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Review: Spark

8.24.2012
Spark by Brigid Kemmerer
Expected publication: August 28th 2012 by Kensington Teen
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.

Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Like the fire that killed his parents.

Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it.

More than Gabriel’s pride is at stake -- this could cost him his family, maybe his life. And no one seems to hear him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own.

Gabriel can’t let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that’s right at his heels. But there are some risks he can’t help taking.

The fuse is lit…


I thought I loved the first book in this series, Storm. I thought I loved the dynamic between Chris and Becca and the way friendship and romance were so carefully balance out with the suspense and danger that was always present in the book. But how I felt about Storm is nothing compared to the way I feel about Spark. 

Gabriel angers easily. His temper matches his element. He often speaks before he thinks, and he can be very frustrating at times, but at the end of the book I loved him even more for that. We get to see his personality so much more in Spark, and it's impossible not to love him. (He can get a bit angsty sometimes. It's lovely.) Gabriel struggles with controlling his element a lot more than Chris did in the last novel, but that's not surprising. Fire can get out of control so quickly.

Which is exactly what happens when fires start turning up everywhere. Even Gabriel's own family suspects him at some point. And whenever Gabriel starts to feel like he's completely alone, Laney shows up.

Laney is almost the opposite of Gabriel. She's cautious, she thinks things through carefully. So it's fun to see her dynamic with Gabriel, and it's even more fun to watch (or read, I suppose) Gabriel's reactions to her, especially considering he doesn't really know how to react. He's never had to deal with someone like Laney. So he says all the wrong things, of course. But when he says the right things, I wanted to squeal like a little girl. (Maybe I did. Who knows?) The way Gabriel and Laney's relationship progressed was perfect - I never felt like anything was going too fast or too slow.

Laney is definitely her own character, though. It's not just about the romance. Laney has her own life, her own problems, and I think that might be what I loved most. Laney's character wasn't dependent on the romance. She takes care of her brother, she worries about her future.

Something that might rival my love for the characters in this book is the plot. The sense of danger is still always present, and now it seems even closer to home. With Gabriel being the prime suspect in the arson cases, he not only has to worry about his family and the Guides, he also to worry about the police. But Gabriel still manages to do something good - while using his powers and a little bit of a bromance with Hunter - even with everything weighing over him. I wish the Guides had been a little more present in this book, though. It seems like they were pushed to the backburner when they were such a huge part of the first book.

Overall: The way Kemmerer writes Gabriel is something I don't think I've ever seen before. He's so full of emotions that he feels more real than any character I've ever read, and Laney is almost the same way. Spark is a book that will keep you reading into the early hours of the morning - and then you'll read it again because you're not sure you believed the twist at the end. (And also because Gabriel Merrick is HOT. Steaming hot.) 5 stars. (I really want to give it 10, though. If that doesn't convince you to go out and read it, I don't know what will.)

Waiting on Wednesday {29}

8.22.2012
"Waiting on Wednesday " is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, Zoey's waiting on:

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
Expected publication: March 5th 2013 by Tor Teen 

16-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare. Literally. Dusty is a magical being who feeds on human dreams.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder. The setting is Arkwell.

And then it comes true.

Now the Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

I'm always a sucker for boarding school books, and this sounds very unique! The wait to 2013 isn't going to be fun :(

Megan's waiting on:

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Expected publication: September 27th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company 

When Barry Fairweather dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.
Normally we don't feature books that aren't YA, but hey, she's J.K. Rowling!

What are you waiting on today? Leave a link and one of us will be sure to drop by!

Guest Review: Silver

8.21.2012
Today, we have a guest review from the lovely Eileen from ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***!

Silver by Talia Vance
Expected publication: September 8th 2012 by Flux
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

"As I step into the room, a silver flash blurs my vision. Before I can take a breath, the world falls away."

Brianna has always felt invisible. People stare right past her, including the one boy she can't resist, Blake Williams. But everything changes at a house party where Brianna's charm bracelet slips off and time stands still. In that one frozen, silver moment, Blake not only sees her, he recognizes something deep inside her she's been hiding even from herself.

Discovering she is descended from Danu, the legendary Bandia of Celtic myth, Brianna finds herself questioning the truth of who she is. And when she accidentally binds her soul to Blake, their mutual attraction becomes undeniable.

But Blake has his own secret, one that could prove deadly for them both.

Bound together by forbidden magic, Brianna and Blake find themselves at the heart of an ancient feud that threatens to destroy their lives and their love.
Being a mythology “newbie,” I had no idea what to expect when I started Silver. In fact, I totally jumped in blind, since I have this really unfortunate habit of forgetting synopses as soon as I read them. It just comes in one side of my head and goes out the other. Very true story. However, I was fairly pleased with the results of Silver. It wasn’t my favorite mythology novel, but it was nonetheless a good read.

Brianna has always been invisible. Until one day, a gorgeous boy notices her and a romance kindles between them. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. Obviously, this romance has to bring many complications. And with those complications comes insta-love. Of course, you can’t fit a whole plot of romantic tension between two characters in…384 pages of book without something having to give. Obviously the mythology can’t give, although by that point the mythology aspect was very, very low. So the development of the relationship had to go.

Between the romance, the problem was that when Blake sees Brianna when she’s not being hidden away from him, he immediately feels this connection towards her and she he. (I don’t know if I just used that right…) And then on their “second date” they form this unbreakable bond with each other and suddenly BAM their souls are wound together. What? What? I don’t know about you, but I thought you had to get to know a person more than just “I think you’re pretty” before you intertwine your souls for all eternity. But that’s just me.

Also, since the romance dominated the novel, I felt there was no mythological aspect. I was intrigued by this idea of being these all-mighty goddesses that I was drawn in from the beginning. Brianna was a Seventh Daughter, or, from my understanding, a bandia. (Please tell me I’m right. It’ll be awkward if I’m wrong. I shall assume I’m right for this review though.) However, I was never satisfied. All I understood about being a bandia was “You get to be pretty and seduce boys!” Yeah, that’s not the most appealing way to introduce me to this. I did get a back-story but there was no development from there, which I really would have liked to see. I am hoping the next few books will elaborate on the mythology.

A good thing about Silver was the plot. When there wasn’t romantic tension, which left very little of the story left, there was action. Brianna was a strong character when she needed to be and I liked how she held her own. She jumped off the pages and was a dynamic character that, sure, made mistakes, but learned from them and she was flawed. Since it was her voice narrating the story, it’s crucial to have her voice be compelling and likable, and she certainly fit the bill.

Overall, if you don’t mind a romance that doesn’t have much substance, and a mythological plot line that may not have sung to you in the first book but will hopefully improve for the second, I would recommend Silver. It would be a good read for any romance junkie out there.

This gets three out of five stars.

Waiting on Wednesday {28}

8.15.2012
"Waiting on Wednesday " is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

We're a little late, but . . . blame school. Pictures had to be taken. It was bad. :P

This week, Zoey's waiting on:

The Farm by Emily McKay
Expected publication: December 4th 2012 by Berkley Trade

Life was different in the Before: before the Ticks began devouring humans in a deadly swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined “for their own protection.” These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race...
 
It sounds totally creepy ;) I'm excited. It's been a long time since I've read anything like this.

Megan's waiting on:

The Diviners by Libba Bray
Expected publication: September 18th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first. 

Let's be honest: who isn't waiting on this one?

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave a link and one of us will be sure to drop by! :)

(Sorry for any wonky formatting. We all know how moody blogger gets.)

Review: Defiance

8.14.2012
Defiance by C.J. Redwine
Expected publication: August 28th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//


Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

Defiance doesn't waste any time at throwing you right into the story. Once Commander Chase declares her father dead, Rachel Adams wastes no time in trying to come up with a plan to find him. Of course, Logan McEntire (Anyone think of Myra McEntire? I do.) doesn't plan to let her leave the "safety" of Baalboden on her own. Defiance is certainly filled with plenty of action, which is something I think a lot of dystopians are, oddly enough, missing.


Because Defiance is written in dual POVs, we get to experience both Rachel and Logan's thoughts and experiences when they're separated. While I think Redwine handled the dual POVs very well, when I stopped reading and returned quite a bit later, it was hard to tell whether I was reading from Logan's perspective or Rachel's perspective for a page or two. The characters themselves are very easy to love - Logan and Rachel are both fighters in their own way, both heroes. Rachel is stubborn, sometimes impulsive, and very determined. Logan calculates things, makes plans. Together, they work perfectly to level each other out. But sometimes they just didn't have a unique voice in their narratives.


When it comes to the romance between Rachel and Logan, however, I wasn't really satisfied. It felt a bit rushed to me, even though I know it wasn't since Rachel and Logan have known each other since forever, basically. The tension between the two of them in the first half of the book is written perfectly - but then suddenly I feel like it fizzled out. The two of them are still perfect for each other, of course. I just feel like there could have been more.


Speaking of more, the only other issue I had was the world-building. It's easy to see that the world Rachel and Logan live in is dangerous. But I didn't really understand the world itself at all. That's always been an issue for me, so maybe it wouldn't bother anyone else.

And Commander Chase. I spent half of the book wishing I could punch him in the face. He's a merciless, power-hungry, mysterious leader. I can't wait to find out what's really going on with him in the next book.

Overall: With strong characters - that also know they need help from one another - and action-packed chapters with smooth writing, (and even a heart-breaking scene or two!) Defiance is a dystopian you don't want to miss out on. 4 stars.

Books + Music

8.09.2012
I'm always listening to music. I'm always reading. So it's inevitable, it seems, that they should intertwine in my head and become magical things. (Like unicorns.)

A lot of authors have playlists. Some authors even mention what music really inspired them in their acknowledgements. Sometimes, that music makes no sense to us when we're done with the book. But that doesn't really matter.

It's just that sometimes, I hear a song that applies so well to a book. For example, I think basically the entire How To Save A Life album by The Fray applies to The Mercy Falls trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater. You listen to the lyrics and they just scream things about Grace and Sam and Cole that I almost feel like the album was written for that series. It's almost eerie.

Any time I listen to Bon Iver I start to think of Incarnate by Jodi Meadows just because the mood seems right. Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran also seems to make me think of Ana from Incarnate. I apply Home by Ellie Goulding to Defiance by C.J. Redwine. (Even though I haven't finished it yet.)

So I want to know what songs you think apply to some of your favorite books. It doesn't have to make sense. (When does anything make sense anymore?) Maybe it's the lyrics, or maybe it's a simple beat in the background, or maybe it's just the voice. But what does it remind you of? 

~Zoey~

Waiting on Wednesday {27}

8.08.2012
"Waiting on Wednesday " is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week, Zoey's waiting on: 
Asunder by Jodi Meadows  
Expected publication: January 29th 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books
DARKSOULS
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

SHADOWS
Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

LOVE
Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Incarnate trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.
We all know this had to happen at some point. I absolutely fell in love with Ana and Sam in INCARNATE and the world of Heart. January seems years away and I can guarantee I'll feel this way while I'm waiting for the third book. 

Megan's waiting on: 

Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini
Expected publication: October 30th 2012 by Simon Pulse

Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.
 
Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.
 
As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

Leave us a link to what you're waiting on and one of us will be sure to stop by! 

Giveaway: Spark ARC

8.07.2012
Hi! Today I'm giving away my SPARK by Brigid Kemmerer ARC. As the book comes out soon, this contest will only last until Saturday, August 11th! The book will then be mailed on Monday, provided the winner responds to the email before then. SPARK is the sequel to STORM, so if you have no pplans to read that, then I suggest you don't enter ;)

Please note: US/CAN only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


~Zoey~

Young Musicians Wanted!

8.06.2012
There's a competition going on at The Spark! 

"We are trying to find young musicians aged 13-18 years old to write the music for a promotional film. This film will feature a brand new epic trilogy that begins with Crewel, a book that is being simultaneously published in October by the US with much excitement. Aside from the winner's music being used for the final film, the winners will also be promoted through The Spark www.facebook.com/thesparkpage our new online creative community, the Facebook page for Crewel ww.facebook.com/crewelbook and a variety of online bloggers and websites. They will also receive £200 worth of iTunes vouchers and there will be two runners up who will receive £50 iTunes vouchers."

You can hear the first few entries here

I don't think a competition like this is very common, so if you can write music, go for it! Actually, all you probably need is garage band ;) Crewel by Gennifer Albin is a highly anticipated read, as most of you probably know, so if you win, people will definitely hear it! You can find out more information about how to enter here.

The contest ends September 12th, so if you're interested, please check it out! Your music can just be instrumental or it can include lyrics, and Gennifer Albin will be one of the judges who decides the winner!

(Yes. I used lots of exclamation points in this post. I'm excited. Sue me.)

~Zoey~

Review: Glitch

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
Expected publication: August 7th 2012 by St. Martin's Press
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.

In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.


It's no secret (or is it?) that I love sci-fi. If you've read reviews of this, you probably know how people say that this isn't different from any other YA dystopian/sci-fi novels. And I guess that's true. There wasn't really anything new - a society being controlled. People who are trying to break away. But I still enjoyed it. Maybe that just says something about me, but maybe it also says something about GLITCH.

GLITCH didn't start off with a bang. The beginning was rather weak; there were so many terms used that I didn't fully understand and my interest wasn't being captured. Eventually, the world-building got better, though I can't say it was by very much.

By far, Zoe was my favorite part of this. Her emotions - emotions that she's not supposed to have - came through so clearly. To me, she was a very realistic character. For the most part, her reactions made sense to me. She's not one of the strongest heroines you'll ever meet, but that's what makes her so great. She's not always fierce or brave, but she's not always meek and terrified. She's real. 

Until Max came in, that is. Max is basically your average emotional teenage boy - and I hated him. He was awkward and with his storyline, he had the potential to be so much better. Around Max, Zoe seemed weaker to me. Adrien, on the other hand, was a great love interest. While the romance happened far too fast, I love the way Adrien and Zoe work together, both in a romantic and platonic way. (AKA when they need to be more worried about saving people than their romance.)

The plot itself felt stilted at some points and didn't make sense. However, there are definitely a few twists, and for the most part, I loved trying to figure out what would happen, what was really going on with the Community.

Overall: GLITCH probably won't make you cry. It won't make you afraid to sleep in the dark. But it will keep you entertained and immerse you in a world where if you can't be fixed, you're gotten rid of. I definitely think it's something you should definitely check out if you're low on things to read. 3.5 stars.

In My Mailbox {19}

8.05.2012
I know I said I'd be back to blogging by now. But it's just my luck that the internet stops working when I'm ready to blog again. We've done everything tech support has told us to do, so now AT&T has to come here to see what the issue is. I'll have internet for 10 minutes and then it cuts out for 4 hours.

Needless to say, I am irritated.

Megan won't be around for awhile, so it's just me today! These are books from the past month, basically. Obviously I'm being a good girl and not making my NG pile explode even more.

(I don't have time for pictures. Sorry.)

From Spencer Hill for review: 
Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout

From NetGalley: 
The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Leave a link to your mailbox and I'll do my best to check it out!

~Zoey~

Review: Circle of Silence

7.31.2012
Circle of Silence by Carol M. Tanzman
Published July 24th 2012 by Harlequin Teen
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

THE BIGGEST STORY OF MY LIFE COULD BE HOW IT ENDS

 It's my turn to run a "Campus News" crew, and I've put together a team that can break stories wide open. And Washington Irving High has a truly great one to cover, if only we can find a lead.

A secret society has formed in our school. It announced its presence with pranks: underwear on the flagpole, a toilet in the hallway, cryptic notes. A circle of silence keeps the society a mystery. No one knows its members, agenda or initiation secrets-until a student lands in the hospital under "strange" circumstances.

I "will" blow this story wide open and stop others from being hurt...or worse. And while my ex, Jagger, might want to help, I don't trust him yet. (And, no, not because of our past together. That is "not" important to this story.)

But whether you find me, Valerie Gaines, reporting in front of the camera, or a victim in the top story of the newscast...be sure to watch "Campus News" at 9:00 a.m. this Friday.

Circle of Silence starts off with intrigue that quickly turns to suspense. For me, I can definitely say it was an improvement over the first book I read by Tanzman.

The first few chapters are exactly what first chapters in a book should be - a hook. I absolutely loved how curious the beginning makes you, how much it makes you want to continue reading.

Valerie is a very driven character. She knows exactly what she wants to do when she's older, and she's going after it by being a part of Campus News while she's in high school. When a series of school pranks - which all seem to be done by the same group when they leave their "signature" - start, she' basically struck gold With her team - which happen to include her ex-boyfriend - she starts to investigate. But these people don't want to be investigated.

Circle of Silence is full of suspense. I can honestly say that I had no idea what the ending would be like. However, during a lot of Val's investigation, I found myself getting bored. It just seemed like they were getting nowhere for a few chapters before it finally got interesting again.

Like I said earlier, Valerie is very driven. I love that about her; it's something very admirable. Her personality really shines through in this novel. As for the other characters . . . there's not much to say. You never really learn about them at all. The secondary characters in this novel can't really be considered supporting characters because they seem to be there more for decoration than anything else.

Except for Jagger, Valerie's ex that she's not quite over yet. Somehow, he finds his way onto her team and she's stuck working with him. He's the first one to find the pranks interesting and get them working on a story that spirals into something much more scary and dangerous. Jagger is a very hard character to read, and I spent a lot of time wondering what his motives were. He's definitely not a guy who's going to spout romantic and cheesy lines at you.

Overall: While Circle of Silence didn't do the best job at holding my attention, it's certainly a book full of suspense and just a hint of romance. If it's been awhile since you've picked up a thriller, I'd definitely suggest this. 3.5 stars.

~Zoey~

Giveaway: YA Crush Tourney

7.20.2012
So I know I've been MIA lately, but it's for personal reasons and I expect to be back in about a week. As for Meghan, uh, I have no idea. :P

But one of today's matches for the YA Crush Tourney is Ash vs. Aiden! As in Ash from Julie Kagawa's series. As in the Ash that will freeze your testicles off and put them in a jar if you touch Meghan.

This is simple, really. Go HERE, vote for Ash, then come back to this post and comment telling me you voted for him. Be sure to leave a way to contact you. (Email or twitter is fine.) At the end of the day, if Ash wins the match, one random commenter will be chosen and can pick any two books from my box of giveaway books. Some are finished copies, some are old ARCs, some are new ARCs, all are YA. If Ash loses, well . . . I guess we'll see. :P

That's all you have to do. But I'm relying on the honor system here, okay? I don't care if you want to vote for Aiden. Fine. He's great too. But don't vote for Aiden and then come back here and lie, saying you voted for Ash. Just don't.

EDIT: The books from my box are US only. However, if you live internationally and leave a comment, if you win, you can choose any book from The Book Depository, as long as they ship to your country.

~Zoey~

Waiting on Wednesday {26}

7.04.2012
"Waiting on Wednesday " is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week, Zoey's waiting on:


Taken by Erin Bowman
Expected publication: April 16th 2013 by HarperTeen


There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends...and he’s gone. 
They call it the Heist. 
Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive. 
Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?
It sounds absolutely amazing and mysterious. (Also comes out two days before my birthday.) I definitely can't wait for this!

Megan's waiting on:

Selling ARCs (AKA: Reasons I Want To Punch People)

7.02.2012
There be cussing here. Ye be warned.

I have nothing to say that hasn't already been said. I'm saying it anyways.

I was on eBay yesterday. And I guess I've always known people sold ARCs on there - people have mentioned it countless times - but I never noticed how many. I never noticed how many highly anticipated ones were on there, either.

I'm not telling you they're on eBay so you'll go out and bid on them. I'm telling you that people go to BEA and ALA and then sell those books they get for free on eBay. (There were several books that have only been available at BEA and ALA to the "general public" of people who receive ARCs.)These people are getting $20 for something they got for free. They're getting $20 that will never benefit the publisher or the author, even though those ARCs cost money to make.

(And we won't even get into the fact that every ARC I've ever owned or seen has said "NOT FOR SALE" or something of that sort somewhere on it.)

I could spend hours ranting or showing you statistics, but people have already done that. Emily White has a post about it here. Shannon Messenger also has a post about it. And of course, there are thousands of others.  Plenty of authors that you love have lost out on sales because someone buys an ARC off eBay. (Not to mention the fact that it's just fucking annoying.) This is a great post by Mandy Hubbard about how much an author actually makes. And after doing plenty of researching, I've learned that on average, an author makes somewhere between 50 cents or $2.50 on a hardcover sold. (However, I cannot be 100% that those numbers are exactly right.)

And okay, yes. Authors wouldn't have actually earned anything on that sold ARC. But that ARC has been sold to someone who would have potentially bought it. That ARC could have been received by someone who would have read it, loved it, convinced their friends to buy it when it came out, passed it on to someone else who would have done the same. We have no idea how many sales that may have lost.

(And it's also fucking annoying.)

(Because, hey, "NOT FOR SALE.")

~Zoey~

In My Mailbox {18}

7.01.2012
Megan will be doing her IMM next week along with me :)

So. This week has sucked. Everything that can go wrong has. But I got to see one of my favorite bands at Summerfest yesterday, and I got to hear three of their new songs, so there was a plus. And I got three books I've been dying for. :)

Zoey received: 

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
Defiance by C.J. Redwine
Through To You by Emily Hainsworth
(Thanks to HarperCollins via Edelweiss!)

And that's it for this week. (I really need to stop with the ebooks. Seriously. I have so many and I have NO physical copies. It's bad. Does anyone else have that problem? >_>)

What was in your mailbox this week?

~Zoey~

Giveaway: YA Pre-orders

6.27.2012
This seemed to make people happy last time, so I thought I'd do it again. (Also. I just got paid. So there's that.)

Two winners will get to choose a pre-order of any YA book under $15 USD. International, as long as The Book Depository ships to you!

Please note: Rafflecopter knows if you cheat. Therefore, I know. ;)

Also, please note that the book needs to be available for pre-order on The Book Depository right now. If it's a book that comes out in April 2013, chances are it's not available for pre-order yet.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Waiting on Wednesday {25}

"Waiting on Wednesday " is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

(Psst. There's a giveaway going up later today.)


Anyway.


Altered by Jennifer Rush
Expected publication: January 2nd 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?
Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.


It sounds pretty amazing. Plus, most of the people who have read it that I know have absolutely loved it. The wait to 2013 is too far. </3

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Expected publication: January 15th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow prisoners, Felicia passes the endless hours downloading memories and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and the boy she loved, Neil.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber disappears, and nobody but Felicia seems to recall she existed in the first place. Something is obviously very wrong. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, she learns the truth: a rebellion is brewing to overthrow the Morati, the guardians of Level 2.

Felicia is reluctant to trust Julian, but then he promises what she wants the most—to be with Neil again—if only she’ll join the rebels. Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself in the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

I've pretty much been stalking Lenore's blog since I first saw this on Goodreads hoping for some teasers. This sounds totally original and exciting. Apparently I like to torture myself by looking at books that don't come out until next year.


Let me know what you're waiting on this Wednesday! (That awkward hump in the middle of the week!)


~Zoey~

Review: Something Strange and Deadly

6.26.2012
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Expected publication: July 24th 2012 by HarperTeen
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Something Strange and Deadly can be a little scary. It can be funny. It can even be sexy.

While I was expecting more zombies, Something Strange and Deadly definitely didn't disappoint me. It's a book that you can easily immerse yourself in. I don't usually tend to read books set in the 1800s because they feel too formal and stiff to me. But SS&D isn't. At all. The setting is perfect the way Dennard portrays it. There's gossip, there's handsome men vying for women's hands, but behind it all, someone is raising the dead.

Eleanor is one of my favorite female characters. Period. She's just so likable. She's not full of herself, but at the same time she doesn't spend all her time worrying about trivial things like looks. She's not a genius, she's not the strongest girl you'll ever meet, but that's why I love her. And her relationship with Daniel. There's always a little bit of tension between them. (Also no insta!love. And you all know how I feel about that.) The chemistry between the two of them practically leaps off the page.

The plot, while slightly predictable, is still enjoyable. This book starts with a bang in the form of a zombie attack, but the zombies kind of fizzle out after that. The story is more centered around Eleanor's experiences with the Spirit-Hunters and her search for her brother. To be honest, I think the best part about the plot is the way Susan Dennard writes it. It's so easy to get caught up in.

My only complaint is that I felt like there were a few scenes that were entirely pointless. They seemed to have no real use in the plot.

Overall: Something Strange and Deadly is a surprising novel in more ways than one. With characters that are almost impossible to hate, a setting described perfectly, and an author who knows exactly what she's doing, this is a book you don't want to miss out on. 4 stars.


Review: Flirting in Italian

6.25.2012
Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
Published June 12th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//



Four girls. One magical, and possibly dangerous Italian summer. Family mysteries, ancient castles, long hot nights of dancing under the stars . . . and, of course, plenty of gorgeous Italian boys!


To be honest, it was a struggle to get through this. The beginning may have been the worst part - it didn't hold my interest at all. Violet, the main character, spends a lot of time commenting on/complaining about her looks in the beginning while her mother's dialogue seemed completely unrealistic.

I was excited for Italian boys. But Luca is a character I wanted to punch most of the time. He had his sweet moments, of course, but the majority of the book he was an ass, plain and simple. Even Violet thinks so. But only some of the time. She'll think he's a jerk and then twenty seconds later he's like the hottest thing on Earth.

There were a ton of typos. Normally, I don't fault an ARC for that, but there were more than I've ever seen in any ARC. They were distracting, to say the least.

The mystery of the painting didn't really make sense to me. In the first few pages of the book, Violet finds a painting from the 1700s (I think?) that looks exactly like her. But everything involving this painting - and there weren't many - seemed extremely disconnected. And then the ending - you still don't find out what's up with the painting. I've heard there's going to be a sequel, but this could have easily been wrapped up in one book. Especially considering hardly anything happened in this one.

The best part, by far, was the simple fact that this book is set in Italy. It's fun to get glimpses at the culture, and the way Lauren Henderson describes Italy is beautiful.

Overall: Flirting in Italian spent most of its time annoying me, in some way. However, it had its moments. It can definitely be classified as a summer read. If you're looking for something quick and mindless, this is definitely it. 2 stars.

~Zoey~

In My Mailbox {17}

6.24.2012
I realize I've sucked at blogging this week. Internet went out for a few days. As for the other days . . . Well, I've just been lazy. Also, I have a life outside of the internet. I'm shocked too.

I'M WORKING ON IT, I SWEAR.

Anyways, the past two weeks, this is what I've gotten:

From Rachel Cohn/Disney-Hyperion:
Beta by Rachel Cohn
I may have hugged it when it arrived. Maybe. 

From NetGalley:
Dualed by Elsie Chapman

And that's all for me! Leave a link to your mailbox post and I'll stop by. I'll just be here . . . working on some actual posts. :P

~Zoey~

Let's Have A Talk.

6.17.2012
Most of us have heard of the YA Crush Tourney. This is an amazing YA book event in the blogosphere. And if you don't know what it is, well, it's fairly easy to figure out.

It's fun. I like it. But some of the nominations just don't make sense to me.

This has nothing to do with me liking a character or not. The simple fact is I don't understand how an incestuous rapist is seen as a "crush." Rapists are not crush-worthy. Not even attempted rapists.

I don't understand why Sebastian is on that list. I'm not saying I think his storyline in the book should never have been written or that he's a character you can't like because of what he did. I'm saying he tried to rape his sister. I'm saying that it's not okay to show that someone who could do something like that could be considered a "crush" and grouped with the other characters on that list. There's a large difference between being a flawed character like most of the boys on that list - Noah Shaw, Will Herondale, basically everyone else - and being a rapist. (Also let's not forget that Sebastian tried to kill basically everyone.)

This isn't a post for you to argue about why you think it's okay for Sebastian to be on there. You're probably not going to get me to agree no matter what you say. You can like Sebastian. You can feel bad for him. You can want to understand him. Even I don't hate him. But this is basically saying that it's okay to consider a rapist/attempted rapist (which is really all the same, if you ask me) a "crush." And I don't understand how that can be okay.

I realize the list is based on nominations and it's supposed to be fair and everything. But I think something like this should trump fairness.

You want to say I'm over-reacting? Fine. But I'm not the only one that feels this way. And if you agree, please, please say something about it. Sebastian should not be on that list. From what I've heard, neither should Jordan because he's abusive. And please consider who you nominate. Just because you like a character doesn't mean they should be seen as a "crush."

The YA Sisterhood holds a Villain Tourney in the fall. Why can't you just vote for Sebastian then? When it actually fits the description? 

~Zoey~

Waiting on Wednesday {24}

6.13.2012
Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, is when we spotlight upcoming titles we're excited for.

Through to You by Emily Hainsworth
Expected publication: October 2nd 2012 by Balzer + Bray

Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.

The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day.

As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.


Parallel universes? That's all you need to say and I'm interested. (Plus, it's Balzer + Bray. I can't resist them.)

Dark Star by Bethany Frenette
Expected publication: October 23rd 2012 by Hyperion

Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it’s hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she’s lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human—something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile.

Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn’t fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers—livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin.

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person’s memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers’ next move. But Leon, her mother’s bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won’t let Audrey out of his sight.

When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything—and everyone—she loves.


This just sounds purely amazing. I have no words for how amazing *-*

What are you waiting on today?

~Zoey~

The Glimpse {Blog Tour Stop}

6.12.2012
TURNING THE TABLES ON THE AUTHOR:

Authors are always interviewing their characters to get to know them better and discover things about them. My character, Ana from The Glimpse, has decided it’s time to get her own back.

Ana: So you know everything about me. Seems a bit unfair. I never get to ask you any questions.

Me: OK, what do you want to know?

Ana: What’s it like to be nearly forty?

Me: (Cough) Er, what, no, I’ve just turned thirty-seven. Well, three months ago, actually.

Ana: Yes, Ok, but you’re still twenty years older than me.

Me: Mmm. True.

Ana: So did your life turn out the way you wanted it to?

Me: Well, that kind of makes it sound like it’s over, but lots of exciting things are happening right now. I’m pretty happy with the way things are going.

Ana: You gave me a pretty harsh dad. Why did you do that? Don’t you get on with your father?

Me: Ah. I guess I should have expected you to come out with the difficult/personal questions. Well, my father was a very influential figure for me when I was growing up. He’s got a strong personality and there was a time just after I left school that he wanted different things for me than what I wanted. He pretty much told me it was his way or the highway, so I left home for a while. But we also have a strong bond, and we worked things out pretty quickly.

Ana: So will I get to work things out with my father?

Me: I’m afraid that’s where the parallel ends. I didn’t base your father on mine. Besides, you’re not interested in all that sixth sense, clairvoyance kind of stuff. Even if I told you your future, you wouldn’t believe it.

Ana: (Ana looks down, picks fluff off her skirt.) Well, I’ve been reassessing a lot of stuff recently. Maybe I would. Besides, I’m talking to you. Unless I’m imagining this. Are you in my head? Did I make you up?

Me: I think we’re digressing. Not sure we should start going down that path…

Ana: Fine. I do have one particular question I want you to answer.

Me: OK…

Ana: What is Jasper hiding?

Me: You know usually when you’re interviewing someone, the questions are about them, not you.

Ana: It’s my interview I can ask what I like. Jasper’s hiding something. See, you’re not denying it, are you? I mean, why else would he still want to be with me after the Board told me there was a mistake with my test? At first I thought it was the shock of his brother’s funeral, you know, couldn’t deal with it all at the same time. But he’s had almost three years to let me down gently… So?

Me: Some things you have to experience for yourself to really understand. If I just came out and told you, you wouldn’t believe me.

Ana: What? That’s it? That’s all you’re going to say about him?

Me: You’re going to find out soon enough.

Ana: Can’t wait.

Me: Since when did you become sarcastic?

Ana: It’s one of the many buried layers to my fascinating personality.

Me: I think you’re interesting.

Ana: I’d rather be normal.

Me: That’s not going to happen.

Ana: This interviewing stuff is turning out to be unsatisfactory. If you’re not going to tell me anything useful, I think I’ll get back to my studies.

Me: Hang on, don’t you want to ask me… (door slams). Er, sorry about that. I guess this is probably a fair example of why author’s usually stick to interviewing their characters rather than allowing it to happen the other way round. Anyone else got a questions for me? I’d be happy to answer!

----------
Definitely not something I've seen before. And the book this tour is for, The Glimpse, is definitely something you need to check out!

The Glimpse by Claire Merle
Published June 7th 2012 by Faber & Faber (UK) 

In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

When Jasper disappears, Ana sets off on his trail, determined to solve the mystery of his abduction. In doing so she journeys into the darkest corners of society, and uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she’s ever believed.
There's a giveaway for The Glimpse going on on Goodreads here!



~Zoey~

Review: Lies Beneath

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Published June 12th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers 

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

I love the evil mermaids. I love the way Brown writes - it's blunt and to-the-point, but she makes you feel like you're there. Lies Beneath is an incredibly creepy book, sometimes, and that's all because of the writing style. This book is told from Calder's point of view, a merman with plenty of urges - most of them to kill. While Calder's narration wasn't always enjoyable, (sometimes it was just gross. I don't appreciate reading about your urges to steal people's energies, thanks) it was definitely different. Most narrations - whether female or male - are from people you consider "the good guys." And while Calder isn't necessarily the bad guy, he's not like others. He's much darker.

And Calder's sisters? I've seen it all over the reviews, but I'd never imagined how creepy they could be. They're the kind of girls you want to know more about . . . but never get anywhere close to.

Many readers have loved the relationship between Lily and Calder. I, however . . . didn't. Sure, it's kind of cool, how their relationship starts out as a dark plot for revenge and turns into something more, but . . . Calder stalks Lily. A lot. Through the entire book. In a creepy way. Not to mention I feel as if the two of them had no chemistry - except when they were kissing. 

Then there's the plot itself. While I love the way Brown writes mermaids, and I love the way that they're an important part of the plot yet not the entire plot, the rest of it was simply boring to me. The entire novel is centered around that plan for revenge. There are certainly a few surprises, but for the most part, the plot had no sustenance, I suppose you could say. There wasn't much going on for me. 

Overall: I love the writing style of Lies Beneath. But it seems like that's all I loved. The narration was certainly unique, but the character who gave the narration just wasn't someone I found interesting. The plot really didn't keep me hooked. 2 stars.

~Zoey~

8.24.2012

Review: Spark

Spark by Brigid Kemmerer
Expected publication: August 28th 2012 by Kensington Teen
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.

Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Like the fire that killed his parents.

Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it.

More than Gabriel’s pride is at stake -- this could cost him his family, maybe his life. And no one seems to hear him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own.

Gabriel can’t let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that’s right at his heels. But there are some risks he can’t help taking.

The fuse is lit…


I thought I loved the first book in this series, Storm. I thought I loved the dynamic between Chris and Becca and the way friendship and romance were so carefully balance out with the suspense and danger that was always present in the book. But how I felt about Storm is nothing compared to the way I feel about Spark. 

Gabriel angers easily. His temper matches his element. He often speaks before he thinks, and he can be very frustrating at times, but at the end of the book I loved him even more for that. We get to see his personality so much more in Spark, and it's impossible not to love him. (He can get a bit angsty sometimes. It's lovely.) Gabriel struggles with controlling his element a lot more than Chris did in the last novel, but that's not surprising. Fire can get out of control so quickly.

Which is exactly what happens when fires start turning up everywhere. Even Gabriel's own family suspects him at some point. And whenever Gabriel starts to feel like he's completely alone, Laney shows up.

Laney is almost the opposite of Gabriel. She's cautious, she thinks things through carefully. So it's fun to see her dynamic with Gabriel, and it's even more fun to watch (or read, I suppose) Gabriel's reactions to her, especially considering he doesn't really know how to react. He's never had to deal with someone like Laney. So he says all the wrong things, of course. But when he says the right things, I wanted to squeal like a little girl. (Maybe I did. Who knows?) The way Gabriel and Laney's relationship progressed was perfect - I never felt like anything was going too fast or too slow.

Laney is definitely her own character, though. It's not just about the romance. Laney has her own life, her own problems, and I think that might be what I loved most. Laney's character wasn't dependent on the romance. She takes care of her brother, she worries about her future.

Something that might rival my love for the characters in this book is the plot. The sense of danger is still always present, and now it seems even closer to home. With Gabriel being the prime suspect in the arson cases, he not only has to worry about his family and the Guides, he also to worry about the police. But Gabriel still manages to do something good - while using his powers and a little bit of a bromance with Hunter - even with everything weighing over him. I wish the Guides had been a little more present in this book, though. It seems like they were pushed to the backburner when they were such a huge part of the first book.

Overall: The way Kemmerer writes Gabriel is something I don't think I've ever seen before. He's so full of emotions that he feels more real than any character I've ever read, and Laney is almost the same way. Spark is a book that will keep you reading into the early hours of the morning - and then you'll read it again because you're not sure you believed the twist at the end. (And also because Gabriel Merrick is HOT. Steaming hot.) 5 stars. (I really want to give it 10, though. If that doesn't convince you to go out and read it, I don't know what will.)

8.22.2012

Waiting on Wednesday {29}

"Waiting on Wednesday " is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, Zoey's waiting on:

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
Expected publication: March 5th 2013 by Tor Teen 

16-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare. Literally. Dusty is a magical being who feeds on human dreams.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder. The setting is Arkwell.

And then it comes true.

Now the Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

I'm always a sucker for boarding school books, and this sounds very unique! The wait to 2013 isn't going to be fun :(

Megan's waiting on:

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Expected publication: September 27th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company 

When Barry Fairweather dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.
Normally we don't feature books that aren't YA, but hey, she's J.K. Rowling!

What are you waiting on today? Leave a link and one of us will be sure to drop by!

8.21.2012

Guest Review: Silver

Today, we have a guest review from the lovely Eileen from ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***!

Silver by Talia Vance
Expected publication: September 8th 2012 by Flux
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

"As I step into the room, a silver flash blurs my vision. Before I can take a breath, the world falls away."

Brianna has always felt invisible. People stare right past her, including the one boy she can't resist, Blake Williams. But everything changes at a house party where Brianna's charm bracelet slips off and time stands still. In that one frozen, silver moment, Blake not only sees her, he recognizes something deep inside her she's been hiding even from herself.

Discovering she is descended from Danu, the legendary Bandia of Celtic myth, Brianna finds herself questioning the truth of who she is. And when she accidentally binds her soul to Blake, their mutual attraction becomes undeniable.

But Blake has his own secret, one that could prove deadly for them both.

Bound together by forbidden magic, Brianna and Blake find themselves at the heart of an ancient feud that threatens to destroy their lives and their love.
Being a mythology “newbie,” I had no idea what to expect when I started Silver. In fact, I totally jumped in blind, since I have this really unfortunate habit of forgetting synopses as soon as I read them. It just comes in one side of my head and goes out the other. Very true story. However, I was fairly pleased with the results of Silver. It wasn’t my favorite mythology novel, but it was nonetheless a good read.

Brianna has always been invisible. Until one day, a gorgeous boy notices her and a romance kindles between them. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. Obviously, this romance has to bring many complications. And with those complications comes insta-love. Of course, you can’t fit a whole plot of romantic tension between two characters in…384 pages of book without something having to give. Obviously the mythology can’t give, although by that point the mythology aspect was very, very low. So the development of the relationship had to go.

Between the romance, the problem was that when Blake sees Brianna when she’s not being hidden away from him, he immediately feels this connection towards her and she he. (I don’t know if I just used that right…) And then on their “second date” they form this unbreakable bond with each other and suddenly BAM their souls are wound together. What? What? I don’t know about you, but I thought you had to get to know a person more than just “I think you’re pretty” before you intertwine your souls for all eternity. But that’s just me.

Also, since the romance dominated the novel, I felt there was no mythological aspect. I was intrigued by this idea of being these all-mighty goddesses that I was drawn in from the beginning. Brianna was a Seventh Daughter, or, from my understanding, a bandia. (Please tell me I’m right. It’ll be awkward if I’m wrong. I shall assume I’m right for this review though.) However, I was never satisfied. All I understood about being a bandia was “You get to be pretty and seduce boys!” Yeah, that’s not the most appealing way to introduce me to this. I did get a back-story but there was no development from there, which I really would have liked to see. I am hoping the next few books will elaborate on the mythology.

A good thing about Silver was the plot. When there wasn’t romantic tension, which left very little of the story left, there was action. Brianna was a strong character when she needed to be and I liked how she held her own. She jumped off the pages and was a dynamic character that, sure, made mistakes, but learned from them and she was flawed. Since it was her voice narrating the story, it’s crucial to have her voice be compelling and likable, and she certainly fit the bill.

Overall, if you don’t mind a romance that doesn’t have much substance, and a mythological plot line that may not have sung to you in the first book but will hopefully improve for the second, I would recommend Silver. It would be a good read for any romance junkie out there.

This gets three out of five stars.

8.15.2012

Waiting on Wednesday {28}

"Waiting on Wednesday " is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

We're a little late, but . . . blame school. Pictures had to be taken. It was bad. :P

This week, Zoey's waiting on:

The Farm by Emily McKay
Expected publication: December 4th 2012 by Berkley Trade

Life was different in the Before: before the Ticks began devouring humans in a deadly swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined “for their own protection.” These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race...
 
It sounds totally creepy ;) I'm excited. It's been a long time since I've read anything like this.

Megan's waiting on:

The Diviners by Libba Bray
Expected publication: September 18th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first. 

Let's be honest: who isn't waiting on this one?

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave a link and one of us will be sure to drop by! :)

(Sorry for any wonky formatting. We all know how moody blogger gets.)

8.14.2012

Review: Defiance

Defiance by C.J. Redwine
Expected publication: August 28th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//


Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

Defiance doesn't waste any time at throwing you right into the story. Once Commander Chase declares her father dead, Rachel Adams wastes no time in trying to come up with a plan to find him. Of course, Logan McEntire (Anyone think of Myra McEntire? I do.) doesn't plan to let her leave the "safety" of Baalboden on her own. Defiance is certainly filled with plenty of action, which is something I think a lot of dystopians are, oddly enough, missing.


Because Defiance is written in dual POVs, we get to experience both Rachel and Logan's thoughts and experiences when they're separated. While I think Redwine handled the dual POVs very well, when I stopped reading and returned quite a bit later, it was hard to tell whether I was reading from Logan's perspective or Rachel's perspective for a page or two. The characters themselves are very easy to love - Logan and Rachel are both fighters in their own way, both heroes. Rachel is stubborn, sometimes impulsive, and very determined. Logan calculates things, makes plans. Together, they work perfectly to level each other out. But sometimes they just didn't have a unique voice in their narratives.


When it comes to the romance between Rachel and Logan, however, I wasn't really satisfied. It felt a bit rushed to me, even though I know it wasn't since Rachel and Logan have known each other since forever, basically. The tension between the two of them in the first half of the book is written perfectly - but then suddenly I feel like it fizzled out. The two of them are still perfect for each other, of course. I just feel like there could have been more.


Speaking of more, the only other issue I had was the world-building. It's easy to see that the world Rachel and Logan live in is dangerous. But I didn't really understand the world itself at all. That's always been an issue for me, so maybe it wouldn't bother anyone else.

And Commander Chase. I spent half of the book wishing I could punch him in the face. He's a merciless, power-hungry, mysterious leader. I can't wait to find out what's really going on with him in the next book.

Overall: With strong characters - that also know they need help from one another - and action-packed chapters with smooth writing, (and even a heart-breaking scene or two!) Defiance is a dystopian you don't want to miss out on. 4 stars.

8.09.2012

Books + Music

I'm always listening to music. I'm always reading. So it's inevitable, it seems, that they should intertwine in my head and become magical things. (Like unicorns.)

A lot of authors have playlists. Some authors even mention what music really inspired them in their acknowledgements. Sometimes, that music makes no sense to us when we're done with the book. But that doesn't really matter.

It's just that sometimes, I hear a song that applies so well to a book. For example, I think basically the entire How To Save A Life album by The Fray applies to The Mercy Falls trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater. You listen to the lyrics and they just scream things about Grace and Sam and Cole that I almost feel like the album was written for that series. It's almost eerie.

Any time I listen to Bon Iver I start to think of Incarnate by Jodi Meadows just because the mood seems right. Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran also seems to make me think of Ana from Incarnate. I apply Home by Ellie Goulding to Defiance by C.J. Redwine. (Even though I haven't finished it yet.)

So I want to know what songs you think apply to some of your favorite books. It doesn't have to make sense. (When does anything make sense anymore?) Maybe it's the lyrics, or maybe it's a simple beat in the background, or maybe it's just the voice. But what does it remind you of? 

~Zoey~

8.08.2012

Waiting on Wednesday {27}

"Waiting on Wednesday " is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week, Zoey's waiting on: 
Asunder by Jodi Meadows  
Expected publication: January 29th 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books
DARKSOULS
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

SHADOWS
Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

LOVE
Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Incarnate trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.
We all know this had to happen at some point. I absolutely fell in love with Ana and Sam in INCARNATE and the world of Heart. January seems years away and I can guarantee I'll feel this way while I'm waiting for the third book. 

Megan's waiting on: 

Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini
Expected publication: October 30th 2012 by Simon Pulse

Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.
 
Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.
 
As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

Leave us a link to what you're waiting on and one of us will be sure to stop by! 

8.07.2012

Giveaway: Spark ARC

Hi! Today I'm giving away my SPARK by Brigid Kemmerer ARC. As the book comes out soon, this contest will only last until Saturday, August 11th! The book will then be mailed on Monday, provided the winner responds to the email before then. SPARK is the sequel to STORM, so if you have no pplans to read that, then I suggest you don't enter ;)

Please note: US/CAN only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


~Zoey~

8.06.2012

Young Musicians Wanted!

There's a competition going on at The Spark! 

"We are trying to find young musicians aged 13-18 years old to write the music for a promotional film. This film will feature a brand new epic trilogy that begins with Crewel, a book that is being simultaneously published in October by the US with much excitement. Aside from the winner's music being used for the final film, the winners will also be promoted through The Spark www.facebook.com/thesparkpage our new online creative community, the Facebook page for Crewel ww.facebook.com/crewelbook and a variety of online bloggers and websites. They will also receive £200 worth of iTunes vouchers and there will be two runners up who will receive £50 iTunes vouchers."

You can hear the first few entries here

I don't think a competition like this is very common, so if you can write music, go for it! Actually, all you probably need is garage band ;) Crewel by Gennifer Albin is a highly anticipated read, as most of you probably know, so if you win, people will definitely hear it! You can find out more information about how to enter here.

The contest ends September 12th, so if you're interested, please check it out! Your music can just be instrumental or it can include lyrics, and Gennifer Albin will be one of the judges who decides the winner!

(Yes. I used lots of exclamation points in this post. I'm excited. Sue me.)

~Zoey~

Review: Glitch

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
Expected publication: August 7th 2012 by St. Martin's Press
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.

In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.


It's no secret (or is it?) that I love sci-fi. If you've read reviews of this, you probably know how people say that this isn't different from any other YA dystopian/sci-fi novels. And I guess that's true. There wasn't really anything new - a society being controlled. People who are trying to break away. But I still enjoyed it. Maybe that just says something about me, but maybe it also says something about GLITCH.

GLITCH didn't start off with a bang. The beginning was rather weak; there were so many terms used that I didn't fully understand and my interest wasn't being captured. Eventually, the world-building got better, though I can't say it was by very much.

By far, Zoe was my favorite part of this. Her emotions - emotions that she's not supposed to have - came through so clearly. To me, she was a very realistic character. For the most part, her reactions made sense to me. She's not one of the strongest heroines you'll ever meet, but that's what makes her so great. She's not always fierce or brave, but she's not always meek and terrified. She's real. 

Until Max came in, that is. Max is basically your average emotional teenage boy - and I hated him. He was awkward and with his storyline, he had the potential to be so much better. Around Max, Zoe seemed weaker to me. Adrien, on the other hand, was a great love interest. While the romance happened far too fast, I love the way Adrien and Zoe work together, both in a romantic and platonic way. (AKA when they need to be more worried about saving people than their romance.)

The plot itself felt stilted at some points and didn't make sense. However, there are definitely a few twists, and for the most part, I loved trying to figure out what would happen, what was really going on with the Community.

Overall: GLITCH probably won't make you cry. It won't make you afraid to sleep in the dark. But it will keep you entertained and immerse you in a world where if you can't be fixed, you're gotten rid of. I definitely think it's something you should definitely check out if you're low on things to read. 3.5 stars.

8.05.2012

In My Mailbox {19}

I know I said I'd be back to blogging by now. But it's just my luck that the internet stops working when I'm ready to blog again. We've done everything tech support has told us to do, so now AT&T has to come here to see what the issue is. I'll have internet for 10 minutes and then it cuts out for 4 hours.

Needless to say, I am irritated.

Megan won't be around for awhile, so it's just me today! These are books from the past month, basically. Obviously I'm being a good girl and not making my NG pile explode even more.

(I don't have time for pictures. Sorry.)

From Spencer Hill for review: 
Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout

From NetGalley: 
The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Leave a link to your mailbox and I'll do my best to check it out!

~Zoey~

7.31.2012

Review: Circle of Silence

Circle of Silence by Carol M. Tanzman
Published July 24th 2012 by Harlequin Teen
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

THE BIGGEST STORY OF MY LIFE COULD BE HOW IT ENDS

 It's my turn to run a "Campus News" crew, and I've put together a team that can break stories wide open. And Washington Irving High has a truly great one to cover, if only we can find a lead.

A secret society has formed in our school. It announced its presence with pranks: underwear on the flagpole, a toilet in the hallway, cryptic notes. A circle of silence keeps the society a mystery. No one knows its members, agenda or initiation secrets-until a student lands in the hospital under "strange" circumstances.

I "will" blow this story wide open and stop others from being hurt...or worse. And while my ex, Jagger, might want to help, I don't trust him yet. (And, no, not because of our past together. That is "not" important to this story.)

But whether you find me, Valerie Gaines, reporting in front of the camera, or a victim in the top story of the newscast...be sure to watch "Campus News" at 9:00 a.m. this Friday.

Circle of Silence starts off with intrigue that quickly turns to suspense. For me, I can definitely say it was an improvement over the first book I read by Tanzman.

The first few chapters are exactly what first chapters in a book should be - a hook. I absolutely loved how curious the beginning makes you, how much it makes you want to continue reading.

Valerie is a very driven character. She knows exactly what she wants to do when she's older, and she's going after it by being a part of Campus News while she's in high school. When a series of school pranks - which all seem to be done by the same group when they leave their "signature" - start, she' basically struck gold With her team - which happen to include her ex-boyfriend - she starts to investigate. But these people don't want to be investigated.

Circle of Silence is full of suspense. I can honestly say that I had no idea what the ending would be like. However, during a lot of Val's investigation, I found myself getting bored. It just seemed like they were getting nowhere for a few chapters before it finally got interesting again.

Like I said earlier, Valerie is very driven. I love that about her; it's something very admirable. Her personality really shines through in this novel. As for the other characters . . . there's not much to say. You never really learn about them at all. The secondary characters in this novel can't really be considered supporting characters because they seem to be there more for decoration than anything else.

Except for Jagger, Valerie's ex that she's not quite over yet. Somehow, he finds his way onto her team and she's stuck working with him. He's the first one to find the pranks interesting and get them working on a story that spirals into something much more scary and dangerous. Jagger is a very hard character to read, and I spent a lot of time wondering what his motives were. He's definitely not a guy who's going to spout romantic and cheesy lines at you.

