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Giveaway: After Obsession

9.29.2011
After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven Wedel
Publish Date: September 13th, 2011 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Aimee and Alan have secrets. Both teens have unusual pasts and abilities they prefer to keep hidden. But when they meet each other, in a cold Maine town, they can't stop their secrets from spilling out. Strange things have been happening lately, and they both feel that something-or someone- is haunting them. They're wrong. Despite their unusual history and powers, it's neither Aimee nor Alan who is truly haunted. It's Alan's cousin Courtney who, in a desperate plea to find her missing father, has invited a demon into her life-and into her body. Only together can Aimee and Alan exorcise the ghost. And they have to move quickly, before it devours not just Courtney but everything around her.


Filled with heart-pounding romance, paranormal activity, and rich teen characters to love-and introducing an exciting new YA voice, Steven Wedel-this novel is exactly what Carrie Jones fans have been waiting for. Meet your next obsession.

I recently won a copy of this novel :D And guess what? It's SIGNED. (Only by Carrie Jones, not Steven Wedel.) My review should be up soon, but in the meantime, why not enter for a chance to win it? ;D

Please note:
*This is for the US only. Sorry, but I don't have money to ship a book to Australia, yeah? 
*Being a follower via GFC is the only mandatory requirement. You must leave the name you follow under, and if you're doing any extra entries, you must leave links/usernames/whatever it asks for. Otherwise, that entry will be removed.
*Giveaway ends October 9th.




Review: Touch

Touch by Jus Accardo
Publish Date: November 8th, 2011 by Entangled Publishing, LLC
Amazon//B&N//

When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home. 

Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized. 

Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe. 

A secret Kale will kill to protect. 

WELL. I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would. Not because I'd heard bad reviews or anything, I just thought that it was going to be full of plot holes the size of craters. Why? I don't know.

Dez is an interesting character. She's easy to relate to most of the time, and she wasn't weak and never whined. She did whatever she had to do to save Kale and the others she loved. My only problem with her was that I would have liked to seen a little more vulnerability in her, or maybe a hobby that didn't involve an adrenaline rush. It would have made her easier to connect with.

I loved the concept of Sixes. Sixes are a person with a special power - some can control fire, some can kill with a touch, some can see the future, etc. I really liked how all of them had different powers. It was interesting to see how they all worked together.

And Kale. I loved that boy. He was so innocent about some things, but at the same time, he was strong and fierce. And even if he was kind of a killer, he was still adorable ;D

Even if I loved the book and its plot, there were still a few things I had problems with. The pacing, for one thing. The pacing of Dez and Kale's relationship seemed fine, but the pace of the book in general seemed a little too fast for me. Also, I would have liked to know a little more of Denazen, the corporation running the entire shebang, stealing Sixes off the street and forcing them to kill others, basically. I want to know how it was started. Most of all, I want to understand Dez's dad's motives for doing what he did. Of course, this is only the first book in a series, so maybe some of that will be explained later, but so far, all I've got is "He did it because he's evil."

As for the writing style, I have no idea what I think of it. It wasn't beautiful, but it wasn't choppy and amateur. It wasn't ridiculously simple or complicated. I really didn't think about it at all while I was reading the book. There were quite a few mistakes, but since what I read isn't a finalized copy, I can't really complain about that, can I? :P

Overall: Touch is an intriguing novel full of suspense and amazing characters. While I was left with a few too many questions, it was an awesome read. 4 stars.

~Zoey~

Review: Matched

9.28.2011
Matched by Ally Condie
Publish Date: November 30th, 2010 by Dutton Juvenile.

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.

Let me just start out by saying that if you absolutely love this book, you might not want to read this review. I'm probably downright harsh at times.

And I also want to say that I'm biased against this book and always have been, because of the love triangle. I've gotten to the point where it doesn't matter how good the love triangle is written - I hate it. I'm tired of seeing some form of a love triangle in practically every single book. Sorry, but how many girls do you know that have two guys in love with them? Not enough to fill all these books, that's for sure. 

And no, I don't just hate love triangles because they're overused. I have other reasons that would take up way too much of this post. Maybe another post can be full of my rant ;D

Anyway, I can't say that Matched was a terrible book. It wasn't. Cassia was a rational character who didn't do stupid things very often. But I just had too many problems with it to enjoy it, the love triangle being only one of them. I thought it was interesting, how she saw Xander's face and then Ky's flashed, but I couldn't help but wonder how the Society could have let that happen. If they've been doing it for awhile, kinks should be worked out, yeah? >_> 



(I want to also admit that I skimmed a lot of parts in this book. I'm easily bored.)


And here I'm going to do the unspeakable. I'm going to compare Matched to another book O_O Don't hate me. Please. And please don't hate me when I say I'm going to compare it to The Hunger Games. I promise that it's not just because they're both dystopians. 


There was a lot of things in Matched that reminded me of THG, but there was especially one line, when Cassia was with Xander towards the end of the book. She was thinking about how she could be in that one moment without the Society watching, and the line was honestly practically the same line as in one of The Hunger Games novels, except, y'know, with "Capitol" instead of "Society."


My biggest problem, though, was Cassia herself. Say what you want about Katniss being a cold-hearted bitch, (I can't argue with that) but at least Katniss was brave. She did practically everything she could to defy the Capitol. To me, Cassia was weak. By the end of the book, she pretty much hates the Society. She doesn't like them very much in the middle, either. But what does she do about it? Not very much. I feel like all she really did to defy the Society was fall in love with Ky. 


Another problem I had was that I felt like too much of the book was about romance. I would have liked to see more plot involving other things. Because in the end, pretty much every little thing still came back to Xander or Ky. 


AND THE MISTAKES. I mean, the book wasn't littered with them, but there were still too many for a published book. I mean, one mistake is too many for a published book, if you ask me, but >_>


Overall: Okay, yeah, this was barely a review. It was really just a rant of how much I hated the book. But I'll be honest - even if the idea wasn't original, some of the things Condie did with it were nice twists. So instead of one star, it gets two :P (And the cover is really, really awesome.)


~Zoey~

Review: The Iron King

9.26.2011
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Publish date: Feburary 1st, 2010 by HarlequinTEEN

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home. 

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. 

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Okay, so I've decided to reread the first three books in this series, since the fourth and final book is coming out in a few weeks and I have managed to NOT get my hands on it. -_- (But of course, I'm not bitter about that, no, not at all . . .)

