Sunday, July 24, 2011

Temporary Sayonara of the Vlog Variety

Emphasis on the "temporary!" Sorry for the short notice, but you know how these things happen. See you all next month :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Published: Razorbill (August 23, 2011)
Pages: 421
Format: Hardcover
Series: Book 1
Source: Jamie picked this up for me at BEA (THANK YOU!)
GoodReads Summary: The first book in Richelle Mead's brand-new teen fiction series - set in the same world as Vampire Academy.

When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.

My Thoughts: Let me first start out by saying that I am beyond ecstatic to be back in this world. Last Sacrifice left me with a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth, given the way that one of my favorite characters was treated. I thought that Mead was giving the shaft and was really disappointed in the ending of the VA series.


I now take back any of the less than stellar things I may have thought about Last Sacrifice and should trust in the higher literary power that is Richelle Mead and the fact that IT IS ALL IN HER ALMIGHTY PLAN. I now beg her forgiveness.

While the transition from Rose's to Sydney's POV was difficult for me, after about 50 pages, I effortlessly slipped into Sydney's brain. Seriously, is there anyone Mead CAN'T write? Sydney is the total opposite of Rose Hathaway: uptight, prudish, naive, completely self-conscious, relies solely on logic and science. And yet, I totally believed this character. She was relateable. She, of course, wasn't entirely without flaws, but that's what makes Mead's characterization effing beautiful.

The storyline centered around Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian. I wasn't expecting it to be as vampire-centric as it was, but I am so glad it is. After the years long affair I had with VA, I'm not sure I'll ever be ready to give up the Moroi/Strigoi storyline. Good news: WE DON'T HAVE TO! Why give up writing about such a good thing? I was kept in suspense the majority of the time and there's lots of Adrian to keep me satisfied. He is as irresistable as ever and is ever-so-slowly showing us a deeper side to himself. Swoon to the umpteenth power.

As far as the romance? SLOW BURN. Similar to the first VA book, we get more of a backstory and character development than romance. There is a butterfly-inducing inkling of a "moment" interspersed in all the dramz and it's just enough to make me googly-eyed and YEARN for the next book. This series is going to be ginormous. My fear of venturing outside Rose Hathaway's POV was unwarranted. FEAR NOT, SKEPTICS.

And there's a cliffhanger that will make you question how you'll go on living until you get your hands on book 2. Which doesn't have a title or a cover yet. [EDIT: yes it does! But it didn't when I first scheduled this review. Sorry for that! ] if you'll excuse me, I have to go research human cryogenics so I won't have to suffer through the next year and can wake up happily on the release date of the next book.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Peek At My TBR (12): The Sequel Version

Disclaimer: these are books that I WANT to read and are on my TBR list, not books that I necessarily own (unfortunately!) And if I do have any of them on my shelf, I'll specify :)

A Peek At My TBR is a feature inspired by Waiting on Wednesday by Jill at Breaking the Spine and Books To Pine For by The Story Siren. I did WoW for awhile, but honestly, there's never only one book I'm "waiting" on. And a lot of the books that I "pine for" aren't just up-and-coming books. There's still a ton of oldies but goodies that I'm just now discovering or want to read soon, and I feel like thosedeserve some recognition as well as the fresh meat.

These sequels look phenomenal. Also, they show how amazing of a month March will be. Especially because it's my birthday month. These will undoubtedly soften the blow of adding yet another number to my age.

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
Published: March 1, 2012
YES, PLEASE. As you'll see tomorrow, I loved Bloodlines. It took a minute for me to get Rose out of my head and engulf myself into Sydney's voice, but OH MAN. This is good stuff, people. The covers, unfortunate as they may be, are not indicative of the epicness enclosed. Like with VA, I can only hope that with each book, the quality of the stories keep getting better. Plus... ADRIAN.

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Published: March 6, 2012
You show me someone who tells you they haven't been on pins & needles for this sequel after that brain-exploder of an ending to Delirium and I'll show you a dirty, rotten liar. While I'm not happy about the change in covers, I'll totally punch someone to get my hands on this book. SERIOUSLY, what was wrong with the original? It was simple, beautiful, and effective. Now we've got another pretty, scowling girl who looks like she will conquer the world. Though, I hope Lena does.

Perception by Kim Harrington
Published: March 2012
Clarity was an unexpectedly good book. It was EXCELLENT. Not to mention there was a whole lot of story packed into not so many pages, which was quite a feat in itself. I can['t wait to find out what happens to Clare next. And there's a bunch of boys who are wanting Clare's attention, all of whom are pretty om nom. Definitely excited to find out who she sinks her teeth into.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: Wildefire by Karsten Knight

Published: Simon & Schuster (July 26, 2011)
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Series: Book 1
Source: GalleyGrab
GoodReads Summary: Every flame begins with a spark.
Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

My Thoughts: Wildefire started off with a bang. A bang that was made by a fist meeting a face. I squealed in delight. I don't condone real life violence, but I'm all about the literary type, especially in the instance of a skeezy boyfriend and his mistress. Ashline was all sorts of badass (a la Ellie from Angelfire. LOVE.) and established her persona in a big way from the get go.

Hi, Karsten Knight. I'd like to commend you on writing a non-obnoxious heroine who always knows the wittiest, most hilarious thing to say at any given time. Thank you kindly and I'd like to buy you a root beer float for your troubles.

Guys, this book was fun.

Ash's scary sister, Eve? FUN (evil. But a little fun, sometimes. Mostly scary.)
Headmistress Riley? FUN. (Also, she likes tea. And doesn't talk to teens like they're children. SHE ROCKS.)
The super secret things that happen to a group of teenagers, about which I cannot say much because it'll spoil all sorts of surprises? WAY FUN. (For real. It takes awhile to actually get there, but it's worth it. And a bonus for second-person backstory experiences!)
Creatures of the bump-in-the-night variety? FUN! (And nightmarish, according to the image in my head.)

And no kick-butt heroine would be complete without a counterpart that is cute, laid-back, and delightfully intriguing. Colt Halliday is quite the dish when it comes to male love interests.

My only teeny tiny complaint? I already knew what Ash was (I thought it was pretty obvious!) and it took her 300ish pages, give or take a few, to find out exactly who she is. But don't worry, that all went to heck when that crash-boom-blam of an ending threw me for a loop. Oh, hello, didn't see that one coming. Amazing set up for the following book.

Monday, July 18, 2011

In My Mailbox (31)

IMM is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren!

Like I mentioned before, I'm totally on a book buying ban until August. But Mr. Jen decided to lighten up a bit on the book ban and take me to Half Price Books, where I treated myself to four clearance books! (Seriously, they're SO cheap that they hardly even count as purchases.)

For Review
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
The Power of Six by Pitticus Lore
The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Uninvited by Amanda Marrone (50 cents!)
Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis ($2.00!)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling($2.00!)
The Host by Stephenie Meyer ($3.00!)

All in all, a pretty awesome week for me.

I hate that I've been gone so much, but you guys. It's summer. I've actually had the opportunity for a social life! Therefore, I have little time for blogging, unfortunately. But the good news is, I've been reading like a crazy person. I'm probably only going to be posting sporadically for the rest of the summer, because I have a Vegas vacation coming up and it's going to be FANTASTICAL!

Hope everyone's doing amazing!

OH, and I forgot to mention before that I'm the Friday blogger for Harmony's Totally Booksessed youtube channel. I'll be embarrassing myself weekly with strange facial expressions and odd phrases for your viewing pleasure!

Your Makeshift Bookmarks (12)

Your Makeshift Bookmarks is derived from two things: a) my obvious blog name and tendency to use inane objects to mark my pages. And b) Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner's inspiration (and suggestion!) to start a blog feature where you all can show off the awesome, random crap you use for bookmarks.

And by the way, if you're interested in recording a vlog or doing a photo post for YOUR makeshift bookmarks, shoot me an email at makeshiftbookmark at gmail dot com and I'll be glad to feature you! You don't have to be a blogger, this is open to readers, too!

Tara from Fiction Folio graces us with her presence today. This is a momentous occasion because I love Tara. Not only that, but she was one of my very first blogger friends. Not only THAT, but I got to meet her at The Dark Days of Supernatural and she is effing fabulous. All right then, let's get started!

First off, nicely done on getting the boy to cook you dinner. Second, I love your shirt. Where did you get it? Third, high-five on the no dog earing AND no dirty crusty food books! So now that Tara has unleashed her adorableness all over my blog, I think it's high time you follow her. You know you want to! Head on over to Fiction Folio and see what other awesomeness that Tara brings <3

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review: Mercy by Rebecca Lim

Published: Hyperion Books (May 17, 2011)
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Series: Book 1
Source: ARC from publisher
GoodReads Summary:
Mercy has lost herself. She can’t count how many times she’s “woken up” in a new body, and assumed a new life, only to move on again and again. During the day she survives in the human world on instinct and at night her dreams are haunted by him. Mercy’s heart would know him anywhere. But her memory refuses to cooperate.

But this time is different. When Mercy wakes up she meets Ryan, an eighteen year old reeling from the loss of his twin sister who was kidnapped two years ago. Everyone else has given up hope, but Ryan believes his sister is still alive. Using a power she doesn’t fully comprehend, Mercy realizes that Ryan is right. His sister is alive and together they can find her. For the first time since she can remember, Mercy has a purpose; she can help. So she doesn’t understand why the man in her dreams cautions her not to interfere. But as Ryan and Mercy come closer to solving the dark mystery of his sister’s disappearance, danger looms just one step behind.

Will Mercy be able to harness her true self and extraordinary power in time?

My Thoughts: I went into Mercy expecting darkness. After all, take a look at that cover. DARKNESS, I say. Not only was I given darkness, but HOT DANG, people. Rebecca Lim is a very talented writer. It flows smoothly and beautifully, yet it's easy to read.

