They are pulled in different directions, and only find themselves together in the heat of a crisis.

I have to say, this was a solid sequel. Most times, I go into these things with a bit of caution. I know many second books suffer from the slump - where you adore the first book and the second one falls flat. But truly, this one was just as good as the first one. In fact, I might think it was better. You have gotten to know these characters and you can imagine the things they have gone through. This second book just builds on all of that base knowledge. You now get to know more about them - more about where they came from, more about who they are. And you really find out just how awesome the characters are!

Typically, when I start reading a second book, I have to go back to my review of the first one to even remember what it was about. This one? I didn't have to remind myself at all - I remembered the first book with pretty striking clarity. I think that's one of the tests of a great book. If you can remember it without any trouble, it was well done. And I don't think I will be getting this one out of my head any time soon.

One thing I really enjoyed about this book was the emphasis on Roar and his life. You get a peek into that through the first book, but you start to understand him better. He becomes a real and important person. I think the author did a great job setting up the story like that. You get all of the love and romance and drama from the first book, but it is compounded by the amazing characters introduced in this one.

As usual, I'm not going to spoil the ending for you. But can I just say that there is a huge shocker toward the end? I mean, huge. It changes the course of the story. And I'm going to put this in writing - I think what happened may not have actually happened the way we think it did. You don't get a firm look at the situation. You just remember it through Aria... And you never know! Maybe that will be the twist in the next book. But it's a shocker... so get ready for that!

All you dystopian lovers out there - this book is 100% for you. It's definitely in my wheelhouse. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book. The mystery is about to be solved and I can only imagine the drama of trying to get there! I'll definitely be waiting impatiently for the next installment. Has it even been announced yet?
Other Blog Reviews:

Katie's Book Blog
Two Chicks on Books
Nick's Book Blog
A Life Bound By Books
Lily's Book Blog
Melissa's Bookshelf
Ivy Book Bindings
Once Upon a Bookcase
The Bookish Babe

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Out This Week (Feb 17-23)

A few great things coming out this week. Take a look... 
  •  2.21.13 The Different Girl by Gordon Dahlquist
  • 2.21.13 The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by Karen Finneyfrock
  •  2.21.13 The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand by Gregory Galloway
  • 2.19.13 Shards and Ashes by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong
  •  2.21.13 How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
  • 2.19.13 Mind Games by Kiersten White

Friday, February 15, 2013

Unremembered by Jessica Brody

Title: Unremembered
Author: Jessica Brody
ISBN: 9780374379919
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Released: March 5, 2013
Series: Unremembered Trilogy #1 
Page #: 302
Source: ARC from the publisher

"With no memories and no identity, the sixteen-year-old girl who was floating among the wreckage of a devastating plane crash knows only one thing for certain: nothing is what it seems. Crippled by a world she doesn't know, plagued by abilities she doesn't understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can't remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue comes more questions. And she's running out of time to answer them. Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?"
First Lines: (Quote from the ARC, subject to change!)

"The water is cold and ruthless, lapping against my cheek. Slapping me awake. Filling my mouth with the taste of salty solitude."
Page 3

This book is absolute crazytown. I have read other stuff by Jessica Brody and thought they were hilarious. This one is a huge diversion for her. But a very interesting diversion that I think I really liked. I think.

So, a girl is found in the middle of the wreckage of a huge flight that went down. She is the only survivor. But she has no memories at all - nothing to give anyone a sense of what happened. Not only does she have no memories, it's like her entire mind is wiped out. She can speak, but has no idea what anything is. Then a strange boy starts showing up everywhere - and tells her to be careful. But once the secrets start revealing themselves, she realizes he was right.

Honestly, I was a little worried about that whole "doesn't remember anything at all" thing. If she doesn't remember a car, then she can't remember a road. If she can't remember a cell phone or the internet, then she can't remember electricity. I don't know. I think it worked out okay, but there were moments when I thought that might have been forgotten. Of course, then the entire story would be about her rediscovering every little thing. And that wouldn't do. So I was holding my breath for a little of that, but it seemed to work.

