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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Out This Week (April 28-May 4)

Check out what's being released this week in YA world... 

  • 4.30.13 The Last Academy by Anne Applegate
  • 4.30.13 Defriended by Ruth Baron
  •  4.30.13 Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins
  • 4.30.13 The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2) by Julie Kagawa
  •  4.30.13 The Loop by Shandy Lawson
  • 4.30.13 Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike
  • 4.30.13 Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick
  • 4.30.13 The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise
  • 4.30.13 Sketchy by Olivia Samms
  • 4.30.13 The Program by Suzanne Young

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Shower of Books Giveaway Hop

Welcome to one of the many stops on the Showers of Books Giveaway Hop!

This is hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Books a la Mode. There are a gazillion other stops on this hop, so be sure to visit them all! This will be running from now until April 30th at 11:59PM.

Now, on to what I have to offer ya...
All 8 Books go to one lucky winner! They're mostly ARCs - and one even has a different cover than the official one.  This is a US Only giveaway.


 Just fill out this handy dandy form and I will email ya when I have a winner!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Princess
Author: Cassandra Clare
ISBN: 9781416975908
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released: March 19, 2013
Series: The Infernal Devices #3
Page #: 568
Source: My public library

"Tessa Gray should be happy - aren't all brides happy? Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan.
He needs Tessa.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are engaged, Will is still in love with her.

The last words of a dying Shadowhunter provide the clue that might lead Tessa and her friends to Mortmain. But their small group cannot stand alone, and the powerful Consul doubts that Mortmain is coming. Deserted by allies, the Shadowhunters find themselves trapped when Mortmain seizes the medicine that keeps Jem alive. With his best friend at death's door, Will must risk everything to save the girl they both love.

To buy Will time, the warlock Mangus Bane joins with Henry Branwell to create a device that could help defeat Mortmain. As they all work to save Tessa and the future of the Shadowhunters that resides with her, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself - for in the discovery of her own true nature, Tessa could become more powerful than she ever dreamed possible. But can a lone girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy."
First Lines:

"'I'm afraid,' said the little girl sitting on the bed. 'Grandfather, can you stay with me?'
Aloysius Starkweather made an impatient noise in the back of his throat as he drew a chair closer to the bedside and seated himself."
Page 1

In my opinion, you can never go wrong with a Cassandra Clare book. This is the third (and final) book in the series. So if you haven't read the rest, I suggest you do so.

Tessa and Jem are finally getting married. Will, of course, isn't happy about it. And there are more people living in the London Institute than before - some of which have only just begun training to be Shadowhunters. Charlotte is being undermined and Jem's medications are becoming scarce. One attack on the Institute throws everything into a whirlwind. Will has to make a huge trip on a whim and Jem is fighting for his life. It is an epic conclusion to an already epic story.

Honestly, I didn't know this was the last book in the series. I could feel that it was getting there when I neared the end, but I wasn't expecting that. I'm notoriously bad about not reading book flaps of series' I'm already involved with. I already know I'm going to love it, so why read about it beforehand? :) So, even though this is the end, the book really captivated me.

In the previous books, there is a huge emphasis on Tessa, Will, and Jem - as to be expected. It's really their story, after all. But this last book pulls in a few more interesting characters. Gabriel and Gideon - brothers that I continually got confused. Even more about Will's sister and his family before he left them. And other fringe characters really started making a name for themselves. It was a really cool way to end the story.

Obviously, I'm not going to tell you what happens. But for those people who have chosen a side (Will or Jem), I think everyone will be happy. I haven't read a book that crafted that particular aspect so well - especially the link between the two boys. You end up loving them both and being torn - just like Tessa. It's a well crafted love story and I think will be appreciated by all fans of the series.  

