Friday, December 31, 2010

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis


Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules. 
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone--one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship--tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next. 
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming

I don't even know where to start. This debut novel is fantastic. I don't normally read novels set in space, but I'm very glad I gave this one a shot. It's told in alternating chapters from Amy and Elder's perspectives. Normally when I'm reading a book like this I get more attached to a particular narrator, but I pretty much liked both characters equally. 
The book did drag a little for me in the middle, but it quickly picked up the pace again. Once I got past that, I was hooked. The mystery is great, and the character relationships are very interesting. 
This is the start of a trilogy, but it does a GREAT job of giving you just enough of a conclusion so you don't feel ripped off, while still giving you plenty to look forward to. 

5/5

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: Contagion by Joanne Dahme


This is a guest review from my friend Katie.

Set in the late 19th century, Rose Dugan is a young wife who is actively involved in her community. But when her best friend is killed while working at Philadelphia’s Water Works' gardens, the mystery around her death pulls Rose in. Will she save the city from a deadly typhoid outbreak that is threatening the city’s water system? Will Rose unravel the mystery behind her best friend’s murder—a fate that was actually meant for her? 

Warning: This book alternates between two first-person perspectives. So if that really bugs you then be aware and don’t say that I didn’t warn you. I’m not really one who finds it annoying to read a book with alternating perspectives. They can be awesome if done well. That being said this book had a few glitches on that front. One of the perspectives is female and the other is male. The chapters told from Rose’s perspective work well. The ones from Sean’s perspective were a little harder to adjust to. A woman is trying to write what goes on in a man’s head and is obviously having a hard time doing it. But Sean’s chapters get better as you go along so give it a chance.
Another negative thing about this book is that it sort of drags in places. The plot itself does not drag but the amount of detail given slows the book down. I felt that I got too much detail about buildings, places, and other things that were not really important. I know that the author did all of this research to make her book historically accurate and the use of all of these detailed descriptions is her making that work worthwhile. Unfortunately it would have been better to provide less description about some things because it would have made the book better overall. The reader would have been able to focus more on the interesting plot instead what City Hall looked like.
Well there’s a heaping helping of negativity. Anyway you may be surprised because I think that this was a pretty awesome book. It has a great plot full of twists and turns. It is sort of like a really interesting history lesson mixed with a mystery that keeps you guessing. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out something else happens that puts you right back where you started and leaves you more confused than ever. Your desire to figure out what is really happening gets you past the slow parts. This is a great book so if you have the opportunity to read it do so.

My Disclaimer:
This book is historical fiction. There is no vampire or zombie or werewolf or fairy or witch or wizard or dragon or well you get it. So if you require every book you read to have one or more of those things this is not the book for you. Again if that bothers you choose another book.

If you like Ann Rinaldi or really any historical fiction you’ll like this book.
Maybe even books like A Great and Terrible Beauty but without all of the supernatural stuff.

I give it a 4/5.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Review: Matched by Ally Condie




Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

This story is completely engrossing. It's a little slow to start, but the world is so intriguing that I had to keep reading. There's not a lot of action to speak of, though. Some people may be put off by that, but the internal struggle of the main character as well as the increasing odds against her will keep you hooked.
The futuristic world built by the author is very believable. At first, everything seems great, and it even feels like a place that I might like to live. As the novel progresses you begin to see cracks in the system, and things don't feel quite right. The ending was a little rushed and open ended, but here's hoping the sequel isn't too far off.
The movie rights have been bought by Disney, so be on the lookout for this story on the big screen!
Matched is a perfect read for fans of The Hunger Games and Uglies.

4/5

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer


Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?


Before reading Nightshade, I participated in the Shay Doran Shadow Days promotion for the book. It was weird reading the book after seeing videos of Shay, but it was interesting because it's a prequel of sorts to Nightshade. You don't need to read the blog to read Nightshade, but it's fun.

When I started the book, it took me a while to get into it. It was that same problem I had with Graceling. The story starts and you're dropped in the middle of everything with not much explanation at the beginning. Once I got into it though, I couldn't put the book down.
Calla, the main character, is a Guardian - a person with the ability to shift into a werewolf. Her whole life is planned by the Keepers - magicians who control the town and gave the Guardians their powers. She's set to marry pack leader Ren and control the new wolf pack. But when she meets Shay, her world is turned upside down.
The story in this book is fantastic, and the characters are amazing. They are awesomely well developed. Nightshade is funny, suspenseful, and so, so good. It's a must read.

5/5

As a bonus, here's the cover for Nightshade's sequel, Wolfsbane!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cover Alert! Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker

Melissa's cover for her newest book Small Town Sinners has hit the blogosphere, and I'm excited to be sharing it with you! Contemp YA isn't my normal genre, but I love Melissa's books, and can't wait to read this one!