I am trying not to give away any secrets here. You can't help but imagine why she can't remember anything... and why she is being warned to stay safe. I really thought she was going to be some sort of government spy that had the secrets to the earth's destruction or something. Let's just say I was wrong. I won't divulge any further, but it totally wasn't what I was expecting. I was a little shocked. Good shocked, because it was so imaginative. But shocked, nonetheless.

I'll agree with some of the reviewers on this one that you never really develop a relationship with Zen. You only see him in the context of the girl - how he has been in her life, how he has gotten to know her, what has happened between them. You do find out why he is even around, but there isn't much information on his life in general. I'm assuming we will get more of that in the next book.

Speaking of the next book, I truly cannot wait to see what it has in store. The setting could be... anything. You'll learn why. But I think it would be a crazy twist to take this story to a whole new backdrop. Again trying not to give away anything, but I will definitely be picking up the next book to see where it takes us!
Other Blog Reviews:

The Hollow Cupboards
Good Choice Reading
The Page Turner
Somewhere Between the Pages
Carina's Books
WeaklingNo14's Wondrous Reviews
Me, My Shelf and I

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

Title: Carnival of Souls
Author: Melissa Marr
ISBN: 9780062201911
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: September 04, 2012
Series: Carnival of Souls #1
Duration: 8 hours, 5 minutes
Source: Audiobook from my public library

"In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures—if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

All Mallory knows of The City is that her father—and every other witch there—fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it's only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls."
First Lines:

"The man - witch - who'd summoned Selah was nothing like what she'd expected. In truth, he looked no different than many daimons she'd met: implacable expression and a musculature that would serve him well in one of Marchosias' fighting competitions."
Page 1

Talk about a book in my wheelhouse. Witches, daimons, cute boys, fighting girls, family intrigue...  I was sold on this book before I really knew what it was about. I blame my love of masks and the pretty cover.

True to Melissa Marr style, we are taken into a whole new world - one where daimons rule. Witches have been given the human world to rule over. Mallory is caught in the middle, but she has no idea. She just knows that there is a cute boy who sort of shows up everywhere she goes and that her father is a witch - keeping them on the move and trained for any danger. As she begins to uncover the truth about the world around her, things start to go wrong.

I love the world building of The City. The rules are all different and the way people are ranked in society is totally foreign. Women are required to breed once they hit a certain age - they are even given something to make them more breedable. That's the one and only reason Aya has chosen to fight society and compete in the Carnival of Souls. It's a dark and sinister world where people are fighting - literally - for their lives and positions in society. Just to throw this out there, though... the Carnival is a little Hunger Games. People fighting to the death for a better standing. I'm just sayin.

It was hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that all of the daimons could transform into some other animal. Of course, it's a scary, wolf-seeming animal. But there wasn't much description there. It's probably on purpose so you can conjure up  your own scary versions of them. I personally would have liked a little more specific information about the creatures, though. Also, the whole pack mentality made this seem a little more werewolf than anything else.

As an audiobook, this one gave me a little trouble. I know I liked the story, so it had nothing to do with that. The reader was male and I sort of wished for a switch in voices when you were listening to the female characters (I know not everyone is a fan of the voice switching). In fact, there were more female voices than male. It wouldn't be bothersome, except some of his inflections for the way the girls talked... it was just wrong somehow. Everything else was really good. But the voice of Mallory seemed a little too meek and whiny the way it was done. Otherwise, the reader did a good job.

