Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Exclusive Excerpt + GIVEAWAYS: The Embrace Series


Are you a fan of The Embrace Series? If not, you very well should be :)

By far, my favorite YA angel series and today I have such a special treat for you!

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Sourcebooks I have an exclusive short story to share with you. It retells parts of chapter 14 and 15 from Embrace, from Claudia's point of view. Excellent write as always - and sad. So much of Violet's life is full of sadness.

Read on!

And when you're done I have more goodies to share ;)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Now for the extra goodies :)

3 chances to win a piece of this fantastic series.

Giveaway #1: Embrace (Embrace #1)
Open to INTERNATIONAL entries from anywhere The Book Depository will ship
1 winner (purchased by me)

Giveaway #2: ARC of Entice (Embrace #2) + Tote Bag
Open to US entries only
2 winners (shipped by me)

Giveaway #3: Emblaze (Embrace #3)
Open to US or CANADIAN entries only
1 winner (supplied / shipped by Sourcebooks)


Use the Rafflecopters below
Enter 1 or all 3 just please pay attention to who each giveaway is open to :)

Let me know if you have any questions!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
**for anyone who noticed - I updated this post a few hours after it went live because I used the UK / Australian title of the series (The Violet Eden Chapters) instead of the US one (The Embrace Series) -- oops! Sorry!!**

Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Review: Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington

Emblaze (Embrace #3)
Jessica Shirvington
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication: March 19, 2013
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Acquisition: received from the publisher

Synopsis:
Once again Violet Eden faces an impossible choice ... and the consequences are unimaginable.
Violet has come to terms with the fact that being part angel, part human, means her life will never be as it was.
Now Violet has something Phoenix - the exiled angel who betrayed her - will do anything for, and she has no intention of letting it fall into his hands. The only problem is that he has something she needs too.
Not afraid to raise the stakes, Phoenix seemingly holds all the power, always one step ahead. And when he puts the final pieces of the prophecy together, it doesn't take him long to realise exactly who he needs in order to open the gates of Hell.
With the help of surprising new allies, ancient prophecies are deciphered, a destination set and, after a shattering confrontation with her father, Violet leaves for the islands of Greece without knowing if she will have a home to return to...
(from Goodreads)

My Thoughts
Good and evil, heaven and hell, right and wrong - which side would you choose? For Violet this question is at the very center of her life. Everything revolves around what is right and good - what she must do and what is evil (or forbidden). She is one of the strongest female characters I have come across in a while in YA lit and I absolutely love her!

The tensions that started in Embrace and continued in Entice have built up to a breaking point. Violet and her friends are giving everything they have - and it might not be enough.

Fantasy and reality collide. Angels are real. Evil is real and Violet just might hold the key to it all.

A fantastic story!

Emblaze picks up pretty much were Entice left off and I'm chalking it up to Shirvington's phenomenal writing because unlike what happens most of the time for me when I pick up a book 3, I hadn't forgotten ANYTHING about Violet's world. Only a few pages into Emblaze and every detail from the previous 2 books were fresh in my mind. This is rare and it was awesome!

With slews of paranormal creatures to choose from in YA readings, I feel that angels can be overlooked. Shirvington has filled a void, for me at least. I love the world she has created and her characters feel like old friends.

This is truly one of my favorite series and it's one I can't recommend enough! If you like angels - you must read these books. If you're on the fence - pick up book 1 today and I promise you won't be disappointed.

Will I continue the series?
Yes oh yes! No word on when the US edition of book 4 will be out but it's already been released in the UK (title: Endless).

Rating
5 / 5 Stars

The Embrace Series
#1 Embrace
#2 Entice
#3 Emblaze
#4 Endless (UK release 2012)
#5 Untitled (?)


Saturday, February 23, 2013

On My Reader (26) - February 23, 2013

On My Reader posts are were I highlight recent ebooks I've added to my digital collection :)

Just 1 book this week!

For Review from NetGalley:

April 23rd 2013 by Harlequin Teen

I might have squealed a little in joy when this one popped up on NetGalley :)
I really don't know how I feel about that cover...but I can't wait to read it!

