Monday, January 31, 2011

Review: Drought

Drought by Pam Bachorz

publisher: EgmontUSA

released: January 25th, 2011

hardcover, 400 pages

intended audience: Young adult

rating:


source: from publicist for review

description:Ruby Prosser dreams of escaping the Congregation and the early-nineteenth century lifestyle that’s been practiced since the community was first enslaved.

She plots to escape the vicious Darwin West, his cruel Overseers, and the daily struggle to gather the life-prolonging Water that keeps the Congregants alive and gives Darwin his wealth and power. But if Ruby leaves, the Congregation will die without the secret ingredient that makes the Water special: her blood.

So she stays.

But when Ruby meets Ford, the new Overseer who seems barely older than herself, her desire for freedom is too strong. He’s sympathetic, irresistible, forbidden—and her only access to the modern world. Escape with Ford would be so simple, but can Ruby risk the terrible price, dooming the only world she’s ever known?

Review: This was no easy read. It wasn't easy and it wasn't fun reading. The pace was slow and careful, almost like the author's intention was to make her readers feel the same tediousness that the congregants felt gathering water from leaves day after day. Ruby and the congregants were forced to gather water with small pewter cups and spoons from the leaves of forest plants day in and day out.
They were starved and not allowed any water or food unless he was happy with the amount of water they gathered. If they didn't reach a specified daily quota, they were beaten by their captor, Darwin West. Ruby's blood has healing properties, so after her mother takes the beatings for the entire congregation, she heals her. It's an ugly violent cycle---and while that's hard enough to read about, it takes up a good part of the first hundred pages of the story. It took me awhile to get through it.

While it was hard to connect with any of the characters because of the bizarre cult mentality, it was also fascinating to read about people who are so overtaken by their beliefs that they give no thought to their own well being. Ruby's father, Otto had mystically healing blood as well, which brought them all together as his followers. Between the blood that Otto left them in vials before disappearing and Ruby's blood, they have kept their people alive for 200 years. The congregants endure a life of slavery, torture and near starvation because they are awaiting Otto's return. They tell themselves that this is what Otto wanted, for them to live this way until he returns to save them. It was a little hard to grasp, but then again, I've seen they way a cult belief can completely take over a person's mind.

Throughout the story, you get little glimpses of hope as Ruby makes plans to fight and free her people and I was glad and not surprised that it ended the way it did. The climax was quite gripping. I see it as a mark of the author's excellent writing that I closed this book each night with a feeling of complete emotional despair for it's character's plight.


If you decide to take this one on, prepare yourself for a very intense and emotionally draining ride.

Visit Pam Bachorz's site here.

Purchase Drought at: Amazon BN.comBookDepository

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox {52}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

Got some fun stuff this week...and Ta-da!!...stuck to my book-buying ban! The copy of Entangled is a purchase, but I ordered it weeks ago. Took ages to get to me...I mean it usually takes Book Depository a little longer to get books to me, but 18 days?? I was starting to get worried. Still, it's made it now and it's gorgeous, so I'm grateful. :)

For Review:
The Darlings are Forever by Melissa Kantor
This one looks sweet and light---I'll need something like this after what I'm reading now.

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
I've been excited for this one for ages. Can't wait to dive in.

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
This one, if I understand correctly, is a novelization of the upcoming movie, written simultaneously to filming. The fun thing is the book does not include the last chapter---to keep from spoiling the movie ending, the last chapter will be release on the website to coincide with the movie release. Pretty excited about the book...and the movie!

Entangled by Cat Clarke
Love this book, amazing stuff. You can read my review here.

(Many thanks to Hyperion CH, Flux Books, and Little,Brown Books for the review copies!)

So, that is all for me! Hope everyone had a wonderful book week!

This week on Stories & Sweeties:
~I'll be reviewing Drought and hopefully finish and review The Book of Tomorrow.
~Last few days to enter the January New Reads Giveaway!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

HarperTeen publishes book from InkPop

How cool is this news? HarperCollins announced this morning that they are publishing a book that was discovered on InkPop, the online community for teen writers. Huge congrats to new author, Leigh Fallon! Her book, Carrier of the Mark, will hit bookstore shelves Fall 2011!

Check out this gorgeous cover!!
Synopsis:
A move to Ireland is about to introduce Megan to her destiny, her real destiny, can she embrace it and will she survive it?

