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Review: Switched

1.30.2012
Switched by Amanda Hocking
Published January 3rd 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - a world both beautiful and frightening, and Wendy's not sure she wants to be a part of it.
I finished this book over a month ago after receiving an ARC through LibraryThing, so let's see what I can remember xD

This version of Switched has a gorgeous cover, no doubt about it. For some reason, I was hesitant to read it, and I have no idea why. But once I got about 20 pages in, I was hooked.

The world Hocking has created is definitely an interesting one. While I'm still not sure how it all really works and I think it could use a bit more development, it's a world that I loved to read about. I could imagine it in my head - this castle in a perfect little place, hidden in the woods. The descriptions in this book were spot on, and the writing was simple, easy to read, but not amateur. Pretty much a perfect writing style, to me.

The characters made me feel all sorts of different things. Sometimes I just couldn't connect with Wendy, the main character, but I still liked her - she's very realistic. She's not tough and sarcastic because she's never imagined a situation like the one she's in, but she's not constantly whining about it. And she doesn't just immediately accept everything. While there are a few times I just wanted to slap her in the face, for the most part, Wendy is a great character.

A lot of the other characters are ones I think I need to wait for the next books to form an opinion on. Finn, for example. Finn is a fairly important character in Switched, but so far, I have no real interest in him. I just don't think I know enough about him to form a full opinion. And Rhys is another one of those characters. I like him more than Finn, but I simply don't know enough about him.

I absolutely loved Wendy's brother, though. He's not a huge character, but every time he was on the page I loved him. He's so caring and there's a part where my heart just breaks for him.

Side-note: One of the characters in the book has the same name as me! My real name, not Zoey ;)

While Switched doesn't have a lot of action, it's still full of surprises. Obviously, there's not much I can say on that without giving away a bunch of spoilers, but things I never expected just kept popping up - and they all fit so well with the story.

Overall: There were times I didn't connect with Wendy. There were times when I was wondering where in the world the book was going. But in the end, Switched must have left some sort of impact on me, because I'm still thinking about it. I loved the world it's set in, and how it was something I'd never seen before. 4 stars.

~Zoey~

In My Mailbox {7}

1.29.2012
Dum dum. In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

So this week my laptop got a virus, that virus was fixed, and I dropped my psychology class after one day and entered into a study hall, which means I never have to do chemistry homework at home, and I have plenty of time to read, both at home and during study hall :D

And oh, yeah. I got some books.

ALSO. I got some Hemlock swag from the wonderful Kathleen Peacock! I'm just too lazy to take a picture of it.

 From Sand Dollar Press:
Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt

Won:
A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton

From the library:
Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook

So yeah. :P I've also decided I'm going on a NetGalley ban - I will not request a single thing on NetGalley until I finish at least 75% of what I already have requested. 

Leave a link to your IMM and I'll stop by!

~Zoey~

Interview + Giveaway: Jodi Meadows

1.28.2012
As Jodi warns, you should put your drink down before reading this. While I am an awkward turtle swimming in a sea of awkward penguins, Jodi is the queen of all the normal penguins.

(Do not judge my analogy.)

Anyway. Jodi Meadows, the author of the amazing book Incarnate, decided to answer my awkwardly awkward questions. :D

I used the opportunity to make it colorful. I'm purple, just in case that isn't clear :P

(Also, please ignore the weird formatting. I don't know what's wrong with Blogger lately -_-)


How many books did you start and/or finish before INCARNATE?


How many did I START? Hang on. I will go count.

*vanishes for two hours*

Okay, I think 25. It's hard to get an accurate count because for some ideas I wrote a page of notes . . . but that doesn't count, does it? And does every written page 1 count, even if I never made it to page 2? What about the stories I wrote as a teenager?

Anyway. Counting ones from when I began aiming at being published (at 20), which I think had somewhat substantial beginnings . . . 25.

How many did I finish? Heh. INCARNATE was number 17. 

Did you have any specific writing quirks while writing INCARNATE? Or just any writing quirks in general?


I think I just have quirks. There's the whole swearing to punctuation thing. The ferret thing. The yarn thing. The-- Wait, never mind.  

Jodi does not want to reveal her secrets to us >:o  
Are any INCARNATE characters based off of anyone in your life? 

No. My husband insists that Sam is based off him, but if Sam were, we would not have had the following conversation:

Me, eyeing the haphazardly piled dishes that look ready to topple: SAM knows how to properly stack dishes in the sink.
Husband: Sam has had lifetimes to practice getting it right! I'm still on my first one!

I rest my case.



Did you ever have any other career aspirations before you became a writer?

I wanted to be an astronaut, when I thought being an astronaut was more like being in Starfleet. (Star Trek.)



I wanted to be an astronaut, too. Back in those days when I didn't realize how much work it is. 
What is your favorite song, at this very moment? 

3055 by Ólafur Arnalds -- which is YOUR fault. I mean, thank you.


MWUHAHAHA. Ólafur Arnalds is never a bad thing. Youtube him. I demand it.

 Is there any famous (or not-so-famous) quote you think could apply to INCARNATE? 

"One life to live." No, wait, I think that's a soap opera.



How long did it take you to write the first draft of INCARNATE? How many drafts did INCARNATE go through?

Three years and three months.

Three years of that was the premise sitting in the back of my head and growing like a little pearl while I wrote other stories. Then one month for all the prep-work like worldbuilding and plotting, and two months for the first draft. 

I do a lot of editing as I write, so the actual number of drafts is impossible to calculate. (I like using the word "calculate" even though I don't like doing math.) But let me attempt to count . . . 

*vanishes for another two hours*

At least ten.



Dum dum didilly dum dum. I can't think of anything else. Exceeeept . . . . How's that ferret army of yours coming along? 

Don't.
Look. 
Behind you.

T_________T 

I think you mean INCARNATE emoticon:  >\*_*<

And there you have the ever-amazing Jodi Meadows.

And now, I have a giveaway! :D For one hardcover copy of Incarnate, which comes out on the 31st! The contest will end a week from today, after which I will order it from The Book Depository and have it shipped to you.

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Published January 31st, 2012 by HarperCollins/Katherine Tegan Books

NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?


The giveaway is international as long as The Book Depository ships to you. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


 ~Zoey~

Review: New Girl

1.27.2012
New Girl by Paige Harbison
Expected publication: January 31st 2012 by HarlequinTeen

They call me 'New Girl'...

Ever since I arrived at exclusive, prestigious Manderly Academy, that’s who I am. New girl. Unknown. But not unnoticed—because of her.

Becca Normandy—that’s the name on everyone’s lips. The girl whose picture I see everywhere. The girl I can’t compare to. I mean, her going missing is the only reason a spot opened up for me at the academy. And everyone stares at me like it’s my fault.

Except for Max Holloway—the boy whose name shouldn’t be spoken. At least, not by me. Everyone thinks of him as Becca’s boyfriend but she’s gone, and here I am, replacing her. I wish it were that easy. Sometimes, when I think of Max, I can imagine how Becca’s life was so much better than mine could ever be.

And maybe she’s still out there, waiting to take it back.

To be honest, I feel like New Girl drags on for thousands of pages. It's really only about 300 pages, but everything seems to move so slowly that I wanted to take my laptop and throw it at something. (It was an e-ARC, hence the laptop-throwing.) There just wasn't a lot of stuff going on, and I got incredibly bored more than once.

The narrator, "New Girl," will mainly be called the MC in this review, since we don't learn her name until the last page. I don't understand why at all, but obviously there's some sort of reason for keeping it a secret, so . . .

The book switches off between the past and the present - the present, where "New Girl" is at Manderly, and the past, where Becca was at Manderly. I have to admit, I always wanted to skim the Becca chapters. Because even though that's where the true mystery is, Becca is so manipulative and annoying that I just wanted to get her chapters over with.

I wasn't really a fan of any of the other characters, either. Madison and Dana and other girls in the book are completely awful and obnoxious most of the time. And yes, I know they're going through something awful, and maybe I would be like that, too, but the way they treated the main character frustrated me to no ends. I can't help but wonder how the MC didn't crack and smack them all silly.

I'm still not sure how I feel about Max. Max is an intriguing character, someone different from a lot of YA male characters. But he let himself be manipulated by Becca so easily, and he was so hesitant of starting any sort of relation ship with the MC that he almost seems like a coward. Of course, Max also surprised me more than once.

Admittedly, the MC handles the situation she's in a lot better than I would have. She keeps a cool head most of the time, and while I didn't love her, I didn't have any problems with her, either.

I think a huge problem I might have had with this book is that the mystery kind of unfolds itself. There's not a lot of investigating or clues that keep you guessing on the edge of your seat, so to speak. One chapter you don't know the answer, and the next you do.

However, New Girl definitely gives off the creepy and mysterious vibe I think it's meant to. Everything seems to have a sinister feel to it, and I spent a lot of time being suspicious of pretty much everyone.

Overall: While New Girl was definitely mysterious and unlike a lot of things I've read, it just didn't hold my interest because of the way the characters are portrayed and the slow pace. 2 stars. 