What have you added to your e-reader this week?


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Belated Book Birthday Not Tuesday (15)

It's...not Tuesday...

I spent my Tuesday thinking it was Wednesday.
Wednesday thinking it was Tuesday.

And today I woke up knowing it was Thursday....only to convince myself I must be wrong...then I fell back asleep and dreamed of Dr. Who.

To say I'm having an off week would be an understatement.

My lack of brain power, however, hasn't stopped the books from coming (thank God!).

Here are this week's new releases that have caught my eye.

Happy Belated Birthday Everyone!!!

Which ones are you adding to your shelves?


NEW





CONTINUING SERIES



NEW IN PAPERBACK



Monday, February 18, 2013

My first DNF and what it really means

DNF

Did. Not. Finish.

3 simple words that can mean oh so much.

Before I started blogging, I never used these words in connection to my reading. Believe it or not, before blogging, I finished EVERY book I ever started. Meaning, if I read more then a chapter, I read every chapter.

Since I've started blogging my 'stats' have done down a little. What that means is that in the past 4 years I can count on one hand the number of books I've started but haven't finished.

1 was for a tour - it wasn't a book I liked at all and it was actually really really hard for me to pick it up each day. But I did! Until I ran out of time and had to pass it on to the next blogger. I even considered buying it (even though I really REALLY didn't like it) and I think I even had it added to my Amazon cart before logic kicked in and stopped me from paying almost $30 for a guilt trip.

1 got lost in my house for a bit. By the time I remembered it, I also remembered I added it to a recent library donation bag and it was long gone. By the time I remembered to buy another copy...I couldn't remember what the book was!

3 are sitting in my house in a neat little pile. I put them down for various reasons - book marks in place. And even though they aren't my favorite - they will be finished soon.

And...that's it!

Some might argue that these are all DNF books. And I guess, technically they are. But for me, it's not that simple. With each of these 5 books, there was always the intent to finish. Time, money, forgetfulness and laziness don't count. At no time, with these 5, or with any book I've read did I make the conscience decision to STOP READING AND NEVER FINISH.

Can you see the difference?

I know bloggers, and readers who DNF books all the time. Everyone has their own reasons. I mean, there are only so many hours in a day we can spend reading. Shouldn't we be more careful about how we spend that time?

Until recently I thought I was doing a really good job managing this precious time. I know what I like, I know what I don't like. I trust some people's opinions  I don't trust others. I'm careful about what I read. I'm really good at knowing my own mind and I'm really good at knowing when a book isn't going to appeal to me.

But. BUT!

There are so so many books out there and they are coming at me from so many different directions. Publishers and authors asking me to review, BEA and all it's overwhelming glory, NetGalley making it so easy, Goodreads and the virtually limitless access to information and possible wishlists.

Am I still careful? I like to think I am.

But you know what?

I make mistakes! I say 'yes' to a review only to actually start reading the book and ask, 'what was I thinking!'. I pick up a book at BEA because everyone is so excited about it only to bring it home, take a really good look at it and know it's just not for me. I hit that Request button only to regret it the moment the 'You have been approved' email comes back from NetGalley.

Why do I do these things? Because I'm human and I make mistakes and as careful as I am and as careful as I strive to be I will never be perfect.

And what this really boils down to is the fact that I've been spending my time reading...and not always enjoying it. Reading is not a chore. It's source of happiness and goodness in my life.

And you know what?

It's finally happened.

I've been reading a book for the past week or so. My first clue that I wasn't loving it was the fact that it was taking me so long to finish. But I kept reading. I took some notes, I wrote down some thoughts for a review.

And then, the other night I just couldn't do it anymore. I was in the middle of a sentence and I just stopped. And I put the book down and I knew I would never pick it up again.

I didn't consider it beforehand. I didn't weight the pros and cons of the book in my head before coming to the decision that it wasn't for me and I needed to spend my time on something else.

I simply stopped reading.

And I walked away.

I knew it was a DNF book and it was a little terrifying  What does this mean for me? Why did I give up so easy? Why can't I just MAKE myself finish this book?