A tragedy in Megan’s past set her on a predetermined course. A chain of events has been set in motion that brings Megan to Kinsale, a small town in the south of Ireland where her destiny awaits her. Her life starts to fall into place as she makes new friends and settles into her new school. However, the reclusive and distant Adam DeRís calls to her body and soul.

She finds herself increasingly drawn to Adam and his strange family. Adam knows a secret from her past and he and his family hold the key to her future. A future that binds her to Adam and his world, a world of power, mystery and ancient orders. A world that unbeknownst to her, she very much belongs in.


Sounds pretty cool, doesn't it?? I can't wait to read it!

Review: Human Blend

Human Blend by Lori Pescatore

publisher: self-published/CreateSpace

released: June 10th, 2010

paperback, 234 pages

intended audience: Young adult (+14 recommended*)

rating:


source: from author for review

description:
Marion, Virginia seemed like a nice place to live a normal life, but she is not a normal girl. Laney has special abilities that keep her looking over her shoulder as she makes her escape from the men who had kidnapped her. A young doctor's interest is piqued when he witnesses her mysteriously curing a young child's illness. He befriends her due to his growing fascination with uncovering the true nature of her abilities, but not without harboring secrets of his own. Laney's budding relationship with a local boy puts both of them in danger when the men she was hiding from find her. All of their lives will change forever as ancient secrets become unearthed.

Review: I really enjoyed Human Blend. I am so glad the author contacted me to review this, as it would have gone completely under my radar otherwise. The cover is nothing special and would have never caught my eye, but inside hides a fast paced and thrilling story!

The protagonist, Laney, has lived almost her whole life in captivity, forced to use her mysterious healing powers and her ability to "see" numbers to aid a group of criminals. She has finally escaped to a small inconspicuous town and is trying to form some sort of stable life for herself, but she is constantly wary of being found and dragged back. Laney, or Julie, the identity she creates for herself is very likable...smart, funny, kind. She immediately set out to find a hospital where she can sneakily use her powers to help people who are suffering. She knows very little about her powers and where they come from or how they really work and that puts her in a few dangerous situations.

She meets a local boy on the very first day she rolls into town. He knows she hiding something, running from something, but is respectful and doesn't push her. The really fun part of the story was watching her rediscover the little pleasures in life---good food, a day at the lake, a first kiss with someone new. The relationship was very sweet and very quickly escalated, which at first had me a little thrown. It seemed every person she met immediately formed this intense relationship with her. By the fifth encounter, I literally said to myself, "Oh, come on!". I couldn't understand why all these men were falling all over her, but then you find out why, and it all falls into place. The explanation was actually quite funny to imagine!

Lots of fun little surprises as the story goes along and everyone's true nature is revealed---no one was who I thought they would be!

The writing is sometimes a little formal for the story it's conveying, and there were a few plot points that were just a bit too convenient, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of this. *I recommended +14 because of sexual situations, including an implied rape, and quite a bit of violence.

Definitely give this one a try! Not sure if there will be a sequel but I would definitely be eager to read more!

Purchase Human Blend at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Entwined

Entwined by Heather Dixon

publisher:
Greenwillow Books

release date: March 29th, 2011


hardcover, 480 pages


intended audience: Young adult


source: ARC from Around the World Tours


rating:


desctription:
Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Review: This one was a charmer. I love fairy tale retellings, whether they are modernized or told in the old style. This one was true to its fairy tale beginnings so we got all the lush ballrooms and beautiful flowing gowns, gentlemen and ladies with impeccable manners (some of them, at least!) and most of all in this story, the dancing. Dancing is everything to Azalea and her sisters. They dance when they are happy, they dance to lift their spirits, they dance to connect with their mother. It was interesting to try to picture all the dances, sometimes it comes through as enchanting, and sometimes it slowed the story a little.

While Entwined was a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, I also saw alot of parallels to Little Women when it came to the four eldest girls: the responsible and caring Azalea (like Meg), the fiery, temperamental Bramble (Jo), the very timid Clover (Beth), and the outspoken and always-thinking-of-the-future Delphinium (Amy). I loved how each of the twelve sisters had their own defined personalities, even though Azalea, Bramble, and Clover were the three we got to know best.

I loved the development of the relationship between the king and the girls. It starts out very rocky and both the girls and the king are dealing with grief in different ways. That puts them at complete odds in a way that is almost cruel to eachother. But soon the kings sets out to try to mend things with his daughters and there were parts of that that very nearly had me in tears because his efforts were so touching.