Overall: While Circle of Silence didn't do the best job at holding my attention, it's certainly a book full of suspense and just a hint of romance. If it's been awhile since you've picked up a thriller, I'd definitely suggest this. 3.5 stars.

~Zoey~

7.20.2012

Giveaway: YA Crush Tourney

So I know I've been MIA lately, but it's for personal reasons and I expect to be back in about a week. As for Meghan, uh, I have no idea. :P

But one of today's matches for the YA Crush Tourney is Ash vs. Aiden! As in Ash from Julie Kagawa's series. As in the Ash that will freeze your testicles off and put them in a jar if you touch Meghan.

This is simple, really. Go HERE, vote for Ash, then come back to this post and comment telling me you voted for him. Be sure to leave a way to contact you. (Email or twitter is fine.) At the end of the day, if Ash wins the match, one random commenter will be chosen and can pick any two books from my box of giveaway books. Some are finished copies, some are old ARCs, some are new ARCs, all are YA. If Ash loses, well . . . I guess we'll see. :P

That's all you have to do. But I'm relying on the honor system here, okay? I don't care if you want to vote for Aiden. Fine. He's great too. But don't vote for Aiden and then come back here and lie, saying you voted for Ash. Just don't.

EDIT: The books from my box are US only. However, if you live internationally and leave a comment, if you win, you can choose any book from The Book Depository, as long as they ship to your country.

~Zoey~

7.04.2012

Waiting on Wednesday {26}

"Waiting on Wednesday " is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week, Zoey's waiting on:


Taken by Erin Bowman
Expected publication: April 16th 2013 by HarperTeen


There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends...and he’s gone. 
They call it the Heist. 
Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive. 
Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?
It sounds absolutely amazing and mysterious. (Also comes out two days before my birthday.) I definitely can't wait for this!

Megan's waiting on:

7.02.2012

Selling ARCs (AKA: Reasons I Want To Punch People)

There be cussing here. Ye be warned.

I have nothing to say that hasn't already been said. I'm saying it anyways.

I was on eBay yesterday. And I guess I've always known people sold ARCs on there - people have mentioned it countless times - but I never noticed how many. I never noticed how many highly anticipated ones were on there, either.

I'm not telling you they're on eBay so you'll go out and bid on them. I'm telling you that people go to BEA and ALA and then sell those books they get for free on eBay. (There were several books that have only been available at BEA and ALA to the "general public" of people who receive ARCs.)These people are getting $20 for something they got for free. They're getting $20 that will never benefit the publisher or the author, even though those ARCs cost money to make.

(And we won't even get into the fact that every ARC I've ever owned or seen has said "NOT FOR SALE" or something of that sort somewhere on it.)

I could spend hours ranting or showing you statistics, but people have already done that. Emily White has a post about it here. Shannon Messenger also has a post about it. And of course, there are thousands of others.  Plenty of authors that you love have lost out on sales because someone buys an ARC off eBay. (Not to mention the fact that it's just fucking annoying.) This is a great post by Mandy Hubbard about how much an author actually makes. And after doing plenty of researching, I've learned that on average, an author makes somewhere between 50 cents or $2.50 on a hardcover sold. (However, I cannot be 100% that those numbers are exactly right.)

And okay, yes. Authors wouldn't have actually earned anything on that sold ARC. But that ARC has been sold to someone who would have potentially bought it. That ARC could have been received by someone who would have read it, loved it, convinced their friends to buy it when it came out, passed it on to someone else who would have done the same. We have no idea how many sales that may have lost.

(And it's also fucking annoying.)

(Because, hey, "NOT FOR SALE.")

~Zoey~

7.01.2012

In My Mailbox {18}

Megan will be doing her IMM next week along with me :)

So. This week has sucked. Everything that can go wrong has. But I got to see one of my favorite bands at Summerfest yesterday, and I got to hear three of their new songs, so there was a plus. And I got three books I've been dying for. :)

Zoey received: 

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
Defiance by C.J. Redwine
Through To You by Emily Hainsworth
(Thanks to HarperCollins via Edelweiss!)

And that's it for this week. (I really need to stop with the ebooks. Seriously. I have so many and I have NO physical copies. It's bad. Does anyone else have that problem? >_>)

What was in your mailbox this week?

~Zoey~

6.27.2012

Giveaway: YA Pre-orders

This seemed to make people happy last time, so I thought I'd do it again. (Also. I just got paid. So there's that.)

Two winners will get to choose a pre-order of any YA book under $15 USD. International, as long as The Book Depository ships to you!

Please note: Rafflecopter knows if you cheat. Therefore, I know. ;)

Also, please note that the book needs to be available for pre-order on The Book Depository right now. If it's a book that comes out in April 2013, chances are it's not available for pre-order yet.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Waiting on Wednesday {25}

"Waiting on Wednesday " is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

(Psst. There's a giveaway going up later today.)


Anyway.


Altered by Jennifer Rush
Expected publication: January 2nd 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?
Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.


It sounds pretty amazing. Plus, most of the people who have read it that I know have absolutely loved it. The wait to 2013 is too far. </3

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Expected publication: January 15th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow prisoners, Felicia passes the endless hours downloading memories and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and the boy she loved, Neil.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber disappears, and nobody but Felicia seems to recall she existed in the first place. Something is obviously very wrong. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, she learns the truth: a rebellion is brewing to overthrow the Morati, the guardians of Level 2.

Felicia is reluctant to trust Julian, but then he promises what she wants the most—to be with Neil again—if only she’ll join the rebels. Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself in the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

I've pretty much been stalking Lenore's blog since I first saw this on Goodreads hoping for some teasers. This sounds totally original and exciting. Apparently I like to torture myself by looking at books that don't come out until next year.


Let me know what you're waiting on this Wednesday! (That awkward hump in the middle of the week!)


~Zoey~

6.26.2012

Review: Something Strange and Deadly

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Expected publication: July 24th 2012 by HarperTeen
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Something Strange and Deadly can be a little scary. It can be funny. It can even be sexy.

While I was expecting more zombies, Something Strange and Deadly definitely didn't disappoint me. It's a book that you can easily immerse yourself in. I don't usually tend to read books set in the 1800s because they feel too formal and stiff to me. But SS&D isn't. At all. The setting is perfect the way Dennard portrays it. There's gossip, there's handsome men vying for women's hands, but behind it all, someone is raising the dead.

Eleanor is one of my favorite female characters. Period. She's just so likable. She's not full of herself, but at the same time she doesn't spend all her time worrying about trivial things like looks. She's not a genius, she's not the strongest girl you'll ever meet, but that's why I love her. And her relationship with Daniel. There's always a little bit of tension between them. (Also no insta!love. And you all know how I feel about that.) The chemistry between the two of them practically leaps off the page.

The plot, while slightly predictable, is still enjoyable. This book starts with a bang in the form of a zombie attack, but the zombies kind of fizzle out after that. The story is more centered around Eleanor's experiences with the Spirit-Hunters and her search for her brother. To be honest, I think the best part about the plot is the way Susan Dennard writes it. It's so easy to get caught up in.

My only complaint is that I felt like there were a few scenes that were entirely pointless. They seemed to have no real use in the plot.

Overall: Something Strange and Deadly is a surprising novel in more ways than one. With characters that are almost impossible to hate, a setting described perfectly, and an author who knows exactly what she's doing, this is a book you don't want to miss out on. 4 stars.


6.25.2012

Review: Flirting in Italian

Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
Published June 12th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//



Four girls. One magical, and possibly dangerous Italian summer. Family mysteries, ancient castles, long hot nights of dancing under the stars . . . and, of course, plenty of gorgeous Italian boys!


To be honest, it was a struggle to get through this. The beginning may have been the worst part - it didn't hold my interest at all. Violet, the main character, spends a lot of time commenting on/complaining about her looks in the beginning while her mother's dialogue seemed completely unrealistic.

I was excited for Italian boys. But Luca is a character I wanted to punch most of the time. He had his sweet moments, of course, but the majority of the book he was an ass, plain and simple. Even Violet thinks so. But only some of the time. She'll think he's a jerk and then twenty seconds later he's like the hottest thing on Earth.

There were a ton of typos. Normally, I don't fault an ARC for that, but there were more than I've ever seen in any ARC. They were distracting, to say the least.

The mystery of the painting didn't really make sense to me. In the first few pages of the book, Violet finds a painting from the 1700s (I think?) that looks exactly like her. But everything involving this painting - and there weren't many - seemed extremely disconnected. And then the ending - you still don't find out what's up with the painting. I've heard there's going to be a sequel, but this could have easily been wrapped up in one book. Especially considering hardly anything happened in this one.