The Iron King definitely isn't the best book in the series, but I still love it. Meghan isn't a character I often find myself annoyed with. Sure, she's naive sometimes, but for the past sixteen years of her life, she's had no idea any of these things existed. I loved watching how Meghan got stronger throughout the book

Puck, Meghan's best friend, is probably one of my favorite characters of all time. He's the comedic relief throughout the series, always making some joke to cut the tension. And I loved that no matter how sarcastic he was, he still did everything he could to protect Meghan.

And Ash. The Ice Prince. I don't know what to say about him without being too spoilery, but just let me say, the whole "dark brooding prince" act really works for him. And I mean really works. I loved Ash even more than Puck.

Still, I think there's something I loved even more than Ash. It was the fact that Meghan got pulled into that mess with the Fae, not because she fell in love or accidentally stumbled upon it, but because she was trying to save her little brother. Everything she goes through, no matter how much she wants to give up, she always remembers that she's trying to save Ethan.

I even loved the evil people in this book. And trust me, there were quite a few of them O_o Mab, the queen of the Winter Court, for one. And then there was the plot, full of twists to keep you occupied and surprised through the whole book.

Overall: The characters were amazing, the plot was amazing, and even the talking cat, Grimalkin, was hilarious. I don't think there's anything I didn't love about this book. If you haven't read this series, I think you should start. Like, now. You'll be hooked until the end. (And the fact that it's about Fae and not your typical paranormal things these days is just a bonus.) 5 stars.

~Zoey~

Review: Crave

9.24.2011
Crave by Melissa Darnell
Publish Date: October 18th, 2011by HarlequinTEEN
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//


Savannah Colbert has never known why she’s so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It’s as if he’s a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she’s destined to fail.

For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back… different, and suddenly he can’t stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences… 


I just want to say that I really like the cover. No idea why, I just really do.

Crave had an interesting concept. Sure, there was the typical forbidden love thing going on, and it was full of secret societies, so it's not like it was a new idea, but the way the Clann worked was interesting. They're the typical dictators, in a way, but they were still different. more interesting. They've told every member of the Clann that they're not supposed to have anything to do with Savannah and because of that, Savannah is subjected to bullying every day.

And then she changes. I thought Savannah bought it a little too easily when her parents explained to her that she was becoming half vampire, half witch. She only thought it was a joke for about ten seconds.

Tristan and Savannah were great characters. Tristan doesn't want to follow in his father's footsteps, and in a way, Savannah is the same way. She doesn't want to be what her father is. And I felt bad for both of them - other people kept trying to control their lives.

Crave switched off between Tristan and Savannah's narration, and I just want to say that Darnell did a great job at making their narrations different. Savannah's was smoother, more beautiful, while Tristan's was much simpler. At the same time, though, I felt like something was missing from Savannah's narration. I think it was just because for the first half of the book, I couldn't relate to her. Once she started having more interactions with Tristan, I started to feel a lot better about her. And Tristan? I loved him. Even when he wasn't talking to Savannah, he was still trying to protect her.

The secondary characters are where I really had problems, mainly on Savannah's side. Her best friend, Anne, annoyed the heck out of me. I feel like she always made Savannah sound weak when she was talking about her. And Savannah's mom? Her mom was the kind of parent most teenagers hate and constantly want to rebel against. She was controlling Savannah's life and she was always telling Savannah it was going to be okay. There were times I seriously questioned if her mom was just that naive, or if she was just trying to make Savannah feel better, which I think was pointless considering what was happening.

Overall: I may have had some issues with it, but I really loved the plot, especially the last fourth of the book, which was full of twists. The romance between Tristan and Savannah never felt like it was going too fast or too slow, and Darnell managed to turn a cliche concept into something I found really interesting. 4 stars.

~Zoey~

Review: Seers

9.21.2011
Seers by Heather Frost
Publish date: October 4th, 2011 by Bonneville

For Kate Bennet, surviving the car wreck that killed her parents means big changes and even bigger problems. As she begins to see auras and invisible people, Kate must learn to trust Patrick O'Donnell, a handsome Guardian, or risk her life being overrun with Demons. She soon realizes that both she and her heart are in big-time trouble.

I've heard lots of good things about Seers, and now that I've read it, I understand why. The concept was really cool - I've read books with characters that can see auras before, but it was different with Kate. She wasn't always whining about it, but you never forgot that she had the ability to see them. Her reactions to most things were realistic, though I wish she had been a little more wary about the idea of Seers and Guardians. I think she was a little too quick to believe that. I would have at least liked to see some doubt in her thoughts.
Kate was actually a pretty awesome narrator. She didn't go off on too many tangents, she didn't distract me from what was going on. But she frustrated me sometimes. What did she see in Aaron? Maybe I only think that because I absolutely loved Patrick, or maybe because Kate's view on him wasn't that great all the time, either, since she was always thinking about Patrick, but I just never understood Kate and Aaron's relationship and why they were together. Sure, Aaron was sweet sometimes, but the rest of the time, he was just . . . boring.

But Patrick. Oh, Patrick. I mean, he's Irish. That was enough to win me over. But I love how he's warring with himself - embracing the fact that he's a Guardian and trying to protect Kate, but at the same time, I think he's tired of it. Living forever doesn't seem that great when you actually have to live forever.

 The writing style is what got me. I have no idea how I felt about it. It was rather simple, really - not childish or full of mistakes or anything, just . . . simple. The style wasn't beautiful, but at the same time, it wasn't confusing. I didn't have to read sentences over a few times to understand them; it just didn't leave an impact on me.

Overall: The characters were believable and I loved reading about Patrick and Kate and seeing their relationship grow, but it's the concept that I loved the most and how it was presented. The Seers and Guardians were something very interesting to me, and I loved getting to learn about that through Patrick's explanations to Kate. 4 stars.

 ~Zoey~

Giveaway: Carrier of the Mark

9.18.2011
I finished my copy, so I might as well give it away, yeah? :D

Also, I have money. Which means this is international :D

So enter for a chance to win an ARC of Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon! Yeah? Yeah. You should do it. Because then you get to read about Rian, and he makes me melt inside. Or if Adam's your type, he could make you melt like he does with Meghan. (Actually, I would hope it wouldn't be the same way as Meghan. That would be creepy, since he's a fictional character and all.)