In all the magic and wonder and dancing in this, parts were genuinely creepy! Some of the scenes down in the hidden pavilion where the girls sneaked off to dance were frightening, with the eerie Keeper and his ghostly dancers.

The writing was very good, kept me wrapped up in the plot and only dipped a few times. One of my quirks with reading is when a description is used repetitively and I found that here: whenever the king was upset he would "suck in his cheeks" and he was upset quite a lot so this phase was on every few pages when the king was involved in the story. But again, that is just my own pet peeve.

All in all, this was a really enjoyable book! Definitely worth a read!

I was unable to find a website for this author---this may be updated in the future!

Pre-order Entwined at: AmazonBN.com BookDepository

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.

Watched
by Sharde Richardson

release date: May 30th, 2011 by Jolt

Description:
Mikayla doesn’t want much: just to rock out to her favorite band, become the next Kwiki Stop video gaming champion, and keep her Q-tip habit under control. What she does want is the sight of the sudden inexplicable dark auras around everyone to stop. Problem is, those auras are demons and Mikayla is the last trait holder with the power to ban them. Which is a total buzz kill.

To make matters worse, the town folk of Sulphur Springs don’t look the same, and her classmates are a little dark in the eyes. There are murders, suicides, reckless skinny-dipping, gratuitous use of Q-tips, and newfound powers that Mikayla must learn to control.

Her past becomes present when a shape-shifter tells her what her true identity is, and how to keep the demons of Hell from nipping at her Converse. Through him she’ll discover who to trust, who to kiss, and how valuable her abilities are to the right beings. Because the evils of Hell aren’t staying down without a fight.

Or without her soul.

My thoughts: This synopsis sounds pretty cool, and you can't deny that the cover is amazing! Q-tip habit? Curious. Definitely adding this one to my list of highly anticipated books of 2011.

Trailer for Desires of the Dead

Oh, wow...how did I miss this one! Apparently this trailer has been out for a few weeks and I haven't come across it anywhere until just a few minutes ago on VLC Production's blog! (Btw, does she not do some fabulous book trailers?? Amazing stuff!)

So, in case your like me and completely missed this one, here is the trailer for one of my most anticipated reads this year, Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Review: Entangled

Entangled by Cat Clarke

publisher: Quercus Books

released: January 6th, 2011 (UK - no US release)

paperback, 372 pages

intended audience: young adult (recommend 14+*)

source: from publisher for review

rating:


description:
The same questions whirl round and round in my head:
What does he want from me?
How could I have let this happen?
AM I GOING TO DIE?

17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with a table, pens and paper - and no clue how she got here.

As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she's tried to forget. There's falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unraveling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there's something missing. As hard as she's trying to remember, is there something she just can't see?

Grace must face the most important question of all. Why is she here?

A story of dark secrets, intense friendship and electrifying attraction.

Review: Entangled was altogether amazing. It sucks you in immediately with this bizarre mystery of why this girl wakes up in a stark white room with just a bed, a bathroom, a table with only pen and paper on it---and a mysterious strange man, her kidnapper she assumes. Apparently he expects her to write,..but why? So she sits down to write her story, everything she remember that led up to her ending up here. The story switches from Grace's writings about her past and her dilemma to figure out who her captor really is and what he wants with her.

I immediately liked Grace's voice. Its a funny thing to say, but I tend to love books written in a voice and wit that is so decidedly british. Her inner dialogue was both hilarious and biting. With the entire story being told through what she writes while being held in this little room, all her emotions are laid out on the page. She tells about being in love and her intense friendship with her best girlfriend, Sal, who is in most ways her complete opposite but just as troubled. She tells about her struggling relationship with her mother and the father who disappeared without a trace. We go with Grace on a roller coaster of finding love and heartbreak, drinking, and cutting---the only way she can think of to dull her pain. It's gritty and real and poignant. One minute I was laughing at Grace's smart-ass remarks, the next I was in tears. As the story hurls toward it's conclusion, the emotion in her words is so raw and intense that it reads like freeform poetry.

This is not one to be missed! I hope that eventually it will get picked up internationally and be available in the US and everywhere---but for now, it's worth the wait to order it from Book Depository (because I don't know about you, but it always seems to take 10-12 days to get to me) or wherever you can find that will ship from the UK. This is a downright brilliant debut.

