Friday, August 31, 2012

Show us your RAK!

Book Soulmates
Well it's that time again, time to show everyone your RAK!  I got a late start this month so I didn't receive anything myself however I was able to send along copies of the two books below to two very awesome bloggers!  It was a lot of fun and I'll definitely be doing it in september.  Please link me to your RAK wrap ups down below!

The Chosen One      Insignia (Insignia, #1)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday (5) Waiting on Wednesday (5) Weigh in Wednesday (7)

Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper that lets bloggers gush about books that have been sitting on their WLs for awhile.

My pick this week is:

The Little Woods

Two words: Boarding School.  I don't know what it is, but boarding schools have always intrigued me.    It also seems to be a ghost story which scores definite bonus points.  This book has so much potential.  I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where bloggers highlight upcoming releases we are drooling over.

My pick this week is:

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

The cover alone would have been enough for me to be intrigued by this book, but it just so happens that the plot sounds pretty amazing as well.  I'm hoping this will be creepy and whimsical.  I mean, imaginary friends and an ancient, moldering manor, how could it fail?  This one drops on September 11th.


Weigh in Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren over at Epilogue where bloggers weigh in on literary topics.

This weeks topic:

Reading a Book vs. Listening to an Audio Book
(apparently this is actually last weeks. my bad)

This one is actually really easy for me.  Reading will always win out.  I can appreciate a good audio book as long as it is done well, and lord knows I probably wouldn't have called Hermione her-me-on for so long if I would have been able to hear someone pronounce her name correctly, but there is just something about being able to interpret the narration in your own way that makes reading much more personal.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (4)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by the amazing Tynga @Tynga's Reviews

For Review:
The Dark Unwinding Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes 
Big thanks to Scholastic and Month9 Books!
Huge thanks to Random House!
Cold Kiss (Cold Kiss, #1) The Ivy (The Ivy, #1) Abandon (Abandon Trilogy, #1)

Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles, #2) Beautiful Days (Bright Young Things, #2) Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)Author:  Lauren DeStefano
Genre:  Dystopian
Pages: 358
Published: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Rating: 3/5 Stars

"By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?
Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?" - Goodreads

I know that we really shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but in this case the cover of this book is a great representation of the story within.  Eerie, sad and beautiful,  this story really sticks with you.  It is a tale filled with beautiful places, dazzling parties and sinister purposes that hold the reader until the last page and leave them with both a feeling of outstanding exhilaration and intense foreboding.  I put off reading this book for so long because I just wasn't sure that it would be able to live up to my expectations.  In the end it mostly did, but a part of me feels like the darkness of this book really weighed it down too much.  However, that same darkness is what made it so enjoyable.  Perhaps those conflicting feelings are what makes Wither  so special.


  • Beautiful storytelling and world-building:  DeStefano's writing has a way of bringing the reader into the story and making them feel totally encapsulated in her world.  The imagery used and the history/memory building is really fantastic.  I just kept wanting to know more and more about Rhine and her little world and it was so much fun learning about it.
  • Thought-provoking:  This point really goes along with the world-building.  DeStefano's picture of this horrifying new America in the not-to-distant future really makes you think about your place on the planet now and appreciate that we are not the only ones here.  In Rhine's world all of the other countries have been totally decimated.  Paris is just a memory, China has vanished, and Germany only exists in old atlases.  Rhine's America is completely alone in the world and for some reason this really bothered me, in the best possible way.  Don't get me wrong, I wave my flag and love a good fireworks display on the Fourth of July, just like most Americans, but I also like knowing that there are different cultures and places yet to be explored out there.  I can't imagine being the last country on earth and what that would mean.  DeStefano has made this world so believable that you can't help but reflect upon it.
  • We're only here for a little while:  A huge theme in this book is time.  In the world of Wither  men only live to be 25 and women only 20 so throughout the book Rhine and her companions are trying to make the most of the time they have left in different ways.  The best part about this theme is that it doesn't just apply to DeSefano's characters.  Sure we may have more like 80-something years on Earth but in the grand scheme of things that's no time at all.   There are tortoises walking around that were born before our great grand parents after all.  While reading Wither, I found myself reflecting on how short of a time we really have here and how important it is not to waste it.  This is a great thing to be reminded of, especially in such a fun, creepy way and really helps you relate to Rhine and her sister wives.


  • Again with the child-prostitution:  Okay so I realize that there is a reason that this issue is included in the book:  to underline the creepiness and cruelty of Rhine's world.  Still, I will never get used to seeing this in books.  One of Rhine's sister wives is only 13 at the beginning of this book!  13! Gross.  Just not my cup of tea.
  • Why romance?   (POSSIBLE SPOILERS):  The whole romance aspect of this book just seems pointless.  There are basically two potential love interests in the story (yay love triangles, not).  First there is Rhine's husband, Linden.  He is a whimpy, clueless man who's father is holding Rhine prisoner.  Not to mention he goes around impregnating 13 year olds (not cool).  Why Rhine would even entertain the idea of being with this guy voluntarily is beyond me.  Then we have Gabriel.  He has his own drawbacks, mainly that he seems sort of okay living in this awful place and might have a pretty bad case of Stockholm Syndrome.  Mostly, though, my problem with him as a romantic interest is that Rhine doesn't really know him at all.  This is one of those books where I really don't see the need for romantic entanglements.  I feel like they had a good story and then shoved some romance in for good measure.  Not a fan.


  • Very dark:  And when I say dark I don't mean sort of spooky with some gore mixed in.  I mean chopping up bodies in a basement dark.  In a way this made it really unpleasant to read sometimes.  At the same time though, this darkness is what gives the book its appeal and what keeps the reader going.  You want to find out what's going on and suffering mentally along with Rhine makes you want that payoff even more.