~Zoey~

Review: Fractured Light

1.26.2012
Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan
Publication Date: February 8th, 2012 by Sweetwater Books
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

I’m dying, I thought. This was unexpected and not at all how I envisioned my death. I was supposed to die gardening in a flowerbed as a hundred-year-old woman, not as a seventeen-year-old trapped in a lake beneath inches of ice.

Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. She can’t take any chances. But when she starts to make friends for the first time in her life, she gets careless and lets her guard down. Big mistake.

As an Aura, Llona can manipulate light and harness its energy. But if she wants to survive, Llona will have to defy the Auran Council and learn to use her power as a weapon against the Vyken whose sole desire is to take her light. Now she’s caught in something even bigger than she can understand, with a power she can’t wield, and no one she can trust, except, just maybe, a mysterious stranger.

In this breathtaking and romantic adventure, Rachel McClellan delivers a truly mesmerizing story that will keep you guessing to the very end.


Fractured Light was a book I just kept putting off reading. It's not that I thought it sounded bad or anything, but I kept getting more books and diving right into them.

I totally regret that now.

I finished Fractured Light within a few hours. I think I only stopped to get some water and food once or twice. Fractured Light is something new and refreshing, and even though it had a few problems, they were problems so easily ignored because I enjoyed the book so much.

Llona can maniuplate light. But she's untrained - she doesn't go to the school that could teach her all she needs to know.

Which doesn't really matter. Because Llona wants to learn to use her powers as a weapon. I loved how determined she was, how willing she was to bend the rules and go against the way everything was supposed to be. And even though she was trying to stay alive, trying to learn how to use her powers, she still had feelings. Real feelings that were easy to relate to. Llona was a strong, rebellious character - but she was rebellious for all the right reasons.

Christian is a completely different story. He's a Guardian, and he knows how things are supposed to go. I'm still not really sure how I feel about him. There are times when I absolutely love him, but when I really think about it, there's nothing special about him. Sure, he was a great character, but when I think about it, there isn't anything that sets him apart from all the other male YA characters.

However, I love the relationship between Christian and Llona. It's an expected one, but then again, aren't most relationships so obvious in books these days? The two of them worked well together, in the relationship aspect and everything else.

I thought Fractured Light was pretty original, too. Sure, it was all basically a good-vs-evil story, but I was left wondering - are the good people really that "good"?


Overall: I really just liked the book in general. (I know. Such an uncreative thing to say :P But it's true.) I'm not sure what it was - the action, the suspense, the way everything seemed to fit perfectly in the story - but this book just did it for me. 4 stars.



~Zoey~

Waiting on Wednesday {12}

1.25.2012
"Waiting on Wednesday " is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long
Expected publication: August 16th 2012 by Dial Books


The trees swallowed her brother whole. And Jenny was there to see it. Years later, when she returns to the woods where Tom was taken to say good-bye at last, she finds herself lured into a world where stunning beauty masks the most treacherous of evils, and strange and dangerous creatures await—creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with allegiances that shift as much as his moods. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack’s help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where nothing is what it seems, no one is who they say, and she’s faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice—and not just her own.


I can say in all honesty that books that center around faeries are my absolute favorite. I don't really know why, but I have yet to find a Fae book I didn't like. This is more than 7 months away, but . . . I shall have it someday T_T


The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
Expected Publication: April 10th, 2012 by HarperTeen

Okay, let's be honest. We had to know this one was coming at some point.
Maya Delaney’s paw-print birthmark is the sign of what she truly is—a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly anyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents.

Now, Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they’re kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home. Plentiful action and romance in this second installment in the Darkness Rising series will keep readers enthralled to the very last page!

I am a die-hard Kelley Amrstrong fan. I have read every single one of her books, and Maya and Rafe are probably my two favorite characters, next to Clay and Elena. The wait for this book has felt longer than any others. But . . . I just have to survive three more months, that's it ;__;

Leave a link and I'll check out your WoW tomorrow when I have my laptop again! ;)

~Zoey~

(I apologize for the awkward blockquotes. I dunno what's going on there -_-)

In My Mailbox {6}

1.21.2012
In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

From St. Martin's Griffin for review:
 The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

Aaaaand that's it :P Leave a link and I'll stop by your IMM :)
~Zoey~


Strange Chemistry's First Two Authors!

1.20.2012
Strange Chemistry, the YA imprint of Angry Robot, has signed their first two authors! To read all about it, go HERE.

Their first is debut author Kim Curran! According to Strange Chemistry, "Her debut novel, Shift is the tale of your average, 16-year old loser Scott Tyler. When he meets the beautiful and mysterious Aubrey Jones, he learns he’s not quite so average after all. He’s a ‘Shifter’. And that means he has the power to undo any decision he’s ever made. At first, he thinks the power to shift is pretty cool. But as his world quickly starts to unravel around him he realises that each time he uses his power, it has consequences; terrible unforeseen consequences. Shifting is going to get him killed. In a world where everything can change with a thought, Scott has to decide where he stands.

Shift is a page-turning, kick-ass SF thriller novel with a very down-to-earth male protagonist. It will be published Autumn 2012, with a sequel to follow in 2013."

I don't know about you, but the ability to undo any decision you've ever made? Sounds pretty cool to me. (Until you get to the whole changing-the-fate-of-the-world thing, of course.)

And their second author, Seam Cummings, "brings us the remarkably dark and funny Poltergeeks. Julie is an apprentice witch – or so she believes. When a dark power comes stalking out of the past to haunt her and her mother, Julie learns that she is far more than just a witch. With the help of her best friend Marcus and a rather unusual Great Dane, Julie has to race against time to ensure she can defeat the bad guy, save her mother and avoid being grounded – again!


We have signed Sean for two novels in the Poltergeeks universe, the first to be published in Autumn of this year with the second to follow in the summer of 2013."

I kind of really like witches. ;) So what do you think? Are you excited for the first books from Strange Chemistry?

~Zoey~

Cover Reveal: Night Sky

1.19.2012
Night Sky by Jolene B. Perry
Expected publication: March 1st 2012 by Tribute Books


After losing Sarah, the friend he’s loved, to some other guy, Jameson meets Sky. Her Native American roots, fluid movements, and need for brutal honesty become addictive fast. This is good. Jameson needs distraction – his dad leaves for another woman, his mom’s walking around like a zombie, and Sarah’s new boyfriend can’t keep his hands off of her.

As he spends time with Sky and learns about her village, her totems, and her friends with drums - she's way more than distraction. Jameson's falling for her fast.

But Sky’s need for honestly somehow doesn’t extend to her life story – and Jameson just may need more than his new girl to keep him distracted from the disaster of his senior year.

You know it's pretty.

Just wondering, how many of you have read Jolene's work before? Am I alone? *puppy face*

~Zoey~

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Published September 27th 2011 by Little, Brown & Company
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

I feel like I'm going to get shot because I didn't fall in love with this book. But you know what? Regardless of your opinion on this book, I am allowed to not like a book. So no more emails screaming at me, mmkay?

Laini Taylor has talent, no doubt about it. She probably has one of the best writing styles I've seen. Her word and the way she writes them are gorgeous. But sometimes, it seemed like overkill to me. So many different words were used to describe one thing that could have been described just as well in half the words. I had to force myself to stop skimming dozens of times.


The beginning was the biggest problem for me, I think. It felt so slow and dragged out, didn't hold my interest at all. The only reason I kept reading is because my real-life best friend has the same taste as me and she said it was really good. Otherwise, I probably would have given up after the first 80 pages.


Admittedly, it did get better. But throughout the whole book, I felt no connection to Karou. She seemed fairly emotionless to me most of the time, and while I loved the banter between her and Zuzanna, most of the time I was just bored because of Karou. 


There's also the matter of confusion. Hardly anything made sense to me while I was reading it, and it didn't make any more sense once I was done. Which I think is kind of weird, since the book is over 400 pages. You'd think something could have been explained in there. I would have also liked to know more about the world Karou lived in. I didn't understand it at all. Maybe it's because I'm stupid. *shrugs* But I had no idea what time period it was supposed to be in, when angels and chimaera first came into existence, etc. There was so much information that was vital - in my opinion - left out and replaced with nonsense I wanted to skip over.

Akiva . . . I'm not entirely sure what to say about him. He was definitely different from most YA characters, but at the same time, he just annoyed me a lot. I don't even know why. 


And for the record, I completely saw the Madrigal thing from the first few pages after Akiva mentioned her. 


Overall: People love this book. And I guess I can understand why. The story is something fairly original, the writing is gorgeous, but this just wasn't for me. I was so bored and so confused that I almost feel like I wasted my time reading this. Like I said, maybe I'm just dumb. *shrugs* But I can't help it. There was so much unnecessary information that maybe it drowned out the necessary stuff for me. 2.5 stars. 