Review: Carrier of the Mark

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Publish date: October 4th, 2011 by HarperTEEN
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//




Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRís.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.



I ended up winning an ARC of this through Facebook :P If you go to Carrier's FB page, you can enter to win a copy. I think they're giving a copy away to two people every week until the release date.


I didn't get a chance to read Carrier back when it was still on Inkpop, so I can't tell you how different it is from what it used to be. I can tell you that Meghan was a great character - a little unbelievable at times, but realistic when it counted. It was easy to read her narration. The one thing I didn't like is that in the beginning, she gave up too easily after she saw Adam and his sister do some strange things. Sure, she still wondered about them, but she didn't really do much to try to figure it out, she didn't speculate about what it could have been.


I'm not sure how I felt about Adam. There were times when I absolutely loved him, and then there were times when he just felt . . . blah to me. Easily forgettable.

Adam's family was awesome, though. I loved how they each had their own history that we got to learn about. I feel like we might have met them a little too early, though.

And this is where I have something to seriously complain about - the speed of Adam and Meghan's relationship. They've barely said ten words to each other and then suddenly they're claiming they can't stop thinking about each other and kissing. I was like . . . come on. Meghan knows absolutely nothing about Adam, other than his name and who his family is and where he works. That's pretty much it. I don't care if he's pretty. You don't just suddenly start making out with each other. And then the next day she's going to his house. I don't know about you, but that screams. "CREEPY" to me.

I don't understand why everyone has to be "meant" for each other, "drawn" to each other by forces unseen. WHAT'S WRONG WITH PLAIN OLD FALLING IN LOVE, HUH?

There were some other parts in the beginning that seemed a bit rushed, too. You'd be reading a chapter, and then suddenly the next chapter is talking about how it's a month later, and I'm wondering what the hell happened.


It got better once you got farther along, though I wish there had been some more descriptions of things. I want to know what things look like, what the people look like. There was so much dialogue and the descriptions of what was happening through Meghan's eyes that i have no idea what anything looked like.


Overall: I probably made it sound way worse than it is. The plot of this book was awesome and original, and there were times when Adam was downright adorable that I loved him as much as Meghan. Adam's family  and their interactions with Meghan had me laughing sometimes, angry others. Carrier of the Mark brought out some emotions from me, and I'll definitely be waiting for the next book. 4 stars.


~Zoey~

Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow

9.15.2011
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
Publish date: January 10th, 2012 by Random House Children's Books
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository/


It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

This book does not yet have a cover. *sadface* But when it does, I'm sure it's going to be awesome.

This book was amazing. Of course, that doesn't even begin to describe it, but be assured. It was amazing, astounding, gush-worthy, and definitely worth my time.

I guess I had pretty high expectations to start off with - I've read some of Robin Wasserman's other books, and I thought they were pretty good. But when I read this, I couldn't even tell that the same author had written this. The Book of Blood and Shadow bypassed her other books by far.

For one thing, I loved Nora, the main character and narrator. I think I related to her a little bit, because she wanted proof for things. Things like if God existed or if Eli was really trying to help her. She didn't just automatically accept things like too many teens in YA do. She was realistic. I was frustrated by her actions a few times, sure, but isn't that pretty much inevitable? Either way, Nora was real. Easy to understand. And she didn't annoy me with any whining - she dealt with everything that was happening. Her emotions over Chris and everything else that had happened were realistic, too. She was in pain. Obvious pain. But she didn't just give up, and she didn't just move on so fast it was like nothing had happened. It all just made an amazing character.

 And Eli. Oh, Eli. It doesn't matter if you have no idea who he is because he's not mentioned in the summary, but rest assured, he was an amazing character, too. And he wasn't a pansy. I loved that about him. He didn't let his feelings get in the way of things, usually, and yet he did everything he could to help Nora with everything. He was just awesome.

 The other characters, I wasn't really a fan of, but Max and Adriane? I'm pretty sure it was okay to hate them. They did some pretty terrible things.

Another plus of this book: the writing. It was so powerful, so descriptive, even action-filled. Nora's thoughts weren't skimmed over like I've been seeing too often lately. It was just an amazing style of writing.
And what I thought was really cool about this book was the plot. It was so original; I've never even heard of a lot of the things involved.

Overall: The Book of Blood and Shadow is a new favorite of mine. It was powerful, original, and I finished it within a day because I couldn't stop reading. It's not mushy, but there's still some romance mixed in, and there was so much suspense surrounding this huge mystery that I can't think of a single negative thing to say. 5 stars.

 ~Zoey~

Review: The Mephisto Covenant

9.13.2011
The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen
Publish date: September 27th, 2011 by EgmontUSA

Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.

A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha.

With the threat of Eryx looming, Jax has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?

Another ARC for Zoey :D Remember, while I try to kept this spoiler-free, no guarantees.

This book has a lot more religion in it than I originally thought. Sasha is a big believer in God, and Jax and his brothers are kind of fighting for God, in a way. To be honest, I'm not religious. At all. Say what you want, but the truth is that I'm agnostic, so all the religion bothered me a little bit. It would have been easy enough to ignore, except for the fact that they kept bringing it up again when I least expected it.

I managed to get over it, though, because it's not constantly there. But what I found ironic was that even though Sasha was a believer, she still had sex with Jax at the end of the book. Doesn't that go against morals or something? >_> Either way, it was a nice reminder that not even Sasha, who's an Anabo and therefore supposedly has no evil in her, isn't perfect either. 


The plot was definitely something new for me. I liked how Lucifer was incorporated into it, and I liked how Eryx was basically trying to take over Hell. But from what I can see, that's where the things I loved end.


Sasha and Jax's relationship just moved too fast for me to understand. They don't know each other at all, and yet they're kissing. And then there was the fact that the rest of the characters didn't get developed enough, if you ask me. They were just kind of there. I wish I could have learned more about some of them. 


And last, I've been noticing a lot of books I've been reading lately have been in third person. I have no problems with that; in fact, sometimes I prefer third person to first. But there weren't enough of Jax's and Sasha's thoughts for me. I can't say I disliked or liked either of them, because I don't really know them. Sure, there was plenty of dialogue, but I never had any idea what either of them was thinking when they spoke to each other.


Overall: The plot was original, and even if I wasn't a fan of the writing style, the amount of action and the events redeemed the book a little bit. 3 stars.