It took me a while to figure it all out but you know what? I didn't fail at anything.

I made the choice to read a book and I made a choice to stop reading a book. It's really as simple as that.

Am I a worse person for it? No.

Have I shamed myself in the eyes of this book's publisher? No.

Have I tarnished my 'good name' by not posting a review of this book? No.

I've done nothing wrong and I have no reason to feel guilty. I didn't request the book (from NetGalley) knowing I wasn't going to read it. I would hope no one would do that. I did intend to do read and review it and I tried my best and now I'm done. I haven't hurt anyone. I won't be posting about the book and I will let the publisher know why.

And I'm done with it.

And I feel ok.

Will this happen again? I'm not going to plan for it but perhaps it may.

What I have done is open myself up to the possibility of having 'on my record' DNF books. It happened once and it could happen again if it does all will still be right with the world.


I would love to hear your thoughts on DNF books and what they mean to you.

Thank you all for listening :)




Thursday, February 14, 2013

NetGalley January Review Link-Up Winner!

January's Review Link-Up Winner is



Congratulations!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Are you a NetGalley member?
It isn't too late to join in the fun.

Sign up for my NetGalley Reading Challenge
link up your reviews each month and enter for a change to win $20 in books :)




Monday, February 11, 2013

Book Review: And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky

"Very much a not for me but maybe for you book"
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: July 2011
Pages: 254
Series: standalone
Format: ARC
Acquisition: borrowed

Synopsis:
Keek’s life was totally perfect….Keek and her boyfriend just had their Worst Fight Ever; her best friend heinously betrayed her; her parents are divorcing; and her mom’s across the country caring for her newborn cousin, who may or may not make it home from the hospital. To top it all off, Keek’s got the plague. (Well, the chicken pox.) Now she’s holed up at her grandmother’s technologically barren house until further notice. Not quite the summer vacation Keek had in mind.
With only an old typewriter and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar for solace and guidance, Keek’s alone with her swirling thoughts. But one thing’s clear through her feverish haze—she’s got to figure out why things went wrong so she can make them right.
(from Goodreads)

Overall Feelings:
Meh…

My Thoughts:
One thing that really made it hard for me to love this book was the fact that I really really didn't like Keek (short for Karina…?). Granted, she is having a pretty terrible summer but compared to some people in her immediate circle? Her problems aren't all that bad. The 'fights' she is having with her BFF and BF respectfully don't seem to add up to much. She's really sick but her grandmother is doing a fabulous job taking care of her and her parents? She does nothing to hold them accountable for their actions - she rather just whine about it all.

Another aspect of the story that didn't jive with me was Keek's obsession with The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I've never read this book, never wanted to and after reading And Then Things Fall Apart I really didn't want to. Keek quotes a ginormous amount of the book in her daily typewriter ramblings. Page after page of The Bell Jar this and The Bell Jar that and this reminds me of that time in the The Bell Jar.

I will own up to the fact that this connection Arlaina makes with Plath might be totally lost on me from a literary perspective. Keek's musings are obnoxious but they are also deep insights straight into the heart of who she is, much like Plath's are.

A final last point that I just flat out didn’t like was the sexual aspects of the book. I have no problem with sex in YA but I just didn't like Keek's sexuality. I know that's a strange thing to say but I don't know how else to explain it. I mean, she's only 15 and if her words are to be believed, she thinks about sex like 100% more then I ever did at that age. It was off putting at times.

And Then Things Fall Apart is very much written in diary type entries and narratives such as these aren't usually my favorite. I think in the end this it what really did it for me.

Very much a not for me but maybe for you book!

Rating:
3 / 5 Stars


Sunday, February 10, 2013

$20 in books - last change to enter!


NetGalley Challenge Participants

Tomorrow, Monday February 11th is your last change to enter my giveaway for $20 worth of books!

Entering is easy (and fun :)

**Sign Up for my 2013 NetGalley Reading Challenge HERE

**Link up a NetGalley title you reviewed in January HERE

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

All posted links that fit the criteria (be sure to read the entire post) will be entered. 

