Monday, October 29, 2012

Frankenstorm is coming!

All joking aside - have you seen this freaken thing?!


I'm in New England, with friends and family on Long Island and I am not amused by this freak of a storm. 

One meterologist said it was like a hurricane inside a nor'easter with an order of demon pre-winter storm on the side (I'm paraphrasing here folks but you get the idea ;)

SO!

My family and I have been preparing all weekend and that left no time for scheduling posts (or really even thinking about them...you're getting lucky with this one :)

I'm hoping for sustained power through the week but my region could be feeling the effects of this thing well past Wednesday so if I'm MIA for a little while - blame Frankenstorm.

I hope everyone in the path of this thing stays smart and safe!!

Catch ya'll on the flip side!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Book Roundup (11) - October 28, 2012

Merriam-Webster defines 'roundup' as a gathering in of scattered persons or things (source)

Replace 'persons or things' with 'BOOKS!' and you'll have what happens in my house every week as I try to keep control of my hoard :)

This week I got…

For Review:

From Sourcebook Jabberwocky
I'm going to read these this week with my little one for Halloween.

June 2012 from Sourcebooks
I've always been interested by voodoo and this one looks like it might be fun.

From Sourcebooks Fire
This is the paperback and I think it's beautiful!

For Review:
October 2012 from Random House
A time traveling possibly sci-fi thriller? Sounds fabulous.

September 2012 from Knopf Books for Young Readers
First in a new fantasy / magical series.

July 2012 from Random House
Fantasy debut WITH DRAGONS! Nuf said :)

Bought:

The 4th and FINAL Caster Chronicles! Ahhhhhh!!!!

Some pretty awesome authors in this one and I love me a good dystopian story.

I can't remember what this one is about but it's the first in Snicket's new series and I'll pretty much read anything he writes :)

I still can't get over how much I HATE this cover - I mean, it's Ethan...trying to look sexy...that just seems gross to me! Can't wait to get started on it though.


Links are to Goodreads :)

How about your guys? What have you added to your hoard lately?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cover Love! Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne

I absolutely LOVED Monument 14 and I just saw the cover for book 2 - not sure if it's final but I think it's fabulous!


Sky On Fire (Monument 14 #2) by Emmy Laybourne
May 28, 2013 from Feiwel and Friends

If you've read book 1 you know the significance of the school bus and I think it's a perfect subject for book cover #2.

It pairs pretty well with book cover 1 too.

What do you guys think?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop



The short and sweet of it:

I couldn't pick one so I'm letting you decide :)

I'm giving away $30 worth of books from The Book Depository

Open to everyone The Book Depository ships to

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter

Everyone can enter for 'free'

Extra entries for follows and whatnot :)

Happy hopping everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There are A TON of blogs participating in this one!
Be sure to check them all out.



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Book Roundup (10) - October 21, 2012

Merriam-Webster defines 'roundup' as a gathering in of scattered persons or things (source)

Replace 'persons or things' with 'BOOKS!' and you'll have what happens in my house every week as I try to keep control of my hoard :)

This week I got…

(sorry for the less then stellar pic!)


For Review:
April 2013 by Henry Holt and Co. BYR
"Three high school girls become the avenging Furies of Greek legend." - I'm in!

February 2013 from Roaring Brook Press
"Seven stories of passion and love, separated by centuries but mysteriously intertwined." - Sounds awesome!

This one has art by Charles Vess - looking forward to reading it for the first time!

Bought:
After the way book 1 ended - I can't wait to see what's in store for Ashline!

Links are to Goodreads :)

How about your guys? What have you added to your hoard lately? 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #2) by Michelle Hodkin

** SPOILER FREE ** ** SPOILER FREE ** ** SPOILER FREE **

"Where Mara Dyer is concerned, NEEDING to know how everything ends amounts to a type of obsession. "
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: October 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 544
Series: 2nd in the Mara Dyer series
Acquisition: I won an ARC from the publisher

Summary:
Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.
She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.
She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.
In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next? (from Goodreads)

MY THOUGHTS:
Wow. Ok. This is a hard one.

So...um...yeah…

VERY hard to review this one without giving away anything and believe, me you do not want this one spoiled for you. No worries though - I'm giving nothing away!