Awesome isn't it? Here's the synopsis:
Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town. With her driver's license in hand and the chance to try out for a lead role in Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin, Lacey's junior year is looking promising. But when a cute new stranger comes to town, something begins to stir inside her. Ty Davis doesn't know the sweet, shy Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself. As her feelings for Ty make Lacey test her boundaries, events surrounding Hell House make her question her religion.

The cover story will be on Melissa's blog soon, so keep your eyes out!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Spooky Swap Package

This is what Katie received from the Spooky Swap.

Spooky Swap Package

This is the package Jasmine received:

I received my package today from Jeremy from Novel Thoughts. I'm so happy with everything! He did such an awesome job!

Here is what I got:

The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening
The Ghost Hunter's Handbook
The Witch's Handbook
A 4 pack of scary movies
Halloween Stickers
2 cute Halloween bowls
A Halloween pail
Dark Chocolate Raisinets
Dark Chocolate Reese's 
And cute pumpkin garland

Thanks again, Jeremy!  :)

Spooky Swap Package

This is the package Jacinda received:

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent (on my TBR list and now I own a copy!)
Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love by a ton of great YA authors  (can't wait to read this one!)
2 bags of caramel apple candy corn, YUM!
Caramels, also YUM!
and a candle that smells wonderful!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Scott Westerfeld Signing!

This past week I had the opportunity to go to a Scott Westerfeld signing. I've been reading his books for YEARS, so the opportunity to finally meet him was amazing. So many people came to see him, and there were even steampunk cosplayers! His wife, Justine Larbalestier, was also their and she was nice enough to sign all of her books that I brought, AND pose for a picture!

Here's a video from my friend Vania of VLC Media about both signings Scott did in Atlanta this weekend:



I had an extra copy of Justine's first book Magic or Madness that I'll be giving away soon, so keep watching for that.
(I know I have a TON of books I need to give away, but I need to get a job so I can pay for shipping.)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Spooky Swap

Jo White got her package, and doesn't have her own blog to post, so here's her post!

"I received my package from Misha...what a surprize it came all the way from India.
She sent a beautiful scarf, book, gorgeous beaded mirror and a couple of bracelets that actually are worn on their feet. How cool is that! She said they don't celebrate Halloween in India, but they do have Halloween parties."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Spooky Swap

Jeremy from Novel Thoughts got his spooky swap package, but his computer is broken, so I'm posting a picture of what he got in the mail here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Construction

Yes, I have a new blog layout. Yes, I know the page buttons aren't centered. Yes, it bugs an OCD person like me. Thank you guys for the emails telling me that they were off! Jessica's working on it, and it should be fixed by the end of the week! 
A big thank you to Jessica for the new layout. I think it looks great, don't you? 
If you want some work done on your blog (buttons, headers, whole layouts) check her out! She's super easy to work with. She didn't even kill me when I told her to make changes. I knew she wanted to though. She probably still does. 

New Cover Alert! Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

I have this book sitting in my TBR pile just itching to be read, and now the amazing cover makes me want to read it even more! I love it even more than the cover for Hex Hall.

I also have an extra ARC of Demonglass to give away, so keep your eyes out in the coming months!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cover Alert! Huntress by Malinda Lo

I loved Ash, and can't wait for the prequel! I had no expectations for the cover of Huntress, but even if I did, this one would have blown them out of the water! Look how amazing it is!

Also , it gets a bajillion bonus points for having a person of color on the cover. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Official Spooky Swap Package Thread!

The packages are starting to be sent out for the Spooky Swap, so here's a linky where you can post a link to your blog so everyone can see what you got! If you don't have a blog where you can post this, then you can email pictures and a post to Jessica or myself and we'll post them.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Review: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl



Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen. 
Sometimes life-ending. 
Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.


If you liked Beautiful Creatures, and are wondering if book 2 can even compare to the first, don't worry. It's just as good, if not better, than BC.
This book is dark, but I guess you could figure that out by the title. I honestly didn't know what to expect when going into it, and that was a very good thing. The atmosphere is the same as the first book, with an underlining feeling of unrest. There are lots of twists and turns, and many questions from the first book are answered. Kami and Margie are the absolute best when it comes to prose and descriptions. I love the way they can weave words and make not only the story fantastic, but the way it's told as well. Some new characters are introduced, and old favorites return. (Ridley FTW) Every character is multi-dimensional, and you feel as if you could actually meet them. Beautiful Darkness drops tomorrow, October 12, and book three can't come fast enough. 


5/5

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Spooky Swap Package!

I got my Spooky Swap package from Pam at Bookalicio.us! Here's what she sent me:



  • A Halloween clock that plays spooky sounds every hour
  • The Shining (book)
  • The Shining (movie)
  • Smarties candy dispensers in Halloween shapes
Thank you so much Pam! I've read The Shining, but didn't own a copy, and I've never seen the original movie (just the made for tv remake). 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Review: Dark Song by Gail Giles





Mark said he heard the dark song when he creeped houses. The song the predator's heart sings when it hears the heart of the prey. I heard it now. Mark said it had always been in me. Lurking. Waiting for me to hear.
Ames is not the person she was a few months ago. Her father lost his job, and her family is crumbling apart. Now, all she has is Marc. Marc, who loves her more than anything. Marc, who owns a gun collection. And he'll stop at nothing--even using his guns--to get what he wants. Ames feels her parents have betrayed her with their lies and self-absorption, but is she prepared to make the ultimate betrayal against them?