~Zoey~

Waiting on Wednesday {11}

1.18.2012
"Waiting on Wednesday " is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Expected publication: April 24th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
(GUYS. IT COMES OUT A FEW DAYS AFTER MY BIRTHDAY. I want to say I'll be able to buy it with birthday money, but let's face it, I won't be getting any.)

Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she’s opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, Janelle knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her reincarnation, and Ben’s possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI-agent father’s files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what’s right in front of her: Everything that’s happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben’s sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl’s fight to save herself, her world, and the one boy she never saw coming.

Ben doesn't sound like the typical YA boy, so I'm really excited for that. :3 Plus, I kinda sorta think I might love everything from Balzer + Bray. Just maybe.

Harbinger by Sarah Wilson Etienne
Expected publication: February 2nd 2012 by G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR

When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn't expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she's going crazy. Fast. 


But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she's come home. She's even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.

Faye knows she's the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can't trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her - and the rest of the world too.

Rich, compelling writing will keep the pages turning in this riveting and tautly told psychological thriller.

I've got a thing for boarding school books :P

As always, leave a link and I'll be sure to check out your WoW. (Though probably not until Thursday or Friday. I've got midterms~)

~Zoey~

A Survey of Sorts

1.17.2012
So I kind of just have this quick two-question (anonymous) thing that I'd be really happy if you filled out. I'm really only asking you what you'd like to see more of/just plain see on this blog - maybe you'd like more regular posts, maybe you'd like a better design, maybe you'd like to see more publishing news, or maybe you'd like to see nothing from me at all :P It's basically just any suggestions you have for me. It'll help me in the future with this, and I'll love you forever if you take two seconds to fill it out :)




~Zoey~

[Also, if you'll notice, you can now follow on Networked Blogs, right over there in the left sidebar ;)]

Giveaway: January Release Hop

1.15.2012
The January Release Giveaway Hop is hosted by Book Twirps and Refracted Light! :)

 The hop runs January 15th through 31st. There will be one winner, who will choose two of the books below. Please note - US/Can only. I can handle $4 for shipping. $20 to send it overseas? HAHAHAHA no.

Choices: //Incarnate by Jodi Meadows//Cinder by Marissa Meyer//Everneath by Brodi Ashton//Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler//Charmfall by Chloe Niell//

I'm not in the mood to try and get the covers on here, so meh :P Just fill out the Rafflecopter, and remember - you can tweet/comment on a review daily!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


~Zoey~

In My Mailbox {5}

1.14.2012
In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren. Obviously. As if you didn't know. ;)

So I actually got quite a few books this week :D It made me happy inside. 

From the library:












Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor//Amplified by Tara Kelley

From Penguin for review:


From NetGalley:

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown//Starters by Lissa Price//Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter//Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz//Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald//The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes

Bought:
 Fated by Sarah Alderson

Received from a very awesome person:
You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith

Leave a link and I'll stop by your IMM :)

~Zoey~

Review: Tempest

1.13.2012
Tempest by Julie Cross
Expected publication: January 17th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin 
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

There's really not very much I can think to say about this that won't be spoilery. Every thought and emotion I had during this book has something to do with something huge that happens in the book. Although I can say that I'm absolutely in love with the cover. :) It fits so well with the book, and if we're honest, I'd love it even if it had nothing to do with the book at all.

Tempest is amazing, plain and simple. I fell in love with Jackson right from the beginning. (Well, okay, not right from the start. I was actually pretty bored in the first 10 pages, but after that, I was in it 'till the end.)  It's not very often that I read from the perspective of a guy, but Jackson didn't disappoint. He was easy to relate to, but at the same time, it was easy to tell he was a guy. Jackson was exactly the type of hero I love - the closet type who you would never suspect, but you find out just how heroic he is.

Jackson's time-traveling is another thing I really loved. I can't say I've read many involving that, either, and I loved how Cross described it.

Holly is a character I'm a little unsure about. Sometimes I felt like she was being so strong in what she was facing, but other times I felt she was so weak and so dependent on everyone else that it was annoying. Holly is in a very unique situation, as is Jackson, but I felt like Jackson dealt with it a lot better than Holly. Maybe because there was actually something Jackson could do about it, as opposed to Holly who really couldn't do anything to change her fate.

The writing style was easy to read, but at the same time, it left an impact on me. Jackson's emotions came through so clearly, his despair at losing Holly, his fear that he wouldn't be able to save her when he goes back.

Admittedly, when I look back on it, the ending was kind of predictable. But when I was reading it, I wanted to scream and throw things at the unfairness of it all. Needless to say, I'm definitely dying for the next book. ;)

Overall: Tempest is an emotional rollercoaster with some adorable moments thrown in. It's a book that made me feel for the characters, connect with them, fall in love with them. And while I can't say I liked the first 10 pages, after that I couldn't stop reading. 4.5 stars.


~Zoey~

Review: Kiss Crush Collide

1.12.2012
Kiss Crush Collide by Christina Meredith
Published December 27th, 2011 by Greenwillow Books
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

Leah has the life most high school girls would kill for—popularity, glowing grades, a rich, athletic boyfriend. So why does she feel like she can’t breathe? And why can’t she stop thinking about the boy from the country club? The one who isn’t her boyfriend, the one that her mother would never, ever approve of, the one that her perfect older sisters would never, ever look at twice. The one who is always looking back at her. Irresistible attraction, smoldering glances, the bad boy and the good girl—Kiss Crush Collide has everything that a steamy forbidden romance should, and then some.

With graceful and honest writing and an electric love story, this is a book about growing into your own skin. For fans of Perfect Chemistry, Sarah Dessen, and John Green.

To put it simply, I was bored out of my mind. I'm still not even entirely sure how I managed to finish this one, but let's just say I skimmed about 40 pages somewhere in the middle. 


The characters were fairly shallow and boring. I knew next to nothing about them. For one thing, Leah is the main character and narrator, and yet still I know hardly anything about her, other than her narration was pretty dreadful to read through. For the first fourth of the book, most of her time is spent summarizing things about the past. (Which meant - YAY! MORE BORING!) I feel like she has next to no personality. Shane, Leah's boyfriend, is the same way - I know pretty much nothing about him, and if he has any type of interesting personality, it's hidden far too deep for me to ever find it.


And Duffy . . . I don't even know what to say about him. He's certainly more interesting than anyone else in the book, but not by far. The relationship between Duffy and Leah is pretty ridiculous, if you ask me. All he does is drive her in a car and suddenly she's making out with him. I think they probably have a total of two or three real conversations in the entire book - where they talk about things that are actually important. Life. Their relationship. Whatever. Their conversations are always extremely short, too. I just never got anything from them. 


I think a big part of the reason I didn't like this book is because I can't relate to Leah. For one thing, I've never been in anything like the type of situation she's in, but for another, her emotions just didn't come across for me. She felt cold and unemotional, and that's probably why I resented her so much. I just didn't feel anything. 


I will admit that I did like the family dynamics, maybe because it's so unlike my own family. Those were parts I actually enjoyed reading through. 


Overall: I thought I was going to like this. And I guess I can understand why some people would - there's plenty of romance and some interesting interactions. But this book just couldn't hold my attention. 2 stars


*pretend there's a picture here.*


~Zoey~

Waiting on Wednesday {10}

1.11.2012
"Waiting on Wednesday " is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
Expected publication: May 8th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin

Seventeen-year-old Gene struggles to survive in a society where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population. When Gene is chosen to participate in the government-sponsored hunt for the remaining humans, he must learn the art of the hunt but also elude his fellow hunters whose suspicions about his true human nature are growing.









This is definitely one of the books I'm lusting for the most this year. I haven't read too much sci-fi stuff lately, but I really want to. Not to mention the cover is amazing o_o *sobs inside* Why isn't it May 8th yet? :(

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
Expected publication: August 7th 2012 by St. Martin's Press

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.
I don't think I even need to say why I'm waiting on this one. (Though I'm going to pretend there is no mention or hint of a love triangle in the blurb. Let me remain in denial until I actually read the book.)

Leave a link and I'll see what you're waiting on! :)

~Zoey~

Review: Fracture

1.10.2012
Fracture by Megan Miranda
Publication Date: January 17th, 2012 by Walker Children's
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?


Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?


For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.

I actually read this book back in November and then planned to post the review in late December, but it seems I forgot to schedule it :o Oops.


If I think too hard about this book, my brain kind of starts to hurt. I'm not going to say that's a bad thing, because in all honesty, it isn't. But Fracture is one of those books you really have to think about before you can understand what's going on.

Fracture is more of a tortured contemporary, if you ask me. There's only one paranormal aspect - if it's even paranormal and not something entirely crazy - and while it's a huge focus of the book, I don't think most would really consider it paranormal.

Delaney should be dead. She spent 11 minutes under freezing water, but her best friend Decker saved her, and somehow she survived. She's a miracle - y'know, supposedly.

Most of the time, I thought the way Delaney felt and reacted to things was very realistic. I mean, honestly, if you had died and came back perfectly fine even when you shouldn't have, you would have felt pretty weird, too. One aspect I really liked about Delaney was that she refused to take pills. Why would you want even more reasons to feel crazy?

