Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

WoW is a weeky meme hosted by Jill at 'Breaking the Spine'. All we do here is bring attention to a book we can't wait to be released, mostly in the hopes that we can share the pain of waiting for a book. 

This week's pick is one I've been dying to read:

Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman's Daughter #2)
by Megan Shepherd
Expected Publication: January 28th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA, Romance, Retelling

To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father's island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.

Ever since I first read The Madman's Daughter, I knew I needed this book as soon as possible. The first book was just so creepily awesome, though people who're vegetarians or vegans because they love animals should probably stay really far away from this entire series. I, however, am an omnivore, and trust me, I'd bribe the author and publisher for an ARC if I could.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: The Dark Unwinding (The Dark Unwinding #1) by Sharon Cameron

When Katharine Tulman’s inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.

Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.

As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle’s world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it.

~Borrowed from library; 318 pages~

This is one of the most original steampunks I've ever read in my life, partly because this book is just so darn unique, and also because I don't really read that much steampunk. Though the plot and the characters were great to read about, none of it could have been attention-grabbing without a decent writing style and setting. Luckily, this book had both. Sharon Cameron's dark, self-depreciating writing drew me in almost at once, and the creepy, historical village setting was etched vividly into my mind whenever I read the book. This awesome combination of elements kept me reading this book almost non-stop until I finished it.

In most books, the reader ends up admiring the main character almost at once, right? Well, not with this book. Almost until half the book - or at least for a third of it - I absolutely loathed Katharine. I liked that her circumstances put her in a position where life wasn't easy, what with having an evil aunt and no inheritance and all, but I hated that she lacked the courage to do anything about her position, or at least show some sass to her aunt, the she-devil. Even worse than that though, was the fact that Katharine was willing to do anything to increase her chances of success in life, including send off her uncle to an asylum. She was so very selfish, and while that was the main aspect of her personality that I hated, it also acted to help her be more true to life.

There was one person I hated much, much more than Katharine, and that would be Ben. I'm not sure whether readers were supposed to see him as a possible love interest and actually like him, but I can't guarantee everyone that I did no such thing. From about the second or third time I met him, I hated him with all my heart, viewed him with suspicion in every circumstance, and put him on my enemy list. If that was what I was supposed to do, great. If it wasn't, it doesn't change how I felt. And boy am I glad I never harbored any feelings for that boy *shudder*.

I think the author may have put it in her head to have me hate all her guy characters (besides the dear old, crazy uncle) on first sight. Well, maybe second sight. You see, my first sight of Lane was basically a hot piece of gorgeous standing in the doorway. However, that interpretation of him was ruined in the next second when he started staring down Katharine like he wanted her to disappear off the face of the Earth...which he probably did. So yeah, I hated Lane on second sight. I'd read the synopsis before reading the book, and was confounded as to how Katharine would ever come to love him. After all, Lane was nothing if not cruel and distant (and not in the way I seem to love). Unbelievably, a little further into the book, even I started falling for him.

The ending of the novel wasn't really a cliffhanger, though it sure felt like one. It was actually this weird combo of super-happy one minute and super-sad the next. Let me tell you, I didn't appreciate that super-sad part one bit. I would love to go get the second book as soon as I go to the school library again, but too bad for me I guess, because I still haven't started studying for finals:/ I guess I'll have to wait 'till later to find out what'll happen now.
Title: The Dark Unwinding
Author: Sharon Cameron
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Released August 27, 2012
Genre: YA, Steampunk

Fallen for Covers (3)

Fallen for covers is an event done ever Monday where we display our favorites of all the covers we've run across over the week. As far as I know, I'm the one who hosts this meme, though there is someone who hosts the exact same meme, with a different name. In fact, I copied it from her. So yeah.

Here are the cool covers I found from stalking other people's blogs:) I was really surprised at how I've seen most of these books before, but all with different covers...

Those are the coolest covers I fell upon over the week...which are yours?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Is This Love? (November 17th-November 23rd)

This is a weekly meme hosted by me, but I must admit that I initially got the idea from Giselle's Fresh Batch over at Xpresso Reads. All I do here is list this week's most interesting upcoming releases so you have a heads up of which books you might want to keep an eye out for at the bookstore.

The release I'm in love with this week is:

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4)
by Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Expected Publication: November 19, 2013
Genre: YA, Romance, Vampires

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

About the Author

Goodreads / Website / Twitter / Facebook
Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time: Georgina Kincaid, Dark Swan, and Vampire Academy.