This is another review by my friend Katie.


This was definitely an odd book. The  story did not go the way that you would think it was from reading the synopsis. It seems like the story is about a girl who is caught in a dangerous and abusive relationship. However, Marc is not even introduced until you’re 160 pages in. I think that the story would have been better if more of the book focused on the relationship between Ames and Marc. Their relationship develops too quickly too be realistic.
I thought that that this book had a dissatisfying conclusion. There was no true big final conflict. I thought that it just sort of fizzled out. I wanted some danger and suspense and it just didn’t happen. The ending is probably the most realistic thing about the book (i.e. what would happen in real life). However, this is a book and books should have some sort of climax.
Probably the best thing about this book is that it is a really fast read. The main thing that gets you through the slow start is waiting for the main character to meet Marc. You’re pretty much waiting on the book to start for the first 160 pages.
Overall, I didn’t really enjoy this book. It’s good for a library read, but I wouldn’t purchase it.

1/5

Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Books Week!

This week is Banned Books Week! The writing, reading, and blogging community is taking the time to celebrate books that have been banned or challenged. I'll be doing my part by reading and reviewing one or two banned books this week.
My favorite books happen to be the most challenged of the decade. The Harry Potter series. Crazy, huh?

My Package From Shay Doran

I got a package from Shay (from Andrea Cremer's Nightshade) today. I haven't started trying to figure it out, but  I'll put up the pictures for anyone who wants to give it a shot.




EDIT: I've figured out the messages

The first one says: "The mind of Alistair was entertained by fighting and books at a Conatus institution in Scotland."

And the second one had three:

"The keepers devour the peaceful school"
"14O5 (the "O" could be a zero, I'm not sure) a shrill battle"
"The war is over."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Review: Another Pan by Daniel and Dina Nayeri


Sixteen-year-old Wendy Darling and her insecure freshman brother, John, are hitting the books at the Marlowe School. But one tome consumes their attention: THE BOOK OF GATES, a coveted Egyptian artifact that their professor father believes has magical powers. Soon Wendy and John discover that the legend is real—when they recite from its pages and descend into a snaking realm beneath the Manhattan school. As the hallways darken, and dead moths cake the floor, a charismatic new R.A. named Peter reveals that their actions have unleashed a terrible consequence: the underworld and all its evil is now seeping into Marlowe. Daniel Nayeri and Dina Nayeri return to reimagine Peter Pan as a twisty, atmospheric, and fast-paced fantasy about the perils of immortality.

This is a guest review by my friend Katie. It's her first, so show some love!

I’ve got a confession to make. Another Faust, the first book in the “Another Series” , was not one of my favorite books. Don’t get me wrong. There wasn’t really anything wrong with it. It just was not the kind of story that I thought that it was going to be. Plus I am not familiar with the original (Faust). I mean who is?
So when I started to read this book I thought that it was just going to be more of the same, but it was so awesome. It blends Ancient Egyptian legends, the drama of high school, and a beloved classic into a seamless story that you cannot put down.
I think another reason that I enjoyed this book more is because I am familiar with Peter Pan. It has the Lost Boys, the rivalry between Wendy and Tina (Tinkerbell), and boy who never wants to grow up. It has just enough similarities to Peter Pan and just enough differences to make this story work. If you’ve read Peter Pan or seen the movie you have to read this book.
This book is definitely action packed. I think that guys will love it. But, it is still accessible to girls. So anyone could read this book and they would not feel that it was geared toward any one gender.
Whether you loved Another Faust or not you’ll go crazy over Another Pan. The story is alive and takes the readers mind and imagination to the extreme.

Note: I usually would say that if there is a previous book in a series you should read it before you read any of the later books. In the case of these books, however,  I do not think that it would cause you any problems to skip Another Faust if you are so inclined. There is not much overlap with characters or details. The only characters that are carried over to the second book are Connor Wirth and Vileroy. Connor is not important and any blanks on the part of Vileroy are easily filled in. But if ya’ll still want to buy Another Faust I am sure the authors would appreciate it.

4.5/5

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Blogger/Author Halloween Spooky Swap



EDIT: Swap signups are now closed. You should be receiving emails in the next few days. 


Jessica and I are hosting a Halloween Spooky Swap! 

If you don't know what a swap is, here's what it's all about:
Everyone likes getting stuff in the mail, and Halloween isn't really a gift-giving holiday. Why? Well I wish we knew, but I like getting surprises so we declared it a gift-giving holiday! 