As a whole, I really enjoyed this story. There were some things that I wasn't a fan of, but that didn't keep me from having fun with this one. I think if you're a Melissa Marr fan, you will definitely want to check this one out. It seems like lots of the reviews are a bit on the fence. So I am hoping that the next book will give us even more to work with - this one totally leaves you on a cliffhanger. So, of course, I'm sucked in :).
Other Blog Reviews:

Candace's Book Blog
A Beautiful Madness
The Soul Sisters
Mundie Moms
The Midnight Garden
Curling Up with a Good Book
That's What She Read
Obsession with Books
Realm of Fiction
Adina's Book Blog

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Out This Week (Feb 10-16)

Another great group of titles coming out this week! Take a look...
  • 2.15.13 Override by Heather Anastasiu
  • 2.15.13 Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

  •  2.15.13 The Lives We Lost (Fallen World #2) by Megan Crewe
  • 2.15.13 Sever (Chemical Garden #3) by Lauren DeStefano
  •  2.15.13 Revel by Maurissa Guibord
  • 2.15.13 The Gathering Dark by Christine Johnson
  •  2.15.13 The Mirrored Shard (The Iron Codex #3) by Caitlin Kittredge
  • 2.15.13 The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) by Richelle Mead
  •  2.15.13 Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
  • 2.15.13 Breaking Point (Article 5 #2) by Kristen Simmons
  •   2.15.13 Feral Nights by Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • 2.15.13 Pivot Point by Kasie West

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Winter White by Jen Calonita

Title: Winter White
Author: Jen Calonita
ISBN: 9781470808907
Publisher: Little, Brown/Blackstone Audio
Released: October 9, 2012
Series: Belles #2
Duration: 9 hours, 33 minutes
Source: Audiobook from my public library

"Isabelle Scott and Mirabelle Monroe are still reeling from the revelation that they share more than just the roof over their heads. The media has pounced on their story and the girls are caught up in a flurry of talk-show appearances and newspaper interviews. They've put on a happy public face, but someone is leaking their true feelings to the press.
While it seems like the world is watching their every move, at least they have each other.

But with cotillion season right around the corner, Izzie and Mira have barely had time to process their newfound sisterhood. Mira has always dreamed of making her debut in a gorgeous white gown—now if only she could find an escort. Izzie, meanwhile, is still struggling to find her place in Emerald Cove, and it's seeming ever more impossible with EC mean-girls, young and old, doing their best to keep her down. As cotillion preparations heat up, though, there are dance steps to learn, manners to perfect—and secret initiations to complete?—as if sophomore year wasn't hard enough.

It's time for the gowns to go on and the gloves to come off."
First Lines:

"'How y'all doing this fine morning, North Carolina?'
Wendy Wallington's famous Southern twang ricocheted throughout the television studio whipping her audience into a frenzy."
Page 1  

I don't think I ever got around to reviewing the first book in this series last year. But I listened to that audio as well and loved everything about the story. Had to give the second one a go.

So, Mira and Izzy have found out a huge secret (which I'm not divulging, just in case). They have come to rely on each other for comfort. Izzy's new life is still very overwhelming and misses home. But she is beginning to fit in - in ways she never expected. Mira is learning more and more about her crush and falling even harder. Not to mention that is cotillion season! It's all about dresses, escorts, and white gloves.

Honestly, the first book was so fun and cute that I couldn't help but want to get into the second one. It pulled me back into the girl's lives without any trouble. This book has a whole new vibe - Mira and Izzy are actually getting along. They have formed an alliance because of a few shared enemies. Not to mention they need each other to get through the media circus that has become their lives. It's kind of sweet to see the girls come together like that.

I loved the whole cotillion angle in this book. It gives you a little sneak peak into a life that not a lot of people get to experience. It's fun to get Izzy's take on everything because she's so new to the life. Mira has, of course, embraced the whole experience from the time she was five. There's lots of cattiness and drama surrounding the event. It makes for a great setting to get to know the people in their lives better.

I kind of love that both of these books have had an emphasis on community service. Most of the time it's in the context of looking good to others - and cotillion stuff - but I think it's important that people know those types of opportunities are really out there. I'm probably reading way too much into that aspect of the story, but it's sort of heartwarming for me. It's also cool that most of it is giving back to people who actually need it - not just the rich helping the rich.