In the end,  I was really glad that I decided to go ahead and read this one.  Even though it left me with some icky feelings and questions about my own cynicism, I really enjoyed it.  I would recommend this to all lovers of dystopian, not so much for the romantics.  I will definitely be checking out Fever and the final book in the trilogy Sever soon!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (3)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by the amazing Tynga @Tynga's Reviews

For Review:
Every Day Otherkin (Otherkin, #1) Because It Is My Blood (Birthright, #2)
Big thanks to Knopf Books, Kensington Teen, and Farrar Straus and Giroux

Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings, #1) Sweetly (Fairytale Retellings, #2) Purity 
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1) Belles (Belles, #1) A Monster Calls
Huge thanks to my amazing family for all of these amazing books!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Review: Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the LimitsAuthor: Katie McGarry
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Published: July 31st, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Source:  I received a copy for review from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

"No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.
Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again." ~ Goodreads

I have to admit, I had reservations about this book.  The cover and the title made it seem a bit cheesy and the synopsis didn't really grab my attention.  I'm not a huge fan of contemporary romance anyway so initially I decided to pass this one up.  Then I saw some super early reactions from bloggers whose opinions I generally tend to agree with and I decided to go ahead and give it a shot.  For being a book I wasn't even interested in trying at first I was really blown away.  The story was not cheesy in the least, the characters were dynamic and interesting and the drama sucked me right in.  I fell in love with Echo and Noah and found myself devouring this story.  Best of all, the book had real depth and the romance was not the least bit one dimensional.  I loved this book!


Story is told from both Noah's and Echo's perspectives:  I really love it when stories are told from multiple perspectives.  It really adds to the reader's understanding of a story and makes it feel more dynamic.  Echo and Noah each had their own unique voice and their own story to tell and it was really great to be able to understand Noah's view on the evolution of their relationship and not just Echo's.  I think this writing style makes you more attached to the secondary characters as well and therefore more invested in the story as a whole.

McGarry shows the humanity of all characters, even the "villains":  I was a little worried when I first started this book that the author would focus on the short-comings of Echo's parents and ignore the fact that their life experiences and concern for their children influenced their parenting decisions (this is a common pitfall in a good portion of YA literature).  McGarry left me pleasantly surprised when she really delved into why Echo's dad (along with other secondary characters) acted the way he did and why he made the, sometimes wrong, decisions that he made.
Realistic romance, not star-crossed lovers: Echo and Noah are from different worlds and they certainly don't seem like they are meant for each other at the beginning of the book.  Their relationship is tumultuous and they have completely different personalities.  I was very happy that instead of a perfect, simplistic "bad boy falls in love with good girl" romance they had a real connection and realistic arguments about their relationship.  I didn't feel like their love story was over-idealized.  Their issues and fights were all the more heart-wrenching because of this realism and it allowed for an even bigger pay-off.


An abundance of f-bombs:  If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times:  don't overuse the f-bomb. Whenever you use a word over and over it takes away its meaning and impact.  This is especially true with "shocking language".  After awhile it just gets old reading "eff this, eff that" constantly.  For me, it isn't a matter of offensiveness, it's a matter of creativity.

Not enough closure:  I felt like there wasn't quite enough resolution with Echo's mother.  I would have liked to see that explored and settled more.  Then again, I suppose that was on purpose.

I am so happy I gave this one a shot.  There is enough suspense and drama to keep everyone interested but the romance is realistic and sweet.  Even if you don't love contemporary romance I would definitely pick this book up.  You won't regret it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Hourglass (Hourglass, #1)Author: Myra McEntire
Genre: paranormal, science fiction, romance
Pages: 390
Published: June 14, 2011
Publisher: Egmont USA
Rating: 4/5 Stars

"For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents' death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.
So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may also change her past.
Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he's around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?" - Goodreads

Set in a little Southern town after the untimely deaths of Emerson's parents ,  Hourglass, is the perfect mix of  sad, spooky and fun.  Emerson isn't crazy, but everyone thinks she is and maybe she's beginning to believe that too.  Her ability to see ghosts has been disrupting her life for four years and her brother is willing to do anything necessary to help her.  But Emerson is tired and suspicious of the endless stream of specialists she is sent to.  That is until she meets Michael and becomes part of The Hourglass.   

There are so many wonderful things about this book: the plot line is gripping, the character development is fantastic and, did I mention, GHOSTS! Emereson's character is great.  She is so funny and quirky even while she is trying to come to grips with the fact that she may be losing her mind.  Her narration is very realistic while somehow being whimsical and strange as well.  The romance in this book is also a lot of fun.  While there isn't insta-love (yay!) there is an immediate attraction between Em and Michael which develops over time into a relationship.  Their love isn't perfect, they argue and yell, they feel unsure about their futures together and they know they have issues that need to be worked out.  That being said, they are great as a couple and a ton of fun to read!

As far as cons go, there aren't many.  First, I wasn't 100% happy about the time-travel aspect at first, I would have liked to have seen more ghosts, but it grew on me.  Now if I could just wrap my head around theoretical physics we'd be in business.  Mostly though, I'm just a little concerned that the next book is going to turn Em and Michael's relationship into a love triangle.  The introduction of Kaleb and his forwardness near the middle/end of this book do not bode well for book 2, and I really don't like love triangles.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed this one.  It was so much fun to get into and I really felt and attachment to the characters.  I can't wait to read Timepiece.  

Saturday, August 4, 2012