Everyone participating will fill out an info form, and we'll match everyone with someone they groove with. Yes, we did just say groove. You will be emailed info about who you'll be sending your Package of Awesome to. Unless you REALLY want to know who's sending your package, we'll keep that a surprise. ;) Then at the end we'll set up a Mr. Linky so that you can share your undying love for what your partner sent you! Sound fab?

The theme is Halloween, so here are the requirements for the packages:
(1) Scary story (book/movie/etc)
- This can be something you have, purchase at a thrift store (good condition please) or discover on the sale rack!
(1) Halloween colored item (orange/black, purple/black, etc)
- This is open to your interpretation! Consider what your partner likes/collects/etc.
(1) Type of candy or something sweet
- Come on...we all know Halloween is about the candy...mmmm....

Once you've included these items, you can add anything else you'd like to your recipient's package! Be fun, be intentional, enjoy!


Official Rules and Regulations:
MONEY LIMIT:
15$ MINIMUM + shipping. This means that you MUST spend at least 15 dollars - no less. We want to make sure that everyone is fair. You could spend a few more dollars if you wish to do so, but that is completely up to you. Shipping is extra. Please take some time into getting thoughtful items for your partner! Don't just stop at the gas station and pick something up - think about whether the items you get are something you yourself would like to receive.

Just to be on the safe side, please do not send the following to ANYONE: tobacco products, alcohol, prescription or illegal drugs, weapons, or pornographic material.
  
REQUIREMENTS FOR SHIPPING:
Members are required to get Delivery Confirmation with their packages and email the number to Jessica or myself. You can find our email addresses on our respective blogs. We will email you to remind you if the deadline is nearing and we haven't heard from you yet.
  
WHEN YOU GET YOUR PACKAGE:
Once you get your package, please post about it! Tell us what you got, post pictures, and thank your partner!

If you don't have a blog, you can still participate! Please send your thank you post and pictures to one of us and we'll post it for you.

DEADLINES:
All participants must be signed up by October 3rd. This will give us plenty of time to pair you off, notify you, and ensure that you still have plenty of time to go out and get some fun items for your partner. We will consider taking late signups if the participant is willing to ship by the deadline! In the event that there is an uneven amount of participants, one of us (Travis or Jessica) will take on two partners to make this fair.

All packages must be sent by October 20th. This is to ensure that your package gets wherever it is shipped off to in time! You are welcome to send it before the date if it is ready to go. If you agree to ship Internationally, you may want to send it a bit earlier.

In the form below, put some info about yourself to give to your partner. Let them know things like:
  • Favorite flavors
  • Favorite scents
  • Any allergies?
  • Favorite color and pattern
  • Hobbies
  • Favorite music
  • Favorite movies/tv shows
  • Favorite books/authors
  • Favorite accessories
  • Clothing/shoe/bracelet/ring size
  • Things you collect
  • Other interests
If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments or shoot us an email. You can sign up on either blog, as the form is the same. 


Fill out the FORM to participate!


Thanks to Jeremy from Novel Thoughts for the graphic!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White



Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.
Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
 

I'll start by saying this: Paranormalcy DEBUTED at number 7 on the New York Times Bestseller List. 
I'll let that sink in.
On it's first week of release, it made the list. Yes, this books is that awesome.
I pretty much read this book in an afternoon. I literally couldn't put it down. 
Evie lives and works in the IPCA, where she "bags and tags" paranormals. This book has them all. Vampires, werewolves, faeries, pixies, hags, water nymphs, wood nymphs, and many more. They're unnoticed by the general population, and the IPCA keeps it that way. They also neutralize the paranormals, so they don't hurt innocent humans. 
The concept is fresh and interesting, and so very well thought out. The book is hilarious, and starts out fairly lighthearted. It does get a little darker toward the middle of the book, and that surprised me (in a good way). It gave the novel a real depth. Everything isn't always sunshine and rainbows. 
There was a point at the end where the events feel a little bit rushed, but I was so into the book that it didn't bother me. 
The end of the novel is pretty final, with just enough loose threads to tease the sequel. No cliffhangers here!
The characters are pretty well developed, and very interesting. 
Overall, this was an excellent book, and I can't wait for the next book! 

5/5
Recommended if you liked Hex Hall, The Mortal Instruments, and Twilight.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Halloween Spook Swap!

We're thinking of doing a blogger Halloween themed package swap! You'll be given someone to send your package to, and you can fill it with candy, goodies, and - duh - books! More details will be given later, but right now we're just going to see if anyone would be interested.

Would you participate in a Halloween themed swap?

Friday, September 10, 2010

IMM: Decatur Book Festival Edition

Yes, this is an IMM. It's also a big post about the Decatur Book Festival that I attended this past weekend. I was supposed to to a vlog, but that didn't work out for a few reasons. Maybe next time!