The best part, by far, was the simple fact that this book is set in Italy. It's fun to get glimpses at the culture, and the way Lauren Henderson describes Italy is beautiful.

Overall: Flirting in Italian spent most of its time annoying me, in some way. However, it had its moments. It can definitely be classified as a summer read. If you're looking for something quick and mindless, this is definitely it. 2 stars.

~Zoey~

6.24.2012

In My Mailbox {17}

I realize I've sucked at blogging this week. Internet went out for a few days. As for the other days . . . Well, I've just been lazy. Also, I have a life outside of the internet. I'm shocked too.

I'M WORKING ON IT, I SWEAR.

Anyways, the past two weeks, this is what I've gotten:

From Rachel Cohn/Disney-Hyperion:
Beta by Rachel Cohn
I may have hugged it when it arrived. Maybe. 

From NetGalley:
Dualed by Elsie Chapman

And that's all for me! Leave a link to your mailbox post and I'll stop by. I'll just be here . . . working on some actual posts. :P

~Zoey~

6.17.2012

Let's Have A Talk.

Most of us have heard of the YA Crush Tourney. This is an amazing YA book event in the blogosphere. And if you don't know what it is, well, it's fairly easy to figure out.

It's fun. I like it. But some of the nominations just don't make sense to me.

This has nothing to do with me liking a character or not. The simple fact is I don't understand how an incestuous rapist is seen as a "crush." Rapists are not crush-worthy. Not even attempted rapists.

I don't understand why Sebastian is on that list. I'm not saying I think his storyline in the book should never have been written or that he's a character you can't like because of what he did. I'm saying he tried to rape his sister. I'm saying that it's not okay to show that someone who could do something like that could be considered a "crush" and grouped with the other characters on that list. There's a large difference between being a flawed character like most of the boys on that list - Noah Shaw, Will Herondale, basically everyone else - and being a rapist. (Also let's not forget that Sebastian tried to kill basically everyone.)

This isn't a post for you to argue about why you think it's okay for Sebastian to be on there. You're probably not going to get me to agree no matter what you say. You can like Sebastian. You can feel bad for him. You can want to understand him. Even I don't hate him. But this is basically saying that it's okay to consider a rapist/attempted rapist (which is really all the same, if you ask me) a "crush." And I don't understand how that can be okay.

I realize the list is based on nominations and it's supposed to be fair and everything. But I think something like this should trump fairness.

You want to say I'm over-reacting? Fine. But I'm not the only one that feels this way. And if you agree, please, please say something about it. Sebastian should not be on that list. From what I've heard, neither should Jordan because he's abusive. And please consider who you nominate. Just because you like a character doesn't mean they should be seen as a "crush."

The YA Sisterhood holds a Villain Tourney in the fall. Why can't you just vote for Sebastian then? When it actually fits the description? 

~Zoey~

6.13.2012

Waiting on Wednesday {24}

Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, is when we spotlight upcoming titles we're excited for.

Through to You by Emily Hainsworth
Expected publication: October 2nd 2012 by Balzer + Bray

Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.

The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day.

As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.


Parallel universes? That's all you need to say and I'm interested. (Plus, it's Balzer + Bray. I can't resist them.)

Dark Star by Bethany Frenette
Expected publication: October 23rd 2012 by Hyperion

Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it’s hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she’s lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human—something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile.

Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn’t fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers—livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin.

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person’s memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers’ next move. But Leon, her mother’s bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won’t let Audrey out of his sight.

When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything—and everyone—she loves.


This just sounds purely amazing. I have no words for how amazing *-*

What are you waiting on today?

~Zoey~

6.12.2012

The Glimpse {Blog Tour Stop}

TURNING THE TABLES ON THE AUTHOR:

Authors are always interviewing their characters to get to know them better and discover things about them. My character, Ana from The Glimpse, has decided it’s time to get her own back.

Ana: So you know everything about me. Seems a bit unfair. I never get to ask you any questions.

Me: OK, what do you want to know?

Ana: What’s it like to be nearly forty?

Me: (Cough) Er, what, no, I’ve just turned thirty-seven. Well, three months ago, actually.

Ana: Yes, Ok, but you’re still twenty years older than me.

Me: Mmm. True.

Ana: So did your life turn out the way you wanted it to?

Me: Well, that kind of makes it sound like it’s over, but lots of exciting things are happening right now. I’m pretty happy with the way things are going.

Ana: You gave me a pretty harsh dad. Why did you do that? Don’t you get on with your father?

Me: Ah. I guess I should have expected you to come out with the difficult/personal questions. Well, my father was a very influential figure for me when I was growing up. He’s got a strong personality and there was a time just after I left school that he wanted different things for me than what I wanted. He pretty much told me it was his way or the highway, so I left home for a while. But we also have a strong bond, and we worked things out pretty quickly.

Ana: So will I get to work things out with my father?

Me: I’m afraid that’s where the parallel ends. I didn’t base your father on mine. Besides, you’re not interested in all that sixth sense, clairvoyance kind of stuff. Even if I told you your future, you wouldn’t believe it.

Ana: (Ana looks down, picks fluff off her skirt.) Well, I’ve been reassessing a lot of stuff recently. Maybe I would. Besides, I’m talking to you. Unless I’m imagining this. Are you in my head? Did I make you up?

Me: I think we’re digressing. Not sure we should start going down that path…

Ana: Fine. I do have one particular question I want you to answer.

Me: OK…

Ana: What is Jasper hiding?

Me: You know usually when you’re interviewing someone, the questions are about them, not you.

Ana: It’s my interview I can ask what I like. Jasper’s hiding something. See, you’re not denying it, are you? I mean, why else would he still want to be with me after the Board told me there was a mistake with my test? At first I thought it was the shock of his brother’s funeral, you know, couldn’t deal with it all at the same time. But he’s had almost three years to let me down gently… So?

Me: Some things you have to experience for yourself to really understand. If I just came out and told you, you wouldn’t believe me.

Ana: What? That’s it? That’s all you’re going to say about him?

Me: You’re going to find out soon enough.

Ana: Can’t wait.

Me: Since when did you become sarcastic?

Ana: It’s one of the many buried layers to my fascinating personality.

Me: I think you’re interesting.

Ana: I’d rather be normal.

Me: That’s not going to happen.

Ana: This interviewing stuff is turning out to be unsatisfactory. If you’re not going to tell me anything useful, I think I’ll get back to my studies.

Me: Hang on, don’t you want to ask me… (door slams). Er, sorry about that. I guess this is probably a fair example of why author’s usually stick to interviewing their characters rather than allowing it to happen the other way round. Anyone else got a questions for me? I’d be happy to answer!

----------
Definitely not something I've seen before. And the book this tour is for, The Glimpse, is definitely something you need to check out!

The Glimpse by Claire Merle
Published June 7th 2012 by Faber & Faber (UK) 

In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

When Jasper disappears, Ana sets off on his trail, determined to solve the mystery of his abduction. In doing so she journeys into the darkest corners of society, and uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she’s ever believed.
There's a giveaway for The Glimpse going on on Goodreads here!



~Zoey~

Review: Lies Beneath

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Published June 12th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers 

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

I love the evil mermaids. I love the way Brown writes - it's blunt and to-the-point, but she makes you feel like you're there. Lies Beneath is an incredibly creepy book, sometimes, and that's all because of the writing style. This book is told from Calder's point of view, a merman with plenty of urges - most of them to kill. While Calder's narration wasn't always enjoyable, (sometimes it was just gross. I don't appreciate reading about your urges to steal people's energies, thanks) it was definitely different. Most narrations - whether female or male - are from people you consider "the good guys." And while Calder isn't necessarily the bad guy, he's not like others. He's much darker.

And Calder's sisters? I've seen it all over the reviews, but I'd never imagined how creepy they could be. They're the kind of girls you want to know more about . . . but never get anywhere close to.

Many readers have loved the relationship between Lily and Calder. I, however . . . didn't. Sure, it's kind of cool, how their relationship starts out as a dark plot for revenge and turns into something more, but . . . Calder stalks Lily. A lot. Through the entire book. In a creepy way. Not to mention I feel as if the two of them had no chemistry - except when they were kissing. 

Then there's the plot itself. While I love the way Brown writes mermaids, and I love the way that they're an important part of the plot yet not the entire plot, the rest of it was simply boring to me. The entire novel is centered around that plan for revenge. There are certainly a few surprises, but for the most part, the plot had no sustenance, I suppose you could say. There wasn't much going on for me. 

Overall: I love the writing style of Lies Beneath. But it seems like that's all I loved. The narration was certainly unique, but the character who gave the narration just wasn't someone I found interesting. The plot really didn't keep me hooked. 2 stars.

~Zoey~