After the dramatic, traumatic, manic, panic, heart in your throat roller coast ride that was Mara Dyer book 1 you would expect nothing less from book 2 - correct? I know I didn't. While by the end I was (mostly) satisfied it wasn't all butterflies and rainbows for me while reading. In fact, I was pretty pissed off for large chunks of this book.

I had TONS of theories as to what exactly was going on with Mara. Some, I'm happy to say, I was right about. Others I was completely wrong about. AND THEN! Hodkin's threw in some total what-the-f-ery. Starting with chapter 16. OMG chapter 16 almost brought about a cold freeze -- literally, as books that piss me off tend to end up in my freezer (don't ask...really...just don't).

So, I was confused, I was upset, I was mad but what's really important is that at no point did I ever consider giving up on Mara because again - OMG WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING HERE!?

Did I like the turn(s) of events? I think so….

Do I agree with the things that happen(ed) and why? Not sure…

Did The Evolution of Mara Dyer make me feel all the feelings? Most defiantly.

FINAL VERDICT:
Despite some pissiness caused by the story line, my exclamations of "OMG that doesn’t make a lick of sense! ...ok...so maybe a little… *grumble* *grumble* ok, I get it now" and some cringe worthy scenes (romantic? disgusting? Way too unbelievable? --- not telling!) -- all in all I would have to say that I very much enjoyed this book.

If anything though, I almost feel like too much was revealed. Book 1 had so many possibilities floating around and book 2 kind of throws them all in your face at once. Some might say that there is still a lot left to discover and a lot left to flesh out both character and plot wise and while this is true, I also feel like some of the mystery is gone.

BUT! On the flip side of this, if NOTHING was revealed I don't know that I would have enjoyed it as much as I did.

WILL I CONTINUE WITH THIS SERIES?: Um - YES! Even if I hated this book (which I very much didn't) I would have to read book 3.

Where Mara Dyer is concerned, NEEDING to know how everything ends amounts to a type of obsession.

Overall Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

Books in the Mara Dyer Series:
#1 The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
#2 The Evolution of Mara Dyer
#3 The Retribution of Mara Dyer (2013)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Into Fantasy Giveaway Hop


The short and sweet of it:

I'm giving away the last great fantasy book I've read:
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Open to everyone The Book Depository ships to

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter

Everyone can enter for 'free'

Extra entries for follows and whatnot :)

Happy hopping everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to visit other stops on the hop :)


Book Review: The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

"…[the] back and forth between danger and calm did a number on my nerves…"
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: August 2012
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 231
Series: no
Acquisition: I received a free ARC for review from the publisher

Summary:
Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight. The only passenger, Robie doesn’t panic until the engine suddenly cuts out and Max shouts at her to put on a life jacket. They are over miles of Pacific Ocean. She sees Max struggle with a raft.
And then . . . she’s in the water. Fighting for her life. Max pulls her onto the raft, and that’s when the real terror begins. They have no water. Their only food is a bag of Skittles. There are sharks. There is an island. But there’s no sign of help on the way. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I feel the need to start this review by saying - if you have a fear of either flying or drowning...you might want to skip this book! A bit terrifying at times - I couldn't imagine going through what Robie did and still be left with my sanity intact.

The matter of fact way this story is told made it all the more real to me. Robie very much has to react quickly to her changing circumstances. She also has long stretches of time were she can do nothing but reflect. This back and forth between danger and calm did a number on my nerves.

I do have to say though, there is a bit of twist to this story and I had figured it out very early on. I don't know that it lessened my reading experience but it defiantly drove me into a 'hurry up and finish' mentality. For most of the book I felt like I was just waiting for the 'aha moment' but when it came it was a little disappointing because it wasn't very dramatic.

Final verdict:
I enjoyed The Raft and I'm pretty sure it's my first Bodeen book and I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another. A fantastic tale yes, but still a tale that could happen to just about anyone.

A bit predictable perhaps but that doesn't necessarily make it any less terrifying. A little slow placed maybe but a good thriller needs to be pulled apart slowly. The ending wasn't very startling but when it comes down to it, The Raft, for me at least, was about Robie. What she went through and how she reacted to unbelievable situations. She's a character I very much would like to meet, if she were a real person.

Overall Rating:
3.5 / 5 Stars


Read An Excerpt
Discussion Guide

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Book Roundup (9) - October 14, 2012

Merriam-Webster defines 'roundup' as a gathering in of scattered persons or things (source)

Replace 'persons or things' with 'BOOKS!' and you'll have what happens in my house every week as I try to keep control of my hoard :)

This week I got…

For Review
Otherwise known as OMG! OMG!