*Reason for 14+ recommendation: there are several sexual situations and the main character is drunk in several scenes.

A quick thanks to Parul at Quercus for sending this to me all the way in the states to review. I know you made an exception in sending to a US blogger, and I am so honored and grateful!

Visit Cat Clarke's website here.

Purchase Entangled at BookDepository.com.

Trailer:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In My Mailbox {51}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

Got some really fun stuff this week, guys! Some review stuff that I've really been looking forward to, some birthday presents, and yes, a couple of used books store purchases. That's it...I give. My book-buying ban goal was to not buy any books until Desires of the Dead came out and I have failed, failed, failed. When I have money in my pocket, that is what I'm gonna spend it on...I guess there are worse things, right?

For Review:
Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney
Really looking forward to this one. Part historical, part magic & fantasy, cool cover...what's not to love?
Enclave by Ann Aguire
Previously known as Razorland, this one looks pretty gritty---I'm ready to dive in!
Shine by Lauren Myracle
Read Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle last year and loved it. Looking forward to reading another of her books!
Entwined by Heather Dixon(ATW Tours)
Been looking forward to this one since I laid eyes on the gorgeous cover. I'm half-way through..this one is a charmer!

Many thanks go out to St. Martin's Griffin, Fiewel & Friends, Abrams Books, and Around the World Tours for sending me these!

Birthday Gifts! (Thanks, Amy!! Love you!!)
The Hollow by Jessica Verday
The Haunted by Jessica Verday
I've been meaning to read this for ages! I love the old Sleepy Hollow legend so I was always curious about these books! My girl, Amy, loves these, so she got me my own copies for my bday!!

Bought:
Hautings: Tales of the Supernatural, illustrated by Edward Gorey
SUPER excited about this find. I came across this one in a used book store in Monterey just yesterday. I love all things Edward Gorey, so that was the main reason I bought it. When I looked through it more carefully, I discovered it was a collection of spooky stories from awesome writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry James, H. P, Lovecraft, and H.G. Wells! All illustrated by Gorey! How cool is that?!

Silksinger: Faeries of Dreamdark #2 by Laini Taylor
Once again, I purchased a second in a series without realizing it. Still, I've read that this one stands pretty strongly on it's own and how could I pass up such an intriguing sounding story and a pretty faery cover! So I may seek out the first book to read first---or I may just dive right into this one!

So that was my awesome book week. Coming up this week should be my review of Entangled (because I didn't get around to it last week! haha) , Human Blend, and Entwined.

Only a little over a week to get entries in for the monthly New Reads Giveaway so get those in if you haven't!

Also, a huge congrats goes out to Karina L.! She was the lucky winner of Entangled in my Dreaming of Books Giveaway!

Happy reading, all!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Timeless

Timeless by Alexandra Monir

publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

release date: January 11, 2011

hardcover, 288 pages

intended audience: Young adult

source: from publisher for review

rating:


description:
When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance.

Michele is soon leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – a quest that will determine the fate of both of their lives.

Review: Timeless is a love story spanning ages in just a few short months. Through the magic of a key that belongs to the father that she never knew, Michele finds herself jumping through time to come to the aid of her ancestors and meet the love of her life.

Alexandra Monir proves herself to be quite a storyteller with this debut. I kept thinking to myself how fun it must have been to research and write this story. We get to experience the elegant Victorian age with horse-drawn carriage rides, pristine white gloves, and ballrooms, as well as the swinging 20's with speakeasies and feathered flappers. The descriptions of the costumes and surrounding were wonderful, although a few times it felt just a little overdone. (i.e., with the dialogue when we first meet Lily in the 20s---it felt a little like the author researched every slang saying used in that era and threw it all in at once.) You can see how the authors musical background makes its way into her writing---I love how big a part music was to the story.

Michele was a sweetheart. I loved her close relationship to her mother, and her fierce defense of her mother against her grandparents. I did also love how the relationship with her grandparents grew and transformed as she finds out more about them. I was a little confused about what little was revealed about her dad, but I'm sure there will be more explanation about that in future installments! She was a smart cookie, too! Despite being in a new school and thrust into this crazy life of rich society families, she kept her head and didn't fall for any other the snobbery. She had a good, solid friend in Caissie...she definitely proved it by not writing Michele off as insane even when she is not quite sure she believed her impossible stories!

