28 July 2011

Hop & Follow Friday! (19)

Happy Friday, lovelies!

I hope you had a fabulous week and are looking forward to an awesome, book-filled weekend! I know I am!!

TGIF is a weekly meme hosted by Ginger at GReads where she poses a thought-provoking question to prompt some blogger discussion!

This week's question:

Character Envy: If you could be one character from a book, who would you choose and why?
I think I've answered this one before...somewhere, lol.  But, I can't remember who I picked last time, so it will likely be different!  I think that my choice for this one would have to be...Tris from Divergent.  I think that she has a good head on her shoulders and she makes some pretty great friends.  Family is important to her, but she also realizes that she must find and be true to herself.  Also, some of the things that the Dauntless do are wicked cool. I totally want to jump off a tall building into a safety net. Just sayin'.  Also, I want to *spoiler alert* zip line off of the Hancock Building. Wicked awesome.  Oh yeah--and FOUR. 






"Follow My Book Blog Friday" is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View and Allison at Allison Can Read where bloggers make new friends, including this week's featured bloggers--The Book Addicted Girl & The Little Book Blog!  Pop on over to Parajunkee's blog and join in the follow fun!!  All you have to do is follow the featured blogger, write your own post answering this week's question, and then leave your link!  Oh yeah--and then follow some new peeps!

This week's question:

Q.  Let's step away from books for a second and get personal. What t-shirt slogan best describes you?

Umm....pretty self-explanatory, yes?





The "Book Blogger Hop" is a weekly bookish meme where you can get to know fellow bloggers! It's generally hosted by Jen @ Crazy for Books.  Stop by and join in the fun!

This week's question:

Q: Coming soon...?
Coming soon...?


Thanks so much for visiting my blog today! I love your comments and try my best to return all follows! 
HAPPY FRIDAY!!!


Also, I'm trying this new comment system so that I can comment back. I hope it's not a hassle and it works out!

YA Book Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan







Release Date: 7 September 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought (Amazon Bargain Books!)

Buy this! B&N | Amazon | Book Depository

Goodreads description:
Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.
Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.
My Thoughts...

You know when you finally pick up and read a book that you bought a long time ago and can't stop wondering WHY it took you so long to read the darn thing? That's exactly how I felt when I was reading this book! Seriously, I think this was probably the best Amazon "Bargain Book" that I've ever picked up on a whim and I finally understand why people were so excited for the sequel.

Jacinda is just a normal teenage girl trying to break free of the constraints of her society and live a little--well, except that she's a draki.  When Jacinda risks the exposure of the entire pride by flying during the day, she must flee the pride with her mom and sister.  Her mom takes them to a desert--somewhere Jacinda's draki cannot thrive and ultimately, cannot survive.  Jacinda tries to make it through school, all the while attempting to find a way to keep her struggling draki alive. Then she meets Will--and he makes her draki thrive. But he's the enemy...

Jacinda was a really great main character to follower.  She struck me as strong and independent--torn between her family and her pride.  Throughout the story, you watch her struggle to hold on to her draki while also considering what she should do for her mom and sister.  That choice creates a lot of inner tension for Jacinda...and then add that she's falling for a hunter.

Will is a really interesting character.  When you first meet him, he's with a hunting party and for some reason he lets Jacinda go.  When she meets him at school later, you have no idea what's going to happen.  I think he feels torn between her and his family.  Only at the very end do you find out the secret that he's been keeping...

This book is definitely one that I would recommend! It was a fast-paced, unique read with well-developed, complex characters.  I can't wait to read the sequel when it comes out this fall!

This is a "HarperTeen July" post! (5 of 5)

200 Followers Giveaway Winners!!

I have WINNERS to announce!

First of all, thank you SO MUCH to everyone who entered and those who found and followed and commented on my blog as a result of the giveaway! I hope that you make yourself regular visitors!

Well, I guess you really want to know who won, right?  Well, there were 541 total entries after adding in all the extra entries through comments and tweets and follows! That's a LOT of entries and it took quite some time to get everything organized.  But, I did it! And Random.org generated my 3 lovely winners for me!!

Here they are...


Entry #480 - Julia @ A Hummingbird's Delight

Entry #82 - Kaye @ The Paper Reader

Entry #540 -  Stephanie @ Izzie Vandero: Books and...Stuff <3

Again, thanks to all who entered!  Don't worry--there will be more giveaways in the future!

(All winners have been contacted and responded)

27 July 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (21)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where book bloggers discuss the books that they are most anxiously waiting for! (And this fabulous button was designed by my dear blogger friend Lindsay at The Violet Hour)

This week I'm waiting on...




Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
© 23 August 2011 by Razorbill

Goodreads Description:
When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.
I'm so excited to see more of these characters! I really liked the VA series and was so to see it end.  Obviously, I was so excited when I saw that she was doing this spin-off series and that it included Sydney and Adrian!!



Also, I figured I would combine this post with W.W.W. Wednesdays...so here is some more info about my reading for this week! To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…Grab the logo...and post your link at Should Be Reading!


What are you currently reading?




What did you recently finish reading?


 



What do you think you’ll read next? 




What are YOU waiting on this week?

YA Book Review: Immortal by Gillian Shields





Release Date: 1 August 2009
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: HarperTeen "Browse Inside"

Buy this! B&N | Amazon | Book Depository

Goodreads description:
Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, housed in a Gothic mansion on the bleak northern moors, is elite, expensive, and unwelcoming. When Evie Johnson is torn away from her home by the sea to become the newest scholarship student, she is more isolated than she could have dreamed. Evie's only lifeline is Sebastian, a rebellious, mocking, dangerously attractive young man she meets by chance. As Evie's feelings for Sebastian grow with each secret meeting, she starts to fear that he is hiding something about his past. And she is haunted by glimpses of a strange, ghostly girl—a girl who is so eerily like Evie, she could be a sister. Evie is slowly drawn into a tangled web of past and present that she cannot control. And as the extraordinary, elemental forces of Wyldcliffe rise up like the mighty sea, Evie is faced with an astounding truth about Sebastian, and her own incredible fate.
My Thoughts...

While Immortal isn't the kind of book that surprise and blew me away, it was a pleasant, fast-paced read.  Shields' writing is well-crafted and her gothic abbey boarding school setting, complete with ruins, was well-put-together and vividly imagined.

Evie is sent to boarding school when her grandmother becomes too ill to take care of her.  From the beginning, Evie has a very "poor me," self-deprecating attitude.  I found myself quite a bit annoyed with her at the beginning because I felt like she didn't really even attempt to make herself at home at the school.  Her "whiny" nature made it difficult for me to connect with her as a reader/friend/acquaintance. 

Evie's instant and immensely strong bond with Sebastian also through me for a bit of a loop.  Where Evie is whiny, Sebastian is the epitome of teenage boy angst. The two of them together made sense only in so much as they could wallow together.  The reader sees very little in the way of relationship development and a solid reason for the strong connection between the two.  (And I say these things as a reader who generally accepts the whole "insta-love" thing pretty darn well.)  I just couldn't figure out why Evie was so determined to be with Sebastian.

Overall, the redeeming quality in this book truly is the pacing.  The story moves along at a quick pace and keeps the reader engaged.  It was easy to read the book via HarperTeen's "Browse Inside" feature during work breaks and such.   I liked the magical element to the story and the way that it wove together the past and present.  Agnus' journal entries were also a welcome addition to weave together the past and present and help the reader begin to piece things together. I did like this one enough that I've checked out the second book from the library in hopes that Evie steps up a bit!

This is my second "HarperTeen July" post! (4 of 5)

26 July 2011

YA Book Review: Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton



Release Date: 15 February 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Won from Bewitched Bookworms

Buy this! B&N | Amazon | Book Depository

Goodreads description:
When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul. A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once.
My Thoughts...

I have been looking forward to reading this book for a long time...since February when it came out.  When I won a signed copy from The Bewitched Bookworms, I was in heaven.  The ideas in this book seemed so unique/original and I was really looking forward to it. (Do you see where this is going?)  I am really good at over-looking "angsty teen" syndrome and even insta-love, but this drove me crazy in this book: the "whiny rich girl" syndrome.

When the book starts out, Ellis seems like a normal teenager: good group of friends (incl. a BFF), some family issues at home, trouble in school, etc. I thought everything was just fine...until the whiny-rich-girl syndrome started to kick in full force. I almost couldn't get past it.  When Ellie has her 17th birthday party, all I could think about is that terrible reality television show, "My Sweet 16."  Ellie and her bestie do little besides drive around in expensive cars, go shopping at high end designer stores (with mommy and daddy's credit cards), and party.  At one point, Ellie decides she needs to change her clothes and when Will asks her why, she says this: "Because I don't like wearing the same outfit all day." I had to put the book down for a few minutes after that line.

Okay, I'm done ranting. I swear.  Because despite that ^, I really did like this book.  Actually, once you get into the fighting and more adventurous plot in the book, Ellie's whiny attitude fades into the background quite a bit. The concept of reapers was really unique and interesting.  I found them quite fascinating and well-developed.  The different types and their powers were interesting to learn about as the story unfolded.  It is also really interesting to watch Ellie slowly come into her memories and powers.  I liked her relationship with Will a lot.  While there is definitely the instant attraction there,  I thought that the time that it took to establish any kind of relationship was well-done.

Despite the above ranting, I am actually looking forward to the sequel, set to come out in February 2012.  I think that remembering her past lives is/will help Ellie to tone down her attitude and learn to take more responsibility.  There is also some wicked foreshadowing with some people in this book that left me knowing I must find out what happens.  I also can't wait to see how (if?) Will and Ellie's relationship will develop further and what new, dangerous adversaries they will encounter along the way.

This is my second "HarperTeen July" post! (3 of 5)

25 July 2011

Cover Crazy (4)


"Cover Crazy" is a meme hosted by The Book Worms to gush over talk about cover designs that we love!

This week, I wanted to feature some of the awesome cover releases that I've seen in the past week or so! It seems like the cover designers have really been on the ball lately because some really cool things have come out!





Anna Dressed in Blood
by Kendare Blake

Apparently I am going to see how many times I can feature this book in the span of a week! HA! I think this is the 4th post this book has been in...

Anyway, I love this cover.  The black and white with just hints of red is really striking.  I like that you can't see Anna's face because it leaves something to the imagination.  Overall, this cover really conveys (to me) the creepiness to be contained in the story.






What do you think of this cover?

YA Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Release Date: 1 February 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought

Buy this! B&N | Amazon | Book Depository

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

What if you lived in a world where love was considered a disease--one to be eradicated completely? Would you stay? Would you go along with it? Would it even bother you?  This is the world that Lauren Oliver has beautifully crafted--where love is removed from your brain so that you can live a safe, happy life.

Lena Holoway has grown up impatiently waiting for the day that she can be "cured"--never to risk falling into the madness that took away her mother so many years ago.  And she's almost there.  But then, she meets Alex and everything changes.  She's not sure what she believes or what she wants anymore.  Can the feelings that she have really be such a bad thing?

Lena is an interesting character that felt easy to connect with.  I could imagine being her friend, riding bikes to the beach, and hanging out after school.  Her strong belief in the government program to eradicate the deliria is complete and makes the world convincing--makes it scary to think that the government could become so powerful as to do something so completely invasive and take away something so personal. I loved watching her discover so much about herself and start to really think about the way her mother raised her and her sister.

I really liked Alex a lot, too.  He really challenged Lena to think and feel...and love. It was incredibly easy to get attached to him and I think, for me, it was him that made their relationship feel real and solid.

I truly can't believe that it took me SO LONG to get around to reading this book! Lauren Oliver writes like a pro--you would never guess that this is only her second published YA book.  I highly recommend it for fans of dystopia--although I will admit that is has a bit less "action" than many others (until the end--oh, the ending).  This book will leave you on the edge of your seat impatiently waiting for the second book! 

This is my second "HarperTeen July" post! (2 of 5)

24 July 2011

In My Mailbox (11): eBook edition

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren where we can show some love to all the books that we got in the mail or otherwise!

Hello again, friends!  So, I have to make a confession this week...and fess up to a slight NookBook buying spree.  *blush*  So, without further ado, the books that I unabashedly purchased with the ease of a click of a button...

Bought:
 



For Review:


From NetGalley & HarperCollins:
Eve by Anna Carey
**This one is SO EXCITING for me b/c I did a WOW post for this way back in April when I never even dreamed of getting approved for awesome books like this!!! I'm SO excited to read it!


From NetGalley & Harlequin Teen:
The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees

That's all for now! 

What's in YOUR mailbox?!
:-D

23 July 2011

On My Wishlist (5)

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming.

Glitter Graphics | http://www.graphicsgrotto.com/

The Clearing by Heather Davis

Summary:

In this bittersweet romance, two teens living decades apart form a bond that will change their lives forever.
     Amy is drawn to the misty, mysterious clearing behind her Aunt Mae’s place because it looks like the perfect place to hide from life. A place to block out the pain of her last relationship, to avoid the kids in her new town, to stop dwelling on what her future holds after high school.
Then, she meets a boy lurking in the mist—Henry. Henry is different from any other guy Amy has ever known. And after several meetings in the clearing, she’s starting to fall for him.

This was one of the first books that I read in 2011 and I kind of can't believe I didn't blog about it! It was a fabulous read.  It's the kind of easy-to-read book that makes you smile and want to pick up on a rainy day for a quick read. :-)


Glitter Graphics | http://www.graphicsgrotto.com/



Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Summary:
Just your average boy-meets girl, girl-kills-people story...

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.
If you read my review yesterday of this book, then you know that I LOVED it.  It was a seriously fabulous read and I'm contemplating how to convince my husband to let me pre-order a copy (along with Bloodlines and Possess...because I do want free shipping after all!!)


Glitter Graphics | http://www.graphicsgrotto.com/

What's on YOUR wishlist?

22 July 2011

(ARC) YA Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake


Release Date: 30 August 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen

Pre-Order Your Copy! B&N | Amazon | Book Depository

Goodreads description:
Just your average boy-meets girl, girl-kills-people story...

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

My Thoughts...

Anna Dressed in Blood is a must read! Ms. Blake has woven a ghost story together that will thrill and terrify you while along the way you fall in love with her characters.

Cas Lowood has moved to Toronto with one goal: kill the infamous "Anna Dressed in Blood."  Anna has killed a countless number of people since her untimely, mysterious death in the 1950s.  Cas learns during his first encounter that Anna isn't just a normal ghost--but just what is she?  Anna isn't the only thing that's "different" about Cas and his mom's new home.  For the first time, Cas finds himself unable to avoid one thing that he's always been able to avoid in the past--making friends. Cas slowly learns to accept the help and friendship of his small group of companions while attempting to free Anna from years of torment.

Cas was a fabulous character.  I really enjoyed getting to know him throughout the story because whether he realized it or not, he did a lot of growing up in the novel.  I think that his expectations for his life changed as he finally learned to let people in to his life and his expectations of ghosts changed as he got to know Anna.  However, what really shined for me in this book was the "side" characters--especially Thomas and Carmel. Ms. Blake doesn't just throw in a couple of friend characters at random.  She really spent time developing these characters and weaving them into the story. They had roles to play throughout--both in uncovering Cas' character and moving the story along.

This book really offers a lot of different attractive elements for a vareity of readers.  You've got the scary ghost who kills people, the contemporary friendships, the magic, and the romance (yes, there's romance!).  The quick pacing keeps the story moving and is guaranteed to really suck you in. You won't want to put this one down until you've turned the last page!

Source: I received this book as part of an ARC tour.

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