Jan 31, 2013

Review: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Title: Incarnate
Author: Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publishing Date: January 31, 2012
Pages/Format: 374, Hardcover

New soul
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul
Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: GREAT

Going into this book, I really had no idea what to expect; I just knew that the cover was pretty. Now that I've read the book, I must say that it's better than I thought it was going to be. I have almost no complaints, though there were some frustrations (I'll explain later). All I really want is to dive straight into Asunder--thank goodness I have a copy!

I'll start with the very few negatives. I really like how quick this book was to read, and how it was fast-paced. However, for the first few chapters it was too fast, and I felt like I had missed a prequel or something. Other than that, my only issue was being a little confused with who was who (some unusual names) and not understanding how some things worked.

And then there were my frustrations. (Minor spoilerish alert. Sort of.) To explain: I did this, more than once (but on a pillow or on carpet).

To sum it up even more, I was talking to Jenna from Making the Grade about Incarnate, and she tweeted this. PERFECT.

The tension was just...GAH! Jodi Meadows, you killed me!

Anyway. Back to the rest of the book. The concept--souls being reincarnated, and then one not and a newsoul/nosoul showing up--was really interesting and different. And the humans weren't alone--they had enemies, like sylphs and trolls and DRAGONS. It was a kind of dystopian/contemporary world, mixed in with some fantasy. (Don't quote me on that. I'm horrible at classifying genres.)

I liked the characters that were meant to be liked. Ana was her own person--literally. As far as anyone knows, she's the only newsoul in existence. She's had it hard, getting crap for being a newsoul, as well as being raised by Li. (I hate Li.) Sam was just...*happy sigh* It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that male characters named Sam are very desirable. Seriously. There's Sam from the Wolves of Mercy Falls, and now's there this one--he just makes my heart pitter-patter, and he's so nice. I love him. 

The writing was nice and readable, with some great detail, but not too much. As I mentioned earlier, Incarnate is fast-paced, but sometimes it really worked for Ana's story. She's trying to figure out why she was created and how--can it happen again? Will she be reincarnated? Does she have a soul? And Jodi Meadows has a way with words. Exhibit A: Chapter 21. (MY HEART. THE BUTTERFLIES.) Exhibit B (page 242): 

"I hate being a teenager."

Thank you for that, Jodi! 

I'm shaking my head, wondering why I just read this book when it's been out for a year. (Shame on me!) Incarnate was excellent, full of action, sexual tension (frustrations!), cool characters, and a very interesting world full of similarly interesting concepts. (A wall with a pulse? A strange temple? Say what?) This book has all kinds of FEELS, people. You want the feels. Therefore, you should read this book. In the meantime, appreciate the stunning cover and pine for an awesome butterfly mask--I'll be making my way toward Asunder, which I can't wait to read. My eyes are officially on (and my nose in) this series.

Did I like it? A LOT.
Did I love it? Not 100%, but there's definitely some love.
Would I reread it? Yes.
Would I purchase it? I WANT IT NOW.
Would I recommend it? Absolutely!

Jan 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (18)

Waiting on Wednesday
is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that showcases
upcoming releases that people are very much anticipating.

I have an ARC of this book and want to read it sooo bad! For one, it's set in the 80s. HOW COOL IS THAT? And, it sounds super duper cute. Like, Anna and the French Kiss cute. YES, PLEASE. (Add this to your radar. Do it.)
Author: Rainbow and Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publishing Date: March 5, 2013
Pages: 320

"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor and Park is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

What are you waiting on this week? Tell me in the comments!

Jan 25, 2013

Review: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

Title: Nobody But Us
Author: Kristin Halbrook
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: January 29, 2013
Pages/Format: 288, ARC

Bonnie and Clyde meets If I Stay in this addictively heart-wrenching story of two desperate teenagers on the run from their pasts.

They’re young. They’re in love. They’re on the run.

Zoe wants to save Will as much as Will wants to save Zoe. When Will turns eighteen, they decide to run away together. But they never expected their escape to be so fraught with danger....

When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough.