The love story is enchanting and I found myself holding my breath, hoping that it all worked out and even shedding a tear or two as the story wound its way to it's inevitable conclusion. The ending throws in quite the cliffhanger and I can't wait to see where it leads! She left us with so much hope!!

Read this one, and soon!!

Visit the Alexandra's site here. (No, really, check it out!! She is a musician as well as a writer and she has even recorded songs that were for this book!)

Purchase Timeless at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository

Trailer:



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.

Witches of East End
by Melissa de la Cruz


releasing June 21, 2011 by Disney-Hyperion

description:
The two novels will follow the lives of the Beauchamp girls, who live in the fictional town of North Hampton, as they struggle to stop an arch nemesis and restore the delicate balance between good and evil. De la Cruz will weave characters from her best-selling Blue Bloods young adult series into this new paranormal series for adults.

My thoughts: Ok, so, despite having never read any of the Blue Blood novels (I've always meant to) and despite this being an adult novel (oh, wait, I am one of those, aren't I? hehe), I find myself completely drawn to this one! Getting in at the beginning of a series about witchy sisters restoring the balance between good and evil sounds awesome to me.  And of course, this stunning cover doesn't hurt either.  I am hoping to read a few of the Blue Blood novels before this one hits shelves so I can be excited to see the characters cross over into this book and also so I can see the contrast between Melissa De La Cruz for YA and Melissa De La Cruz for Adults.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

As promised...The Big Giveaway!


...I give you, the TRIPLE CELEBRATION GIVEAWAY!!!

January is a special month here on Stories & Sweeties!  This month marks my one year anniversary of starting this fun little blog! It's also my birthday month (it was yesterday actually!!)  AND I am astounded to be celebrating my 700 follower milestone!! I want to thank all of my blog readers, including the ones that follow through RSS feed and other ways---I hope you know I appreciate every single one of you!!

So lets give away some stuff!!
Contest will run until February 11th.
There will be 3 winners chosen randomly.
Open Internationally*!! 
Following my blog isn't necessary, but always appreciated!

WINNER #1 - PICK TWO PRE-ORDERS!
Choose from:                                   
WINNER #2 - PICK TWO ARCs!!
Choose from:
WINNER #3 - CHOOSE ANY ONE BOOK FROM ABOVE.
(Depending on who wins and which book is chosen, it will either be sent from me or ordered/preordered for the winner.)

*Please be sure Book Depository delivers to your country.


Good luck, everyone!! And thanks for celebrating with me!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Review: Across the Universe

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

published by
Razorbill

release date: January 11, 2011

hardcover, 398 pages


intended audience: Young adult
(recommended age: 14+)


source: trade

rating:


description:Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Review: Oh my.  This one was fascinating.  Really fascinating.  I don't read a lot of science fiction.  It just tend to be a bit too technical for me a lot of the time.  This one, however, was touted as "science fiction for people who don't like science fiction".  What? Once I read this, that statement  made perfect sense.   Along with being science fiction, it was a romance, a murder mystery, a dystopian...yes, more than anything else, I think I would put this in the dystopian category.  Because more than anything, it is about a futuristic community that has been built on a ship traveling through space.  And what happens when a society has to accommodate being cooped up in a metal cage.  What happens when a leader emerges from the group that thinks he knows what is best for the whole and goes a little overboard with the power and control.

Going into this book, I really had no idea what to expect.  The beginning, for me, was brutal to experience.  The story starts with the introduction of Amy and her parents and describes, in vividly gut-wrenching detail, the procedure they have to endure to be cryogenically frozen. I'm admittedly a bit on the wimpy side when it comes to things like this, especially when it comes to things being forcibly shoved down a persons throat while they are conscious.  So just the first chapter left me just a bit shaky.

I liked the array of interesting characters in this book. Amy has a fiery spirit, made even more so by her anger at being unfrozen and by her determination to protect her parents and the other that are still frozen from being attacked in the same way.  Elder seemed a bit young and innocent, much like a mischievous school boy, but that made sense because of the way he was raised.  The romance in this was light, more about curiosity and fascination than passion, since Amy is the first "different" person he has ever seen and also the first person he's ever met that is his own age.