Even if you haven't read the Mortal Instruments series, I think this story of the Infernal Devices stands well on its own. I do like that you have characters that you can keep up with in the future. But I really think you can get into this earlier story and be just fine. Especially if you're a fan of magical historical fiction. It's all really well thought out and I love how things come together in the end. Cassandra Clare is a true artist.
Other Blog Reviews:

Under the Covers Book Blog
The Mountains of Instead
Kala's Book Blog
Readers in Wonderland
Booktastic Reviews
Books Complete Me
A Beautiful Madness
A Walk on Words
Random Things in Action
The Reader's Den

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Out This Week (April 21-27)

There are some wonderful titles coming out this week. Check it out...
  •  4.23.13 The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass
  • 4.23.13 Chosen at Nightfall (Shadow Falls #5) by C.C. Hunter
  • 4.23.13 manicpixiedreamgirl by Tom Leveen
  • 4.23.13 The Rules (Project Paper Doll) by Stacey Kade
  • 4.23.13 Exile (A Mercy Novel) by Rebecca Lim
  •  4.23.13 Arclight by Josin L. McQuein
  •  4.23.13 Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris
  • 4.23.13 Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers
  •   4.23.13 Natural Born Angel (Immortal City #2) by Scott Speer
  • 4.23.13 How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Elite by Kiera Cass

Title: The Elite
Author: Kiera Cass
ISBN: 978006209963
Publisher: HarperTeen
Released: April 23, 2013
Series: The Selection #2
Page #: 323
Source: ARC from the publisher

"Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending."
First Lines: (From the ARC, so they are subject to change)

"The Angeles air was quiet, and for a while I lay still, listening to the sound of Maxon's breathing. It was getting harder and harder to catch him in a truly calm and happy moment, and I soak up the time, grateful that he seemed to be at his best when he and I were alone."
Page 1

If you haven't read The Selection yet, you need to do so STAT. It's such a great mix of romance and dystopian... you won't even know what hit you. So, do that before you read this review. Well, at least read on at your own caution.

So, America is still in the race. The Prince has let her know that she is on an even shorter list - he wants to be with her forever. But then things start to happen that have Mer questioning whether he's sincere. It doesn't help that Aspen has taken a job in the castle - having him so close has kept her very confused. They are always under the threat of rebel attacks and Maxon is pulled in a thousand different directions. Mer begins to wonder whether anything is real.

I believe I described The Selection as being very much like The Bachelor TV show. The Elite continues that in full force. You still have Prince Maxom trying to decide between all of these girls - even though the pool has been narrowed considerably. There are tasks they have to complete to show their competence about ruling a country and being a lady. Do some girls get kicked out of the palace? Yeah, a few. That's to be expected, isn't it?! Is it super dramatic? Of course!

So many books for teens these days have the whole love triangle aspect. It's pretty much a given. If you don't have that, is it really for teens? Kidding. Sort of. But sometimes it's easy to pick a clear side - the way an author obviously has you leaning in one direction. I would like to propose that Kiera Cass has gotten the love triangle down to a science. I honestly can't choose a side! One chapter I'm rooting for Maxon, and the next I'm rooting for Aspen! It's so confusing. But that really does convey America's problem throughout the novels. I can honestly see why she's torn. It comes across as legit, not just an afterthought. I have to give the author props on that.

I'll leave the romance stuff in a second, but one more thing... I have noticed a lot more books lately have the whole instantaneous love thing. The characters meet and fall head over heels within two pages. But not in these books! I think the author does a great job setting up a background and a reason for things to happen the way that they do. It is just well crafted. It's more believable for me (even if it's set in a future time where people are forced into castes in life).

I don't want any dystopian lovers to get turned off by all the romance stuff. This is a great dystopian. You learn a lot about how this world was created, how the caste system was set up, etc. There's a lot more history in this second book. It helps tie together all of the crazy aspects of the story. And I'm very interested to see how things escalate in the next book (whenever that might be). Enemies are becoming restless, the caste system is in question, and you will learn a ton about the King toward the end of this second novel. How can you not be intrigued?! :)

If you can't tell, I'm a huge fan of Kiera Cass. I'll probably read anything she does at this point. Just found out that there's a novella that I need to spend a couple of bucks on. Definitely. Doing. That. I have recommended The Selection to several people and they have all loved it, too. Now I know the second book is just as good (or better), so I can't wait to pass it around! Definitely get on this one, people.  
Other Blog Reviews:

Once Upon a Twilight
Dark Faerie Tales
Mostly YA Lit
Two Chicks on Books
Escaping Through Books
i heart y.a. fiction
Into the Hall of Books
Anna Reads
Bookaholic Corner
Nawanda Files

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Out this Week (April 14-20)