Nobody But Us, told in alternating perspectives from Will and Zoe, is an unflinching novel, in turns heartbreaking and hopeful, about survival, choices, and love...and how having love doesn’t always mean that you get a happy ending. Described as “beautiful, heartbreaking, and exhilarating” by Kody Keplinger, author of The Duff, Nobody But Us will prove irresistible to fans of Nina Lacour, Jenny Han, and Sara Zarr.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: Broken

I've noticed a trend in the books I've read lately: they're all breaking my heart. And Nobody But Us was definitely not an exception. And it wasn't just the end--it was the entire thing, all two-hundred-something pages. From the looks of it, this book may seem like some cute, happy ending, lovey dovey contemporary. But it's not. It's a contemporary full of two broken pieces that will never fully be put back together.

Zoe's dad is an abusive asshole. There's not one thing that's good about him. So when her boyfriend, the eighteen-year-old, fostered Will (who's three years older than her) gets out of the foster care system, he takes her with him. Of course, it's not that simple. She's fifteen. She can't just leave the state. They have no jobs, no one to help them--there's no one but them. As they head toward their destination of Las Vegas, they hit several roadblocks along the way. And when they get to the end--I can't even. Like, WHY, KRISTIN? WHY? (My heart was shattered into a million little pieces throughout this book. Again. And again. And again.)

The chapters--alternating between Will and Zoe--really show the differences between the two lovers. At first, I wasn't sure that I liked it--Will's point-of-view majorly contrasts, using slang and improper grammar; not something I see a lot of. However, once I got used to it, I didn't mind that and his dialogue--it all plays on his character, shows where he's been, how he doesn't have much, including a nice education. While Will is older and the physically stronger of the two--and therefore more capable of some survival skills--he could be the lesser person, when compared to Zoe. He really has no future plans--except for Zoe--while she has an education, dreams, plans for the future. But they both have problems, and that causes bumps on their trip to escape. 

Part of me loved Will, while the other thought he was a douche. Kristin Halbrook gave something that I don't see a lot--broken characters that probably shouldn't be loved, but you love them anyway. Will's number one problem was his temper--dude, keep it in check. Especially because of where Zoe was coming from--that temper could really mess things up. But Zoe wasn't Little Miss Sunshine herself; in fact, she was kind of annoying. Something about her just bothered me--I know Will's her "savior" and all, but he has some serious issues. Some of the things they'd say were just a little unbelievable, a little to "are you kidding me? Really?" But maybe that's the point--maybe Kristin was trying to show that kind of relationship, because similar ones do exist in real-life. This wasn't some cookie cutter love story--it's a love story where the cookie crumbles. 

While I don't think I liked the book as much as I thought I would--it certainly wasn't what I had expected--I still quite liked it. It's different than other contemporaries out there, dealing with different issues and different kinds of people. It was a quick and good read; enjoyable, in a way. And as I said earlier--THAT ENDING. That definitely took me by surprise. I look forward to reading more of Kristin's books in the future, and Nobody But Us was a great debut.

Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? Not fully.
Would I reread it? Yes.
Would I purchase it? Yes.
Would I recommend it? If someone asked about it, yes. But I don't think I'd shove it in someone's face--depends on what they're asking.

Breaking Waves Tour Stop

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Danielle Sibarium's Breaking Waves! Today I have all the info--on Danielle and her books--along with a super fun interview and a giveaway! Enjoy!

The Author
Danielle Sibarium grew up as an only child of divorced parents in Brooklyn, New York. Her imagination was developed at an early age. Surrounded by stuffed animals and imaginary friends, she transported herself into a fantasy world full of magic and wonder. Books were the gateway between her play world and reality. On any given summer afternoon she became Snow White sweeping and cooking for the dwarfs, or Cinderella waiting for the prince.

Danielle always loved dialogue and in elementary school began writing plays and short stories. This is when she began to understand she could not only bring her fantastical world to life for herself, but she could enchant others as well. And so she wrote. She wrote and wrote and wrote.

Sadly the first piece she ever sent out for publication of any sort was a letter to the editor of The Home News Tribune. It was a piece thanking the first responders for their bravery and selflessness on Sept 11th. It was chosen as letter of the week.

The Books
Heart Waves
Jenna Kingsley has a gift. She knows things. With a simple touch she can pick up personal information from jewelry or objects. While at a neighbor’s party, a voice mesmerizes her. Jenna is momentarily frozen as a ring is placed in her hand. White electricity surges through her and a dire prediction is made. “It’s like Romeo and Juliet. You’re going to break my heart.”