On Saturday morning, my friends and I piled into the car super early. We had a breakfast to go to, and it started at 9, so we left at 6. I hate getting up early. We were the second group of people to arrive, so we ordered our food and waited. So many bloggers and authors showed up!
Breakfast

Breakfast

Authors at the breakfast
Carrie Ryan, Jackson Pearce, Nancy Werlin, Mari Mancusi, and Myra McEntire just to name a few authors.
Later that day we went to a panel with David Levithan and Terra Elan McVoy where they talked about romance. They each read an excerpt from one of their novels, and the whole thing was hilarious.
David Levithan reading from WGWG
After that we had a panel with Cinda Williams Chima, Kathleen Duey, Saundra Mitchell, and Jessica Verday about fantasy world building. For a fantasy fan like me, it was so interesting to hear their thoughts on writing, history, and maps.
Then there was the Zombies vs. Vampires Smackdown with Carrie Ryan and Alyxandra Harvey. That one was loads of fun, and Carrie may or may not have slammed Justin Bieber...
The last panel of Saturday was with Rachel Hawkins and Nancy Werlin. They talked about why teens like fantasy, and how it reflects on the world today. Rachel opened up with a Buffy reference, so obviously that panel was amazing.
Sunday we had the CASSANDRA CLARE panel. It was held in a church, and the whole place was almost filled up. Jackson Pearce dressed up as Magnus Bane as she introduced Cassie. Then there was the signing. We waited in line outside for TWO hours. I felt bad for Cassie, as she had to sit and sign books in the heat. She was so awesome for doing it. 



After that we ran to the last panel. This one was Jackson Pearce, Michelle Zink, and Robin Benway talking about sibling rivalry. 
The whole festival was amazing. Getting to meet all of the authors, bloggers, and readers was such an awesome experience. 
Now for the IMM part. (you'll also get a preview of what I'm giving away soon) 



Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
Vacations From Hell (signed by Cassie Clare)
Boys That Bite by Mari Mancusi
Kiss Me Deadly (signed by Carrie Ryan and Michelle Zink)
The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey x2
Sacred Scars by Kathleen Duey x2
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway x2
Mortal Instruments series by Cassie Clare
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce x2
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus courtesy of Jennifer.
Clockwork Angel by Cassie Clare

Pretty much anything with a double I'm giving away, along with a ton of swag. Keep a lookout!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Update

Hey guys! I'm still here. Most of the books I've been reading are future releases, and they're not going to be posted until closer to their release dates. That's why there haven't been many reviews up lately. I'll be reading and reviewing some recent releases soon though, so no worries.

Over the weekend I went to the Decatur Book Festival, and got to meet a TON of authors, bloggers, and readers. I'll be doing a post all about that later this week.
You guys are awesome, so I've got loads of stuff from the festival to give away in the coming weeks. Signed books, unsigned books, and tons of swag!

If you guys have any books that you'd like to see me review in the future, or just wanna say hi, drop me a line in the comments!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanna Collins


Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

I had expectations for Mockingjay. I'd thought about theories, and even made up some fake, funny ones with people on Twitter. Nothing prepared me for this book. It feels different from the first two in the series. Not bad, just different. There's a war going on. Bad things happen in war. Heidi Kling (author of SEA) said, "Forget Team Peeta/Team Gale. By the end of this book you are only Team Humanity."
I can't agree more. For months fans have been speculating about who Katniss will choose. But honestly, in light of present circumstances, it doesn't matter. This book explores themes of war, the meaning of right and wrong/good and evil, and shows that every decision we make has a consequence. If you liked The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, you won't be disappointed. This book has lived up to its hype, and is now probably my favorite read this year. I believe that everyone should read the previous two books just to get the the masterpiece that is Mockingjay.

5/5

Monday, August 23, 2010

Catching Fire Reread

I'm rereading Catching Fire very quickly, so I most likely won't be doing a recap of it on here. Maybe a really super condensed quick one when I'm done, but definitely not a chapter-by-chapter recap like I did with The Hunger Games.
To (kinda) make up for it, here's Suzanne Collins reading the first chapter of Mockingjay!

Guys and Books

Let's have a little chat, ok?

I know the majority of YA readers are female. I know there are a lot of guys that don't read for whatever reasons. The argument has been made that YA books aren't marketed to boys, and I can see that. Just take a walk down the YA section at any bookstore. What do you see? Covers colored in purple and pink, covers with girls on the front, etc. Books that a lot of guys wouldn't be caught dead reading in school. Something needs to be done about that, but that's not the main reason for this post.
I was looking around the blogosphere, and I saw something that made me stop. There was a teen guy giving short review of a book. He liked said book, but advised other boys to speed read through romantic scenes to get to the "good" parts. I know girls have a different mentality toward romance and love than guys do, but in the end, aren't we all human? Don't we all fall in love, and feel warm and fuzzy feelings? If you prick us, do we not all bleed? Sorry, went one too far.
Is there a reason that boys are so anti-romance? I get it if it's a book where romance is the main issue, and it talked about constantly (I'm looking at you Twilight). The thing is, this book wasn't one of those. The romance is there, but it's not presented in an overly "lovey-dovey" way. I honestly have never had a problem reading about romance and love, so I don't get what the big deal is. Can anyone explain it to me? I'd love to hear your thoughts, opinions, experiences in the comments.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 25 - 27