I worry that this book is going to get dated quickly. There is a lot of name-dropping and contemporary references. It doesn't take much for a book like that to feel old. It's a great story and I hope it lives on for a while, but I do wonder if people five years from now are going to care about some of the names in there.

All in all, these books are super fun and adorable. If you're looking for something light and easy, I highly suggest these. The audio versions were great as well. The reader does a wonderful job with all of the various southern accents. I know that was probably a chore. But it turned out really well. I can't wait to see what happens next to these girls! 
Other Blog Reviews:

Justin's Book Blog
YA Booklover Blog
Imaginary Reads
Blue Sky Bookshelf
Catching Books
The Irish Banana Review
Deborah's Books
Twice as Nice
Owl Read It
Ex Libris

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Title: What's Left of Me
Author: Kat Zhang
ISBN: 9780062223838
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: September 18, 2012
Series: Hybrid Chronicles #1
Duration: 9 hours, 37 minutes
Source: Audiobook from my public library

I should not exist. But I do.

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.
First Lines:

"Addie and I were born into the same body, our souls' ghostly fingers entwined before we gasped our very first breath. Our earliest years together were also our happiest."
Page 5 

Can you imagine what it would be like to have another soul in your body? I really can't. What an amazing concept! Not to mention that the dominant soul has to take over before you're a teen. Crazytown.

Addie and Eva share a body. This is totally normal - except for the fact that they are over the age of ten. Now they would be considered Hybrid. If anyone knew that Eva was still there. The dominant soul was supposed to take over, but Eva hung on. Now they are terrified that someone will discover their secret. It doesn't help that a strange girl at school has started talking to them. She seems to know more than she lets on.

I have a hard time imagining having another soul in my body. A constant presence who can feel what you feel... It's just such a strange idea. Though the book does say that they can cut themselves off from each other - having a wall between them. But it's still. Creepy idea. It sort of plays on the whole having an invisible friend as a young child. That friend is just inside your head. With you.

There's also a bit of government control over human's bodies. This country doesn't allow Hybrids to exist, but other countries are run by them. Hybrids are blamed for all terrorism, all evil, and are the boogieman for children. Flood at the art gallery? Hybrids. Riot in the streets? Hybrids. It's sort of an interesting look at government and what sort of influence they have. Plus, they have the ability to split families apart when the idea of hybrids is introduced. It's a little scary!

I'm trying to do this review without giving too much away. There were some things that I could see coming a mile away, but others I was shocked to see how they turned out. So I don't wanna ruin it for you. I really enjoyed it. I'm guessing that there will be a second book because things are left a little incomplete. Not to mention that it's part of a chronicle... obviously. I look forward to seeing where this story goes.

The reader on this book was really good. I liked how the inflection changed just slightly between Addie and Eva. It was enough to know they were different, and didn't keep you guessing on who was supposed to be speaking. I think this book has the potential to get confusing in that way, but the author and the reader did a great job keeping those things clear for you.

I may be a little partial because the author is a local for me. That's really the reason I gave this book a shot (well, that and it's in my wheelhouse). She is definitely talented and I am excited to read/listen to more from her. Fans of dystopian books will enjoy this one - even though that's not really where this one fits in. It's science fiction, but it has the feel of a dystopian. Definitely worth giving a shot.
Other Blog Review:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Out This Week (Feb 3-9)

February is going to be an amazing month for releases! I cannot wait to get my hands on all of these. Take a look... 
  •  2.5.13 Girl Meets Ghost by Lauren Barnholdt
  • 2.5.13 Etiquette and Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger
  •  2.5.13 Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society #3) by Ally Carter
  • 2.5.13 Homeland (sequel to Little Brother) by Cory Doctorow
  •  2.5.13 Pieces by Chris Lynch
  • 2.5.13 Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi
  •  2.5.13 Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
  • 2.5.13 Hysteria by Megan Miranda
  •  2.5.13 Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick
  • 2.5.13 Cross My Heart, Hope to Die (Lying Game #5) by Sara Shepard

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