There were quite a few sexual situations in this, but not like you would expect.  In this wacked-out society, sex has become more of a basic human function than an act of love, and the people of a certain age stop in the streets and sidewalks and field and "mate" not unlike animals in the wild. It was pretty shocking.  And with the situation that it puts Amy in, it also becomes quite frightening.

This story throws a few of those profound, what-would-you-do conundrums at you, where the line starts to blur between right and wrong.  At times, it deals with some pretty heavy themes, like prejudice and misuse of  controlled substances and genetic manipulation. 

This was a gripping tale, definitely one that gets you thinking.  I really enjoyed it and recommend it! An impressive debut novel!

Visit Beth Revis's site here.

Purchase Across the Universe at:   Amazon   •   Barnes & Noble   •   BookDepository

Trailer:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In My Mailbox {50}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

Got some great stuff this week...and yeah, okay, it was another epic FAIL week for the book-buying ban.  I read Tyger Tyger last month in ebook form and have been dying to get a beautiful hardcover copy for my bookshelves.  Well, I hadn't seen in at the bookstores for awhile and suddenly there it was. So that's my excuse.  I know...I'm weak. And it may have been my downfall this week, but I love my new pretty copy of Tyger, Tyger all the same.  :) 
Library:
Finally going to read this one!! I've been dying to get to it forever!

For Review:
This just came out in paperback, so I was lucky enough to be offered a copy to review. 
I had no idea what these three were about until the showed up on my doorstep, and now I'm excited about all three! They all sounds like pretty fascinating stories!

Bought:
Wonderful, wonderful book...had to have it in my collection.

(Many thanks go out to Little, Brown and Random House for the review books!)
No ebooks this week, I decided to slow down since I got so many last week. But I will be keeping my ebooks as part of the main IMM post.  Thanks to all who put in their input on that! :) 

Coming up this coming week: reviews of Across the Universe, Timeless, and Entangled!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop!! Win Entangled!

Ok, guys, so I've joined up with a bunch a fabulous bloggers on the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop, hosted by I'm a Reader, Not a Writer!!


Look what I've got for you this time!!

I LOVED Entangled and I hope that whoever wins this one enjoys it, too!






So here's what you do, keeping this one really simple:

~Must be a follower!
~Must fill out the form below!
~Must love cupcakes! (No, I'm kidding on that one, you don't really have to. )

This one is international. Winner will received a finished copy of Entangled by Cat Clarke directly from BookDepository.

Good luck everyone!! :)

THIS IS THE FORM!! CLICK HERE!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cover Story Special Edition: a chat about PASSION

OK, guys. Let's chat. Just know, the following post will be my own personal opinion, so agree with me, disagree with me,... but I'd love to hear what everyone has to say!

If you've been a reader here for awhile, you know how much I love the Fallen series, and how I adored and practically drooled all over the covers for Fallen and, especially, Torment. Well, as most of you probably know, the cover for the third book in the series (there will be four, as far as I know) was released just last week. Take a look:

So? What do you think? I have to admit, this is my least favorite of the three. In my opinion, it's pretty but it just doesn't have the same amazing, romantic, almost tortured-love feel as Fallen and Torment, and with the story going back through the past, 5,000 years of Daniel and Luce falling in love and having it end in tragedy, I can imagine that a "tortured love" is exactly what we're going to get in this one!
Here are a few of my honest to goodness thoughts on this cover:

~I don't really like that you can see her face. It was, strangely, one of the things that I loved about the first two covers. Left Luce a mystery and we each got to build up our own little image of her in our heads! If anything, I wish a reveal of Luce's face would have been left for the final book.

~I loved the gorgeous, muted, kind of monotone color palettes of the first two. I kind of understand the addition of more color in this one, as the story "heats up", but I think I would have liked to see it stay with just the pop of color in the flower. The strange brown clouds in the back? Not a fan.

~Speaking of the flower, as I've seen the lovely Juju point out, it definitely should have been a white peony. It was mention is both book 1 and book 2 that white peonies are Luce's favorite flower. I know, picky, picky. :)

Ok, so now, I'm going to share with you a few of my alternate choices that I would have loved to see on this book. They are all, of course, chosen from the gallery of the wonderful artist who created all the covers, Fernanda Brussi. All of her work is simply amazing!! All images below have been posted with her permission, and each one links back to her gallery so you can get a better look.

<<<
This is the original of the art that was chosen for the cover. I kind of wish they had left it like this: her face more covered, no brown clouds in the back, and just that pop of red in the flower. Perfect! Plus the dress looks more flowy and soft because it was left lighter, the one on the final cover is kind of hard and stiff looking.








