Tuesday, January 31, 2012

DNF: New Girl by Paige Harbison

publisher: Harlequin Teen

release date: January 31st, 2012

paperback, 304

intended audience: Young adult (recommend 15+)

no rating/did not finish

source: Netgalley

description: 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.

Why I didn't finish: I don't really consider this a review since I was unable to finish this one. New Girl was, quite simply, not my cup of tea. I don't read a lot of contemporary, so when I do, it's usually something I am incredibly excited about. That was the case with New Girl. I actually haven't read Rebecca but I do love Daphne Du Maurier's other work, so I was excited to hear this was a retelling of one of her stories.

This was really not what I expected. The story is told from two points of view: The "New Girl" and Becca. Becca has since gone missing from Manderly Academy and her mysterious disappearance opened up a spot for "New Girl". Now one of the main gimmicks of the story is that the New Girl's name is never revealed until the very end---I think it sort of speaks volumes about how little I cared about the character that I literally never even noticed that fact until I read someone else's review, and at that point I was already 120 pages in. It's not that the story is bad, it's actually interesting and moves along at a good pace. But I am big into characters---I don't always have to relate to them, but they at least have to give me some reason to be engrossed in their dilemmas, and have some basis for their actions that I can empathize with. I didn't find that here. One was in a silly situation that her own spinelessness got her into, and the other showed no other side but her self-pity and manipulativeness. And while I am far from being a prude and completely understand that sex and drinking is a part of some teen's lives, watching a young girl use sex as a way to make a name for herself, and drinking and vomiting as basically the only way the students of Manderly pass the time---it was just more than I could stomach. While there may be some sort of growth to the characters eventually, I'm afraid I just wasn't interested enough in either of them
to stick around and find out. While I hate not finishing anything, by page 151, I had to admit this was not for me and finally decided to set it aside.

But don't just take my word for it! Check Goodreads for more reviews, good and bad. Some definitely enjoyed this one, but it just wasn't for me.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

publisher: HarperTeen

release date: January 17, 2012

hardcover, 403 pages

intended audience: Young adult

series: Unearthly, Book 2
(my review of Book 1)


source: ARC from publisher for honest review

Spoiler alert!! Description and review may contain spoilers for book 1, Unearthly! If you haven't read Unearthly, stop now! :)

description: For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

Review: SO, if you've read my review of Unearthly, you know how much I adore this series, these characters, that wonderful mother-daughter relationship and, yes, that cowboy. So what is that strange sound you might hear?? Well, dear readers, it's the sound of my heart breaking and falling like little pieces of glass onto the floor. Two major things happen in the book that completely left me in tears. Once again, Cynthia Hand gives us a story of emotional ups and downs, adventure, uncertainty, and fear---it's all there, just as amazing as in Unearthly. I cried, I shuddered, I hoped for the best, I cheered for the victories, and gasped at the many surprising revelations that came about! And despite a few moments that felt a tiny bit draggy, the action and conflict and emotion more than made up for it. I loved this one almost as much as the first---it was definitely a worthy sequel to Unearthly.

Cynthia Hand has such a way with writing characters. It creates such great intensity when you end up rooting for everyone, even those on opposite sides of a conflict. Even the dreaded Black Wing--despite being a real baddy and wreaking havoc on the lives of all the heroes of the story---garnered just the slightest twinge of sympathy from me at one point. Oh, and Jeffrey! Clara's younger brother--I seriously hope he's not going down the path that he seems to be going down! We also get some fantastic new characters: Billy, who is Clara's mom's best friend, and another new face that I will let remain a surprise! I loved them both! As for the love story--- as much as some people dread love triangles, I don't mind them. But I especially love it when you literally can't decide who you're rooting for the most---and as much as I love Tucker, that's where I stood by the end of this book.Link

Such a great series so far. If you haven't started this one yet, I say do it now! Definitely one that I consider a must-read! It's going to be one very long wait for book 3!

Visit Cynthia Hand's website here.

Purchase Hallowed at: Amazon BN.comBookDepository Indiebound


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for. I know I usually choose two books, but just one this week, guys! Unusually tired today for some reason! :(

Here's what I'm waiting on:

by Jessica Therrien

hitting shelves February 28th, 2012 from ZOVA Books

description: Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She's been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than the average person, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she's closer to eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal. For Elyse, these things don't make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she's been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability. Or so she thinks. Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Some are waiting for her to put an end to centuries of traditions that have oppressed their people under the guise of safeguarding them. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning - and she's not entirely willing to play by their rules.