A life-long reader, Richelle has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She's a self-professed coffee addict and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.

Other releases this week in no particular order:

Well, those are the most interesting books I found that are coming out this week.
Which one(s) are you in love with?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Review: The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

~Owned as eBook; 457 pages~

When I first started reading this book, I was awed at the unique writing style Rick had. It was perfect for this apocalyptic, alien-invasion themed novel. Every time I picked up this book and put it back down, I had a sick feeling in my stomach and was scared out of my mind at the fact that we - meaning all us humans - were going to die. The desperation that's viewed through the three character's POV is realistic and clear, and some of that desperation stayed with me several minutes after closing the book.

That brings me to another point: the three-character POV. Though it was interesting reading this book through three different POV's, sometimes it was confusing at the beginning about whose POV I was reading, especially when the POV first changed, since I didn't know that I was going to read from anyone but Cassie's perspective. After a while though, I came to crave those changes in narration, especially because at least two of those characters weren't in the same place, and it was nice knowing what was going on in the two different places this story mainly takes place in. Also, as a bonus, whenever one POV seemed to get boring, the reader would soon be reading another. The different POV's also helped me get to know each character better, and by the end, I knew who I liked, who I loved, and who, at times, annoyed the heck out of me.

2013 is filled with dystopias complete with the perfect romance, but while reading this novel, it was clear that this was something different. For one, the main character isn't a rebellious teen, but a broken teen girl who trusts nobody, has a crush on a guy who has never noticed her and may or may not be dead, and carries around a teddy bear everywhere she goes. And oh yeah, her parents are dead, she's not sure where her little brother Sammy is, and she might just be the last human left on Earth. So yeah, this definitely wasn't unoriginal. Also, romance wasn't the main theme in this book; it didn't even take up half this book, really. Most of The 5th Wave is focused on dark thoughts, action, and death scenes. Still, the romance was enough to satisfy me, so I'm willing to bet almost any YA fan would enjoy - or at least, not hate - this book.

I was surprised after reading when I realized how many times I changed who I wanted Cassie to end up with. When Cassie first mentioned her long-time crush from high school who she only spoke to once, Ben, I was vehemently wishing he would end up with her. Even when Evan came along, he seemed too nice, and I was still voting for Ben. Then, unexpectedly, I came along Ben's POV, and when I realized that he had no idea who Cassie was, I was all Team Evan. At least he cared. I switched back and forth between these two guys several times, often making excuses for Ben like "maybe he'll be struck by her beauty and courage when they meet again." Needless to say, by the end of the novel, I was all Team Evan. Unfortunately, I'm not 100% sure what Cassie was thinking by the end.

After reading some people's comments on the book, I saw that the character Ringer was one many people, especially girls, liked, their reason being that she's strong, sassy (in a very ungirly way), and a total inspiration for girls. Of course, I might have noticed that too, except the obnoxious part of me only saw her as Ben's future boyfriend, which completely ruined my plans of there being a love triangle between Cassie, Ben, and Evan. I know that this book isn't based on romance, but you can't blame a girl for trying.

I wasn't a huge fan of the ending, as I believed it was much too abrupt and peaceful, especially considering that someone very dear to my heart (sort of) may or may not have been dead by that point. I mean, by the end of the novel, two characters are literally hugging themselves under the sunset, while their life is obviously still in danger, and someone's life may already be gone. That behavior just isn't appropriate in the least.

I'd recommend this book to all YA fans, but especially all hard-core dystopia/apocalypse addicts. This book will satisfy both romance and non-romance lovers, though mostly the latter considering the large amount of science-fiction and "everyone around me is dying" trauma. The cliffhanger at the end, the unique plot, the interesting character build-up, and the writing style are what are going to have me waiting for the next book in the series. I can't wait to see what Rick will come up next!
Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Released May 7th, 2013
Genre: YA, Apocalyptic, Aliens

Friday, November 15, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (2)

Stacking the Shelves is an event done every week - hosted by Tynga's Reviews - where we list the books we recieved, borrowed, or even stole (though hopefully not) in the past week.

This week has been a really busy one for me at school, but I have several books to make up for it:) Below are the books I recieved/borrowed/bought over the past week (not including Amazon freebies). Click on the links below the covers to see the Goodreads. And thanks so much Aurora for providing me with an ARC of Bloodmark!:)

Well, that's my haul this week. I'm still excited about my hardcover ARC...I'm so bored of ebooks;)
Well, au revoir!