Decker was the best part of Fracture for me, even though he was an idiot. But he handled how he felt about Delaney the way a lot of guys handle it - tried to ignore it and make out with someone else. No matter how much I hated that part, I loved how Decker would always drop everything and come to the rescue if Delaney needed him. And there were times when he actually *gasp* confessed his emotions. I don't see that very much YA anymore, so I got really excited when that happened. 

Troy was another great part, just because he was so messed up, but at the same time, I could see where he was coming from. I can't say I would have done the same if I'd been in his shoes, but I can understand why he did it and why he thought he was doing good instead of harm.

The writing is where I really fell in love. Megan Miranda did such an amazing job at capturing Delaney's emotions and describing what was going on. Delaney's fear felt so real. 

My biggest problem, and only problem, really, was that there are still so many questions. I still don't know why Delaney survived. Why she could tell when people were going to die. Why she and Troy could tell. And the thing is, the ending is that kind that ends perfectly for a stand-alone, but you can't help but question EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED. At the end of the book this was basically me: o_o Wut? Even though it wasn't like there was a cliffhanger or anything. 

Overall: Fracture is a compelling novel that gripped me once I got into it. And while it might be about Delaney and her struggle to figure out what happened, I like to think that it's a novel about friendship, too. 4 stars.



~Zoey~

Most Anticipated Of 2012 {Part 2}

1.09.2012
This was supposed to have gone up about a week ago, but it completely disappeared from Blogger, so here we are now :D If you haven't seen Part One, be sure to check it out HERE!

[Clicking on the titles will take you to the Goodreads page.]

Undeadly by Michelle Vail
Expected publication: February 28th 2012 by Harlequin Teen

The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird...

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath.

Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. Who seems to hate her guts.

Rath will be watching closely to be sure she completes her first assignment-reaping Rick, the boy who should have died. The boy she still wants to be with.

To make matters worse, students at the academy start turning up catatonic, and accusations fly—against Molly. The only way out of this mess? To go through hell. Literally.

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Expected publication: May 8th 2012 by HarperCollins Children's Books
  
Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Expected publication: April 24th 2012 by Balzer + Bray

Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she’s opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, Janelle knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her reincarnation, and Ben’s possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI-agent father’s files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what’s right in front of her: Everything that’s happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben’s sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl’s fight to save herself, her world, and the one boy she never saw coming.

The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
Expected publication: April 10th 2012 by HarperCollins

Maya Delaney’s paw-print birthmark is the sign of what she truly is—a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly anyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents.

Now, Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they’re kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home. Plentiful action and romance in this second installment in the Darkness Rising series will keep readers enthralled to the very last page!

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
Expected publication: March 13th 2012 by Hyperion Book CH

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?




The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Expected publication: April 24th 2012 by Harlequin Teen

You will kill. The only question is when.

In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.

Unregistered humans cling to fringes, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire.

Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.

And there we go :) There were plenty of other books I wanted to include, but I figured it was best to stick with books that had covers and blurbs already.

~Zoey~

In My Mailbox {4}

1.08.2012
*is suspicious* Sure, the day after I post about my technical difficulties, Blogger suddenly starts working again. And I didn't even do anything to my laptop o.o

Anyway. Before I get onto the actual book part of this: I received an email from someone a few days ago who thinks I'm not "a legit book blogger" because I don't buy tons of books every month. I think it's safe to say that's complete bullshit, but I'll also say this: If I had the money, sure, I'd be buying three books a week or something. But the simple matter is, I don't. My money needs to be saved for more important things. Like food. And college. (Because, let's face it, no way in hell will I be getting a scholarship for anything.) So I don't spend $100 a month on books. Boo hoo. Sue me.

/rant over.

And now, BOOKS! :D

Borrowed from a friend:
Legend by Marie Lu

From the library:
Dark Parties by Sara Grant
(This is not the edition/cover I have, but it's the only one Goodreads has o.o)

From NetGalley:
Partials by Dan Wells

So yeah. :P

What was in your mailbox this week?

~Zoey~

Review: Everneath

1.07.2012
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Expected publication: January 24th 2012 by HarperCollins
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

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

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

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

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

I thought I was going to hate this book. I thought it was just going to be another obnoxious paranormal novel with a love triangle I couldn't stand.

I'm kind of happy about how wrong I was.

Everneath grabbed me and pulled me into Nikki's world, where she only has 6 months before she's taken back to Everneath and into the Tunnels. Although I really loved this book, Everneath is yet another book from HarperCollins that I think needs some fleshing out. I'm still not entirely sure what happens in the Tunnels - I know a person doesn't die, but other than that, I'm fairly unclear. Unclear on everything about the Everneath and what Cole really is, to be honest. 

Despite those questions, I still loved Everneath. The beginning is intriguing, and after that, I couldn't stop reading. I was a little annoyed at times, because Everneath goes back and forth between the past and the present in the first half of the book - the past, where Nikki and Jack are first together, and the present, where they're practically strangers. Even if it was annoying, I loved the dynamics and seeing how happy they were together and how their relationship was destroyed before Nikki went to the Everneath. 

Their relationship in the present was something I really liked, too. I won't explain why, considering it's a major spoiler, but just know that there is no insta-love. This is not a sappy romance, and this is not your typical love triangle. 


Well, okay. There's really no love triangle at all. Not for Nikki. But there is for me. Ashton managed to do something hardly any authors have ever been able to do for me - I've fallen in love with both boys. Jack and Cole are both two amazing, three-dimensional characters that I know I'll never be able to forget. 

The plot was probably what really kept me reading, though. Ashton put a spin on typical paranormal things, and I loved it. Though I wish some things had been fleshed out a bit more, the world this book is created in was so easy to get into. I was surprised more than once.


Overall: Everneath made me ache. It made me feel something I haven't felt since I finished Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. There's nothing about this book that I didn't like. (Except the ending, but that's not because it wasn't amazing. It just kind of stomped on my heart T_T) Everneath is a story about how to say goodbye while still making up for the last goodbye you never gave. It's a story about how even when it seems impossible, you can still be saved. Even if you don't want saving. (And by that I mean saving your actual life. It wasn't meant to be a metaphor or anything.) 5 stars. 


[And yes, I purposely kept this review fairly short. I knew if I said much more I'd end up giving the entire book away.]


~Zoey~

Review: Incarnate

1.03.2012
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Publication Date: January 31st, 2012 by Katherine Tegan Books
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

This book stole my heart, broke it in half, stomped on the pieces, and then mended it. Incarnate isn't just about a girl with a new soul in a society of people thousands of years old - it's about a girl learning to accept herself even when most others won't.

Ana is, by far, the best part of this book. (And that's saying a lot, considering how I thought the entire thing was pretty much perfect.) She's grown up with only Li, who's always told Ana that she's a mistake. That she can't have feelings because she's a nosoul. And when Ana leaves Li and travels to Heart, she's treated almost the same way - like she shouldn't belong. Ana isn't unaffected by this, not at all, but somehow, she still manages to find good. Find the strength to go on and keep searching for the answers she wants. If I had been her, I probably would have crawled into the forest and let the sylph get me O_O

Ana's emotions were practically mine. My heart ached for her. She's easy to relate to, too. Ana is an outcast in her society; she feels like everyone hates her. (And most of them do.) Feeling like you don't fit in is such a common problem for teenagers, and regardless of how much more extreme Ana's case is, I think Incarnate can show you that it's possible to be strong no matter what.

I don't even know what to say about Sam. Except that he's awesome and I think I love him just as much as I love Jodi Meadows. I liked how everything brought Sam back to music. (And he plays the flute! Bonus.) And I especially loved that he had flaws. He brought fears from his past life into his new life, he was afraid to love Ana, and he wasn't perfect. Which, if you ask me, made him a perfect character. The romance between Sam and Ana was perfect, too - no insta-love, but it's not like the romance just came BAM! right out of the blue. They started off as friends, and though the potential for romance was always there, you still got to see their relationship grow in a healthy way.

And the plot was just . . . I can't even explain it. I'm not a fan of reincarnation. But somehow, Jodi Meadows made me love it. I've never seen any plot like this before. And the twist at the end involving the man who was supposed to be Ana's father - I did not see that coming at all O_O There were dragons, there were souls, there was a creepy temple, and there was even a different form of God. Incarnate is full of things I would usually have problems with, but I didn't have a problem with a single one of them. They all added to the story, and the way Jodi writes all of it is just . . . amazing.

Overall: I don't know how I can ever to describe to any of you how much I love this book, but I think I can honestly say it is one of the best books I've ever read. It's so much more than just a book about a girl who's "replaced" another soul. It's about strength. Accepting yourself. (And yes, maybe it's a little bit about falling in love, too.) Incarnate will stick with me for a long time. (And I will be stalking Jodi Meadow's online to find out whatever I can about the sequel. :P) 5 stars. I'd give it 6 if I did stuff like that. 