>>>
This one is one of my favorites in Fernanda's whole gallery. I love the white dress, and would not have minded at all if they had switched Luce to a white dress...and that little hint of her face, that is about as much as I would have been okay with, LOL.







<<<
THIS would have been my first choice for Passion, hands down. Love how she is looking over her shoulder and back (into the past?:D) Love the whispy strands of foliage and the ravens. And the gorgoeus flowing dress holds its own with the first two book's dresses.









>>>
Just another good choice, I think! :) Kind of fits with the first two.








<<<
This one would have been a fun choice, if you change the girls hair color to black, of course, and maybe kind of darken up the colors overall to flow better with the first two books. I thought with the story jumping back 5,000 years into the past, there has to be castles in the story somewhere, right?? :)






Okay, okay, I know we're not suppose to pay so much attention to covers! But when it comes to this series in particular, I seem to have built up a sort of fangirly obsession with them. Let's just say I'm very "PASSIONate" about it! (ayuck, ayuck...sorry, corny joke!) With all that said, I want to add this: Even though the cover is not my favorite of this series, you can bet I'll still be jumping up and down, first in line at my local book store when this releases!! I adore this series and can't wait for PASSION to release in June!!

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.

Haunting Violet
by Alyxandra Harvey


releasing June 21, 2011 by Walker Book for Young Readers

Description:

Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?

My thoughts: This ghost story sounds amazing, and what a breathtaking cover. That's all I need! :)

Pardon my dust!

Is there a party going on over here??? Well, as you can see I have a new look, but just for the rest of January! Why? Well BECAUSE...

It's my BLOGOVERSARY MONTH!!

It's my BIRTHDAY next week!!

AND I just past 600 Fabulous Followers!!

That's WHY!! :)

So stay tuned! I'll be putting up a Triple-Spectacular Giveaway in the next few days, so keep an eye out!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Review: The Lost Saint

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain

publisher: EgmontUSA

release date: December 28th, 2010


hardcover, 416 pages


intended audience: Young adult


source: received for review


sequel to: The Dark Divine (2009) -
my review

rating:


Warning! Description and Review may contain spoilers for the first book in the series! Only continue if you've read The Dark Divine!
Description: The non-stop sequel to The Dark Divine delivers an even hotter romance and more thrilling action than Bree Despain's first novel. Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She gave her soul to the wolf to save him and lost her beloved mother. When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do. She must become a Hound of Heaven. Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot - a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero. But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel begins to crumble. Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace becomes prideful in her new abilities - not realizing that an old enemy has returned and deadly trap is about to be sprung. Readers, ravenous for more Grace and Daniel, will be itching to sink their teeth into The Lost Saint.

Review: The Lost Saint was an exciting and intense follow-up to The Dark Divine. Grace is slowly coming into her powers as an Urbat. Her and Daniels relationship has only been intensified by the fact that she risked her life and his to cure him of the werewolf curse, not to mention lost her brother in the process. The once stable Divine family, the center of the community, is now falling apart with her father constantly off trying to find Jude, her mother seemingly on the edge of insanity over Jude's disappearance, and the community beginning to lose faith in the leadership of their pastor. Not to mention, a strange rash of burglaries happening around town that are pulled of with impossible speed and stealth. This book definitely has a different feel from the first---like I said, very INTENSE.

Grace is still a strong and determined character is this one, allbeit somewhat stubborn and naive. She wants to use her new found powers to become a true Hound of Heaven, and when Daniel stops training her because of the obvious dangers in using the wolf powers, she finds someone who will. I found it a little odd that she would be so naive about how the wolf takes over by urging her use her powers in anger after everything she'd already been through with Daniel and Jude (Hm..where, oh, where is that inner monologue coming from? The angry voice that sounds nothing like me but encourages me to act on my most primal fears and angers? I wonder...). Still, her pursuit to learn about her new powers and her determination to find her brother and bring him home makes for an excellent story.

Daniel is just as illusive and mysterious as last time---he really is a great character. Noble and protective and loving. Grace's best friend, April, comes back into the story---still didn't like her this time around. :) She can be funny at times, but I just feel so sorry for Grace that she needs a confidant for all the serious things happening to her and all April can think of is how to design a superhero costume for her. Oh, and Talbot...the new guy. I thought I saw his place in the story coming a mile away, BUT he surprised me in the end. I liked that!