From the moment they meet Jenna is enchanted and entranced with Reece Walton. She’s thrilled to learn he’s spending the summer two houses away from hers. Every moment they spend together is magical. But she can’t get the prediction out of her mind. As the summer draws to a close and secrets are revealed, can Jenna get past the fear of being left with a broken heart to live in the moment with Reece or will her fear of being hurt fulfill the prophecy?

Breaking the Waves
From the moment they met, Jenna knew Reece would break her heart, but she never dreamed it would happen like this. Jenna is left shattered and broken. When life becomes too painful to deal with and she feels completely alone, there’s only one person to help her pick up the pieces and move on. The one person she doesn’t want to turn to. The one person she promised to stay away from. Tyler. 

Can Jenna put aside everything she knows about him and let Tyler help heal her broken heart?

The Interview
Jenna Kingsley can read personal information about someone when she touches an object of theirs. What would she read when touching the following items?

The Beast's mirror from Beauty and the Beast.
You are not what you show yourself to be. You have an angry gruff exterior, yet inside you're hurting, longing for what you believe you will never have. I see you looking back into the past with deep regret, trying to find a way to go back and change the consequences of your actions. You need to learn from your mistakes and apply those lessons to what is still to come. You can only change the future.

Michael Jackson's glove.
On the outside, people think you are strong and powerful, on top of the world. That's not who you truly are. You are frightened and hurt by the insincerity and violence around you. You can't trust anyone. Only children. They make you smile, they are your sunlight. You want to be with them always because they are pure and innocent. They don't hate based on race or color or disability. They are not after you because of the things you possess. They are with you because you are like them. When they are hurt you want to help them. You wish to always see the world through the eyes of a child.

Katniss Everdeen's mockingjay pin.
Love and loyalty lead to emotional reactions. There is nothing you will not do in the name of love and honor. You do all you can to protect the people you love. You thrive in pressure situations, between your skill and making rational split second decisions. These choices, while leading you onto a path of glory, have also marked you. You are in danger. Grave danger.

The ring when it's in Smeagol's possession in The Lord of the Rings.
You feel you have a treasure. A powerful prize with magic deep in its roots. It isn't what it seems. You feel like you must have it, you must hide it, keep it close to you. You know it is hurting you, eating away at your soul, yet you cannot let it go. As much as you love it, you despise it. You must get rid of this or it will destroy you!

Cinderella's glass slipper.
Your life has not been an easy one. You've been alone and hurting most of your life. You've cried a sea of tears and yearned for love and acceptance from selfish, self-centered people who didn't know how to give it. That is all behind you now. You've found true love. Only it won't come easy. You have to fight for it, and if you do, he will give you the world. And just like a fairytale, you'll live happily ever after.

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jan 22, 2013

The Archived Release Day + Giveaway

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Welcome to

Can you believe it's already 2013, the year of awesome books? I can't. But yet, here we are. And today brings the release of Victoria Schwab's The Archived! I've been waiting on this for what seems like eternity, and I can't believe it's finally here! As a lover of books and Keeper of the Archive, I want to share this book with you. Here are all the goods!

The Beauty Within
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

Pretty on the Outside

Some Love
A refreshingly angel-free departure in afterlife fiction, this gripping supernatural thriller features nuanced characters navigating a complex moral universe.-Kirkus
You, You, You
What, you thought this was about me? Wrong answer. This is about you, too. Would you like to win some swag from The Archived? I thought you would. Here's what's up for grabs:

10 winners total
10 winners will receive a signed The Archived bookmark
Of those 10, 3 will also receive a sticker
Of those 3 with a sticker and a bookmark, 1 person will also get a signed The Archived bag

I'm giving you lots of options to enter, mainly because I know some people can do certain things and others can't, so I want you to have a bunch of chances. Have fun!

Some Guidelines:
Cheating is not acceptable.
Neither I (Rachel) nor Victoria Schwab are responsible for any lost, stolen, or damaged items.
The contest runs for one week, from January 22 to January 29, 2013.
Winners have 48 hours to respond or else a new winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now go get Archived!

Jan 21, 2013

Review: Gates of Paradise by Melissa de la Cruz

Title: Gates of Paradise
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Hyperion
Publishing Date: January 15, 2013
Pages/Format: 368, Hardcover

Schuyler Van Alen is running out of time. The Dark Prince of Hell is storming the Gates of Paradise, intent on winning the heavenly throne for good. This time he has his greatest angels by his side, Abbadon and Azrael—Jack and Mimi Force, as they are known in the Coven.

Or so he thinks. Even as Lucifer assigns Jack and Mimi the tasks of killing their true loves, the Force twins secretly vow to defeat the Dark Prince once and for all. But how far will Mimi and Jack go to conceal their real loyalties?

Meanwhile, former vampire Bliss Llewellyn has joined forces with Lawson, the greatest wolf of the underworld, to free his people from their imprisonment in Hell. As they struggle against impossible odds, an ancient message, woven into the very fabric of time, reveals just how much depends on the success of their mission.

Lucifer seeks the key to the Gate of Promise, and when Schuyler is taken captive and delivered straight to Hell, she must make an unthinkable choice—the same one the archangel Michael was forced to make during the Crisis in Rome. Will Schuyler find the strength to do what he could not?

The epic, heartbreaking Blue Bloods series comes to a close with this final novel about staggering courage, unbearable sacrifice, and the immortality of true love.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: LOST

The synopsis said Gates of Paradise, the final book in the Blue Bloods series, would be "heartbreaking" and have "unbearable sacrifice." That was not a lie. While the end was still rushed, as so many series finales seem to be, it still cleaned up pretty nicely, leaving someone who started the series years ago--someone like me--feeling like they'd lost a huge part of their life.

My only problem with this book--besides the somewhat rushed final scenes (I want a bloodbath) and being confused on occasion--was just one, and one that could easily be fixed: I felt disconnected. And that's really my fault, because I haven't read some of the Blue Bloods books in years, and it's easy to forget. Because I felt disconnected, I wasn't always fully invested in the book. But the feels, they were just--I can't even. THEY KILLED ME. Seriously. And the end, OH THE END. It got me. So many things in this books got me so hard. I just--I can't.

I've been following around Schuyler Van Alen, Jack Force, Oliver Hazard-Perry, and Mimi Force (along with some other characters, like Bliss and Kingsley) for quite some time. Saying goodbye was emotional. Schuyler's grown so much over seven books, from being the unpopular girl in school to being salvation for the Blue Bloods. Jack Force is more than just the guy I was so in love with--he's become such a deeper character. Mimi...well, she's still a bitch. But she's the good kind. For the most part. Oliver, my dear Oliver who never seems to get full happiness, finally gets something(s) good. (And I'm shocked, by the way. Totally shocked!) It was nice to see Bliss again--I missed her--and I totally reminisced on Dylan. And then there's Kingsley--gosh, I love him. A totally hot bad boy. These characters are my babies, and they've just changed and grown so much, and now they're gone. (Sort of.)

I've had some back and forths with this series (long story), and I thought I was totally ready for it end to with Gates of Paradise. Of course I was wrong. I want everyone back for a hundred books, right now. But that can't happen. It's like I posted on Facebook:
About five years ago, I really started reading. This is one of the first series I started, and its final book came out this week. Tonight I met the author and finished the finale--I'm still not sure how I feel about. (I'm in shock.) It feels weird saying goodbye to something you've been with for so long. Fortunately, while all stories have that dreaded final page, they live in us forever.
Once I read THE END, I was okay with this book. Most of my questions were answered, and I may or may not have gotten all the endings I wanted. (I could say somebody dies, I could say somebody doesn't.) I had to say goodbye, and that was the hardest thing. It makes me feel empty, lost, and confused, and I have to try not to cry. Melissa ended the series with a bang that will suck your blood--seriously, I made noises and had physical reactions. Total freak out! Like I said earlier, this was one of the first series I ever read. It makes me want to say nothing bad about it. And I swore on Goodreads! I usually hold back from that! Really, I'm just kind of speechless. (Oh my gosh, I'm tearing up writing this review.) Also, this review is horrible, because I can't put my thoughts into words. I'm at a loss. Blue Bloods fans, may you enjoy the end to this long-running series! As I said on Twitter:
Five years ago I said hello, today I say goodbye. I'll see you later, my lovely Blue Bloods. 
*tries really hard not to cry*



Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? In a way.
Would I reread it? Absolutely.
Would I purchase it? Already have it!
Would I recommend it? YES. Go Blue Bloods!

Jan 20, 2013

Interview: Michelle Muto

Hello! Today for you I have a little interview with Michelle Muto, as well as everything you need to know about her latest novel, The Haunting Season! (Sounds spooky, doesn't it?) Be sure to check it out! Enjoy! (And don't get scared!)

The Book
Be careful what you let in…

Siler House has stood silent beneath Savannah’s moss-draped oaks for decades. Notoriously haunted, it has remained empty until college-bound Jess Perry and three of her peers gather to take part in a month-long study on the paranormal. Jess, who talks to ghosts, quickly bonds with her fellow test subjects. One is a girl possessed. Another just wants to forget. The third is a guy who really knows how to turn up the August heat, not to mention Jess’s heart rate…when he’s not resurrecting the dead. 

The study soon turns into something far more sinister when they discover that Siler House and the dark forces within are determined to keep them forever. In order to escape, Jess and the others will have to open themselves up to the true horror of Siler House and channel the very evil that has welcomed them all.

Find The Haunting Season and more of Michelle's books on Amazon US, Amazon UKB&N, iTunes, and Smashwords  

The Interview
In the form of a tweet, how would you describe The Haunting Season?
A notoriously haunted house. An experiment on the paranormal. Be careful what you let in.

Why did you decide to write a horror/supernatural novel?
I've always had a fascination with everything paranormal and I'm a huge Stephen King fan.

There's a wide spectrum of age groups in literature. How come you chose New Adult?
I wanted my characters to be in that in-between age - a time when they're not yet adults or through college, but at an age where they're finding out what adulthood is about. 

What are five things that scare you the most?
Losing people I love
Financial security
Certain vegetables (ha!)

What would you do if you were living in The Haunting Season?
Get out. Immediately before it's too late. Don't take a step past the foyer. Better, don't even walk across the threshold.

The Author
Writer of urban fantasy, the paranormal, and all things eerie and curious. Lover of scary books and funny movies, sports cars, chocolate, and changes of season. Owned by two incredible dogs and an iMac. Author, wife, sister, freelance tech writer, and IT geek. Find her on her BlogFacebook, and Twitter.

Jan 17, 2013

Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Title: The Madman's Daughter
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: January 29, 2013
Pages/Format: 432, ARC

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: SPEECHLESS

I don't know what to say about this book. I'm still in shock, still in a daze, because pretty much everything was so unexpected--I saw nothing coming. Nothing. This book was a rollercoaster, full of everything from terror (seriously, I got scared) and some very fluterry butterflies. You're probably wondering something--did I like this book or not? And I didn't like it. I think that, once I get over my shock (which I'll tell you about later), I will love this book. From page one (it didn't take me any time at all to get into) I thought this book was SO GOOD. So no, I didn't like it. Because my feels are much stronger than like. 

Juliet is the madman's daughter, and the madman is the one and only Doctor Moreau. Basically, he's a guy who did some horrific, crazy surgeries on animals. So, creepy. And that creepiness was definitely in the novel, for there are several glimpses of his creations. (Film rights have been acquired for this book, and I really want to see how these creatures look on screen.) The creations were great characters, each one different and unique and interesting. The doctor himself is completely crazy, and not someone I'd want to drink tea with. I liked his daughter Juliet, who was someone just looking for answers, and unfortunately she was never in the most luxurious of places. She has two love interests (although the triangle felt a little off to me), Edward and Montgomery. It wasn't until very far in the book that I picked who I liked best; I never knew who I wanted her to be with. Edward was the gentleman and newcomer, while Montgomery was a friend from the past and more a part of the wild, rugged. As for who I liked most...I won't tell you. (Spoilers!)

The writing was gorgeous, full of detail, and extremely well-paced and readable. My only problem with it was that I sometimes wanted a semi-colon or dash instead of a period, and some repeat words and phrases. But other than that, it was great. Like I said earlier, I was intrigued right away, and that doesn't happen often in books I read. Shepherd also knows how to keep a reader on their toes--seriously, I was legitimately scared at a few points. This happens, that happens--a complete whirlwind of events that worked almost perfectly. She's a master at wielding THE FEELS. If I wanted more of anything, it'd be the whole process of the creations going from animals to, well, not. I want to know more about how that could happen and how it was possible. 

After reading the book, I posted this status on Facebook:
You know when you finish a book and you're speechless because you didn't see that coming and you just can't believe that's how it ended? That just happened.
And somebody responded with this:
Most of the time that means it was a good book.
And he was right.

This book was just great, and a fantastic debut. I'll probably read anything Shepherd writes, most definitely the next two books (the second has to do with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), and I sincerely hope that characters from The Madman's Daughter make appearances. BECAUSE. The shocker. I don't want to spoil it for you (except to tell you how I felt), so I'm going to just leave you with this and make you wait until January 29. *insert evil grin here*


Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? Almost 100%. I'm still in shock!
Would I reread it? I think so.
Would I purchase it? Yep!
Would I recommend it? YES.

Jan 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (17)

Waiting on Wednesday
is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that showcases
upcoming releases that people are very much anticipating.

I actually have an ARC of this author's first book, which is out soon, and I think it sounds awesome and can't wait to read it. And then her next book just got announced, and it sounds awesome, too! I'm looking forward to it, especially since the concept is different and super interesting. Be sure to check it out!

Title: The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: July 2, 2013
Pages: 320

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

What are you waiting on this week? Tell me in the comments!

Jan 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (18)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This Tuesday's theme is...

Top Ten 2013 Debuts I'm Looking Forward To

I'm anticipating a lot of books this year, but I wasn't sure how many of them were debuts. So I did some Goodreads-ing and came up with ten of them. Enjoy!

The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray: This is one of my most anticipated books of the year, especially since the characters have to portray tragic literary couples. How awesome is that?!

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza: Mila is an android, this is Bourne Identity-esque, and the cover is awesome. I can't wait to dig into my ARC.

Taken by Erin Bowman: Super stoked to read this one--I heard about it last year and have been interested ever since. I think the concept is interesting, and I really like the cover. I hope it's good!

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett: The main character is a Nightmare--not as in "oh, she's scary!" No. She's an actual Nightmare. Cool, cool, cool!

Triangles by Kimberly Ann Miller: A girl is stuck in the Bermuda Triangle with two hot guys. Yes, yes, yes!

Poison by Bridget Zinn: A girl's a potion master, there's a kingdom, she has to poison her best friend...And there's a "too-cute pig." A PIG. *grabby hands*

Splintered by A.G. Howard: So this one has already been released, but it still came out this year, so it totally counts. I've heard it's an awesome retelling of Alice in Wonderland, and I can't wait to read it.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke: This just sounds creepy, which I like. And this line is awesome: "You stop fearing the devil when you're holding his hand..."

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepard: I'm three chapters into this right now and am already really intrigued. As the daughter of madman Henry Moreau, scary things are bound to happen. I hope it stays great!

Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook: It's kind of like a Bonnie and Clyde retelling, which sounds awesome. I don't think this will be your average romance, either. And it's a local author, so bonus points! Reading soon!

What debuts are you looking forward to this year? Tell me in the comments!

Jan 14, 2013

Review: Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz

Title: Lost in Time
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Hyperion
Publishing Date: September 27, 2011
Pages/Format: 342, Paperback

The stakes have never been higher for the young Blue Bloods of Manhattan. After their brief yet beautiful bonding ceremony in Italy, Schuyler Van Alen and Jack Force depart for Egypt, desperate to find the elusive Gate of Promise before Jack must face his twin, Mimi, for a blood trial. A blood trial that only one of them can survive. But everything Schuyler thought she knew about the gate turns out to be a lie, and they soon find themselves ensnared in a deadly battle against the demon-born. Schuyler and Jack take up arms, only to realize that there is a much graver threat simmering in the Kingdom of the Dead.

Meanwhile, determined to save the only vampire she still loves, Mimi has followed Kingsley Martin into Hell. With the help of her new human Conduit, Oliver Hazard-Perry, Mimi makes a bargain with the Queen of the Dead that she may soon regret. When the time comes to choose between love and revenge, both Mimi and Oliver will learn the true meaning of sacrifice.

Confronted by danger, betrayal, and loss at every turn, the Blue Bloods must find the will to fight - and love - another day.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: Better...

...Than I had expected. Thank gosh. This was my third time reading Lost in Time, and I finally managed to finish it! (I didn't get far the first two.) This series drives me crazy, and I'll get into that later, but I'm extremely pleased with how much I enjoyed the second-to-last book in the Blue Bloods series. While I still had some problems with it, my expectations were exceeded. (And I was up until five in the morning finishing it!) 

I'm pretty sure I used to really love the Blue Bloods series. I read the first book who-knows-how-many years ago and liked it--they're an interesting take on vampires. But as the series progressed, I made a huge mistake: I didn't refresh my memory of the books (actually, I think I did once). By forgetting what happened in earlier books, I felt like I was missing pieces reading the newers one, and that definitely happened with Lost in Time. Even though I powered through it, I still have the desire to read it again, but with the previous books fresh in my mind. (Soon, I hope!) 

However, while my memory of the first few Blue Bloods may be spotty, I'm pretty sure they weren't so different. I'm on the fence about Melissa's writing. In the last book, I don't think I loved it--I believe I was bored. Once I got in to Lost in Time, I, for the most part, liked it. And then there was the sense of time, and point of views. The book was mainly told from the POV of Schuyler/Jack, Mimi/Oliver, and Allegra Van Alen. But sometimes a chapter would switch POV in a pargraph, then go back to the original speaker, which was weird. As for sense of time, I don't know what it was. Schuyler and Jack seemed to be in the present, Mimi and Oliver were in Hell, and Allegra was in the past. Odd. But my biggest issue is how the characters--mainly Jack and Schuyler--talk. "My love, do not fear, for yada yada yada." NO. I really don't think they used to talk that, and really, who does? It constantly drove me crazy; I cannot stand it! I feel like the last few books and the first few books are completely different, not even in the same series. And that makes me sad. This series has reached the end, and Gates of Paradise will hopefully close off a series that I think may have gone on for a little too long. The writing got serious--everything did, really. I feel like the romance is almost nonexistent, even if the relationships are there--and it all seemed more historical or something, and I lost a little bit of my love for the books. (Though a reread of the books back to back will hopefully make a difference.) Even so, after finally reading Lost in Time, a part of me aches for the series finale--this was one of the first series I started reading, and I'm sad to say goodbye, even if it may be time.

Now for the goods: the characters. I do like them--even if they've changed almost too much from the beginning of the series. I still like Schuyler, and I love her with Jack. Ah, Jack. I miss the old him, the one where we actually saw more of him. Oliver's still a great friend, and I want him to find happiness. Mimi, of course, is still a mega-bitch. Then there's Kingsley--I love a bad boy. The book's also told from Allegra's point of view, and it was interesting to see more about her and how all that played out. (Side Note: I know that they're reincarnated into twins and stuff, but the whole Mimi/Jack, Allegra/Charles thing still creeps me out.)

It didn't take long for me to get into the book, and when I did I was constantly flipping pages, wanting this character's, then that character's, point of view. While I still don't understand some of what happened, there was a lot of action and mystery, and it kept the book pretty fast-paced and readable. And since I was worried I was going to hate the book, I was happy; some of my love for the series was brought back.

Unfortunately, this review kind of turned into a rant of the series, and I apologize. But. Lost in Time actually wasn't a bad book at all--I really liked it! I'm glad I finally read it, and I am slightly dying to know how on earth this is series is going to end--I have no idea! (It's described as "heartbreaking" with "unbearable sacrifice." Obviously, someone's trying to kill me.) This book constantly had me on my toes, with my head shaking no and sometimes hiding in my bed--as in, this is not happening! This book brought out reactions, which is excellent. Just a tip: Unless you remember most of what happened, I'd recommended rereading the existing books before finishing off the series. It helps.

Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? Not really.
Would I reread it? Yes, because I want to do a series reread.
Would I purchase it? Already have it!
Would I recommend it? I'd recommend the earlier books in the series, which means following up with this one.

Jan 10, 2013

Review: Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

Title: Endangered
Author: Eliot Schrefer
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publishing Date: October 1, 2012
Pages/Format: 272, Hardcover

The compelling tale of a girl who must save a group of bonobos--and herself--from a violent coup.

The Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good. 
When one girl has to follow her mother to her sanctuary for bonobos, she's not thrilled to be there. It's her mother's passion, and she'd rather have nothing to do with it. But when revolution breaks out and their sanctuary is attacked, she must rescue the bonobos and hide in the jungle. Together, they will fight to keep safe, to eat, and to survive.

Eliot Schrefer asks readers what safety means, how one sacrifices to help others, and what it means to be human in this new compelling adventure.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: HOLDME

First and foremost, let me tell you something: this is not your typical Young Adult novel. It's different--but it's a very, very good different. It's realistic fiction, a sort of contemporary, non-fiction book. It's not a romance novel--but there is love. The love of life, the love of people, and the love of one very special bonobo.

I stumbled upon this book by chance, and thank gosh I did. I was looking at upcoming releases on Barnes and Nobles in their Teen section, and I stopped when I saw a cover with a chimpanzee on it. (Note: Chimpanzees are not monkeys, so please don't call them that. To learn what is a monkey and what is not, look at this.) I've always loved animals, including primates, and after taking a Primatology class I was even more in love. So imagine how I felt when I found this book--I flipped, and I wanted it badly. Now I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner, because Endangered was stunning, fantastic, lovely--so, so good.

This book gave me all the feels. From smiles to terror to tears, it hit me. I enjoyed reading it. The book begins in action, with Sophie finding Otto (a young bonobo) and saving him. Then several things happen, and war hits the Congo, and it hits hard. That's when I started to get scared, wondering what would happen to Sophie and my lovely Otto. The book is told from her point of view, and for almost its entirety she's with Otto--therefore, it felt like I was with Otto. I loved Sophie and Otto--she fought for Otto, refused to leave his side, and I loved it. I fell in love with Otto, wanting to spend 24/7 with him myself. Closing the book and leaving their story was something I didn't want to do but had to, and it was heart-wrenching. 

While it's a shorter book, it's still packed full of scenes--but it doesn't feel like an information overload. Endangered is about Sophie getting from Point A to Point B in a war zone--along with caring for a bonobo. To see how horrible the Congo was (in the book, not in real-life) was crazy, and it really freaked me out. There was so much murder, not to mention all the suffering people were going through. Without going into too much detail--and just pushing the boundaries when it came to it--Schrefer painted a picture, and it was amazing. And his writing was spot-on. It wasn't too much, and it wasn't too little--it was just right. I saw pretty much no errors, and it flowed and was beautiful and it just worked. Sometimes, writing can ruin a book. But this just made it better. Simple, with just the right amount of detail. Loved it.

I could probably go on and on about this book, so I'm just going to say a few more quickish things. For one, I wish there were more books like this, books that show other parts of the world that are less fortunate, books about fighting for what I want to fight for and work with so, so much: animals. This book is underrated/understated. I don't think enough people have read it or heard about it, so I'm telling you right now: read this book. I think you'll learn something. And now I'm going to stop, because I'm about to start crying again. I ended this book sobbing, you know. Legitimate sobbing, my neck and ends of my hair drenched in my tears. (It may be a happy cry, it may be a sad cry, or it may be both--I'm not telling you.) This book is beautiful and breathtaking and stunning, and I know it's up for some big award (National Book Award Finalist!)--I sure do hope it wins. And I'll end this with the words that were running through my head as I read the last page (disclaimer: Goodreads says Endangered ends at 272 pages, when the story ends on 250. I just thought I'd let you know so your soul's not crushed expecting 22 more pages like mine was): hold me. (Or let me hold a bonobo. Please, please, please!)

Did I like it? Absolutely.
Did I love it? Oh gosh yes!
Would I reread it? Yes!
Would I purchase it? Already have it!
Would I recommend it? Yes, yes, yes!

Jan 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (16)

Waiting on Wednesday
is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that showcases
upcoming releases that people are very much anticipating.

I can't wait to read this book--bloggers have said it's amazing, it looks amazing, and ohmygosh I just want to read this book! It's almost here, thank goodness, so my wait won't be too prolonged! This is a book you definitely won't want to miss out on!

Title: The Archived
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Hyperion
Publishing Date: January 22, 2013
Pages: 336

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

What are you waiting on this week? Tell me in the comments!