Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Dove Arising by Karen Bao

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at her blog, Breaking The Spine, spotlighting anticipated upcoming releases. Here’s mine for this Wednesday:

 Dove Arising
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Phaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the Moon. She’s barely spoken since her father died in an accident nine years ago. She cultivates the plants in Greenhouse 22, lets her best friend talk for her, and stays off the government’s radar.

Then her mother is arrested.

The only way to save her younger siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the faceless army that polices the Lunar bases and protects them from attacks by desperate Earth-dwellers. Training is brutal, but it’s where Phaet forms an uneasy but meaningful alliance with the preternaturally accomplished Wes, a fellow outsider.

Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom:  that’s the plan. Until Phaet’s logically ordered world begins to crumble...

I heard about the book from the six-figure deal announcement on Publishers Marketplace. Do I fear it's over-hyped because the author is young? Hell, yes. But it could also be spectacular. I'm hoping for spectacular.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Series Binge: Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver

Binge-eating? Binge-watching? How about binge-reading? Sometimes, you just can’t put a book down. You need the sequel. Then you need its sequel. Before you know it, you’ve read a seven-book series in under a week. I confess, I need help. This week, my addiction was…

Hardcovers, 1161 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing.

They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

I've been meaning to read Delirium for years. Heck, I've been meaning to read a Lauren Oliver book for years. Now that I have, I don't regret it. This series was awesome!

First off, Lauren Oliver writes beautifully. Her prose has the right balance of information and melody.  It crossed over the line into "purple prose" once or twice, but always found its way back. I love how Oliver's "style" changed for each book, too. In Delirium, the story was told from the perspective of Lena. In Pandemonium, the point-of-view character was still Lena, but the chapters alternated between "Then" and "Now", and always ended on a cliffhanger. In Requiem, Hana had her own chapters, which provided a unique perspective to the mix.

The Delirium trilogy was an action-packed, romance-filled adventure. Lena grew from a scared, brainwashed girl to a strong, independent woman. The side characters were fully-developed people with their own stories. It was sad to see some of the go (cough, die, cough). The romance was a love triangle, but this was from the Age of Triangles, so no surprise. I actually enjoyed Lena with both of the male leads, and have a love-hate relationship with the way Oliver decided to leave it open-ended. Though, in truth, it's probably the best way to end a love triangle where both the males (or females) are equally cherished by the fan base.

After reading this series, Panic by Lauren Oliver has climbed its way quickly up my TBR list. Maybe I should get started on that...

Would I recommend this series? Hell, yeah!

Would I re-read it? Maybe

Next Monday... I'll be trying Defy by Sara Larson

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Ignite by Sara B. Larson

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at her blog, Breaking The Spine, spotlighting anticipated upcoming releases. Here’s mine for this Wednesday:

Ignite (Defy, #2)
Release Date: January 5, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press

Murder, abductions, and forbidden romance abound in this thrilling sequel to Sara B. Larson's acclaimed YA debut, DEFY.

Alexa remains by the newly crowned King Damian’s side as his guard, ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion's people, despite continuing to harbor a secret love for him. However, when another threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on their newly forged allies from Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. With the fate of her nation hanging in the balance once again, will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy -- before it's too late?

I've read a lot of negative Defy reviews, but I didn't mind the story's focus on romance. I just really want to read the last chapter in the series and find out if Alexa ends up with Prince Damian or not. I don't care if Alexa is secretly a princess, or if the two decide to become hermits in a jungle cave. Please, Sara B. Larson, don't be like the Song of the Lioness where Alanna chose George over Prince Jonathan. Pretty please!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

Hardcover, 416 pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Purchased from Chapters Indigo
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

I loved Vampire Academy (the movie, not so much), but, in my opinion, the Bloodlines series is a gazillion times better. Sydney and Adrian are the cutest couple in the universe.

Silver Shadows is the fifth installment in the Bloodlines series and the second last book featuring the Vampire Academy world (that I know of). Upon picking up the book, my first thought revolved around how visibly shorter it is than its predecessors. Reading the books showed me why. While the other novels had multiple, interwoven storyline featuring all the beloved characters from Amberwood, Silver Shadows focused on Sydney and Adrian in places other than Amberwood without the Amberwood cast. The entirety of Silver Shadows was about the rescue of Sydney from the Alchemists. It was fun, but part of me missed the other beloved characters and the humor usually found in Richelle Mead's work. Sure, it had a few jokes. But a majority of the book saw the two main characters tortured. It's hard to throw out a witty one-liner when someone's having their hand dipped in acid.

Still, I eagerly await the sequel, the finale to the Bloodlines series, while simultaneously dreading the coming end.

Would I recommend this book? Yes
Would I re-read it? Yup!