March 2013 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux
If you haven't head about this one yes I implore you to check it out!

February 2013 from Feiwel and Friends
From the second I finished reading book 1 I've wanted this one in my hot little hands! Can't wait to get started on it!

Bought at my town library sale

Pretty sure I own the ebook of this one but I couldn't pass up the beautiful hardcover :) Anyone read this series?

I love the cover of this one. It's been on my wishlist a while and the copy I picked up is in mint condition - gotta love the library! :)

Links are to Goodreads :)

Love the red theme going on this week :) How about your guys? What have you added to your hoard lately?

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Drake Chronicles Short Stories by Alyxandra Harvey

The Drake Chronicles are one of my favorite YA vampire series to date and I'm a huge fan of short stories and series novellas in general.

Short stories, especially when they take place between series books can add a lot of depth to a story line in my opinion.

To date there are 4 short stories in the Drake Chronicles and I've devoured them all!

Corsets and Crossbows (#0.1)
This one takes place well before the events in book 1. The year is 1816 and Rosalind Wild is ready for full membership into the Helios-Ra -- and she'll have to fight very hard to get it. Told in letters, it's a bit one sided as we are only seeing Rosalind's point of view. It's a bit awkward overall but it's a quick read and it's a small glimpse into the early times of the vampire hunting society which I liked.

Read it yourself in ebook format on your Kindle, Nook or iOS device - currently $.99

Lost Girls (#0.5)
Takes place in 1983 and tells the story of the first time Liam and Helena meet. Now, I love vampire stories but really, the one thing that always gets me is the age difference thing. Liam is 81 and Helena is 16. Because Liam turned into a vampire as a teenager, this isn't weird….only it still is for me. It always weirds me out when supernatural beings get away with dating people decades younger then them. But because I love this series so much, I try not to focus on things like this.
Overall, this story was awesome. We get some great back story on Mom and Dad Drake and lots of details about Helena's past.

Read it yourself in the US print edition of book 4, Bleeding Hearts

A Killer First Date (#3.5)
A short and sweet story about Lucy and Nicolas and their attempts at a first 'real' date. Lot of evil vamps around, of course and a few meddling brothers so of course everything goes perfectly :) This is the first short story that takes place in time line of the full text books and I loved it. Lucy is one of my favorite characters and I love how she 'deals' with Nicolas and his brothers.

Read it yourself in ebook format on your Kindle, Nook or iOS device - currently $.99

A Field Guide to Vampires: Annotated by Lucy Hamilton (#4.5)
A vampire guide for students of the Helios-Ra Academy. A quick read made quirky and fun by Lucy's added notes.  A fun read for fans of the series and a good guide in general for help in keeping track of all the factions and characters in the series.
I don't know that you would have to read this one after book 4 but I could be wrong - there might be spoilers so reading it as book 4.5 is probably a good idea.

Read it yourself in ebook format on your Kindle, Nook or iOS device - currently $.99


The complete Drake Chronicles

#0.1 Corsets and Crossbows
#0.5 Lost Girls
#1.0 Hearts at Stake
#2.0 Blood Feud
#3.0 Out for Blood
#3.5 A Killer First Date
#4.0 Bleeding Hearts
#4.5 A Field Guide to Vampires
#5.0 Blood Moon
#6.0 Blood Prophecy (January 2013)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Book Review: Dearly, Beloved (A Zombie Novel #2) by Lia Habel

"What I found endearing in book 1, became somewhat gross as it was really hard not to focus on the fact that Bram is a a rotting corpse."
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 2012
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 496
Series: 2nd in the Zombie Novel series
Acquisition: I received a free e-galley for review from NetGalley

Summary:
Can the living coexist with the living dead?
That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.
Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.
Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.
As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I very much enjoyed Dearly, Departed so I had high hopes for this one. I'm very sorry to say that I was a little disappointed. I think the novelty of the world has worn out a little.

Book 1 was a dystopian, steampunk, zombie filled adventure and I loved how all these elements combined. Book 2 was still all these things but it felt much heavier. A lot more politics are involved that seemed to bog down the story.

Also, like book 1, each chapter is from a different characters point of view. I could be mistaken but in book 1 I thought we only had Bram and Nora. In Dearly, Beloved there are at least 6 different POVs - and those are only the ones I could remember. The story jumped around a lot and I very much would have preferred a standard 3rd person narrative.