$20 Amazon gift card for US folks
OR
$20 worth of books from The Book Depository for International 

The winner will be picked and contacted on Tuesday, February 12th and will have 72 hours to reply before a new winner is picked.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Didn't review any NetGalley books in January? No problem! 
I'll be holding a contest EVERY MONTH for NetGalley Challege Participants!
February's Review Link Up is HERE

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Happy NetGalley Reading Everyone!!


Saturday, February 9, 2013

On My Reader (25) - February 9, 2013


On My Reader posts are were I highlight recent ebooks I've added to my digital collection :)


For Review from NetGalley:

February 26, 2013 from Harlequin Teen
There is just something about this series that really draws me!

March 26, 2013 from St. Martin's Griffin
A contemporary thriller / mystery - sounds good!

February 1, 2013 by Scholastic
I read book 1 so long ago and I really didn't think this was going to be a series but I'm excited for this one.

Free Download:

I've heard good things about this one since it's release last May :)

I loved Peter's contribution to the 39 Clues series and this one is a prequel to his new middle grade series.

So, what's on your e-reader?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Book Review: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

"The combination of sci-fi, fantasy and fairy tale retelling that made Cinder such a great read is no less fantastic in Scarlet. "
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 2013
Pages: 464
Series: #2
Format: ARC
Acquisition: received for review from the publisher

Synopsis:
Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.
(from Goodreads)

Overall Feelings:
Intense and overwhelming LOVE!

My Thoughts:
OMG this was a good book!

The combination of sci-fi, fantasy and fairy tale retelling that made Cinder such a great read is no less fantastic in Scarlet.

After leaving Cinder in a less then desirable situation at the end of book 1, I was really curious as to where she would find herself next. And I really wanted to know what was up with those Lunars!

I love the relationships in this book - and not just the romantic kind. All the characters in this world are so varied and different and the connections are just as different and complex.

With the introduction of a new set a characters and the fabulous way Meyer meshed them together with my old favorites, Scarlet was a fantastic read for me.

I could go on and on with reasons why I loved this book but I don't want to give too much away.

If you read Cinder, Scarlet is a must read. And if you haven't started this series I highly recommend you do! Don't let the premise crazy you off. Marissa has weaved a magical world full of cyborgs, androids and fairy tales that does not disappoint!

Will I continue the series?: YES!

Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

The Lunar Chronicles:
#0.5 Glitches
#1 Cinder
#1.5 The Queen's Army
#2 Scarlet
#3 Cress (2014)
#4 Winter (2015)


Monday, February 4, 2013

My January Reading

I used to do monthly wrap ups but could never keep up with it - or maybe I forgot it was a new month till it was about half over :)

Trying to keep better track of things this year.

Just a quick post to showcase my January reads - and a good way to get me to really pay attention and make sure I'm not forgetting anything!

So, let's see what I read!

Short Stories (I'm pretty addicted to these :)
The Spring Before I Met You (The Lynburn Legacy #0.25) by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Summer Before I Met You (The Lynburn Legacy #0.5) by Sarah Rees Brennan
free downloads - series prequels - NEED to read book 1, Unspoken!

Origins: The Fire (MILA 2.0 #0.5) by Debra Driza
free download - series prequel - awesome start!

Legacy Lost (Of Poseidon #0.5) by Anna Banks
The Witch of Duva (the Grisha #0.5) by Leigh Bardugo
Dress Your Marines in White (Monumtn 14 #.05) by Emmy Laybourne
free download (anthology) - mixed bag for me, mostly awesome though

Books
Altered (Altered #1) by Jennifer Rush
arc from BEA - debut author - review HERE

Broken by A.E. Rought
netgalley - debut author - review coming soon

And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky
own - review coming soon

Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2) by Emmy Laybourne
arc from publisher - continuing series - review to come later - OMG!

Hysteria by Megan Miranda
netgalley - review coming soon

The Slither Sisters (Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #2) by Charles Gilman
finished book from publisher - continuing series - review coming soon


What did you guys read in January?