Some wonderful things coming out this week...
  •  4.16.13 Taken by Erin Bowman
  • 4.16.13 The Grass is Always Greener (Belles #3) by Jen Calonita
  • 4.16.13 True (Elixir novel) by Hilary Duff
  • 4.16.13 Dead Silence (Body Finder #4) by Kimberly Derting
  • 4.16.13 Breath (Riders of the Apocalypse #4) by Jackie Morse Kessler
  • 4.16.13 Game (Sequel to "I Hunt Killers") by Barry Lyga
  •  4.16.13 The Milk of Birds by Sylvia Whitman
  • 4.16.13 Furious by Jill Wolfson

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Foretold by Jana Oliver

Title: Foretold
Author: Jana Oliver
ISBN: 9781250021847
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Released: December 11, 2012
Series: Demon Trapper's Daughter #4
Page #: 352
Source: My public library

"Now that Riley's managed to fend off Armageddon, everything has changed... Well, most things. Lucifer's ex-right-hand man, Sartael, has proven to be more resilient than anyone thought and is about to confront the Prince of Hell once and for all, forcing Atlanta into the path of a looming storm.

Even worse, Beck is back to treating Riley like a little girl again, as if their epic kiss never happened. While she'd love to just tell him off and move on, Riley has vowed to take care of Beck the way he's taken care of her since her father died. When she's drafted to help him care for his dying mother in South Georgia, that vow is put to the test. Before long, they stumble too close to a dark and murderous secret from Beck's past, the one he fears could drive her away forever. As old enemies settle scores, Riley may be Beck's only hope for redemption... and survival."
First Lines:

"'What could go wrong?' Riley Blackthorne muttered under her breath. That wasn't the kind of question she should ask while on a demon-trapping run in one of Atlanta's train stations."
Page 1

As I have said before, I feel like this series is very under the radar. And I have even questioned whether it is really for teens or not. But I have loved every second of it - right down to this conclusion. So sad to see it go!

There have been epic demon battles, love battles, family battles, and so much more. It all was leading up to this epic final story. Riley is taking a trip with Beck - not by her own choice. She begins to understand him based on where he comes from and who his family is. Their relationship goes to a whole different level and the action and adventure isn't just because of demons this time. Will a small town pull them apart forever? dun dun duuuuunnn.

Yep. I definitely loved this book. Once I picked it up, I truly had a hard time putting it down. It's a toss-up about which book in the series is my favorite. This one is definitely in the running simply because of things coming together in the end. I'm not gonna give it away, but it's nice for things to sort of come full circle. But this one has a lot less of the demons/angels/magic stuff that the other books had, so it's on a whole different level.

I'm not sure what all to say about this book that I haven't already said about the rest of the books in the series. Let's recap:
* I love that they're set in Georgia - Atlanta, specifically. It's about time some other city got a pop.
* The heroine is 100% kick ass
* The romance isn't too over the top - our badass lady wouldn't let that happen.
* The whole Angels vs. Demons thing? I'm in.
* Some of the side characters are my favorite - I would love a whole book about them.

On that last note, this book has a full circle thing with Simon as well - the exboyfriend who went psycho. It's nice to see how that happened. I can totally imagine a spinoff about his life. There is a set up about where he will be and what will be going on, so I feel like it's perfect for a second series. That's just me, of course :).

This book (and the last one, too) had some adult-ish situations. So I definitely recommend this series for older teens. It is sort of written that way, as well. The language, the thought processes, the situations... it's a really great series for adults reading teen stuff. What am I saying, it's just a great series in general. I would have expected more excitement about it the last few years. And now that it's concluded I can safely say it is worth the read. One of the few series I actually OWN! That should tell you something. :)
Other Blog Reviews:

Cheezyfeet Books
Mostly YA Book Obsessed
Reader Girls Blog
A Dream of Books
Feeling Fictional
Sassy Book Lovers
My Not So Vacant Shelf
Planet Print
Realm of Fiction
Kate's Book Life

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Essence by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Essence
Author: Kimberly Derting
ISBN: 9781442445598
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released: January 1, 2013
Series: The Pledge #2
Page #: 341
Source: My public library

"Though it has been months since Charlaina - Charlie - defeated the tyrant Sabara and took control of the Ludanian crown, Sabara has not disappeared. The evil queen's Essence has fused itself to Charlie's psyche, ever present right below the surface, ready to take control at the first sign of weakness.