My thoughts: This sounds really good! I've been loving all the god/goddess themed books lately, so hopefully I'll enjoy this one, too. Love this cover, too!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Guest Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

publisher: HarperTeen

release date: January 24, 2012

hardcover, 370 pages

intended audience: Young adult

series: Everneath, Book 1


source: from publisher for honest review
reviewer: Amy

description: 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...


To be honest I wasn't so sure about reading this book. Mythology, in a young adult book? Persephone? We all know that classic tale and it didn't end well for her. However I dove right in waiting to be proven wrong. As I started to read, surprisingly the chapters captivated me,and without me knowing what was happening I fell into the pull of Everneath.

This wonderful book is not only a classic mythological legend marvelously recaptured and elaborated upon but also one that makes you search the depths of your soul, questioning your beliefs of heroess and hope. What if all was lost? If all had the chance to be forgotten? Would we take an immortal up on his enticing offer to not feel pain or hurt; to never feel the bliss of love's first kiss and the heartbreak of love's first betrayal. In the moment of agony and sheer heartbreak, would we be tempted to give up just a piece of our soul to not have that pain locked inside our hearts? At that moment of sheer despair, could you abandon all hope?
I would like to think that we have the strength to not give up on hope but yet we are only human. Nikki, in the midst of a broken heart, made the choice to abandon hope and the pain of a broken heart in exchange to live in the Underworld and have immortals feed upon her...to not feel pain or despair but also not to feel happiness and contentment. But she is given a second chance and learns whether all hope was really lost on her as well. Are things always what they appear to be or do illusions allude us all?

The story entwines along, gently enfolds you between past and present and leads you along Nikki's path to discover if there can really be heroes amongst us. Do heroes exist? And not those of storybook tales or that in mythology, just everyday heroes.
And can love serve as the hero that can save a soul?

As you can tell this one made me think, question, and take a look at what I believe about hope, if I believe in heroes, and if so do I believe in everyday heroes? This is a sign of a truly wonderful author. If you can get people to talk, to think, to question...if you can, then you truly succeeded. Congrats Brodi, looking forward to the next one.

Visit Brodi Ashton's site here!

Purchase Everneath at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository Indiebound

Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Release & Giveaway: The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

Megan Crewe's The Way We Fall is hitting shelves January 24!!
So today, I have a cool giveaway for you!

A copy of The Way We Fall and a Minimergency Kit!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out more about the book at:
and if you haven't checked out the trailer yet, here it is!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

In My Mailbox {101}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren,
where we all share what we got during the week!

I went on a major bookstore hunt for Unraveling Isobel this week, but failed miserably. :( Guess I'll have to order online. BUT I did get some great stuff this week in the mail!

For Review:
Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin
This definitely looks like a cute read!

The Brightest Kind of Darkness by P.T. Michelle
One of my favorite reads of last year--finally in paperback!! If you haven't read this,
do it now!! :D

Eve by Anna Carey
Thanks so much for this, Mary!!

New on my Nook:The Haunted by J.A. Templeton
Book #2 to The Deepest Cut!! Very excited for this one!
Check out my review of The Deepest Cut here.

Hope everyone had a great week! Happy reading!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: Fracture by Megan Miranda

Fracture by Megan Miranda

publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers

release date: January 17th, 2012

hardcover, 264 pages

intended audience: Young adult


source: Netgalley

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?

Review: In Fracture, debut author Megan Miranda gives us a story that thrills, mystifies, and has us asking ourselves some hard questions. After falling through the ice, Delaney miraculously wakes up from a coma when no one had much hope that she would survive. While she should have been dead, or at least completely brain damaged, she shows no signs of any problems at all. Until she discovers she has the eerie ability of being drawn to those who are about to die.

So what would you do with an ability like this? Do you try to stop it from happening? Do you help them die peacefully? Do you tell them so they can do that one last thing they've always wanted to do before they die, but keep putting off? One day she meets a strange boy with the same ability and his own ideas of what to do with them.

I really enjoyed this story---it was an exciting, tightly written story with great characters that were realistic and relatable. Delaney's group is a mixed bag of personalities, and how their relationship changes after Delaney's falls through the ice seemed natural. Her parents are also a big part of the story, especially her mother, and we do get a little taste of her backstory as well.

