February 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Publication: June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pre-Order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near-impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one unlikely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life– a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha… and the secrets of her heart.
I know a lot of people probably have/had/will have this on their Waiting on Wednesday posts, but I'm so excited for this book!  I love fantasy books, and this one has gotten great reviews and sounds really original.  I also love the cover and think it's really unique, there's probably enough YA books with girls in dresses in them already.  (Not gonna lie though, I love the girl-in-dress covers!)

So, what book are you waiting for?  Is this one on your list? :)

February 27, 2012

In Which April Is Lame (What Else Is New?)

So since late December and early January, I've tried pretty hard to post at least 2-3 times a week.  And it's been going pretty well.  I usually try to do one review a week and then a meme or random post like a cover reveal.

But this past week I have kind of realized that blogging can't be one of my top priorities right now.  I really admire all the bloggers who can post everyday and still make time for school work, but I'm not really one of those people.  I also haven't read a book all February.  And it's kind of hard to crank out reviews for books you read several months ago.

I will still definitely be around, it will not be like my random disappearing act last year.  But honestly right now, I don't know what the future posting will be like.  I also partially wanted to write this post to say that I don't know if I (this is just me personally, I am not speaking on behalf of both myself and Karina) will be blogging in the long run.   I love books, I love posting and spreading love for books, but I do not think blogging is the thing for me.  Hopefully this is just some weird slump, but honestly I have kind of felt like this for a while.

So yeah, I just wanted to get that out there, sorry guys. :(

February 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Spell Bound (Hex Hall #3) by Rachel Hawkins
Publication: March 13th, 2012 by Disney Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
From Goodreads:

BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?
I'm super super super excited for this book, the Hex Hall series is one of my favorites and I'm sure this one will be as awesome as the others! If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend it!

February 20, 2012

Cover Reveal: Inbetween by Tara Fuller

Inbetween (Kissed by Death #1) by Tara Fuller
Publication: August 7th, 2012 by Entangled Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Available for Pre-order: | Amazon | 
Summary from Goodreads:

Since the car crash that took her father’s life three years ago, Emma’s life has been a freaky—and unending—lesson in caution. Surviving “accidents” has taken priority over being a normal seventeen-year-old, so Emma spends her days taking pictures of life instead of living it. Falling in love with a boy was never part of the plan. Falling for a reaper who makes her chest ache and her head spin? Not an option.

It’s not easy being dead, especially for a reaper in love with a girl fate has put on his list not once, but twice. Finn’s fellow reapers give him hell about spending time with Emma, but Finn couldn't let her die before, and he’s not about to let her die now. He will protect the girl he loves from the evil he accidentally unleashed, even if it means sacrificing the only thing he has left…his soul.
Sorry about posting two cover reveals in a row... but isn't this cover pretty? :D  Super excited for this book, not only because of the cover, but because I love reaper books!  I also love the "Death doesn't fall in love.  Usually." tagline.

So, what do you think about the cover?  We'd love to know your thoughts! :)

February 17, 2012

Cover Reveal: What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Publication: Septemeber 18th, 2012 by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Available for Pre-order: | Amazon
UK summary from Goodreads:

NEVER LET ME GO meets HIS DARK MATERIALS in a beautiful, haunting YA debut, the first book in The Hybrid Trilogy.

Eva and Addie live in a world where everyone is born with two souls, but where only the dominant one is allowed to survive childhood. Fifteen years old, and closer even than twins, the girls are keeping Eva, the ‘second soul’, a secret. They know that it’s forbidden to be hybrid, but how could they ever be apart?

When a dramatic event reveals what really happens to hybrids if they are discovered, Eva and Addie face a dangerous fight for survival, neither wanting to be the one left behind…
Squeee, I'm so excited for this book!  I'm so happy it has a cover now, and a synopsis (which was revealed earlier, I just didn't know till now...)! After reading the synopsis, the cover sounds like a good match!

You can check out the original and legit cover reveal at Pub(lishing) Crawl, where there's also a giveaway!  There's also the US summary which you should check out :)

So, what do you think of the cover?  We'd love to know your thoughts!