~Zoey~

Giveaway: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

9.10.2011
So. I have this book. I read it, it was good, but I know I won't read it again because the subject irritates me. (Polygamous wives. It was kind of disgusting in my mind.) But the book is amazing, the characters are amazing, the plot is amazing, it's very original, and yes, I lost the receipt, so I have no hope of returning it. :P (Which makes me sad. I spent $19 on it.)

And so, I thought to myself, I might as well give it away to someone. And just hope people want it? :D

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

Use THIS form to enter. Giveaway ends on September 25th. The winner will be chosen with Random.org, just because I really seem to like that site. 

*Please note:
-This is for the US only. 
-You must be older than 13, because, for one thing, if you're not, you probably shouldn't read this, and for another, I can't take the address of someone who's younger than that O_o
-You must be a GFC follower of this blog.

~Zoey~

Review: Two-Way Street

9.08.2011
Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

There are two sides to every breakup.

This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They're even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.

Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet.

It's too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney's heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care.

But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.

Turns out, he's got a secret or two that he's not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can't get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.

I had really high expectations for this book, but I think that's just because it sounded really good and I've read one of Lauren Barnholdt's other books. This book definitely didn't meet those expectations. 

The thing that bothered me the most was probably just the way it was written. The book jumped around too much - it started off on the day of the trip, and then not too much later it was 100 days before the trip in Jordan's point of view, and then it was day one of the trip in Courtney's point of view, then 94 days before the trip, then 90 days before the trip, and so on. I get that Barnholdt wanted to show how Jordan and Courtney's relationship came to be, but honestly, it was too much skipping around for me.

Another thing I didn't like - the characters. Since the POV's switched off between Jordan and Courtney through the book, we get to see both their viewpoints of each other. Jordan's view of Courtney was so off most of the time that it simply made me angry. And his thoughts weren't that interesting, either. Both characters seemed so vapid and shallow at times that I didn't want to keep reading. And their friends? Don't even get me started on them.

The plot was probably the best part of this book, and even that didn't interest me very much. Jordan's big "secret" about why he broke up with Courtney wasn't even as mysterious as I was anticipating. And you find out the reason fairly quickly - no suspense.

Overall: While Barnholdt's writing may appeal to some, this book just wasn't for me. I can't think of a single good thing to say about it, other than the concept is an interesting idea: going on a roadtrip with the boy who just dumped you. I just wish Barnholdt had done a better job with it. I feel like I'm being unnaturally harsh, but I can't give it more than 1 star.

~Zoey~

Review: Every Other Day

9.06.2011
Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publish date: December 27th, 2011
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

Another ARC to make Zoey very happy :D I did my best to keep it spoiler-free.

I wasn't a fan of Raised By Wolves, so I started out thinking I wouldn't like this book very much. That I would hate the characters, the plot, everything about it.

I didn't. Not at all.

Every day at dawn, Kali makes a switch. Either she turns human or she turns into something else - something with a bloodlust for hunting all the things that go bump in the night. On those days, she can't feel pain, she doesn't get hungry or tired, and she heals quickly. But when she's a human, Kali is basically defenseless. 
  
The real story starts when Kali spots a mark on a girl's - a girl I would have hated very much, if I'd been Kali - back. The mark means that Bethany has a chupacabra inside her. Kali lures it out of Bethany and into herself, hoping that when she switches at dawn and isn't a human anymore, the chupacabra will die.

Well, that doesn't happen, but that's when Zev comes in.

Zev is definitely my favorite part of the book. He has a dry type of humor, and if he was in my head, I would be a very happy camper. He frustrates me, though. I never understood how he could understand what Kali was thinking, but she could never understand him unless he was speaking directly to her.

The writing was amazing. The details were amazing. The plot was amazing. The only reason I couldn't give it five stars was because there were too many questions at the end of it. I still have no idea what a Nibbler is. I still don't understand why Kali is human every other day, even if she's the same thing Zev is. (I have a guess. But I would still like an explanation.) I still don't fully understand why her mother left. There were just too many loose ends that weren't tied up.

Overall: I couldn't stop reading. Barnes kept me guessing the entire time and did an amazing job of getting Kali's emotions across. And the best part was that it was something entirely different from other things I've read. And who doesn't love originality? 4 stars.


~Zoey~

Review: Tris and Izzie

9.02.2011
Tris and Izzie: Mette Ivie Harrison
Publish date: October 11th, 2011


A modern retelling of the German fairytale "Tristan and Isolde", Tris and Izzie is about a young witch named Izzie who is dating Mark King, the captain of the basketball team and thinks her life is going swimmingly well. Until -- she makes a love potion for her best friend Brangane and then ends up taking it herself accidentally, and falling in love with Tristan, the new guy at school.

I feel so accomplished. ARC's just make me feel special :3

Now, I'm not familiar with the tale of "Tristan and Isolde." Not at all. I hadn't even known it existed before I read this, so I have no idea if it was a relatively accurate re-telling or not. But let me just say this right now - I didn't like Izzie. And she was the narrator.

Izzie was a good person. And I loved how she told Branna, her best friend, that Romeo and Juliet probably would have ended up hating each other, had they lived, and that you're supposed to fall in love with a real person who has flaws. I really liked her then. And Izzie was a good person - she doesn't ignore her best friend just because she has an amazing boyfriend, she does everything she can to help. But I just didn't like her narration. And of course, once she met Tristan, I liked her even less. She doesn't know anything about him, but she's ridiculously rude? 

What bothered me the most about the book was all of the characters, actually. Tristan was a little too odd in the beginning - even though I grew to love him - he was just way too forward with Izzie, and THE WAY HE SPEAKS x__x It shouldn't have bothered me as much as it did, but it did. And Mark, he's so . . . I don't know what Izzie ever saw in him, how she could have dated him for so long. They have no passion, no chemistry. He's sweet when she's in the hospital after an attack, but all Izzie can do is be irritated with him, and that irritated me. And Brana? For most of the book, she didn't seem like a very good friend to me. Not at all. 

As for the plot, well, I didn't find very many problems with that. The magic aspect of it wasn't very interesting, but I guess that's because I'm into the more dark and dangerous books when it comes to magic. The secret Izzie's mother was hiding about her magic was interesting.


Although Tristan's sword did seem a bit out of place. Just sayin'.


Overall: 2.5 stars. Not my kind of read, but the writing was solid and there were enough descriptions that I wasn't confused as to who looked like what, like I often am in books.






~Zoey~

9.29.2011

Giveaway: After Obsession

After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven Wedel
Publish Date: September 13th, 2011 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Aimee and Alan have secrets. Both teens have unusual pasts and abilities they prefer to keep hidden. But when they meet each other, in a cold Maine town, they can't stop their secrets from spilling out. Strange things have been happening lately, and they both feel that something-or someone- is haunting them. They're wrong. Despite their unusual history and powers, it's neither Aimee nor Alan who is truly haunted. It's Alan's cousin Courtney who, in a desperate plea to find her missing father, has invited a demon into her life-and into her body. Only together can Aimee and Alan exorcise the ghost. And they have to move quickly, before it devours not just Courtney but everything around her.


Filled with heart-pounding romance, paranormal activity, and rich teen characters to love-and introducing an exciting new YA voice, Steven Wedel-this novel is exactly what Carrie Jones fans have been waiting for. Meet your next obsession.

I recently won a copy of this novel :D And guess what? It's SIGNED. (Only by Carrie Jones, not Steven Wedel.) My review should be up soon, but in the meantime, why not enter for a chance to win it? ;D

Please note:
*This is for the US only. Sorry, but I don't have money to ship a book to Australia, yeah? 
*Being a follower via GFC is the only mandatory requirement. You must leave the name you follow under, and if you're doing any extra entries, you must leave links/usernames/whatever it asks for. Otherwise, that entry will be removed.
*Giveaway ends October 9th.




Review: Touch

Touch by Jus Accardo
Publish Date: November 8th, 2011 by Entangled Publishing, LLC
Amazon//B&N//

When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home. 

Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized. 

Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe. 

A secret Kale will kill to protect. 

WELL. I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would. Not because I'd heard bad reviews or anything, I just thought that it was going to be full of plot holes the size of craters. Why? I don't know.

Dez is an interesting character. She's easy to relate to most of the time, and she wasn't weak and never whined. She did whatever she had to do to save Kale and the others she loved. My only problem with her was that I would have liked to seen a little more vulnerability in her, or maybe a hobby that didn't involve an adrenaline rush. It would have made her easier to connect with.

I loved the concept of Sixes. Sixes are a person with a special power - some can control fire, some can kill with a touch, some can see the future, etc. I really liked how all of them had different powers. It was interesting to see how they all worked together.

And Kale. I loved that boy. He was so innocent about some things, but at the same time, he was strong and fierce. And even if he was kind of a killer, he was still adorable ;D

Even if I loved the book and its plot, there were still a few things I had problems with. The pacing, for one thing. The pacing of Dez and Kale's relationship seemed fine, but the pace of the book in general seemed a little too fast for me. Also, I would have liked to know a little more of Denazen, the corporation running the entire shebang, stealing Sixes off the street and forcing them to kill others, basically. I want to know how it was started. Most of all, I want to understand Dez's dad's motives for doing what he did. Of course, this is only the first book in a series, so maybe some of that will be explained later, but so far, all I've got is "He did it because he's evil."

As for the writing style, I have no idea what I think of it. It wasn't beautiful, but it wasn't choppy and amateur. It wasn't ridiculously simple or complicated. I really didn't think about it at all while I was reading the book. There were quite a few mistakes, but since what I read isn't a finalized copy, I can't really complain about that, can I? :P

Overall: Touch is an intriguing novel full of suspense and amazing characters. While I was left with a few too many questions, it was an awesome read. 4 stars.

~Zoey~

9.28.2011

Review: Matched

Matched by Ally Condie
Publish Date: November 30th, 2010 by Dutton Juvenile.

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.

Let me just start out by saying that if you absolutely love this book, you might not want to read this review. I'm probably downright harsh at times.

And I also want to say that I'm biased against this book and always have been, because of the love triangle. I've gotten to the point where it doesn't matter how good the love triangle is written - I hate it. I'm tired of seeing some form of a love triangle in practically every single book. Sorry, but how many girls do you know that have two guys in love with them? Not enough to fill all these books, that's for sure. 

And no, I don't just hate love triangles because they're overused. I have other reasons that would take up way too much of this post. Maybe another post can be full of my rant ;D

Anyway, I can't say that Matched was a terrible book. It wasn't. Cassia was a rational character who didn't do stupid things very often. But I just had too many problems with it to enjoy it, the love triangle being only one of them. I thought it was interesting, how she saw Xander's face and then Ky's flashed, but I couldn't help but wonder how the Society could have let that happen. If they've been doing it for awhile, kinks should be worked out, yeah? >_> 



(I want to also admit that I skimmed a lot of parts in this book. I'm easily bored.)


And here I'm going to do the unspeakable. I'm going to compare Matched to another book O_O Don't hate me. Please. And please don't hate me when I say I'm going to compare it to The Hunger Games. I promise that it's not just because they're both dystopians. 


There was a lot of things in Matched that reminded me of THG, but there was especially one line, when Cassia was with Xander towards the end of the book. She was thinking about how she could be in that one moment without the Society watching, and the line was honestly practically the same line as in one of The Hunger Games novels, except, y'know, with "Capitol" instead of "Society."


My biggest problem, though, was Cassia herself. Say what you want about Katniss being a cold-hearted bitch, (I can't argue with that) but at least Katniss was brave. She did practically everything she could to defy the Capitol. To me, Cassia was weak. By the end of the book, she pretty much hates the Society. She doesn't like them very much in the middle, either. But what does she do about it? Not very much. I feel like all she really did to defy the Society was fall in love with Ky. 


Another problem I had was that I felt like too much of the book was about romance. I would have liked to see more plot involving other things. Because in the end, pretty much every little thing still came back to Xander or Ky. 


AND THE MISTAKES. I mean, the book wasn't littered with them, but there were still too many for a published book. I mean, one mistake is too many for a published book, if you ask me, but >_>


Overall: Okay, yeah, this was barely a review. It was really just a rant of how much I hated the book. But I'll be honest - even if the idea wasn't original, some of the things Condie did with it were nice twists. So instead of one star, it gets two :P (And the cover is really, really awesome.)


~Zoey~

9.26.2011

Review: The Iron King

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Publish date: Feburary 1st, 2010 by HarlequinTEEN

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home. 

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. 

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Okay, so I've decided to reread the first three books in this series, since the fourth and final book is coming out in a few weeks and I have managed to NOT get my hands on it. -_- (But of course, I'm not bitter about that, no, not at all . . .)