The love story was great, but not really at the forefront of the story. Delaney and Decker have been best friends for years and years. It's glaringly obvious that there is way more going on there, but both are too scared to risk their friendship by going for it. This is one of my favorite kinds of love story---cliched as it may be, it's a cliche for a reason: because it really happens. I love all the history, the anticipation, the awkwardness, the doubt...all the crazy intense emotion that goes along with that kind of relationship. To those who might shy away from this for fear of love triangles: I'd say give it a shot. In all honesty, Troy was never a viable love interest. There is just something off and creepy about him from the start. While I understood Delaney's draw to him as someone who knew what she was going through and could provide a few answers, it kind of irked me that she blew off some very blatant warning signs about him. So for me, it was all about Decker. :)

I also loved the whole medical aspect. I've always been fascinated with the mysteries of how the brain works, there is so much that seems unexplainable, so while this gets touted as a paranormal story, something traumatic happening to the brain that lets you sense things your normally wouldn't doesn't seem that far-fetched to me! Plus I love the sort of moral inner battle Delaney faces with her new ability. It made for an incredibly fascinating story!

Highly recommend this one!!

Visit Megan Miranda's site here.

Purchase Fracture at: AmazonBN.comBookDepositoryIndiebound

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne: Exclusive Artwork Reveal!!

Hello all! Today I have the honor of revealing an exclusive piece of artwork that was created for Sara Wilson Etienne's debut novel, Harbinger!! Several pieces were created by wonderful artist to show different scenes in the novel, and they've been revealed at blogs around the web. It's my pleasure to introduce this piece by the amazing Su Moon!

Want to see more Harbinger art?
Walk the Path! Explore the whole gallery of HARBINGER-inspired artwork at www.holbrookacademy.com/sketchbook.php.
HARBINGER by Sara Wilson Etienne debuts February 2, 2012.
Follow Sara: @wilsonetienne
Visit Sara: www.sarawilsonetienne.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - The Sideways Edition

 "Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for. For my WoWs, I'll be choosing a Sooner (books released in the next month or so) and a Later (books further out). Here's what I'm eagerly anticipating:

Dead to You 
by Lisa McMann

hitting shelves February 7th, 2012 from Simon Pulse
Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It's a miracle... at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn't going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together. But there's something that's keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable...
My thoughts: Lisa McMann---one of those authors that just never disappoints me! 
by Myra McEntire

hitting shelves June 12, 2012 from EgmontUSA

A threat from the past could destroy the future. And the clock is ticking...

Kaleb Ballard's relentless flirting is interrupted when Jack Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, timeslips in and attacks before disappearing just as quickly. But Kaleb has never before been able to see time travelers, unlike many of his friends associated with the mysterious Hourglass organization. Are Kaleb's powers expanding, or is something very wrong?

Then the Hourglass is issued an ultimatum. Either they find Jack and the research he's stolen on the time gene, or time will be altered with devestating results.

Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their unusual powers to find Jack. But where do they even start? And when? And even if they succeed, it may not be enough... 

My thoughts:  LOVED book one!! Such great characters and I can't wait to spend more time with all of them as they travel through time!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dark Days of Winter 2012 - San Francisco Stop!

This week, I had the absolute thrill of attending the San Francisco stop of the Dark Days of Winters tour!! It was completely amazing! The event took place at Books, Inc at Opera Plaza---a great indie bookstore with so much character and an awesome staff. This is the second event I've attended there and I am always so impressed with how well run the event is and how well attended! With such amazing authors, and surprise drop in by Anna Carey, author of Eve---you can bet they had a packed house!

The event featured Ellen Schrieber, Tahereh Mafi, Veronica Rossi, and Anna Carey. All four authors did such a great Q & A where they discussed everything from their inspirations, research methods, creating worlds, and the blessing of a good copy editor. When the questions wound down, they all graciously visited with the fans, smiled pretty for photographs, and signed tons of books, bookmarks, and even a personal journal!

One of the big highlights of my time there was being the official live blogger! I live-tweeted the entire thing during the event and got to do a quick interview with the authors! Here's a video of a few of the questions---we had some "technical difficulties" so we missed the first part of it, and the sound is a bit low (LOL, it was my first time doing anything like this!). So turn up the volume and take a look :)
I also brought my best friend and pro photographer, Amy, with me to capture some cool pics! So, to show all the great shots she got of the event, I've made a little slideshow, featuring a song that will probably age me, but that I thought fit perfectly with the apocalyptic theme of Shatter Me, Under the Never Sky, and Eve! :D Some things to watch for:  invaded chocolates & and proof that authors know how to accessorize!
Find out more about the Dark Days Tour at Dark Days Central! I hope you all get a chance to catch one of these tour stops! They are a blast!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards: Author Reading, Trailer & Giveaway!