Chapter 25
The creatures are giant wolves that act human. They chase the three tributes to the Cornucopia, which they climb. Katniss picks a few of them off with her bow, then realizes something. The wolves look like the dead tributes. There's even one that looks like Rue. Once bites Peeta, but Katniss kills it. Cato tries to kill Peeta in the confusion, but Katniss shoots him as well, sending him into the pack of wolves. They begin to tear him apart. They torture him all night, and Katniss and Peeta are forced to listen to him scream in pain. In the morning, Katniss decides to put Cato out of his misery. The wolves go away, and Katniss and Peeta make their way back to the lake, waiting for the games to be over. Then an announcement: only one person can win the games, not two.
This is how angry I was.
Katniss decides that they should both kill themselves with the poison berries. They put them in their mouths, and the announcer comes back, saying that they both win!

Chapter 26
They both get into a hovercraft, where doctors tend to them. Katniss is put into a drug-induced coma for a while. When she finally wakes up, she is styled and costumed for the closing ceremonies. There, she will see Peeta for the first time since the games. Haymitch tells Katniss that the Capitol is furious that they "beat the system", so she should be careful.

Chapter 27
Katniss and Peeta reunite on stage, and are then forced to watch a three hour highlight of the Games. They go to a party, and the next day have an interview. While there, Katniss discovers that Peeta now has an artificial leg. =/
They go back home, but on the way, Katniss reveals to Peeta that some of her affections during the Games were just an act. Peeta is understandably upset. They arrive home.
The End

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 22 - 24

Chapter 22
It's raining outside when Katniss wakes up, and Peeta is better. He's been taking care of her. They're stuck, and since they have nothing better to do, they talk. And kiss. Katniss realizes that the more they play on the star crossed lovers angle, the happier Haymitch will be, so she does it. She finally (kind of) tells Peeta that she loves him, and Haymitch sends them a feast. Peeta is thrilled, both for the food and the declaration of love.
Peeta
Chapter 23
More cave time. The tribute that saved Katniss is killed, leaving 2 tributes left (not counting Katniss and Peeta). The rain stops and they go hunting. Peeta is loud, so Katniss sends him to gather berries and roots and stuff. When she comes back with food, she sees that some of their cheese and berries have disappeared. Peeta didn't eat them, so where did they go? Suddenly, they hear a cannon, and a body is taken away not far from them. Katniss realizes that the berries Peeta gathered are poison, and the other tribute must have stolen and eaten them.

Chapter 24
Katniss saves some berries just in case they can trick the last tribute left (Cato) into eating them. They go back to the cave and sleep. When they are both rested, they decide to leave. The streams and ponds are dried up, so they make their way to the lake. When they reach the clearing, Cato runs toward them. Katniss shoots him with an arrow, but it just bounces off of him. Instead of running for them, he runs past them. Then they notice he's running from something.

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 19 - 21

Chapter 19
Katniss decides to look for Peeta so that they can team up. She's walking through the forest when she spots a trail of blood. She follows it to a stream, then hears Peeta's voice. He camouflaged himself in the riverbank so he wouldn't be seen. Katniss helps him up and sees that he is badly injured from tracker jacker stings, burns, and a nasty gash in his leg. She begins taking off his clothes and tending to his wounds. His leg is in very bad shape. Katniss moves them to a cave, and Peeta is talking about dying, so Katniss kisses him to shut him up. Haymitch sends broth.

Chapter 20
They hide out in the cave, and get close. Katniss realizes Peeta has an infection. To get his mind off of things, she tells him a story. An announcement comes through saying that at dawn, there will be something each person needs at the Cornucopia. Peeta tells Katniss if she goes, he'll just follow. She says she won't. Haymitch sends Katniss sleeping syrup, and she sneakily drugs Peeta so he will not follow her.

Chapter 21
Katniss leaves just before dawn to get the backpack she needs. As she runs for the bag, a tribute grabs her and immobilizes her. Then she starts cutting Katniss' face. The other tribute from Rue's district grabs her from behind and kills her. He lets Katniss go because of the kindness she showed Rue. Katniss goes back to the cave, opens backpack and sees a syringe inside. She gives the shot to Peeta, then passes out.

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 16 - 18

Chapter 16
The plan: take out the career tributes' food supply. Rue knows where they've stockpiled it. Katniss leaves for the camp while Rue creates a diversion. She reaches the camp and is about to go toward it when another tribute comes out of the forest. She hops and jumps across the ground to the food, grabs some, and navigates her way back. Then Katniss realizes that the ground around the food is booby trapped. They dug up the mines from around the starting disks and buried them around the food supply. With her arrows, she takes aim and shoots at a hanging bag of apples above the mines. It rips, and apples fall onto the ground. Then BOOM.