Balancing her new duties as Queen and battling both Sabara's voice and a growing resistance determined to return Ludania to its discriminatory caste system are pushing Charlie to the brink. She wants to be the same old Charlie she has ever been, the one who Max loves, the one who Brook trusts, but now she is Your Majesty. Struggling to keep Sabara's presence a secret, Charlie is torn in two.

As Charlie journeys to an annual summit to meet with the leaders of nearby Queendoms - an event where her ability to understand all languages will be the utmost asset - she is faced with the ultimate betrayal.
And the only person she can turn to for help is the evil soul residing within."
First Lines:

"He approached respectfully, cautiously. Warily.
She'd always been capricious, his queen. But of late, she was nothing less than upredictable."
Page 3

So, I really enjoyed The Pledge. But for some reason, I had a harder time getting through this second book. The story is solid, but...

Charlie has become the queen of Ludania, but she isn't alone. There is a second soul living in her body - the past queen named Sabara - who is trying to take control. Things start to escalate when Sabara spies her old flame and fellow immortal. Because of this, Charlie has even less control over her own body. There is also unrest in the countryside. There are people who want her dead. There is definitely a mole in the trusted royal advisers, but no one knows where to look.

Several people asked me how this book was while I was reading it. I will repeat my answer here... "I'm sure I would love it more if I had read The Pledge yesterday instead of a year ago." Consider yourself warned. You either need to remember exactly what happened in the first book or just go with it till you figure things out. There isn't a whole lot of backtracking to get you caught up. And up to date on who is who. It took them practically making out for me to remember that Max is Charlie's love interest.

I spent quite a while very confused about what was going on. I had remembered the beginning of the first book fairly clearly. But everything else was a little blurry. I know that this clouded my vision of this book - and didn't help with the amount of time it took for me to finish it. All that being said, the bones of this book are good. The story is good. I just needed a little more of a push to get me mentally involved. Especially when one of the main themes is a double-souled body. Things can get very confusing when that's not explored clearly. I have read lots of reviews by people who absolutely adored this book. So I feel like I might not have been in the right mindset.

In this second book you have another perspective added as well - Brooklyn has taken the position of commanding Charlie's army. She is the one who realizes there is someone against them. The one who has to protect the Queen. And it doesn't help that they're on the road traveling to a summit. So she adds a lot of adventure and is a very interesting character. There were a few others that I wish we had seen more of - ones that would have probably given the story more depth.

I think one of the reasons this book didn't resonate as much for me is that one of my favorite elements from the first book was missing. I just re-read my review and I remember loving and talking about the language barriers. Different levels of society spoke different languages. You weren't supposed to understand each other - especially if you were from a lower level of society. It was considered a crime if you heard a different language and looked at the person speaking it. What a cool concept. But that was thrown out the window the instant Charlie became Queen. You only get a small taste of that throughout this second story. And I suppose I was hoping for more of that idea.

So, all that being said... I know many people have loved these two books. I would probably still recommend them to people, but specify that they need to be read one right after the other. It's probably not my favorite series of all time, but I know it fits a niche that people really love right now (thanks dystopian lovers of the world). :) I hope you all have much better luck with this one than I did!
Other Blog Reviews:

Finding Bliss in Books
Carina's Books
Novel Novice
Mundie Moms
What the Cat Read
Gobs and Gobs of Books
DJ's Life in Fiction
Much Loved Books
Nori's Closet
In Between

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Out This Week (April 7-13)

A hadn't heard of a few of the books coming out this week, but it looks like a good group. Take a look...

  •  4.9.13 The Shadow Girl by Jennifer Archer
  • 4.9.13 Dead River by Cyn Balog
  • 4.9.13 Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler
  • 4.9.13 Strangelets by Michelle Gagnon
  •  4.9.13 Nine Days by Fred Hiatt
  • 4.9.13 Inferno (Chronicles of Nick #4) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • 4.8.13 The Stone Demon (Iron Witch #3) by Karen Mahoney
  • 4.9.13 Zom-B City by Darren Shan

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