And then there is the romance. What I found endearing in book 1, became somewhat gross as it was really hard not to focus on the fact that Bram is a a rotting corpse. Of course Nora could love him, as he is very lovable, but their physical interactions? Not very romantic for me, I mean, he's ROTTING.

The state of the zombie's decomposing bodies are told in graphic details. There is even one very quick scene in which Nora laments that it's ok for her and Bram to be alone in her bedroom because of course there wasn't any chance of anything sexual happening between them. I really started to think what she meant - the details of it -and it was disgusting and I couldn't look at Bram the same way again.

Final verdict:
Overall? Disappointing is the word I would have to use to describe my feelings for Dearly, Beloved. Habel has been vocal on her thoughts on the series as a whole (she would love it to be 5 or 6 books long) and knowing how she would like things to end for Nora and Bram? I'm not sure it's a story I want to continue reading.

If you enjoyed Dearly, Departed I would say to give this one a go. While I felt bogged down by the storyline, those are only my feelings. The gross factor really kicked into high gear but again, that might only be me.

Overall Rating:
3 / 5 Stars

Books A Zombie Novel aka Gone With the Respiration Series :
#1 Dearly, Departed
#2 Dearly, Beloved

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book Review: Pale by Chris Wooding

"An unfortunately disappointing story..."
Reading Level: Middle Grade
Publication Date: September 2012
Publisher: Stoke Books
Pages: 72
Series: no
Acquisition: I received a free e-galley for review from NetGalley

Summary:
The Lazurus Serum can bring you back from the dead - but when you come back you've changed. You're a pale, an outcast. It's the last thing Jed wants, but an accident changes everything and Jed's forced to discover the true cost of living forever. This is a high interest level (11 and up) and a low reading level (4th grade). (from NetGalley)

My thoughts:
Not at all what I expected and I'm not sure that's a good thing. Very dark and morbid and not at all the kind of story I would give an 11 year old to read.

The beginning is brutal. Bullying from the point of view of the bully isn't something I enjoy reading. Overall I guess there was some lesson meant to be learned but the harsh nature of the characters overshadowed any good intentions the author may have had in my opinion.

Final verdict:
An easy read and a quick read. The writing and layout lends itself well to a young audience but the subject matter was a little too harsh for my liking.

Also, the story, or more importantly the lack of backstory was frustrating. No details, no real background on why the Lazaurs Serum was created or who's in control of it and why.

An unfortunately disappointing story and overall, not one I would recommend to young readers.

Overall Rating:
2 / 5 Stars

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Short Story Review: Isolation by Dan Wells

Partials Sequence #0.5
August 2012 from Balzer + Bray

Synopsis:
Two decades before the events of Partials, the world was locked in a different battle for survival: a global war for the last remaining oil reserves on the planet. It was for the Isolation War that the American government contracted the ParaGen Corporation to manufacture the Partials—our last hope in reclaiming energy independence from China. And it was on these fields of battle that the seeds of humanity's eventual destruction were sown.
Isolation takes us back to the front lines of this war, a time when mankind’s ambition far outstripped its foresight. Heron, a newly trained Partial soldier who specializes in infiltration, is sent on a mission deep behind enemy lines. What she discovers there has far-reaching implications—not only for the Isolation War, but for Partials and humans alike long after this war is over.
A powerful take of our world on the brink, Isolation gives readers a glimpse into the history from which Partials was born—as well as clues to where the Partials Sequence is heading next. (from Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
A harsh and somewhat brutal short story revolving around a Partial named Heron - or at least that's the name she's been given. Told from her point of view we learn of her 'birth', her training and conditioning and her eventual rebellion.

What struck me the most about Isolation was how involved the story was. Short chapters that switch between the present and the past really worked to swept me into the story. It's only about 60 pages but the story is so strong it felt like much more. The background given on Heron was both interesting and disturbing. I was left with a lot of questions that I can only assume Partials will answer.

A great introduction to the series! I have a copy of Partials and reading Isolation has pushed it further up on my to read list.

Extras? Yes - includes the first chapter of Fragments, Book 2 in the series

Will I continue the series? YES! No doubt about it.

Worth the price? At $2.99 it's a little bit more then the average e-novella but it's a very substantial story and over 50 pages so I would have to say that yes, it is worth the price.