The Iron King definitely isn't the best book in the series, but I still love it. Meghan isn't a character I often find myself annoyed with. Sure, she's naive sometimes, but for the past sixteen years of her life, she's had no idea any of these things existed. I loved watching how Meghan got stronger throughout the book

Puck, Meghan's best friend, is probably one of my favorite characters of all time. He's the comedic relief throughout the series, always making some joke to cut the tension. And I loved that no matter how sarcastic he was, he still did everything he could to protect Meghan.

And Ash. The Ice Prince. I don't know what to say about him without being too spoilery, but just let me say, the whole "dark brooding prince" act really works for him. And I mean really works. I loved Ash even more than Puck.

Still, I think there's something I loved even more than Ash. It was the fact that Meghan got pulled into that mess with the Fae, not because she fell in love or accidentally stumbled upon it, but because she was trying to save her little brother. Everything she goes through, no matter how much she wants to give up, she always remembers that she's trying to save Ethan.

I even loved the evil people in this book. And trust me, there were quite a few of them O_o Mab, the queen of the Winter Court, for one. And then there was the plot, full of twists to keep you occupied and surprised through the whole book.

Overall: The characters were amazing, the plot was amazing, and even the talking cat, Grimalkin, was hilarious. I don't think there's anything I didn't love about this book. If you haven't read this series, I think you should start. Like, now. You'll be hooked until the end. (And the fact that it's about Fae and not your typical paranormal things these days is just a bonus.) 5 stars.

~Zoey~

9.24.2011

Review: Crave

Crave by Melissa Darnell
Publish Date: October 18th, 2011by HarlequinTEEN
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//


Savannah Colbert has never known why she’s so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It’s as if he’s a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she’s destined to fail.

For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back… different, and suddenly he can’t stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences… 


I just want to say that I really like the cover. No idea why, I just really do.

Crave had an interesting concept. Sure, there was the typical forbidden love thing going on, and it was full of secret societies, so it's not like it was a new idea, but the way the Clann worked was interesting. They're the typical dictators, in a way, but they were still different. more interesting. They've told every member of the Clann that they're not supposed to have anything to do with Savannah and because of that, Savannah is subjected to bullying every day.

And then she changes. I thought Savannah bought it a little too easily when her parents explained to her that she was becoming half vampire, half witch. She only thought it was a joke for about ten seconds.

Tristan and Savannah were great characters. Tristan doesn't want to follow in his father's footsteps, and in a way, Savannah is the same way. She doesn't want to be what her father is. And I felt bad for both of them - other people kept trying to control their lives.

Crave switched off between Tristan and Savannah's narration, and I just want to say that Darnell did a great job at making their narrations different. Savannah's was smoother, more beautiful, while Tristan's was much simpler. At the same time, though, I felt like something was missing from Savannah's narration. I think it was just because for the first half of the book, I couldn't relate to her. Once she started having more interactions with Tristan, I started to feel a lot better about her. And Tristan? I loved him. Even when he wasn't talking to Savannah, he was still trying to protect her.

The secondary characters are where I really had problems, mainly on Savannah's side. Her best friend, Anne, annoyed the heck out of me. I feel like she always made Savannah sound weak when she was talking about her. And Savannah's mom? Her mom was the kind of parent most teenagers hate and constantly want to rebel against. She was controlling Savannah's life and she was always telling Savannah it was going to be okay. There were times I seriously questioned if her mom was just that naive, or if she was just trying to make Savannah feel better, which I think was pointless considering what was happening.

Overall: I may have had some issues with it, but I really loved the plot, especially the last fourth of the book, which was full of twists. The romance between Tristan and Savannah never felt like it was going too fast or too slow, and Darnell managed to turn a cliche concept into something I found really interesting. 4 stars.

~Zoey~

9.21.2011

Review: Seers

Seers by Heather Frost
Publish date: October 4th, 2011 by Bonneville

For Kate Bennet, surviving the car wreck that killed her parents means big changes and even bigger problems. As she begins to see auras and invisible people, Kate must learn to trust Patrick O'Donnell, a handsome Guardian, or risk her life being overrun with Demons. She soon realizes that both she and her heart are in big-time trouble.

I've heard lots of good things about Seers, and now that I've read it, I understand why. The concept was really cool - I've read books with characters that can see auras before, but it was different with Kate. She wasn't always whining about it, but you never forgot that she had the ability to see them. Her reactions to most things were realistic, though I wish she had been a little more wary about the idea of Seers and Guardians. I think she was a little too quick to believe that. I would have at least liked to see some doubt in her thoughts.
Kate was actually a pretty awesome narrator. She didn't go off on too many tangents, she didn't distract me from what was going on. But she frustrated me sometimes. What did she see in Aaron? Maybe I only think that because I absolutely loved Patrick, or maybe because Kate's view on him wasn't that great all the time, either, since she was always thinking about Patrick, but I just never understood Kate and Aaron's relationship and why they were together. Sure, Aaron was sweet sometimes, but the rest of the time, he was just . . . boring.

But Patrick. Oh, Patrick. I mean, he's Irish. That was enough to win me over. But I love how he's warring with himself - embracing the fact that he's a Guardian and trying to protect Kate, but at the same time, I think he's tired of it. Living forever doesn't seem that great when you actually have to live forever.

 The writing style is what got me. I have no idea how I felt about it. It was rather simple, really - not childish or full of mistakes or anything, just . . . simple. The style wasn't beautiful, but at the same time, it wasn't confusing. I didn't have to read sentences over a few times to understand them; it just didn't leave an impact on me.

Overall: The characters were believable and I loved reading about Patrick and Kate and seeing their relationship grow, but it's the concept that I loved the most and how it was presented. The Seers and Guardians were something very interesting to me, and I loved getting to learn about that through Patrick's explanations to Kate. 4 stars.

 ~Zoey~

9.18.2011

Giveaway: Carrier of the Mark

I finished my copy, so I might as well give it away, yeah? :D

Also, I have money. Which means this is international :D

So enter for a chance to win an ARC of Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon! Yeah? Yeah. You should do it. Because then you get to read about Rian, and he makes me melt inside. Or if Adam's your type, he could make you melt like he does with Meghan. (Actually, I would hope it wouldn't be the same way as Meghan. That would be creepy, since he's a fictional character and all.)