1.30.2012

Review: Switched

Switched by Amanda Hocking
Published January 3rd 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - a world both beautiful and frightening, and Wendy's not sure she wants to be a part of it.
I finished this book over a month ago after receiving an ARC through LibraryThing, so let's see what I can remember xD

This version of Switched has a gorgeous cover, no doubt about it. For some reason, I was hesitant to read it, and I have no idea why. But once I got about 20 pages in, I was hooked.

The world Hocking has created is definitely an interesting one. While I'm still not sure how it all really works and I think it could use a bit more development, it's a world that I loved to read about. I could imagine it in my head - this castle in a perfect little place, hidden in the woods. The descriptions in this book were spot on, and the writing was simple, easy to read, but not amateur. Pretty much a perfect writing style, to me.

The characters made me feel all sorts of different things. Sometimes I just couldn't connect with Wendy, the main character, but I still liked her - she's very realistic. She's not tough and sarcastic because she's never imagined a situation like the one she's in, but she's not constantly whining about it. And she doesn't just immediately accept everything. While there are a few times I just wanted to slap her in the face, for the most part, Wendy is a great character.

A lot of the other characters are ones I think I need to wait for the next books to form an opinion on. Finn, for example. Finn is a fairly important character in Switched, but so far, I have no real interest in him. I just don't think I know enough about him to form a full opinion. And Rhys is another one of those characters. I like him more than Finn, but I simply don't know enough about him.

I absolutely loved Wendy's brother, though. He's not a huge character, but every time he was on the page I loved him. He's so caring and there's a part where my heart just breaks for him.

Side-note: One of the characters in the book has the same name as me! My real name, not Zoey ;)

While Switched doesn't have a lot of action, it's still full of surprises. Obviously, there's not much I can say on that without giving away a bunch of spoilers, but things I never expected just kept popping up - and they all fit so well with the story.

Overall: There were times I didn't connect with Wendy. There were times when I was wondering where in the world the book was going. But in the end, Switched must have left some sort of impact on me, because I'm still thinking about it. I loved the world it's set in, and how it was something I'd never seen before. 4 stars.

~Zoey~

1.29.2012

In My Mailbox {7}

Dum dum. In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

So this week my laptop got a virus, that virus was fixed, and I dropped my psychology class after one day and entered into a study hall, which means I never have to do chemistry homework at home, and I have plenty of time to read, both at home and during study hall :D

And oh, yeah. I got some books.

ALSO. I got some Hemlock swag from the wonderful Kathleen Peacock! I'm just too lazy to take a picture of it.

 From Sand Dollar Press:
Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt

Won:
A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton

From the library:
Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook

So yeah. :P I've also decided I'm going on a NetGalley ban - I will not request a single thing on NetGalley until I finish at least 75% of what I already have requested. 

Leave a link to your IMM and I'll stop by!

~Zoey~

1.28.2012

Interview + Giveaway: Jodi Meadows

As Jodi warns, you should put your drink down before reading this. While I am an awkward turtle swimming in a sea of awkward penguins, Jodi is the queen of all the normal penguins.

(Do not judge my analogy.)

Anyway. Jodi Meadows, the author of the amazing book Incarnate, decided to answer my awkwardly awkward questions. :D

I used the opportunity to make it colorful. I'm purple, just in case that isn't clear :P

(Also, please ignore the weird formatting. I don't know what's wrong with Blogger lately -_-)


How many books did you start and/or finish before INCARNATE?


How many did I START? Hang on. I will go count.

*vanishes for two hours*

Okay, I think 25. It's hard to get an accurate count because for some ideas I wrote a page of notes . . . but that doesn't count, does it? And does every written page 1 count, even if I never made it to page 2? What about the stories I wrote as a teenager?

Anyway. Counting ones from when I began aiming at being published (at 20), which I think had somewhat substantial beginnings . . . 25.

How many did I finish? Heh. INCARNATE was number 17. 

Did you have any specific writing quirks while writing INCARNATE? Or just any writing quirks in general?


I think I just have quirks. There's the whole swearing to punctuation thing. The ferret thing. The yarn thing. The-- Wait, never mind.  

Jodi does not want to reveal her secrets to us >:o  
Are any INCARNATE characters based off of anyone in your life? 

No. My husband insists that Sam is based off him, but if Sam were, we would not have had the following conversation:

Me, eyeing the haphazardly piled dishes that look ready to topple: SAM knows how to properly stack dishes in the sink.
Husband: Sam has had lifetimes to practice getting it right! I'm still on my first one!

I rest my case.



Did you ever have any other career aspirations before you became a writer?

I wanted to be an astronaut, when I thought being an astronaut was more like being in Starfleet. (Star Trek.)



I wanted to be an astronaut, too. Back in those days when I didn't realize how much work it is. 
What is your favorite song, at this very moment? 

3055 by Ólafur Arnalds -- which is YOUR fault. I mean, thank you.


MWUHAHAHA. Ólafur Arnalds is never a bad thing. Youtube him. I demand it.

 Is there any famous (or not-so-famous) quote you think could apply to INCARNATE? 

"One life to live." No, wait, I think that's a soap opera.



How long did it take you to write the first draft of INCARNATE? How many drafts did INCARNATE go through?

Three years and three months.

Three years of that was the premise sitting in the back of my head and growing like a little pearl while I wrote other stories. Then one month for all the prep-work like worldbuilding and plotting, and two months for the first draft. 

I do a lot of editing as I write, so the actual number of drafts is impossible to calculate. (I like using the word "calculate" even though I don't like doing math.) But let me attempt to count . . . 

*vanishes for another two hours*

At least ten.



Dum dum didilly dum dum. I can't think of anything else. Exceeeept . . . . How's that ferret army of yours coming along? 

Don't.
Look. 
Behind you.

T_________T 

I think you mean INCARNATE emoticon:  >\*_*<

And there you have the ever-amazing Jodi Meadows.

And now, I have a giveaway! :D For one hardcover copy of Incarnate, which comes out on the 31st! The contest will end a week from today, after which I will order it from The Book Depository and have it shipped to you.

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Published January 31st, 2012 by HarperCollins/Katherine Tegan Books

NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?


The giveaway is international as long as The Book Depository ships to you. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


 ~Zoey~

1.27.2012

Review: New Girl

New Girl by Paige Harbison
Expected publication: January 31st 2012 by HarlequinTeen

They call me 'New Girl'...

Ever since I arrived at exclusive, prestigious Manderly Academy, that’s who I am. New girl. Unknown. But not unnoticed—because of her.

Becca Normandy—that’s the name on everyone’s lips. The girl whose picture I see everywhere. The girl I can’t compare to. I mean, her going missing is the only reason a spot opened up for me at the academy. And everyone stares at me like it’s my fault.

Except for Max Holloway—the boy whose name shouldn’t be spoken. At least, not by me. Everyone thinks of him as Becca’s boyfriend but she’s gone, and here I am, replacing her. I wish it were that easy. Sometimes, when I think of Max, I can imagine how Becca’s life was so much better than mine could ever be.

And maybe she’s still out there, waiting to take it back.

To be honest, I feel like New Girl drags on for thousands of pages. It's really only about 300 pages, but everything seems to move so slowly that I wanted to take my laptop and throw it at something. (It was an e-ARC, hence the laptop-throwing.) There just wasn't a lot of stuff going on, and I got incredibly bored more than once.

The narrator, "New Girl," will mainly be called the MC in this review, since we don't learn her name until the last page. I don't understand why at all, but obviously there's some sort of reason for keeping it a secret, so . . .

The book switches off between the past and the present - the present, where "New Girl" is at Manderly, and the past, where Becca was at Manderly. I have to admit, I always wanted to skim the Becca chapters. Because even though that's where the true mystery is, Becca is so manipulative and annoying that I just wanted to get her chapters over with.

I wasn't really a fan of any of the other characters, either. Madison and Dana and other girls in the book are completely awful and obnoxious most of the time. And yes, I know they're going through something awful, and maybe I would be like that, too, but the way they treated the main character frustrated me to no ends. I can't help but wonder how the MC didn't crack and smack them all silly.

I'm still not sure how I feel about Max. Max is an intriguing character, someone different from a lot of YA male characters. But he let himself be manipulated by Becca so easily, and he was so hesitant of starting any sort of relation ship with the MC that he almost seems like a coward. Of course, Max also surprised me more than once.

Admittedly, the MC handles the situation she's in a lot better than I would have. She keeps a cool head most of the time, and while I didn't love her, I didn't have any problems with her, either.

I think a huge problem I might have had with this book is that the mystery kind of unfolds itself. There's not a lot of investigating or clues that keep you guessing on the edge of your seat, so to speak. One chapter you don't know the answer, and the next you do.

However, New Girl definitely gives off the creepy and mysterious vibe I think it's meant to. Everything seems to have a sinister feel to it, and I spent a lot of time being suspicious of pretty much everyone.