Would I read a sequel? I'd read it now if it was out

Next Monday... I'll be doing my second Series Binge on Lauren Oliver's Delirium trilogy

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at her blog, Breaking The Spine, spotlighting anticipated upcoming releases. Here’s mine for this Wednesday:

 Talon (Talon, #1)
Hardcover, 400 pages
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

I'm really behind on my Julie Kagawa books, but I want this one so badly. I'm irrevocable in love with dragons!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Books on Trial: Half Bad by Sally Green

Books on Trial is a method of reviewing where I decide if books I've read recently are guilty or innocent of the "charges" laid against them by other reviewers, aka the "witnesses". This week's case is for...

Hardcover, 398 pages
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Toronto Public Library

You can't read, can't write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.

You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.

You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.

You've been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.

All you've got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.


The "witness testimonies" are from the top three opinions on Goodreads as of the posting date. The reviews have earned their position based on number of likes. The "testimonies" are:

As well as a very realistic story about a boy growing up, it's also a fast-paced, vicious, gruesome page-turner. It's not a small book but once I found time to sit down and read it, I was mesmerised until I finished it late last night. My friend practically had to drag me away to go see 12 Years a Slave, even though I'd been looking forward to it for ages.

-Emily May

This book is Snape: The Teenage Years. Only without much magic. WHERE'S MY MOTHERFUCKING MAGIC? Is it too much to ask for magic in a book about WITCHES?! If I'm going to read Dracula, I want some fucking vampires, and I want them to suck the bloody hell out of some humans. If I'm going to read about witches, I want some fucking hocus pocus shit, ok?

-Khanh (Kittens, Rainbows, and Sunshine)

Half Bad started as a 5-star read for me. This lasted 'til about three quarters which is when I realized we really hadn't gotten anywhere in the story. Boredom quickly followed, until I was unfortunately underwhelmed by the anticlimactic ending. Nevertheless, it's an incredibly well written book that has a lot to offer if you have a bit of patience, although it's unique in a way that may not adhere to all tastes. 


I'd heard a lot about this book, but nothing specifically good or bad. In retrospect, that sums up my feelings about Half Bad.

Half Bad was a fascinating story about a young, male witch alienated from the rest of his kind because of his parentage. A majority of Half Bad focused on how Nathan came to be imprisoned in the cage where readers first meet him in Part One. The remainder told of his escape and search for a person who could give him the three gifts he needed to unlock his witch-y power.

The entirety of Half Bad seemed like set-up for events to come. It was interesting set-up, though, so that's not a bad thing. The world Nathan lives in is detailed, and the injustice he's suffered because of the way he was born makes me want to punch a whole lot of people. There wasn't much magic in the book, though. I didn't realize how odd that was until hearing what the "witnesses" had to say. Despite the variance in opinions, each "witness" told the truth. I therefore find Half Bad guilty as charged.
I'll definitely check in for the sequel, despite the romantic interest, Annaliese (who I don't like), the few chapters in second person ("You walk up the stairs..." No, I'm lying here eating popcorn!), and the non-linear story telling (I have minor OCD). Hopefully, the next book doesn't flash around in time.

Would I recommend this book?

Would I re-read it? Probably not

Would I read a sequel? Yes

Next week... I'll be reviewing Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at her blog, Breaking The Spine, spotlighting anticipated upcoming releases. Here’s mine for this Wednesday:

Hardcover, 336 pages
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen

It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her. 

I love the concept of Beware the Wild! What happened to Phin? Who is Lenora May? How can Heath help? I already want to know.

What book are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, August 4, 2014

ARC Review: The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

I received an eARC copy of The Girl from the Well through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Sourcebooks Fire!

eBook, 304 pages
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Sorcebooks Fire

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret - one that would just kill to get out.

If you're looking for a scary read, look elsewhere. The Girl from the Well won't be for you. But it was entertaining, and I had a great time.

The entire story is told from the perspective of Okiku, the girl from the well herself. It's probably this reason I wasn't scared. Okiku is the terrifying bogeyman, and it's hard to fear something when you're inside her head and know her thoughts. If The Ring had been told from the perspective of Samara, I'm sure it wouldn't be a horror movie.

The Girl from the Well was definitely entertaining, though. Okiku is an interesting point-of-view character, especially once she meets Turk and Callie. Together, the three make an unlikely band of heroes. It's Turk and Callie's story through Okiku's eyes that kept me turning the pages. There were twists and turns, and a fantastic ending.

At times, the flowery prose was distracting and confusing, but overall I loved The Girl from the Well!

Would I recommend this book? Yes
Would I re-read it? One day...

Would I read a sequel? It's a stand-alone, but yes

Next Monday... I'll be trying Half-Bad by Sally Green