While admittedly, my attention waned once or twice in the middle of this one, the ending was phenomenal. Exciting, suspenseful, dripping with the danger of a violent battle, and Daniel's part in it can only be described as epic.

Visit Bree Despain's site here.

Purchase The Lost Saint at: Amazon BN.comBookDepository

Trailer:


Saturday, January 8, 2011

In My Mailbox {49}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

Uh...hmm. Did I say book-buying ban last week? Well, you knew I mean it started after this week, right? Ok, so I only bought one, that's good improvement, right? AND it was on sale...darn that Target for putting Elixir on sale.

For Review:
Tutored by Allison Whittenburg
Timeless by Alexandra Monir
The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher

Thanks for Random House and Sourcebooks Fire for these!

Bought *smacks hand*
Elixir by Hilary Duff

New on my Nook:
(covers link to goodreads pages)

Simon & Schuster Galley Grab:


Netgalley:


Purchased:


So, guys, I was thinking of making a separate post of the new digital stuff I get, to keep my IMM from getting too cluttered and to give the digital fun stuff its own bit of special attention. What do you think? Just keep it in with the IMM stuff or make another separate post called "New on My Nook".

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review: Unearthly

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

publisher: HarperTeen

release date: January 4, 2011

hardcover, 435 pages

intended audience: Young adult

source: ARC, traded

rating:



description:

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

Review: This book was astounding. No, not astounding for a debut novelist---I mean astounding for any writer. I picked it up two days ago, had to force my self to put it down so I could sleep, and couldn't wait to pick it up the next day. The following night, or morning rather, at 3am, I turned the last page. Sure, I paid the price the next day at work...but it was worth it. :)

I honestly can't pinpoint what it was that I loved so much about this one. The writing flowed perfectly. Both the story and the relationships between characters built up naturally. There was adventure and love and moral dilemma and evil and danger...it was all there, but paced in a way that felt like you were just living a chapter in the life of this angel, knowing that the meaning and purpose of your life is predestined and wanting to succeed at what you've been put on this earth for, but also wanting so much more . Somehow, Cynthia Hand made being one of heaven's angels a completely relatable experience.

I loved the mother-daughter relationship here. Clara regarded her mother with this perfect blend of awe, respect, and teenage angst. Unlike so many mothers in YA these days, her mother was accessible but firm, level headed but loving, and could pull off a fierce "protective mama-bear" with the best of them. It was refreshing to see. Despite being what they are, this little family of three, Clara, her mother, and her brother, Jeffrey, really seemed to pull off "normal" quite well.

The story rose up and down and constantly had me wondering how the conclusion would play out, but it was definitely exciting and surprising! I assure you, you don't want to pass this book up!

A word about the cover: So...I'm going to be waiting until book depository carries the AU version of Unearthly to purchase a copy for myself. Why? Well, because it's gorgeous, of course...and because I love that the girl's hair is actually orange, which Clara's hair is for a good part of the story. Her orange hair is actually quite significant to the story itself, so I love that it was accurately portrayed that way on this cover. Nothing against the US cover, it's very pretty and I do love the pretty periwinkle color!

AU cover: click to see it larger! :)



Visit Cynthia Hand's site here.

Purchase Unearthly at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository

Trailer:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.

Desires of the Dead
by Kimberly Derting

released February 11th, 2011

description:
The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.

When Violet Ambrose's morbid ability to sense the echoes of those who've been murdered leads her to the body of a young boy, she draws the attention of the FBI. She is reluctantly pulled into an investigation that will endanger more than just her secret...but her relationship and possibly her life as well.


My thoughts: Ok, I know this one is nothing new as far as WoW picks go, but since reading The Body Finder just last month, I can't WAIT to get my hands on it!! Completely taken with the romance in this series, LOVE Jay---oh, and Violet...she's pretty cool, too. :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

House of Night Awakened Trailer & Sweepstakes!

Happy book birthday to the newest installment in the House of Night series, Awakened!

A new trailer has hit the blogosphere for it and also details on an awesome sweepstakes---the winners will be flown to Tulsa, see the sights from the books, and meet up with authors P.C & Kristen Cast for lunch at The Chalkboard Restaurant!! Find out more details about the contest and enter HERE.

Trailer: