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Review: Spark

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

Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.

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

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

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

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

The fuse is lit…


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Waiting on Wednesday {29}

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

This week, Zoey's waiting on:

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

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

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

And then it comes true.

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

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

Megan's waiting on:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guest Review: Silver

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This gets three out of five stars.

Waiting on Wednesday {28}

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

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

This week, Zoey's waiting on:

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

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

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

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

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

Megan's waiting on:

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


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

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

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

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

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

Review: Defiance

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

Books + Music

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

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

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

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

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

~Zoey~

Waiting on Wednesday {27}

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

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

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

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

Megan's waiting on: 

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

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

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

Giveaway: Spark ARC

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

Please note: US/CAN only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


~Zoey~

Young Musicians Wanted!

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

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

You can hear the first few entries here

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

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

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

~Zoey~

Review: Glitch

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

In My Mailbox {19}

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

Needless to say, I am irritated.

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

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

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

From NetGalley: 
The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

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

~Zoey~

8.24.2012

Review: Spark

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

Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.

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

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

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

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

The fuse is lit…


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8.22.2012

Waiting on Wednesday {29}

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

This week, Zoey's waiting on:

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

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

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

And then it comes true.

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

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

Megan's waiting on:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8.21.2012

Guest Review: Silver

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This gets three out of five stars.

8.15.2012

Waiting on Wednesday {28}

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

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

This week, Zoey's waiting on:

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

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

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

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

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

Megan's waiting on:

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


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

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

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

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

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

8.14.2012

Review: Defiance

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

8.09.2012

Books + Music

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

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

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

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

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

~Zoey~

8.08.2012

Waiting on Wednesday {27}

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

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

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

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

Megan's waiting on: 

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

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

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

8.07.2012

Giveaway: Spark ARC

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

Please note: US/CAN only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


~Zoey~

8.06.2012

Young Musicians Wanted!

There's a competition going on at The Spark! 

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

You can hear the first few entries here

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

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

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

~Zoey~

Review: Glitch

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

8.05.2012

In My Mailbox {19}

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

Needless to say, I am irritated.

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

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

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

From NetGalley: 
The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

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

~Zoey~