Review: Carrier of the Mark

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Publish date: October 4th, 2011 by HarperTEEN
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//




Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRís.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.



I ended up winning an ARC of this through Facebook :P If you go to Carrier's FB page, you can enter to win a copy. I think they're giving a copy away to two people every week until the release date.


I didn't get a chance to read Carrier back when it was still on Inkpop, so I can't tell you how different it is from what it used to be. I can tell you that Meghan was a great character - a little unbelievable at times, but realistic when it counted. It was easy to read her narration. The one thing I didn't like is that in the beginning, she gave up too easily after she saw Adam and his sister do some strange things. Sure, she still wondered about them, but she didn't really do much to try to figure it out, she didn't speculate about what it could have been.


I'm not sure how I felt about Adam. There were times when I absolutely loved him, and then there were times when he just felt . . . blah to me. Easily forgettable.

Adam's family was awesome, though. I loved how they each had their own history that we got to learn about. I feel like we might have met them a little too early, though.

And this is where I have something to seriously complain about - the speed of Adam and Meghan's relationship. They've barely said ten words to each other and then suddenly they're claiming they can't stop thinking about each other and kissing. I was like . . . come on. Meghan knows absolutely nothing about Adam, other than his name and who his family is and where he works. That's pretty much it. I don't care if he's pretty. You don't just suddenly start making out with each other. And then the next day she's going to his house. I don't know about you, but that screams. "CREEPY" to me.

I don't understand why everyone has to be "meant" for each other, "drawn" to each other by forces unseen. WHAT'S WRONG WITH PLAIN OLD FALLING IN LOVE, HUH?

There were some other parts in the beginning that seemed a bit rushed, too. You'd be reading a chapter, and then suddenly the next chapter is talking about how it's a month later, and I'm wondering what the hell happened.


It got better once you got farther along, though I wish there had been some more descriptions of things. I want to know what things look like, what the people look like. There was so much dialogue and the descriptions of what was happening through Meghan's eyes that i have no idea what anything looked like.


Overall: I probably made it sound way worse than it is. The plot of this book was awesome and original, and there were times when Adam was downright adorable that I loved him as much as Meghan. Adam's family  and their interactions with Meghan had me laughing sometimes, angry others. Carrier of the Mark brought out some emotions from me, and I'll definitely be waiting for the next book. 4 stars.


~Zoey~

9.15.2011

Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
Publish date: January 10th, 2012 by Random House Children's Books
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository/


It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

This book does not yet have a cover. *sadface* But when it does, I'm sure it's going to be awesome.

This book was amazing. Of course, that doesn't even begin to describe it, but be assured. It was amazing, astounding, gush-worthy, and definitely worth my time.

I guess I had pretty high expectations to start off with - I've read some of Robin Wasserman's other books, and I thought they were pretty good. But when I read this, I couldn't even tell that the same author had written this. The Book of Blood and Shadow bypassed her other books by far.

For one thing, I loved Nora, the main character and narrator. I think I related to her a little bit, because she wanted proof for things. Things like if God existed or if Eli was really trying to help her. She didn't just automatically accept things like too many teens in YA do. She was realistic. I was frustrated by her actions a few times, sure, but isn't that pretty much inevitable? Either way, Nora was real. Easy to understand. And she didn't annoy me with any whining - she dealt with everything that was happening. Her emotions over Chris and everything else that had happened were realistic, too. She was in pain. Obvious pain. But she didn't just give up, and she didn't just move on so fast it was like nothing had happened. It all just made an amazing character.

 And Eli. Oh, Eli. It doesn't matter if you have no idea who he is because he's not mentioned in the summary, but rest assured, he was an amazing character, too. And he wasn't a pansy. I loved that about him. He didn't let his feelings get in the way of things, usually, and yet he did everything he could to help Nora with everything. He was just awesome.

 The other characters, I wasn't really a fan of, but Max and Adriane? I'm pretty sure it was okay to hate them. They did some pretty terrible things.

Another plus of this book: the writing. It was so powerful, so descriptive, even action-filled. Nora's thoughts weren't skimmed over like I've been seeing too often lately. It was just an amazing style of writing.
And what I thought was really cool about this book was the plot. It was so original; I've never even heard of a lot of the things involved.

Overall: The Book of Blood and Shadow is a new favorite of mine. It was powerful, original, and I finished it within a day because I couldn't stop reading. It's not mushy, but there's still some romance mixed in, and there was so much suspense surrounding this huge mystery that I can't think of a single negative thing to say. 5 stars.

 ~Zoey~

9.13.2011

Review: The Mephisto Covenant

The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen
Publish date: September 27th, 2011 by EgmontUSA

Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.

A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha.

With the threat of Eryx looming, Jax has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?

Another ARC for Zoey :D Remember, while I try to kept this spoiler-free, no guarantees.

This book has a lot more religion in it than I originally thought. Sasha is a big believer in God, and Jax and his brothers are kind of fighting for God, in a way. To be honest, I'm not religious. At all. Say what you want, but the truth is that I'm agnostic, so all the religion bothered me a little bit. It would have been easy enough to ignore, except for the fact that they kept bringing it up again when I least expected it.

I managed to get over it, though, because it's not constantly there. But what I found ironic was that even though Sasha was a believer, she still had sex with Jax at the end of the book. Doesn't that go against morals or something? >_> Either way, it was a nice reminder that not even Sasha, who's an Anabo and therefore supposedly has no evil in her, isn't perfect either. 


The plot was definitely something new for me. I liked how Lucifer was incorporated into it, and I liked how Eryx was basically trying to take over Hell. But from what I can see, that's where the things I loved end.


Sasha and Jax's relationship just moved too fast for me to understand. They don't know each other at all, and yet they're kissing. And then there was the fact that the rest of the characters didn't get developed enough, if you ask me. They were just kind of there. I wish I could have learned more about some of them. 


And last, I've been noticing a lot of books I've been reading lately have been in third person. I have no problems with that; in fact, sometimes I prefer third person to first. But there weren't enough of Jax's and Sasha's thoughts for me. I can't say I disliked or liked either of them, because I don't really know them. Sure, there was plenty of dialogue, but I never had any idea what either of them was thinking when they spoke to each other.


Overall: The plot was original, and even if I wasn't a fan of the writing style, the amount of action and the events redeemed the book a little bit. 3 stars.