Chapter 17
Katniss is blown back from the explosion, and her ear is damaged. It is impossible for her to stand, so she crawls to a hiding spot. She sleeps, and begins to make her way back to Rue. She hears her scream and runs toward the noise. Rue calls for Katniss, and Katniss finally reaches the clearing where Rue is. She's tangled in a net, and a tribute standing beside her thrusts a spear into her side.

Chapter 18
The boy is killed by Katniss before he can move. Katniss cuts Rue down, and both know that Rue is dying. Katniss says that she'll win now, for the both of them. Rue asks Katniss to sing her a song, and as she's singing, Rue dies.

Katniss covers her body in flowers, and makes her way back. She moves her way through the woods and climbs into a tree to sleep. The anthem plays, then trumpets sound announcing a message.
Two tributes can win this year, as long as they're both from the same district.

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 13 - 15

Chapter 13
The Gamemakers have started the fire because the games have gotten boring. Katniss starts to run. Then, FREAKING FIREBALLS begin to shoot at her. She does a pretty good job of dodging them, until one gets her in the thigh. She burns her hands trying to put it out. Ouch. She finds another pond and cools her burns until she hears people coming. It's the tributes from before. She climbs a tree to escape them, but they see her. One girl named Glimmer tries to shoot Katniss with the bow and arrow, but misses. They try to climb up after her, but none of them can reach her height. Night falls, and they all sleep, except Katniss. Then she notices that another tribute, Rue, is with her in the treetops.

Chapter 14
Rue points above Katniss' head. It's a tracker jacker nest. These babies are hybrid wasps made by the capitol. Their stings cause hallucinations, and eventually death if you get to many of them. Another thing about them? They track you down. They're a little sluggish from the smoke caused by the fire, so Katniss starts to saw the branch with her knife. It drops to the ground, breaking open around Peeta and the other tributes. They swarm them, and all of them but Glimmer and another girl run away. They can't run away, because they've gotten so many stings that they're dead. Katniss is stung a few times, and starts seeing things, but she knows she needs to get that bow and those arrows. She makes her way down and gets them away from Glimmer's body. Now she's armed and dangerous.

Peeta then appears, telling her to run. She does, then falls to the ground and blacks out.

Chapter 15
Katniss has no idea why Peeta saved her. She ponders that while she kills a rabbit and a bird. Rue finds Katniss, and they form an alliance. They talk, and Katniss shares her food, while Rue tends to Katniss' wasp stings. Katniss and Rue go into a tree to sleep, and Katniss begins to form a plan of attack.

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 10 - 12

Chapter 10
Katniss is a little slow, but she finally realizes that Peeta was indeed talking about HER. They go back to their living space and she shoves him into an urn. He bleeds. They fight, but Katniss accepts that the star crossed lover thing is a good advantage for them. They go to bed, but Katniss can't sleep, so she goes to the roof. Peeta's there. They argue a little, and Katniss wonders if he's crazy. Then she reminisces about a previous competitor who ate the hearts of the people he killed in the arena.
Yummy
In the morning, they get on a hovercraft and are injected with tracking devices. They go to the catacombs beneath the arena and Katniss goes with Cinna. She mentions that the previous arenas are now vacation spots for people in the Capitol, and they have tours and reenactments and everything. Totally insane. Katniss steps on a disk and is elevated to the arena. The 74th annual Hunger Games have begun.

Chapter 11
Katniss must stand on her circle for 60 seconds. If she steps off of it before then, she'll be blown to pieces. All of the tributes are around a Cornucopia, which is filled with supplies and weapons. Katniss notices that the arena is a forest with a huge lake. She notices a bow and arrow in the Cornucopia, but Haymitch has instructed them to run for the forest as soon as they can. The gong sounds, and she stumbles forward, grabbing a sheet of plastic, loaf of bread, and a backpack. Another tribute reaches it at the same time, but no worries, he's stabbed in the back with a knife. Katniss runs, and another knife is thrown at her. She catches it with her backpack and keeps running into the forest, dropping her bread. Cannon shots count the dead. Eleven. Inside her backpack: sleeping bag, crackers, beef jerky, iodine, matches, wire, sunglasses, and an empty water jug. Night falls, and Katniss makes herself a bed in a tree. She goes to sleep, but is woken up by some idiot starting a fire in the middle of the night. 

Some tributes run for the fire, and and stab the girl. She screams and goes silent. the make their way toward Katniss, but stop because they don't hear a cannon. Someone speaks up and says that they will make sure she's dead. That someone is Peeta.