Have you heard about...
The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards?

Magic, Djinn, Ogres, and Sorcerers. Thirteen-year-old Zardi loves to hear stories about fantastical beings, long banned from the kingdom of Arribitha. But anyone caught whispering of their powers will feel the rage of the sultan—a terrifying usurper who, even with his eyes closed, can see all.
When her own beloved sister is captured by the evil ruler, Zardi knows that she must go to any lengths to rescue her. Along with her best friend, Ridhan—a silver-haired, violet-eyed boy of mysterious origins—and an unlikely crew of sailors led by the infamous Captain Sinbad, Zardi ventures forth into strange and wondrous territory with a seemingly impossible mission: to bring magic back to Arribitha and defeat the sultan once and for all.

*         *         *         *         *         *
I have a special treat for you!! The author has done a live exerpt reading from Chapter 1!
Take a listen:

Now check out the trailer! Pay close attention!!
It might win you a copy of this magical book!

You know you want a copy now!! :D
Fill out the form below for a chance to win

The Book of Wonders!

Entry Form Here

Visit Jasmine Richards:

web: www.jasminerichards.com
twitter: @JRichardsAuthor
facebook: bookofwonders

Saturday, January 14, 2012

In My Mailbox {100!!!}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren,
where we all share what we got during the week!

Welcome to my 100th IMM POST!!!

And quite befitting of the occasion--I had a pretty amazing book week---I might even go as far as to say it was epic!! And not just the books I got, but I went to a wonderful book event, met some fantastic authors and bloggers, was asked to be the official live blogger at that event (look for my recap post tomorrow), and got some awesome RAKs. All in all, I think it was the best "book week" I've ever had!

So here's what I got:

For Review (cont.):
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Green
Fever by Lauren DeStefano
So completely excited for all the books I got review this week! There was much squealing going on all week. Thank you, thank you, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster!

Dark Passage by M.J.Putney
From Elodie @ Once Upon a Quote! Thank you so much, dear!! :D
Crave by Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz
This one comes from a Mystery RAKer! No note was included in the amazon box---please let me know who you are so I can thank you properly! :)

Dream Life by Laura Mechling
Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Both of these I got for a donation to Kristi @ Story Siren wonderful cause to raise money for her little cousin, Kaylea. Thanks, Kristi!
Dreaming Awake by Gwen Hayes
Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne
Warped by Marissa Guibord
Snagged all three of these in the 4-for-3 deal at Amazon. The fourth is one that I lent out already, but I'll show it next week!

I hope you all had wonderful book weeks, too! Link me up!
I did also buy a bunch of books at the book signing, but I'll show you those in the event recap later!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dreaming of Book Giveaway Hop!

It's time for the second annual Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop!!
I've got a great giveaway for you!

Its a "YOU PICK TWO" giveaway! :D

Two winners will get to pick two books from this stack! Check it out:(Click the pic for a better view! )

First chosen winner will get first choice.
Contest Ends 1/19/12.
US only (sorry!!)
Fill out the FORM HERE!

Don't forget to check out the rest of the giveaways!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dark Days of Winter 2012!!

The Dark Days are almost here! Are you ready?

I am so excited to announce that I've been asked to be the official live blogger for the Dark Days stop in San Francisco on January 12, 2012!
I'll be live-tweeting the whole event so be sure to follow me @storiesweeties or check out the hashtag #pitchdarkdays at around 7PM PST! I am also super excited to get a few minutes with Tahereh, Ellen, and Veronica for a quick interview before the event, so look out for that in my event recap this weekend! And, please, if you are attending the San Fran event, come find me and say hello!!

More Dark Days Tour info:

Leg 1: Featuring Tahereh Mafi, Ellen Schreiber, & Veronica Rossi
Ellen Schreiber
Thursday, January 12th SAN FRANCISCO

Books, Inc. Opera Plaza, NYMBC event at 7pm

Friday, January 13th SAN DIEGO

Mysterious Galaxy, 7pm

Saturday, January 14th PHOENIX

Changing Hands, 4pm

Leg 2: Featuring Courney Allison Moulton, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows & Cynthia Hand

Thursday, February 16th


B&N Southlake, 5pm

Friday, February 17th AUSTIN

B&N Austin, 7pm

Saturday, February 18th HOUSTON

Blue Willow Book Shop, 4pm

Find out even more about the Dark Days event on Facebook:

Grab a Widget!

Check out Chapter Excerpts from the Dark Days Featured Titles!