~Zoey~

9.10.2011

Giveaway: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

So. I have this book. I read it, it was good, but I know I won't read it again because the subject irritates me. (Polygamous wives. It was kind of disgusting in my mind.) But the book is amazing, the characters are amazing, the plot is amazing, it's very original, and yes, I lost the receipt, so I have no hope of returning it. :P (Which makes me sad. I spent $19 on it.)

And so, I thought to myself, I might as well give it away to someone. And just hope people want it? :D

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

Use THIS form to enter. Giveaway ends on September 25th. The winner will be chosen with Random.org, just because I really seem to like that site. 

*Please note:
-This is for the US only. 
-You must be older than 13, because, for one thing, if you're not, you probably shouldn't read this, and for another, I can't take the address of someone who's younger than that O_o
-You must be a GFC follower of this blog.

~Zoey~

9.08.2011

Review: Two-Way Street

Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

There are two sides to every breakup.

This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They're even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.

Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet.

It's too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney's heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care.

But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.

Turns out, he's got a secret or two that he's not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can't get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.

I had really high expectations for this book, but I think that's just because it sounded really good and I've read one of Lauren Barnholdt's other books. This book definitely didn't meet those expectations. 

The thing that bothered me the most was probably just the way it was written. The book jumped around too much - it started off on the day of the trip, and then not too much later it was 100 days before the trip in Jordan's point of view, and then it was day one of the trip in Courtney's point of view, then 94 days before the trip, then 90 days before the trip, and so on. I get that Barnholdt wanted to show how Jordan and Courtney's relationship came to be, but honestly, it was too much skipping around for me.

Another thing I didn't like - the characters. Since the POV's switched off between Jordan and Courtney through the book, we get to see both their viewpoints of each other. Jordan's view of Courtney was so off most of the time that it simply made me angry. And his thoughts weren't that interesting, either. Both characters seemed so vapid and shallow at times that I didn't want to keep reading. And their friends? Don't even get me started on them.

The plot was probably the best part of this book, and even that didn't interest me very much. Jordan's big "secret" about why he broke up with Courtney wasn't even as mysterious as I was anticipating. And you find out the reason fairly quickly - no suspense.

Overall: While Barnholdt's writing may appeal to some, this book just wasn't for me. I can't think of a single good thing to say about it, other than the concept is an interesting idea: going on a roadtrip with the boy who just dumped you. I just wish Barnholdt had done a better job with it. I feel like I'm being unnaturally harsh, but I can't give it more than 1 star.

~Zoey~

9.06.2011

Review: Every Other Day

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publish date: December 27th, 2011
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

Another ARC to make Zoey very happy :D I did my best to keep it spoiler-free.

I wasn't a fan of Raised By Wolves, so I started out thinking I wouldn't like this book very much. That I would hate the characters, the plot, everything about it.

I didn't. Not at all.

Every day at dawn, Kali makes a switch. Either she turns human or she turns into something else - something with a bloodlust for hunting all the things that go bump in the night. On those days, she can't feel pain, she doesn't get hungry or tired, and she heals quickly. But when she's a human, Kali is basically defenseless. 
  
The real story starts when Kali spots a mark on a girl's - a girl I would have hated very much, if I'd been Kali - back. The mark means that Bethany has a chupacabra inside her. Kali lures it out of Bethany and into herself, hoping that when she switches at dawn and isn't a human anymore, the chupacabra will die.

Well, that doesn't happen, but that's when Zev comes in.

Zev is definitely my favorite part of the book. He has a dry type of humor, and if he was in my head, I would be a very happy camper. He frustrates me, though. I never understood how he could understand what Kali was thinking, but she could never understand him unless he was speaking directly to her.

The writing was amazing. The details were amazing. The plot was amazing. The only reason I couldn't give it five stars was because there were too many questions at the end of it. I still have no idea what a Nibbler is. I still don't understand why Kali is human every other day, even if she's the same thing Zev is. (I have a guess. But I would still like an explanation.) I still don't fully understand why her mother left. There were just too many loose ends that weren't tied up.

Overall: I couldn't stop reading. Barnes kept me guessing the entire time and did an amazing job of getting Kali's emotions across. And the best part was that it was something entirely different from other things I've read. And who doesn't love originality? 4 stars.


~Zoey~

9.02.2011

Review: Tris and Izzie

Tris and Izzie: Mette Ivie Harrison
Publish date: October 11th, 2011


A modern retelling of the German fairytale "Tristan and Isolde", Tris and Izzie is about a young witch named Izzie who is dating Mark King, the captain of the basketball team and thinks her life is going swimmingly well. Until -- she makes a love potion for her best friend Brangane and then ends up taking it herself accidentally, and falling in love with Tristan, the new guy at school.

I feel so accomplished. ARC's just make me feel special :3

Now, I'm not familiar with the tale of "Tristan and Isolde." Not at all. I hadn't even known it existed before I read this, so I have no idea if it was a relatively accurate re-telling or not. But let me just say this right now - I didn't like Izzie. And she was the narrator.

Izzie was a good person. And I loved how she told Branna, her best friend, that Romeo and Juliet probably would have ended up hating each other, had they lived, and that you're supposed to fall in love with a real person who has flaws. I really liked her then. And Izzie was a good person - she doesn't ignore her best friend just because she has an amazing boyfriend, she does everything she can to help. But I just didn't like her narration. And of course, once she met Tristan, I liked her even less. She doesn't know anything about him, but she's ridiculously rude? 

What bothered me the most about the book was all of the characters, actually. Tristan was a little too odd in the beginning - even though I grew to love him - he was just way too forward with Izzie, and THE WAY HE SPEAKS x__x It shouldn't have bothered me as much as it did, but it did. And Mark, he's so . . . I don't know what Izzie ever saw in him, how she could have dated him for so long. They have no passion, no chemistry. He's sweet when she's in the hospital after an attack, but all Izzie can do is be irritated with him, and that irritated me. And Brana? For most of the book, she didn't seem like a very good friend to me. Not at all. 

As for the plot, well, I didn't find very many problems with that. The magic aspect of it wasn't very interesting, but I guess that's because I'm into the more dark and dangerous books when it comes to magic. The secret Izzie's mother was hiding about her magic was interesting.


Although Tristan's sword did seem a bit out of place. Just sayin'.


Overall: 2.5 stars. Not my kind of read, but the writing was solid and there were enough descriptions that I wasn't confused as to who looked like what, like I often am in books.






~Zoey~