February 16, 2012

Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland #1) by Catherynne M. Valente
Format: Hardcover, 247 pages
Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure
Published May 10th, 2011 by Feiwel & Friends
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Rating: *4.5 out of 5
From Goodreads:

Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday. With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making is a short, but intriguing and charming book. It is the story of a girl named September, who in true fairytale fashion, goes off on an adventure in Fairyland where she is faced with an exciting but dangerous world filled with exciting but possibly dangerous characters.

What stood out most to me was the writing.  It is in 3rd person, with an often ominous narrator.  The writing was similar to the writing in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.  In a way, this kind of made me feel like you never really get to know the characters too intimately, they are kept distant from the reader as they go on their adventures.  I was okay with this, and thought it made the reading experience more unique but maybe not as enjoyable as it could have been.

I think what I enjoyed most from this book was the creative and colorful cast of characters that September meets on her journey.  I also really loved the world building in this book, although it take some concepts from traditional fantasy stories, I thought it was still really unique and well done.

Overall, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making is a thought provoking book, that should not be limited to middle grade readers.  It has gotten great feedback from readers of all ages, and I think older readers can appreciate the literary devices the author uses more than younger readers.  I would highly recommend it to fans of the writing in A Series of Unfortunate Events and to fans of middle grade books in general.

*To clarify on my rating, even though I think this book deserves a 5+ out of 5 based on writing, story, and all that literary jazz, it was not the book for me.  You know a book is good if it's blurbed by Neil Gaiman.  But if based on my personal interest in the book, I gave it a 4 out of 5.  Although I can see the book is brilliant and magical, the writing style did not completely work for me.

And just for the heck of it, here's my favorite quote :)
“One ought not to judge her: all children are Heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb high trees and say shocking things and leap so very high grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one. But, as in their reading and arithmetic and drawing, different children proceed at different speeds. (It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.) Some small ones are terrible and fey, Utterly Heartless. Some are dear and sweet and Hardly Heartless At All. September stood very generally in the middle on the day the Green Wind took her, Somewhat Heartless, and Somewhat Grown.”

-Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making

February 14, 2012

2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Yep, I decided to join the 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge!  I have so many pre-2012 TBR books that I figured this was a fun way to get through them :)  (Yeah I know, I'm late to the party...)

The 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge is hosted by:

Evie from Bookish - http://www.evie-bookish.blogspot.com @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read - http://www.nicoleabouttown.com/ @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - http://www.handsandhome.ca/ @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life http://bookpassionforlife.blogspot.com/ @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading http://whatchyareading.net @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read http://missiontoread.com/ @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea -http://booksbiscuitsandtea.blogspot.com/ @alouetteuette 
Christa from Hooked On Books http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction http://fansoffiction.blogspot.com/ @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision - http://mermaidvision.wordpress.com @mermaidvisions

Challenge guidelines: 

1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
2. As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!
3. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed! 
4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)
6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
8. At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.
9. If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)
10. December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL.
11. You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

My goal is to read and review 21-30 books (A Sweet Kiss level).  I'll be keeping track of my progress under the 2012 Reading Challenges tab.

Some books I hope to be reading...

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
I'd Tell You I Love You, but then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

If you want more info, just click on one of the links of a host blog!  For example, here's Evie's from Bookish link.

February 11, 2012

In My Mailbox (20)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme started by Kristi from The Story Siren where bloggers can share what books they've received and what they're planning on reviewing.
So this week, I received...

From Amy @Amy's Book Den, I won:
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Twisted (Intertwined #3) by Gena Showalter
Awake at Dawn (Shadow Falls #2) by C.C. Hunter

Thanks Amy!  Very excited about these :) Admittedly I haven't started the Intertwined or Shadow Falls series, but they are very high on my TBR list!

