Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)Title: Pandemonium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release: March 6, 2012
Pages: 375
Series: Delirium #2
Lauren Oliver captivated readers with Delirium, the first book in a thrilling dystopian trilogy in which Lena Haloway dared to fall in love with Alex and escape the cure, the government-mandated procedure that renders a person immune to the disease of love. Lena and Alex staked their lives on leaving their oppressive society, but only Lena broke free.

Pandemonium continues Lena’s gripping story. After escaping from Portland, Maine, Lena makes it to the Wilds and becomes part of an Invalid community, where she transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance. A future without Alex is unimaginable, but Lena pushes forward and fights, both for him and for a world in which love is no longer considered a disease. Swept up in a volatile mix of revolutionaries and counterinsurgents, Lena struggles to survive—and wonders if she may be falling in love again.

Full of danger, forbidden romance, and exquisite writing, Lauren Oliver’s sequel to Delirium races forward at a breathtaking pace and is sure to appeal to fans who crave the high-stakes action of The Hunger Games and the bittersweet love story of Romeo & Juliet.

After finishing Delirium and experiencing it's cliffhanger, I knew that I had to read Pandemonium fast. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy shortly after and I dove in right away. I went in with very high expectations after reading Delirium and loving it, and Pandemonium did not disappoint.

The cover follows the theme of the special edition version of Delirium; it has the same cover model and font for the title/ author name, but this time the cover features much more angry colours, less mellow than the blue and green theme used on Delirium. The biggest difference overall would have to be the look of distrust or anger on the cover model's face, which fits some of the themes in this book. Altogether, I really do like this cover, it looks great next to Delirium and it is different from the other as well.

In Pandemonium, one of my only problems was that Lena's best friend was dropped, only mentioned a few times when she had played a large role in Delirium. Apart from that, I enjoyed all the characters, especially Lena, she experienced so much growth that she came out nearly a different person. Not only did she change dramatically, but she changed for the better, becoming a very strong young woman. Also, her point of view was enjoyable to read, never becoming too complaining or bitter. When you look at the cast of characters
in Pandemonium versus that of Delirium, there are not many in common; Lena is back, but most of the characters are new. I enjoyed all of these new characters, especially Raven, because they were worked into the story very well, not trying to fill an old character's boots.
Have you ever read a book and come up with your own predictions, just to find yourself proven very, very wrong? That happened to me when I tried to guess the ending of this book. I thought I had it all sorted out, but then it all changed before my eyes. The events leading up to this crazy cliffhanger ending were just as exciting and unpredictable. The story was told in two different time frames, Then and Now, alternating in the chapters. Then explains what happened just after Lena escaped from her oppressive society. Now covers the current events in her life, showing the dramatic contrast between Lena who followed the rules and Lena who breaks everyone of them. On the side of the writing, it was just as good as it was in Delirium, providing a ton of description and personality to Lena's point of view on her life.

Overall, this was an excellent sequel to a great first book. I would recommend this series to anyone who loves dystopian, or just wants a good read, and to those who have read Delirium, you need to pick up Pandemonium. Pandemonium gets a 5/5 for being a great sequel that will keep you hooked until the final page.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Cryer's CrossTitle: Cryer's Cross
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release: February 8, 2011
Pages: 256
Series: No Series

The small town of Cryer's Cross is rocked by tragedy when an unassuming freshman disappears without a trace. Kendall Fletcher wasn't that friendly with the missing girl, but the angst wreaks havoc on her OCD-addled brain. Then a second student goes missing--someone close to Kendall's heart.

Whew. What a book! Cryer's Cross took me on a thrill ride that left me both satisfied and wanting more. On a side note, I have the paperback version and don't care for the cover whatsoever. The cover would be great on a chick-lit book, but the original cover for this book was much better due to the symbolism it had. Back to the contents of the book, the story was very well done, it always had something going whether it be the growth of relationships or the growing horror in the small town. One of the best things the writing had going for it, among many other things, was the lack of fear of losing characters. Lisa McMann didn't tip toe around the subject of death, she dove right into it, describing the emotional backlash many of the characters suffered in great detail without being over dramatic. On the character side of things, I very much enjoyed Kendall, she had flaws and was realistic, not a perfect protagonist who always knew what to do. It was how realistic she was that truly drew me into the characters of this book, she felt real feelings and it gave the reader an idea of what it was like to have OCD in a respectful way without her complaining bitterly about it. Jaci├ín was a great character as well because he wasn't just a love interest, he had depth. He was cold to begin with, but you learn his reasoning later on, showing his emotional capability to be high. You should read this book. Seriously. Did I mention I read it in a matter of hours? This was my first Lisa McMann book, but I will be back for more, until then I give Cryer's Cross a 5/5 for being a terrifyingly interesting book with substance to it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event held by Jill over at Breaking The Spine! It's all about those books you just can't wait for and are counting down the days till they come out. This week I chose Wrecked by Anna Davies:
Miranda has lived on Whym Island since the death of her parents. She has taken comfort in its seclusion and in the folklore that claims a mysterious sea witch controls the fate of all on the island and its surrounding waters. It's just been easier to believe that things are out of her control.
But when a terrible boating accident takes the lives of several of her friends, Miranda is rescued by a mysterious boy that haunts her dreams. As the guilt of the accident consumes her, she finds refuge in her late night swims. Then, she meets Christian, a boy who seems so familiar, but won't tell her where he is from and why they can only meet at the beach. As Miranda falls for Christian and begins to put the accident behind her, she discovers that there are secrets that Christian is keeping to protect her that may only end up bringing her nothing but harm.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2)Title: Fever
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release: February 21, 2012
Pages: 341
Series: The Chemical Garden #2

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind. 

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness. 

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion...by any means necessary. 

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever.

After reading Wither and loving nearly every second of it, I dove into this book when I received it in the mail as a surprise. After the mild cliffhanger of Wither, I couldn't wait to see where the characters ended up and what would become of them; these questions and more were answered in this thrilling and emotion soaked sequel that showcases one of dystopian's finest.

The cover was a good representation of the book in my opinion; it featured carnival elements as well as portraying the fatigue the characters experienced due to their journey. I also love how the circle and line theme was utilized in the cover as well, bringing a theme to the series covers as well as an air of uniqueness from other book covers. I absolutely love the way the title is written with the "F" written normally and the rest facing the spine.

A great aspect of this book is that you didn't feel the loss of the other characters that remained at the mansion. If anything, you felt closer to Jenna and Cecily, learning things about them that shed even more light on their characteristics than ever before. As for Rhine, she truly grew and became even more strong in the terrifying world she lives in, this fact was proven by the fact that she didn't give in to the temptation of returning to the mansion when her journey got difficult. For love interests of the book I am completely Team Gabriel because he has the kindness and he never wronged Rhine. It may be argued that Linden was naive on how Rhine had got to the mansion, but in essence he had still hurt her, intentional or not. The most impressive part of this book is the fact that it was able to make me feel such strong emotions towards the characters whether it be about their well-fare to the fact that I did enjoy the characters even though they had their flaws.

Have you ever read a book that you literally could not put down? This is one of those rare books; it featured writing to die for and an attention grabbing plot. In this thrilling sequel the reader got to see a different side to the world the book is set in; the one out of the confines of the mansion (other than the limited view achieved by  Rhine's escape at the end of Wither). With the massive expansion of the character's world we got to see just how they dealt with the reality given to them; they did so in a very entertaining fashion, never getting rid of the seriousness of their situation, but holding the reader's attention none the less. The writing was beautiful and real, allowing the reader to feel the raw emotions Rhine and Gabriel felt including the fear of being caught. Altogether, the writing and plot were just as good, if not better, as that of Wither.

If you are one of the few who haven't tried out the Wither series, I very highly suggest that you do. I'd recommend this book to lovers of dystopian who also enjoy a strong protagonist.  Overall,  I give Fever a 5/5 for being an excellent sequel to an amazing series that I will be following for sure.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature done by The Story Siren. This week I got:

For Review:
Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan M. James (Thanks to Wunderkind PR and HarperCollins USA for this great surprise!)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Follow Friday

So Follow my Blog Friday is a meme held by Parajunkee and it's where you answer the weekly question and then link yourself and you go and check out other blogs of your interest.

Q: BeefcakeandBabes Asks: I like unique names for characters and am looking forward to coming up with some when I start writing. What’s the most unique character name you’ve come across?

That's tricky, I love a lot of character names and I often enjoy the more simple ones. My favorite unique one was Oriana from Oriana's Eyes. The name just stuck with me!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event held by Jill over at Breaking The Spine! It's all about those books you just can't wait for and are counting down the days till they come out. This week I chose Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown.

Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath #1)Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on ususpecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature done by The Story Siren. This week's In My Mailbox is actually a compilation of the last two weeks, during which I went to Chapters and went a little crazy.

For Review:
The Onyx Talisman (Talisman, #3)

The Onyx Talisman by Brenda Pandos (Thanks to Brenda for blog tour)

Stargazer (Evernight, #2)Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings, #1)Once a Witch (Witch, #1)Darkness Becomes Her (Gods & Monsters, #1)Wolfsbane (Nightshade, #2)
Stargazer by Claudia Gray
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
Once a Witch by Carolyn MaCullough
Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Traded For:
Tempest (Tempest, #1)
Tempest by Julie Cross (Thanks to Ishita at The Reading Fish)

What did you guys get this week?

A Million Suns by Beth Revis

A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2)Title: A Million Suns
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill
Release: January 10, 2012
Pages: 386
Series: Across the Universe #2

Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos. 

It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies. 

But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart. 

In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

Oh my goodness. Those were the words out of my mouth after I finished this book. Within the first chapter of the book, everything changed and the plot never stopped rolling. In the entire book, I cannot remember a single slow part, it was one of the few books that I actually lost myself in- I was surprised when I finished. And when I did finish, man was it ever a cliffhanger, leaving you hanging in the moment of truth, a truly destiny changing moment. The characters underwent a lot since the events of Across the Universe, changing and evolving along the way, making them even more enjoyable and entertaining to read about. The writing, oh my goodness, the writing. Beth Revis is a master of words, forcing you to become very involved in the tale she weaves, never loosening her grip until the very end. The story followed the quality of the writing, being a roller coaster ride that was even better than the first book, disproving the notion of sequels always being worse. If you haven't read Across the Universe or A Million Suns yet, I highly recommend that you do, they are the perfect mix of adventure and raw emotions; addictive to read and impossible to stop thinking about. For all of these reasons, I give A Million Suns a 5/5.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Have you Heard of RazOrbill?

RazOrbill is a brand new web experience from Penguin Books Canada, it provides a place for everyone to speak their mind and discuss YA books, blogger or not. The site itself launched on January 17th. Not only does it give you the conversation aspect, but it also gives you access to author chats, live streams of events, first looks at upcoming titles, and opportunities to get your hands on hot and upcoming titles. Most importantly it is a place to connect with other book lovers with similar interests and to meet new people. Haven't checked it out yet? Click on the picture to get more info and sign up.

Join Razorbill!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty QueensTitle: Beauty Queens
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release: May 24, 2011
Pages: 396
Series: None

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner. 

What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program - or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan - or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up? 

Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.

I had not planned on reading this originally, it was contemporary and I just don't usually read that genre, but I got a recommendation for this one so I decided to give it a shot. I was very glad that I did. Beauty Queens provides a laugh out loud survival tale with one of realization of the objectification of women in pageants. The book's layout was interesting, you got various points of view from the survivors, the point of view of agents working on the island's secret base and the ads for various ridiculous products in between, ridiculing our society's need for perfection. I loved all of the characters in this book, whether they were in the pageant to bring light to how wrong objectification is or if they were there to win. The plot kept moving at a decent rate, throwing challenges at the girls at every corner, along with unexpected surprises. The writing was great- it was satirical as well as serious at the right times, playing up an array of the reader's emotions while still making them laugh. The ending was the one weaker point in my opinion. I just didn't care for what happened to a couple of the characters relationship-wise. Everyone should read this book. Seriously. It was a fun time while still covering important issues and for that, I give Beauty Queens a 5/5.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February Reading List

So, like I did with January, I will be picking out my February reading pile in advance, but the likelihood of me sticking exactly to this pile is slim. Here we go:

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos
Sapphire Talisman by Brenda Pandos
Dragon's Oath by PC Cast + Kristin Cast
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Black Heart by Holly Black

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist Society (Heist Society, #1)Title: Heist Society
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Release: February 9, 2010
Pages: 287
Series: Heist Society #1

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected. 

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help. 

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

I picked this book up at the bookstore because they had it on sale and I had heard great things. When I started the book, I was intrigued, I had never read a similar thief sort of book, but as the book moved along I lost interest in the plot as well as the characters. The main character Kat, did not really connect with me, I just couldn't understand her motives for many of her actions or her seeming connection to Hale and why she didn't acknowledge it much. The other characters were light and fun, but they lacked the depth that I would have liked to have seen in them. The writing was good, it just didn't catch me as the story went on, it did provide all the necessary details for the story though. The plot was the big let down for me, it just did not keep my attention, nor did it bore me too much. I was kind of stuck in limbo on this one. Overall, I would give this book a 3/5 for not boring me, but certainly not entertaining me.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

January Wrap Up

Ok, while January was a VERY busy month for me, I actually got quite a few books read! But not all the ones that I had planned on reading. I had planned on reading:

Saving June by Hannah Harrington
The Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
Variant by Robison Wells
Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard
Heist Society by Ally Carter
Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

I Actually Read:
Variant by Robison Wells
Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard
Heist Society by Ally Carter
Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz
A Million Suns by Beth Revis
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Forever by Maggie Steivater

Not bad overall, I stuck to my reading list fairly well, only missing Saving June and The Last Sacrifice. I have come to the conclusion that I am incapable of completely sticking to such lists, but they do provide a good structure for my reading. In terms of the Debut Author Challenge, I only got one of twelve books read, Everneath by Brodi Ashton. Overall, it wasn't a bad month for reading especially considering how busy with studying and exams I was.

How was your January?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cover Reveal for Evergreen by Brenda Pandos!

A kingdom on the brink of war.
A king on the fringes of insanity.
A family running for their lives.
 Ash and Fin’s only desire is to be together and dive into their happily ever after, though their conflicting worlds work to pull them apart. Neither is ready to convert to the other’s life: become a human or a mer. Little do they know that somewhere in Natatoria a secret holds the fine fabric of everyone’s lives together. If the truth is discovered, Ash and Fin will no longer have the luxury of waiting. They’ll be forced to choose. But will it be for loyalty or love? Or will someone else make the choice for them if they can’t decide?
Enter the watery world of treachery, greed, and the binding mer kiss as the story continues with Evergreen, book two of Mer Tales.

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Everneath (Everneath, #1)Title: Everneath
Author: Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release: January 24, 2012
Pages: 370
Series: Everneath #1
Check it out!

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever. 

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists. 

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen. 

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...

I first saw this book in the Harper Collins catalog when it came out. I read the description and saw the cover and fell in love, knowing that I had to read it. I was lucky enough to get a copy of it in the mail and I dove in right away, finishing it in two days. Did I enjoy it? It was one of my favorite reads so far this year.

I'm sorry was I drooling? I just cannot get over how gorgeous the cover is. For starters, I love the font and the shade of red they used as a theme. Then you get to the cover model with the beautiful dress with the fading color and the delicate curls of smoke with the model walking through the smoke fearlessly. It all came together very well, with a distinct connection to the book (I won't mention it to avoid spoilers) creating a great cover that will draw readers in with ease.

Nikki had a uniqueness about her that set her apart from the rest of the human characters, she had seen a century pass, had her energy taken from her and knew what her dark fate was. She proved that more knowledge of the world is not necessarily better, but can put you in dire danger. Even though she had such insight to make decisions, I still had a few issues with Nikki, mainly with some of the decisions she made. As for the relationships in this book, they were a little unclear at the beginning, but they became more clear as Nikki was back longer. I didn't like Cole at all (Team Jack!) and felt that Nikki was much better off with Jack than Cole. Jack was understanding and he loved Nikki endlessly, helping even though he was slightly afraid of her.

Unique, that is how I would sum up the story of Everneath in one word. It is a retake on mythology, but it made the story it's own, standing apart from many of today's mythology rewrites. The plot kept moving the entire time at a swift pace even during the occasional flashback. By the end of the book, which made me die for the next book, I felt for the characters passionately to the point that I almost cried. These emotions were invoked by the amazing quality of the author's writing, not a detail was missed and it allowed for very strong connections to the characters.

Should you read this book? Yes, of course, especially if you enjoy modern takes on mythology or you are just someone looking for a different, unique book to try. Overall, I give Everneath a 4.5/5 for being a near perfect book with few flaws.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event held by Jill over at Breaking The Spine! It's all about those books you just can't wait for and are counting down the days till they come out. This week I chose Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis.

GlimmerWhat if you forgot your identity and had to rely on other people to tell you who you were? 

And what if to discover your true self, you first had to unravel a mystery so big and terrifying you were not sure you’d survive solving it?

When Marshall and Elyse wake up in each other’s arms with zero memory of how they got there or who they are, it’s the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future. 

Terrified by their amnesia, the two make a pact to work together to find the answers that could jog their missing memories. As they piece together clues, they discover they’re in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls, where everyone seems mysteriously happy, but as Marshall and Elyse quickly learn, darkness lurks beneath the town’s perfect facade. Not only is the town haunted by sinister ghosts, but none of its living inhabitants retain bad memories of anything—not the death of Marshall’s mom, not the hidden shame in Elyse’s family, not even the day-to-day anguish of high school. 

Lonely in this world of happy zombies, Marsh and Elyse fall into an intense relationship...but the secrets they uncover could be the death of this growing love—and the death of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls.

Cover Reveal- Lucid by PT Michelle

I don't know about you guys, but I just love it! It has kept the same forest theme, but it has enough difference to set it apart from the other book's cover.

What do you think?
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