Chapter 12
Katniss overhears the other tributes talking about Peeta. They only have him around to get to her. Peeta comes back and says, "She's dead now." Then a cannon fires. They leave, and Katniss climbs out of her tree. She catches a rabbit, then cooks and eats it. She needs water. Walking all day doesn't help her dehydration. She eventually trips and falls, ready to give up, when she realizes she's in mud. She finds a pond, drinks a lot of water, and goes to sleep in a tree. Then she's woken up by fire. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 7 - 9

Chapter 7
Katniss and Peeta start training and decide to train together. In public they are instructed to be always together. There are tributes from districts 1, 2, and 4 called "Career Tributes" because they are trained their whole life to be tributes in the Games. The tributes all train for 3 days, then show the Gamemakers what they can do for a score. Katniss is the last to go, and most of the Gamemakers are more interested in the roasted pig on their table than in Katniss. So, Katniss takes her bow and arrow and shoots toward the Gamemakers into the apple in the pig's mouth. Go Katniss!


Chapter 8
The scores are given from the Gamemakers. Peeta gets an 8, Katniss get an 11. Katniss misses Gale. The next morning, Haymitch tells Katniss that Peeta has asked to be coached separately.

Chapter 9
Effie teaches Katniss how to hold herself in public, walk in heels, etc. Haymitch tries to find a personality angle for Katniss to work in her interview, but fails. He calls Katniss a dead slug. Katniss is angry, so she binge eats fancy food and throws plates around everywhere. The Avox girl comes in and helps Katniss clean up. Katniss apologizes for not helping Avox girl escape. Then, Cinna comes in and makes Katniss pretty for her interview. He dresses her in shiny jewels, and gives her a personality angle to work with. During the interview, Katniss wins over the crowd, and so does Peeta. Then Peeta drops a bombshell in front of all of Panem: He's in love with Katniss.

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 4 - 6

Chapter 4
In chapter 4, we really get to see how bad life is in District 12. Katniss takes the first shower of her life, then moves on to breakfast. The meal has so many items, and Katniss comments that just the basket of rolls could have fed her family for an entire week. She also says that she's only had an orange once in her life. ONCE. How many of us drink orange juice every morning?
Anyway. Katniss and Peeta show Haymitch that they don't want to die, and will do whatever they can to win. He makes them promise to do whatever he says, starting with obeying their makover teams that they will be facing soon.

Chapter 5
Katniss gets waxed. Well, that's not the only thing that happens, but just imagine never having shaved your legs, or any other part  of your body. Then imagine someone coming up and ripping every follicle out. Ouchie. They also do her nails, scrub her body squeaky clean, and make sure she looks presentable. Her design team is very extravagantly dressed, showing some of the fashion of the Capitol. Flavius has orange hair and purple lipstick, Octavia has green skin, and Venia had aqua hair and golden tattoos above her eyebrows.
Then we meet Cinna. Probably my favorite character in both books. This is his first year as a designer, and he asked for District 12, which has never happened. Why did he ask? I have no idea.
Cinna dresses Katniss and Peeta in flaming costumes that make them the hit of the opening ceremonies. Nobody can take their eyes off of the pair. Katniss is dubbed "The Girl On Fire".


Chapter 6
The tributes go to live in the training center, and each district gets a floor. Katniss' living quarters are bigger than her entire house back home. While eating another extravagant meal, Katniss recognizes a servant girl with red hair. She is told that the girl is an Avox - someone who committed a crime and was punished by having her tongue cut out and forced to be a servant.
Later Katniss confides in Peeta about how she knew the Avox girl. One day, Katniss was hunting in the forest with Gale, and the red-haired girl ran through with a boy. Katniss could tell that they were from the capital, and the girl saw Katniss in her hiding place. Before either of them could do anything, a hovercraft came down, and the girl was caught in a net. The boy was caught with a spear through the chest, and the hovercraft disappeared into the sky.

Katniss also reminisces about her life, and it is revealed that footage of the destroyed District 13 is shown occasionally shown on tv to discourage rebellion.

Comments? Questions?

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 1 - 3

Chapter 1
Basically, chapter 1 is just background about Panem, showing life in District 12, and introducing the Hunger Games. Katniss' sister Primrose gets called to be the female tribute, and the chapter ends.

Chapter 2
Katniss immediately volunteers to take Prim's place, then Peeta is chosen as the male tribute. Katniss' past with Peeta is revealed; he saved her life once when they were children.

Chapter 3
They are immediately taken to say their final goodbyes. Katniss is visited by her mother and Prim, Peeta's father (who gives her cookies - yum), the mayor's daughter Madge (who gives her a mockingjay pin), and finally Gale. 
Then, they get on the train and we get to know Effie Trinket. She's shallow, but an interesting character. In my head, I picture her looking like Kristin Chenoweth:

It is also told that Haymitch is going to be their sponsor. Obviously neither Katniss or Peeta are happy about this. Then Haymitch vomits everywhere. Classy!


Anyone agree with my Chenoweth choice? Got anything to say or add? Leave a comment!

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