From Britta @I Like These Books, The {Teen} Book Scene, and Sarah Tregay, I won:
Love and Leftovers swag pack!  I got a signed bookmark and a (desperately needed) guitar pick charm. Sarah also sent me a cute Valentine's Day card :)  I didn't take a picture because I am having some lack-of-camera issues right now, but trust me, this is some super cute swag <3

That's it for my mailbox this week!  Feel free to leave a comment and link your IMM if you want me to check it out :)

February 9, 2012

Book Trailer Thursday

So honestly... I had no idea what to post for today.  But I thought it would be fun to spotlight some book trailers that came out recently!  I know a lot of bloggers do a "Trailer Thursday" thing, so just to let you guys know I'm not trying to steal anyone's idea, I just don't know who to/if I need to credit :P

So here are some book trailers released this week that caught my eye :)

Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig
Publication: March 13th, 2012 by Katherine Tegan Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Things couldn't be better for 15-year-old Willa Fox: Her mom has just moved them to beautiful Paradise Valley, playground for the rich and powerful. Already Willa's been welcomed into the inner circle of her school's most exclusive clique and she's attracted the attentions of the superfine Aidan Murphy. But when Willa finds out that her new best friends are actually bullies, she decides she has to take a stand—even if it means taking the law into her own hands.

You can also check out the original trailer debut post at I Read Banned Books!  Honestly I wasn't that interested in this book until I saw the trailer, it sounds like a cute contemp that I'd really like :)

The Nightmare Garden (Iron Codex #2) by Caitlin Kittredge
Publication: February 14th, 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk, Science Fiction
Everything Aoife thought she knew about the world was a lie. There is no Necrovirus. And Aoife isn't going to succumb to madness because of a latent strain—she will lose her faculties because she is allergic to iron. Aoife isn't human. She is a changeling—half human and half from the land of Thorn. And time is running out for her.

When Aoife destroyed the Lovecraft engine she released the monsters from the Thorn Lands into the Iron Lands and now she must find a way to seal the gates and reverse the destruction she's ravaged on the world that's about to poison her.
You can also check out the original debut post at the author's site!  The author is also offering a deleted scene if the trailer gets 500 views or 100 linkbacks so be sure to share it! :)

Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala
Publication: January 3rd, 2012 by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Joy Delamere is suffocating...

From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out.

Joy can take his words - tender words, cruel words - until the night they go too far.

Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe... if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late.

Set against the gritty backdrop of Seattle’s streets and a cast of characters with secrets of their own, Holly Cupala’s powerful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the meaning of love, and how far a girl will go to discover her own strength.
I've heard a lot of good things about this book, and I love the drawings and background music!  The book's already out, so if the trailer interests you, you should check it out!

So, what do you think about these book trailers?  Were there any trailers that I should have mentioned in this post? We'd love to know your thoughts!

February 7, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Format: Hardcover, 318 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Published January 10th, 2012 by Dutton Juvenile
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository 
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Summary from Goodreads:

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
Disclaimer: this review is more of a long winded babbling than a review.  Sorry about that.

I think everyone can acknowledge that this book was good.  Some call it John Green's best.  There are countless glowing reviews so if it seems like I'm focusing on the negative things, it's just because I feel like all the fantastic things about this novel have already been said.

If you've read other TFioS reviews, you've probably already heard about the crying and tears... and while I did get teary eyed and cried at one point in the novel, it was not an emotional breakdown kind of book for me.  You would think that a book dealing with cancer would be chock full of overbearing scenes of despair, but it's really not.  I appreciate that John Green didn't try to go all Nicholas Sparks on us. (Nothing against Nicholas Sparks, but really, his books are a recipe for tears).

Although I loved this book, a thing that bothered me was that at times, it felt really... pretentious.  And I know it's slightly pretentious to use the word pretentious, but that's the word that comes to mind.  I'm okay with the fact that Hazel and Augustus aren't exactly your typical teenagers.  It's refreshing to read about witty teenagers who think more about their lives than school, friends, partying, etc.  But some of their dialogue and mannerisms just came off as pretentious to me... Augustus and his unlit cigarette metaphors... like, if I met someone like that in real life, I wouldn't know whether to think he was cool and thoughtful, or a douche.  And some of the profound moments and sophistication in this book felt forced and over calculated.  Just my opinion.