Overall: While New Girl was definitely mysterious and unlike a lot of things I've read, it just didn't hold my interest because of the way the characters are portrayed and the slow pace. 2 stars. 

~Zoey~

1.26.2012

Review: Fractured Light

Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan
Publication Date: February 8th, 2012 by Sweetwater Books
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

I’m dying, I thought. This was unexpected and not at all how I envisioned my death. I was supposed to die gardening in a flowerbed as a hundred-year-old woman, not as a seventeen-year-old trapped in a lake beneath inches of ice.

Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. She can’t take any chances. But when she starts to make friends for the first time in her life, she gets careless and lets her guard down. Big mistake.

As an Aura, Llona can manipulate light and harness its energy. But if she wants to survive, Llona will have to defy the Auran Council and learn to use her power as a weapon against the Vyken whose sole desire is to take her light. Now she’s caught in something even bigger than she can understand, with a power she can’t wield, and no one she can trust, except, just maybe, a mysterious stranger.

In this breathtaking and romantic adventure, Rachel McClellan delivers a truly mesmerizing story that will keep you guessing to the very end.


Fractured Light was a book I just kept putting off reading. It's not that I thought it sounded bad or anything, but I kept getting more books and diving right into them.

I totally regret that now.

I finished Fractured Light within a few hours. I think I only stopped to get some water and food once or twice. Fractured Light is something new and refreshing, and even though it had a few problems, they were problems so easily ignored because I enjoyed the book so much.

Llona can maniuplate light. But she's untrained - she doesn't go to the school that could teach her all she needs to know.

Which doesn't really matter. Because Llona wants to learn to use her powers as a weapon. I loved how determined she was, how willing she was to bend the rules and go against the way everything was supposed to be. And even though she was trying to stay alive, trying to learn how to use her powers, she still had feelings. Real feelings that were easy to relate to. Llona was a strong, rebellious character - but she was rebellious for all the right reasons.

Christian is a completely different story. He's a Guardian, and he knows how things are supposed to go. I'm still not really sure how I feel about him. There are times when I absolutely love him, but when I really think about it, there's nothing special about him. Sure, he was a great character, but when I think about it, there isn't anything that sets him apart from all the other male YA characters.

However, I love the relationship between Christian and Llona. It's an expected one, but then again, aren't most relationships so obvious in books these days? The two of them worked well together, in the relationship aspect and everything else.

I thought Fractured Light was pretty original, too. Sure, it was all basically a good-vs-evil story, but I was left wondering - are the good people really that "good"?


Overall: I really just liked the book in general. (I know. Such an uncreative thing to say :P But it's true.) I'm not sure what it was - the action, the suspense, the way everything seemed to fit perfectly in the story - but this book just did it for me. 4 stars.



~Zoey~

1.25.2012

Waiting on Wednesday {12}

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


The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long
Expected publication: August 16th 2012 by Dial Books


The trees swallowed her brother whole. And Jenny was there to see it. Years later, when she returns to the woods where Tom was taken to say good-bye at last, she finds herself lured into a world where stunning beauty masks the most treacherous of evils, and strange and dangerous creatures await—creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with allegiances that shift as much as his moods. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack’s help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where nothing is what it seems, no one is who they say, and she’s faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice—and not just her own.


I can say in all honesty that books that center around faeries are my absolute favorite. I don't really know why, but I have yet to find a Fae book I didn't like. This is more than 7 months away, but . . . I shall have it someday T_T


The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
Expected Publication: April 10th, 2012 by HarperTeen

Okay, let's be honest. We had to know this one was coming at some point.
Maya Delaney’s paw-print birthmark is the sign of what she truly is—a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly anyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents.

Now, Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they’re kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home. Plentiful action and romance in this second installment in the Darkness Rising series will keep readers enthralled to the very last page!

I am a die-hard Kelley Amrstrong fan. I have read every single one of her books, and Maya and Rafe are probably my two favorite characters, next to Clay and Elena. The wait for this book has felt longer than any others. But . . . I just have to survive three more months, that's it ;__;

Leave a link and I'll check out your WoW tomorrow when I have my laptop again! ;)

~Zoey~

(I apologize for the awkward blockquotes. I dunno what's going on there -_-)

1.21.2012

In My Mailbox {6}

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

From St. Martin's Griffin for review:
 The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

Aaaaand that's it :P Leave a link and I'll stop by your IMM :)
~Zoey~


1.20.2012

Strange Chemistry's First Two Authors!

Strange Chemistry, the YA imprint of Angry Robot, has signed their first two authors! To read all about it, go HERE.

Their first is debut author Kim Curran! According to Strange Chemistry, "Her debut novel, Shift is the tale of your average, 16-year old loser Scott Tyler. When he meets the beautiful and mysterious Aubrey Jones, he learns he’s not quite so average after all. He’s a ‘Shifter’. And that means he has the power to undo any decision he’s ever made. At first, he thinks the power to shift is pretty cool. But as his world quickly starts to unravel around him he realises that each time he uses his power, it has consequences; terrible unforeseen consequences. Shifting is going to get him killed. In a world where everything can change with a thought, Scott has to decide where he stands.

Shift is a page-turning, kick-ass SF thriller novel with a very down-to-earth male protagonist. It will be published Autumn 2012, with a sequel to follow in 2013."

I don't know about you, but the ability to undo any decision you've ever made? Sounds pretty cool to me. (Until you get to the whole changing-the-fate-of-the-world thing, of course.)

And their second author, Seam Cummings, "brings us the remarkably dark and funny Poltergeeks. Julie is an apprentice witch – or so she believes. When a dark power comes stalking out of the past to haunt her and her mother, Julie learns that she is far more than just a witch. With the help of her best friend Marcus and a rather unusual Great Dane, Julie has to race against time to ensure she can defeat the bad guy, save her mother and avoid being grounded – again!


We have signed Sean for two novels in the Poltergeeks universe, the first to be published in Autumn of this year with the second to follow in the summer of 2013."

I kind of really like witches. ;) So what do you think? Are you excited for the first books from Strange Chemistry?

~Zoey~

1.19.2012

Cover Reveal: Night Sky

Night Sky by Jolene B. Perry
Expected publication: March 1st 2012 by Tribute Books


After losing Sarah, the friend he’s loved, to some other guy, Jameson meets Sky. Her Native American roots, fluid movements, and need for brutal honesty become addictive fast. This is good. Jameson needs distraction – his dad leaves for another woman, his mom’s walking around like a zombie, and Sarah’s new boyfriend can’t keep his hands off of her.

As he spends time with Sky and learns about her village, her totems, and her friends with drums - she's way more than distraction. Jameson's falling for her fast.

But Sky’s need for honestly somehow doesn’t extend to her life story – and Jameson just may need more than his new girl to keep him distracted from the disaster of his senior year.

You know it's pretty.

Just wondering, how many of you have read Jolene's work before? Am I alone? *puppy face*

~Zoey~

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Published September 27th 2011 by Little, Brown & Company
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

I feel like I'm going to get shot because I didn't fall in love with this book. But you know what? Regardless of your opinion on this book, I am allowed to not like a book. So no more emails screaming at me, mmkay?

Laini Taylor has talent, no doubt about it. She probably has one of the best writing styles I've seen. Her word and the way she writes them are gorgeous. But sometimes, it seemed like overkill to me. So many different words were used to describe one thing that could have been described just as well in half the words. I had to force myself to stop skimming dozens of times.


The beginning was the biggest problem for me, I think. It felt so slow and dragged out, didn't hold my interest at all. The only reason I kept reading is because my real-life best friend has the same taste as me and she said it was really good. Otherwise, I probably would have given up after the first 80 pages.


Admittedly, it did get better. But throughout the whole book, I felt no connection to Karou. She seemed fairly emotionless to me most of the time, and while I loved the banter between her and Zuzanna, most of the time I was just bored because of Karou. 


There's also the matter of confusion. Hardly anything made sense to me while I was reading it, and it didn't make any more sense once I was done. Which I think is kind of weird, since the book is over 400 pages. You'd think something could have been explained in there. I would have also liked to know more about the world Karou lived in. I didn't understand it at all. Maybe it's because I'm stupid. *shrugs* But I had no idea what time period it was supposed to be in, when angels and chimaera first came into existence, etc. There was so much information that was vital - in my opinion - left out and replaced with nonsense I wanted to skip over.

Akiva . . . I'm not entirely sure what to say about him. He was definitely different from most YA characters, but at the same time, he just annoyed me a lot. I don't even know why. 


And for the record, I completely saw the Madrigal thing from the first few pages after Akiva mentioned her. 


Overall: People love this book. And I guess I can understand why. The story is something fairly original, the writing is gorgeous, but this just wasn't for me. I was so bored and so confused that I almost feel like I wasted my time reading this. Like I said, maybe I'm just dumb. *shrugs* But I can't help it. There was so much unnecessary information that maybe it drowned out the necessary stuff for me. 2.5 stars. 