Review: Crazy for You by Juliet Rosetti

In the tradition of Janet Evanovich and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Juliet Rosetti ups the ante in her laugh-out-loud funny Escape Diaries series, as Mazie Maguire must use any means necessary to keep her main squeeze out of the slammer.

Once you escape from prison and ride off into the sunset with the gorgeous guy who helped you nail a killer, you live happily ever after, right? Well, not exactly—not if you’re Mazie Maguire, and the flow chart of your life looks like a pinball machine. Mazie has broken up with her guy, Ben Labeck, she can’t pay her rent, her car is infested with mice, and she’s working at a coffee shop where the dress code is teddies, thongs, and toe-cleavage heels. Now Ben is the chief suspect in a murder investigation, and Mazie’s tapping into her fugitive wiles to keep him out of jail. Strictly as friends, she vows. No kissing, no touching, no romance. But how is Mazie supposed to keep her thoughts platonic when her “buddy” is giving her erotic back rubs, and a make-believe-we’re-newlyweds charade puts her in the mood for a wedding night?

~A copy was received from Loveswept for review~

When I first saw the synopsis for this and it said that it was similar to Janet Evanovich's writing, I in no way believed it. After reading, though the writing styles weren't exactly the same, they were uncannily similar, as were the plots. However, this story focused more on the romance while Janet splits both the romance and plot pretty evenly, at least, she does in her One for the Money series. This novel is actually the second in a series, though it isn't specified on Goodreads. I knew I had to read this book, and though I tried to wait for the first book to get to me before reading this one, I failed and ended up finishing this the same night I started it. Luckily, Crazy for You can act as a stand-alone since everything the reader needs to know to read and enjoy this book is contained within.

The romance is what mainly made up the story since the beginning, but even then, it's hard to specify whether the love or the mystery was more abundant. The novel stays away from details and while I was reading, it was just a whirlwind of events that I probably won't remember in a few days. Though the mystery is reminiscent of Janet again, what caught and kept my attention was the romantic tension between Ben and Mazie. Ben was a purely original creation of Juliet's that for once, didn't have me thinking of Evanovich. He was strong and kind and really wanted to take care of and protect Mazie, something she hated. The romanticness (I know...not a word) was only amped up by the fact that Mazie hadn't seen Ben in about 6 weeks, and that was after a huge fight. Mazie, on the other hand, was a slightly more boring version of Stephanie from, you guessed it, One for the Money. She worked in a restaurant where the waitresses dressed up in corsets, super short skirts, and fuck-me pumps. Anyone thinking of Lula from OftM? And then there's the fact that Mazie's ex-boss was a sex-o-holic, kind of like Vinnie from...well, you know. But besides all those similarities, Mazie was a cute character who had some of her own independent aspects - like playing paintball - that I really liked.

Though the mystery was a unique one, once I learned the basic aspects of the mystery and got to know the main suspects, it was easy to guess (correctly!) who the "bad guy" was. That didn't take away from the appeal of the book though, and it only made me more interested to see how villain would reveal himself to the girl who trusted and was enamored with him. I didn't really get what Mazie saw in the guy, but I guess she was a bit crazy in the head. It was kind of obvious he'd be the type of guy to put people's heads in a refrigerator, not that he did that; he just had that psycho killer vibe to him that for some reason, the main character never picked up on until the end.

The prologue goes along with the very end of the story, and I think that at least one of its purposes was to give the reader a hint of the revelation at the end of the novel. Unfortunately, I completely forgot about my suspicions that Ben was younger than Mazie, and was none too pleased at the fact that I was right, even if the age difference was only by a few months. That was the most disappointing part of the story for me, and if that doesn't matter to you, then there's not much else wrong with this book.

I'd recommend Crazy for You to Janet Evanovich fans as well as any romance/mystery-lover looking for a quick, pleasing read. When looking back, the novel wasn't great, but neither was it even remotely bad. I can still remember how happy I felt while reading the book. Going off on a tangent, I want to mention the feeling I have that this would be a great book to read during the holidays. I don't know why, it may not even be true, but that's just a hunch I have. Who knows, maybe I'm psychic.
Title: Crazy for You
Author: Juliet Rosetti
Publisher: Loveswept
Releases December 9th, 2013
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary Romance