Overall, while TFioS is a beautiful story that I most definitely enjoyed reading, it didn't live up to the hype for me.  (And what I mean by 'live up to the hype' is I was kind of expecting a 5+ out of 5.  Maybe it's my fault for having high expectations.).  This is just my opinion, 99.999999% of the people who have read TFioS LOVED it with their heart and soul.

Okay, so after writing all that, I realized it kind of sounds like I didn't like this book... even though I really did! *pinky promise* While I was reading, there were times where I wanted to sticky note passages and annotate.  And I'm not gonna lie, first thing I did after I finished this book was look up An Imperial Affliction on Goodreads.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:
(Emphasis needed on the word some.  Because I have a lot.)
“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.” 

“That's the thing about pain...it demands to be felt.”

“It's just that most really good-looking people are stupid, so I exceed expectations.'
'Right, it's primarily his hotness,' I said.
'It can be sort of blinding,' he said.
'It actually did blind our friend Isaac,' I said.
'Terrible tragedy, that. But can I help my own deadly beauty?'
'You cannot.'
'It is my burden, this beautiful face.'
'Not to mention your body.'
'Seriously, don't even get me started on my hot bod. You don't want to see me naked, Dave. Seeing me naked actually took Hazel Grace's breath away,' he said, nodding toward the oxygen tank.”

-John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

February 4, 2012

In My Mailbox (19)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme started by Kristi from The Story Siren where bloggers can share what books they've received and what they're planning on reviewing.
This week I won:
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins from Andrea @The Busy Bibliophile
E-book of Hushed by Kelley York from Ren @Ren's Rambles and Jessirae @Words, pages and books

I ADORED Anna and the French Kiss, so I'm super excited to read Lola!  I've also heard good things about Hushed, so hopefully I'll get to it soon too :)

What did you get in your mailbox this week? :)

February 1, 2012

Cover Reveal: Blood Moon by Alyxandra Harvey

Blood Moon (Drake Chronicles #5) by Alyxandra Harvey
Publication: June 2012 by Bloomsbury
From the author's site:

The POVs are: Solange, Lucy and Nicholas.

When the vampire tribes convene for the rare Blood Moon ceremonies, Solange’s fight with her feral nature, a mysterious stranger, family secrets and forbidden magic put all of the Drakes in danger.
I know it's lame to be excited for the 5th book of a series when you've only read the first... but squeeee! Lucy and Nicholas <3

I like how this cover follows the new US covers, and I like how Lucy and Nicholas are on the cover (*insert more squee-ing*)  Not sure if I like it as much as Bleeding Hearts or Ruling Passion, but I approve :)

And if you were unawares... there's also a cover for the e-novella coming out in February!

A Killer First Date by Alyxandra Harvey
Publication: February 14th, 2012 by Bloomsbury
From the author's site:

A story about Lucy and Nicholas, Hunter and Quinn, taking place between “Out for Blood” and “Bleeding Hearts”.
Is it lame to be excited for a short story that features characters that you haven't even heard of?  Yes.  But I am.

I like how this cover follows with the new design of the US covers, but I'm not too sure how I feel about the ferris wheel with the border pattern... Personally I think the ferris wheel is a bit too colorful and kind of clashes with the fancy border, but ah well.

I also wanted to bring up the US vs UK covers. Before, I really liked the UK covers, but now I like the new design of the US covers that Bleeding Hearts and the Ruling Passion (Drake Chronicles #1-3) omnibus have, and that Blood Moon has.

US Covers:

UK Covers:

The US version of Bleeding Hearts may be my favorite out of all of the covers :)  I also like the UK Blood Feud cover.  I am a bit sad that the US covers do not all match, but I think the new design is a great improvement over the old ones :)

What do you think about the Blood Moon and A Killer First Date covers? Do you like the US or UK covers better?  We'd love to know your thoughts!