~Zoey~

1.18.2012

Waiting on Wednesday {11}

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

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Expected publication: April 24th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
(GUYS. IT COMES OUT A FEW DAYS AFTER MY BIRTHDAY. I want to say I'll be able to buy it with birthday money, but let's face it, I won't be getting any.)

Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she’s opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, Janelle knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her reincarnation, and Ben’s possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI-agent father’s files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what’s right in front of her: Everything that’s happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben’s sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl’s fight to save herself, her world, and the one boy she never saw coming.

Ben doesn't sound like the typical YA boy, so I'm really excited for that. :3 Plus, I kinda sorta think I might love everything from Balzer + Bray. Just maybe.

Harbinger by Sarah Wilson Etienne
Expected publication: February 2nd 2012 by G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR

When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn't expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she's going crazy. Fast. 


But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she's come home. She's even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.

Faye knows she's the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can't trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her - and the rest of the world too.

Rich, compelling writing will keep the pages turning in this riveting and tautly told psychological thriller.

I've got a thing for boarding school books :P

As always, leave a link and I'll be sure to check out your WoW. (Though probably not until Thursday or Friday. I've got midterms~)

~Zoey~

1.17.2012

A Survey of Sorts

So I kind of just have this quick two-question (anonymous) thing that I'd be really happy if you filled out. I'm really only asking you what you'd like to see more of/just plain see on this blog - maybe you'd like more regular posts, maybe you'd like a better design, maybe you'd like to see more publishing news, or maybe you'd like to see nothing from me at all :P It's basically just any suggestions you have for me. It'll help me in the future with this, and I'll love you forever if you take two seconds to fill it out :)




~Zoey~

[Also, if you'll notice, you can now follow on Networked Blogs, right over there in the left sidebar ;)]

1.15.2012

Giveaway: January Release Hop

The January Release Giveaway Hop is hosted by Book Twirps and Refracted Light! :)

 The hop runs January 15th through 31st. There will be one winner, who will choose two of the books below. Please note - US/Can only. I can handle $4 for shipping. $20 to send it overseas? HAHAHAHA no.

Choices: //Incarnate by Jodi Meadows//Cinder by Marissa Meyer//Everneath by Brodi Ashton//Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler//Charmfall by Chloe Niell//

I'm not in the mood to try and get the covers on here, so meh :P Just fill out the Rafflecopter, and remember - you can tweet/comment on a review daily!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


~Zoey~

1.14.2012

In My Mailbox {5}

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren. Obviously. As if you didn't know. ;)

So I actually got quite a few books this week :D It made me happy inside. 

From the library:












Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor//Amplified by Tara Kelley

From Penguin for review:


From NetGalley:

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown//Starters by Lissa Price//Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter//Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz//Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald//The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes

Bought:
 Fated by Sarah Alderson

Received from a very awesome person:
You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith

Leave a link and I'll stop by your IMM :)

~Zoey~

1.13.2012

Review: Tempest

Tempest by Julie Cross
Expected publication: January 17th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin 
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

There's really not very much I can think to say about this that won't be spoilery. Every thought and emotion I had during this book has something to do with something huge that happens in the book. Although I can say that I'm absolutely in love with the cover. :) It fits so well with the book, and if we're honest, I'd love it even if it had nothing to do with the book at all.

Tempest is amazing, plain and simple. I fell in love with Jackson right from the beginning. (Well, okay, not right from the start. I was actually pretty bored in the first 10 pages, but after that, I was in it 'till the end.)  It's not very often that I read from the perspective of a guy, but Jackson didn't disappoint. He was easy to relate to, but at the same time, it was easy to tell he was a guy. Jackson was exactly the type of hero I love - the closet type who you would never suspect, but you find out just how heroic he is.

Jackson's time-traveling is another thing I really loved. I can't say I've read many involving that, either, and I loved how Cross described it.

Holly is a character I'm a little unsure about. Sometimes I felt like she was being so strong in what she was facing, but other times I felt she was so weak and so dependent on everyone else that it was annoying. Holly is in a very unique situation, as is Jackson, but I felt like Jackson dealt with it a lot better than Holly. Maybe because there was actually something Jackson could do about it, as opposed to Holly who really couldn't do anything to change her fate.

The writing style was easy to read, but at the same time, it left an impact on me. Jackson's emotions came through so clearly, his despair at losing Holly, his fear that he wouldn't be able to save her when he goes back.

Admittedly, when I look back on it, the ending was kind of predictable. But when I was reading it, I wanted to scream and throw things at the unfairness of it all. Needless to say, I'm definitely dying for the next book. ;)

Overall: Tempest is an emotional rollercoaster with some adorable moments thrown in. It's a book that made me feel for the characters, connect with them, fall in love with them. And while I can't say I liked the first 10 pages, after that I couldn't stop reading. 4.5 stars.


~Zoey~

1.12.2012

Review: Kiss Crush Collide

Kiss Crush Collide by Christina Meredith
Published December 27th, 2011 by Greenwillow Books
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

Leah has the life most high school girls would kill for—popularity, glowing grades, a rich, athletic boyfriend. So why does she feel like she can’t breathe? And why can’t she stop thinking about the boy from the country club? The one who isn’t her boyfriend, the one that her mother would never, ever approve of, the one that her perfect older sisters would never, ever look at twice. The one who is always looking back at her. Irresistible attraction, smoldering glances, the bad boy and the good girl—Kiss Crush Collide has everything that a steamy forbidden romance should, and then some.

With graceful and honest writing and an electric love story, this is a book about growing into your own skin. For fans of Perfect Chemistry, Sarah Dessen, and John Green.

To put it simply, I was bored out of my mind. I'm still not even entirely sure how I managed to finish this one, but let's just say I skimmed about 40 pages somewhere in the middle. 


The characters were fairly shallow and boring. I knew next to nothing about them. For one thing, Leah is the main character and narrator, and yet still I know hardly anything about her, other than her narration was pretty dreadful to read through. For the first fourth of the book, most of her time is spent summarizing things about the past. (Which meant - YAY! MORE BORING!) I feel like she has next to no personality. Shane, Leah's boyfriend, is the same way - I know pretty much nothing about him, and if he has any type of interesting personality, it's hidden far too deep for me to ever find it.


And Duffy . . . I don't even know what to say about him. He's certainly more interesting than anyone else in the book, but not by far. The relationship between Duffy and Leah is pretty ridiculous, if you ask me. All he does is drive her in a car and suddenly she's making out with him. I think they probably have a total of two or three real conversations in the entire book - where they talk about things that are actually important. Life. Their relationship. Whatever. Their conversations are always extremely short, too. I just never got anything from them. 


I think a big part of the reason I didn't like this book is because I can't relate to Leah. For one thing, I've never been in anything like the type of situation she's in, but for another, her emotions just didn't come across for me. She felt cold and unemotional, and that's probably why I resented her so much. I just didn't feel anything. 


I will admit that I did like the family dynamics, maybe because it's so unlike my own family. Those were parts I actually enjoyed reading through. 


Overall: I thought I was going to like this. And I guess I can understand why some people would - there's plenty of romance and some interesting interactions. But this book just couldn't hold my attention. 2 stars


*pretend there's a picture here.*


~Zoey~

1.11.2012

Waiting on Wednesday {10}

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

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
Expected publication: May 8th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin

Seventeen-year-old Gene struggles to survive in a society where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population. When Gene is chosen to participate in the government-sponsored hunt for the remaining humans, he must learn the art of the hunt but also elude his fellow hunters whose suspicions about his true human nature are growing.









This is definitely one of the books I'm lusting for the most this year. I haven't read too much sci-fi stuff lately, but I really want to. Not to mention the cover is amazing o_o *sobs inside* Why isn't it May 8th yet? :(

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
Expected publication: August 7th 2012 by St. Martin's Press

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.
I don't think I even need to say why I'm waiting on this one. (Though I'm going to pretend there is no mention or hint of a love triangle in the blurb. Let me remain in denial until I actually read the book.)

Leave a link and I'll see what you're waiting on! :)

~Zoey~

1.10.2012

Review: Fracture

Fracture by Megan Miranda
Publication Date: January 17th, 2012 by Walker Children's
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?


Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?


For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.

I actually read this book back in November and then planned to post the review in late December, but it seems I forgot to schedule it :o Oops.


If I think too hard about this book, my brain kind of starts to hurt. I'm not going to say that's a bad thing, because in all honesty, it isn't. But Fracture is one of those books you really have to think about before you can understand what's going on.

Fracture is more of a tortured contemporary, if you ask me. There's only one paranormal aspect - if it's even paranormal and not something entirely crazy - and while it's a huge focus of the book, I don't think most would really consider it paranormal.

Delaney should be dead. She spent 11 minutes under freezing water, but her best friend Decker saved her, and somehow she survived. She's a miracle - y'know, supposedly.

Most of the time, I thought the way Delaney felt and reacted to things was very realistic. I mean, honestly, if you had died and came back perfectly fine even when you shouldn't have, you would have felt pretty weird, too. One aspect I really liked about Delaney was that she refused to take pills. Why would you want even more reasons to feel crazy?

Decker was the best part of Fracture for me, even though he was an idiot. But he handled how he felt about Delaney the way a lot of guys handle it - tried to ignore it and make out with someone else. No matter how much I hated that part, I loved how Decker would always drop everything and come to the rescue if Delaney needed him. And there were times when he actually *gasp* confessed his emotions. I don't see that very much YA anymore, so I got really excited when that happened. 

Troy was another great part, just because he was so messed up, but at the same time, I could see where he was coming from. I can't say I would have done the same if I'd been in his shoes, but I can understand why he did it and why he thought he was doing good instead of harm.

The writing is where I really fell in love. Megan Miranda did such an amazing job at capturing Delaney's emotions and describing what was going on. Delaney's fear felt so real. 

My biggest problem, and only problem, really, was that there are still so many questions. I still don't know why Delaney survived. Why she could tell when people were going to die. Why she and Troy could tell. And the thing is, the ending is that kind that ends perfectly for a stand-alone, but you can't help but question EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED. At the end of the book this was basically me: o_o Wut? Even though it wasn't like there was a cliffhanger or anything. 

Overall: Fracture is a compelling novel that gripped me once I got into it. And while it might be about Delaney and her struggle to figure out what happened, I like to think that it's a novel about friendship, too. 4 stars.



~Zoey~

1.09.2012

Most Anticipated Of 2012 {Part 2}

This was supposed to have gone up about a week ago, but it completely disappeared from Blogger, so here we are now :D If you haven't seen Part One, be sure to check it out HERE!

[Clicking on the titles will take you to the Goodreads page.]

Undeadly by Michelle Vail
Expected publication: February 28th 2012 by Harlequin Teen

The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird...

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath.

Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. Who seems to hate her guts.

Rath will be watching closely to be sure she completes her first assignment-reaping Rick, the boy who should have died. The boy she still wants to be with.

To make matters worse, students at the academy start turning up catatonic, and accusations fly—against Molly. The only way out of this mess? To go through hell. Literally.

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Expected publication: May 8th 2012 by HarperCollins Children's Books
  
Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Expected publication: April 24th 2012 by Balzer + Bray

Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she’s opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, Janelle knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her reincarnation, and Ben’s possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI-agent father’s files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what’s right in front of her: Everything that’s happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben’s sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl’s fight to save herself, her world, and the one boy she never saw coming.

The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
Expected publication: April 10th 2012 by HarperCollins

Maya Delaney’s paw-print birthmark is the sign of what she truly is—a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly anyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents.

Now, Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they’re kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home. Plentiful action and romance in this second installment in the Darkness Rising series will keep readers enthralled to the very last page!

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
Expected publication: March 13th 2012 by Hyperion Book CH

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?




The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Expected publication: April 24th 2012 by Harlequin Teen

You will kill. The only question is when.

In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.

Unregistered humans cling to fringes, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire.

Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.

And there we go :) There were plenty of other books I wanted to include, but I figured it was best to stick with books that had covers and blurbs already.

~Zoey~

1.08.2012

In My Mailbox {4}

*is suspicious* Sure, the day after I post about my technical difficulties, Blogger suddenly starts working again. And I didn't even do anything to my laptop o.o

Anyway. Before I get onto the actual book part of this: I received an email from someone a few days ago who thinks I'm not "a legit book blogger" because I don't buy tons of books every month. I think it's safe to say that's complete bullshit, but I'll also say this: If I had the money, sure, I'd be buying three books a week or something. But the simple matter is, I don't. My money needs to be saved for more important things. Like food. And college. (Because, let's face it, no way in hell will I be getting a scholarship for anything.) So I don't spend $100 a month on books. Boo hoo. Sue me.

/rant over.

And now, BOOKS! :D

Borrowed from a friend:
Legend by Marie Lu

From the library:
Dark Parties by Sara Grant
(This is not the edition/cover I have, but it's the only one Goodreads has o.o)

From NetGalley:
Partials by Dan Wells

So yeah. :P

What was in your mailbox this week?

~Zoey~

1.07.2012

Review: Everneath

Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Expected publication: January 24th 2012 by HarperCollins
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

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

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

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

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

I thought I was going to hate this book. I thought it was just going to be another obnoxious paranormal novel with a love triangle I couldn't stand.

I'm kind of happy about how wrong I was.

Everneath grabbed me and pulled me into Nikki's world, where she only has 6 months before she's taken back to Everneath and into the Tunnels. Although I really loved this book, Everneath is yet another book from HarperCollins that I think needs some fleshing out. I'm still not entirely sure what happens in the Tunnels - I know a person doesn't die, but other than that, I'm fairly unclear. Unclear on everything about the Everneath and what Cole really is, to be honest. 

Despite those questions, I still loved Everneath. The beginning is intriguing, and after that, I couldn't stop reading. I was a little annoyed at times, because Everneath goes back and forth between the past and the present in the first half of the book - the past, where Nikki and Jack are first together, and the present, where they're practically strangers. Even if it was annoying, I loved the dynamics and seeing how happy they were together and how their relationship was destroyed before Nikki went to the Everneath. 

Their relationship in the present was something I really liked, too. I won't explain why, considering it's a major spoiler, but just know that there is no insta-love. This is not a sappy romance, and this is not your typical love triangle. 


Well, okay. There's really no love triangle at all. Not for Nikki. But there is for me. Ashton managed to do something hardly any authors have ever been able to do for me - I've fallen in love with both boys. Jack and Cole are both two amazing, three-dimensional characters that I know I'll never be able to forget. 

The plot was probably what really kept me reading, though. Ashton put a spin on typical paranormal things, and I loved it. Though I wish some things had been fleshed out a bit more, the world this book is created in was so easy to get into. I was surprised more than once.


Overall: Everneath made me ache. It made me feel something I haven't felt since I finished Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. There's nothing about this book that I didn't like. (Except the ending, but that's not because it wasn't amazing. It just kind of stomped on my heart T_T) Everneath is a story about how to say goodbye while still making up for the last goodbye you never gave. It's a story about how even when it seems impossible, you can still be saved. Even if you don't want saving. (And by that I mean saving your actual life. It wasn't meant to be a metaphor or anything.) 5 stars. 


[And yes, I purposely kept this review fairly short. I knew if I said much more I'd end up giving the entire book away.]


~Zoey~

1.03.2012

Review: Incarnate

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Publication Date: January 31st, 2012 by Katherine Tegan Books
//Amazon//B&N//The Book Depository//

NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

This book stole my heart, broke it in half, stomped on the pieces, and then mended it. Incarnate isn't just about a girl with a new soul in a society of people thousands of years old - it's about a girl learning to accept herself even when most others won't.

Ana is, by far, the best part of this book. (And that's saying a lot, considering how I thought the entire thing was pretty much perfect.) She's grown up with only Li, who's always told Ana that she's a mistake. That she can't have feelings because she's a nosoul. And when Ana leaves Li and travels to Heart, she's treated almost the same way - like she shouldn't belong. Ana isn't unaffected by this, not at all, but somehow, she still manages to find good. Find the strength to go on and keep searching for the answers she wants. If I had been her, I probably would have crawled into the forest and let the sylph get me O_O

Ana's emotions were practically mine. My heart ached for her. She's easy to relate to, too. Ana is an outcast in her society; she feels like everyone hates her. (And most of them do.) Feeling like you don't fit in is such a common problem for teenagers, and regardless of how much more extreme Ana's case is, I think Incarnate can show you that it's possible to be strong no matter what.

I don't even know what to say about Sam. Except that he's awesome and I think I love him just as much as I love Jodi Meadows. I liked how everything brought Sam back to music. (And he plays the flute! Bonus.) And I especially loved that he had flaws. He brought fears from his past life into his new life, he was afraid to love Ana, and he wasn't perfect. Which, if you ask me, made him a perfect character. The romance between Sam and Ana was perfect, too - no insta-love, but it's not like the romance just came BAM! right out of the blue. They started off as friends, and though the potential for romance was always there, you still got to see their relationship grow in a healthy way.

And the plot was just . . . I can't even explain it. I'm not a fan of reincarnation. But somehow, Jodi Meadows made me love it. I've never seen any plot like this before. And the twist at the end involving the man who was supposed to be Ana's father - I did not see that coming at all O_O There were dragons, there were souls, there was a creepy temple, and there was even a different form of God. Incarnate is full of things I would usually have problems with, but I didn't have a problem with a single one of them. They all added to the story, and the way Jodi writes all of it is just . . . amazing.

Overall: I don't know how I can ever to describe to any of you how much I love this book, but I think I can honestly say it is one of the best books I've ever read. It's so much more than just a book about a girl who's "replaced" another soul. It's about strength. Accepting yourself. (And yes, maybe it's a little bit about falling in love, too.) Incarnate will stick with me for a long time. (And I will be stalking Jodi Meadow's online to find out whatever I can about the sequel. :P) 5 stars. I'd give it 6 if I did stuff like that.