I felt bad for Mercy. She's shoved into all these different bodies, different lives, with no knowledge of who she is, how to act, or why she's been implanted into this particular person. Her spark is one aspect that I loved about her. No matter how meek or passive her host body was previously, she didn't care. She did what she wanted to do. It was kind of like being in someone else's super fancy car and driving it like a maniac, just because you can. But that's another thing, Mercy actually CARED about the bodies she inhabited. She was selfless, most of the time, and the things she did were to the advantage of said body.

Things I wanted more of:

ROMANCE. Sure, there were little hints here and there, but none of them actually came to fruition for me. I am willing to forgive this, because it is the first book and there's so much more to be told. Luc? Ryan? I need to know much more about both of them in order to form solid opinions about ANYTHING in the romance department. Also, I must request more kissing. Please.

RESOLUTION. Again, I know it's the first book. And the mystery at hand was wrapped up rather nicely, but I have so many more questions that I need answered. I really am looking forward to the next book to find out more about Luc and the "Eight."

I also would've listed ACTION, but the ending was pretty solid. I definitely got what I was looking for as far as page-turning, I just wish it hadn't taken 250 pages to get there. There was a lot of introspection within Mercy, yet I still don't feel like I KNOW her as I should. And I'm really wanting to learn the "WHY?" of it all.

All in all, I did enjoy this read, but I'm looking for some answers in book two.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Published: Razorbill (October 18, 2007)
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Series: No
Source: ARC rec'd from Big Honcho Media
GoodReads Summary:
Clay Jenkins returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, —his classmate and crush— who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’'s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

My Thoughts: You're a windup toy. Some nasty little child (or adult. Hey, I'm not judging your choice of toy) turns your key and sends you on a one-way trip towards the edge of a cliff. You can't alter your path. You can't turn around. You can't fall down. You are on auto-pilot to ultimate destruction. You're pretty much freaking useless and you can't do anything but keep on trucking towards something you know is going to hurt a whole heck of a lot.

Reading this book is pretty similar to that sense of impending doom.

Thirteen Reasons Why is told from alternating points of view. Hannah's story told in italics, with Clay giving commentary and his own story in normal font. I had some difficulty at first keeping both of their stories straight. I wanted to read all of Hannah's or all of Clay's first. Once the story began unraveling, that didn't matter anymore.

This story hit me hard. Not just as someone who's experienced her share of being ridiculed (who hasn't?) But also as someone who has gossiped and thought nothing of it. Not even doing it with malicious intent, but for the sake of something to talk about. Regardless of intention, gossip hurts. Bullying hurts. No matter how harmless you think that passing on that rumor or sharing that secret may be, you're wrong. It was so easy to watch Hannah spiral downward as a result of something that kids, teens, and adults do every day.

This book has changed my entire perspective about supposed harmless gossip or talking behind one's back. Changed my life, even. And to imagine the guilt that each and every one of those 13 people felt after hearing that tape? IT'S CRAZY. I wanted so badly to tell Clay that everything was going to be okay and it'll get easier, but something like that is likely to haunt a person for the rest of their lives.

Thirteen Reasons Why is an intense and completely haunting read. There were moments where I was rendered slack-jawed because I had no other way of expressing the emotions I felt. For real, this book made me cry. Read this if you want one of those books that really, really make you reconsider yourself and everything you know.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Your Makeshift Bookmarks (11)

Your Makeshift Bookmarks is derived from two things: a) my obvious blog name and tendency to use inane objects to mark my pages. And b) Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner's inspiration (and suggestion!) to start a blog feature where you all can show off the awesome, random crap you use for bookmarks.

And by the way, if you're interested in recording a vlog or doing a photo post for YOUR makeshift bookmarks, shoot me an email at makeshiftbookmark at gmail dot com and I'll be glad to feature you! You don't have to be a blogger, this is open to readers, too!

Heidi from YA Bibliophile is here today, sharing all the fabulous things she uses for bookmarks. Heidi is awesome and I know this firsthand because we met at the Dark Days of Supernatural stop in Chicago. She's so much fun to talk to and I'm super stoked that she wanted to do a vlog for me :)

I love that she uses hair instruments for her bookmarks. Honestly, I've done the same thing. Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures, I suppose? Make sure you stop by her blog HERE and follow her! She's fantastic and trust me, you will want her as a friend <3

Heidi wants one lucky person to win her big stack of bookmarks, swag, and temporary tattoos. Please leave your name and email in the comments by Sunday, July 17. I'll choose a winner on July 18 and pass your info over to Heidi, who will then send out a nice stack of swag for you.

And, of course, by entering this contest, you are automatically agreeing to my contest/privacy policy.

Just leave your name and email in the comments below.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In My Mailbox (30)

IMM is hosted by The Story Siren.

Well, it's been a few (okay, several) weeks for IMM for me. And with good reason! As of two weeks ago, I'm on a book buying ban until August. I kind of dropped an inordinate amount at a certain semi-annual sale from a certain store and promised my husband that I would chillax on the books. Especially because we're going to Vegas at the end of this month, so I'll need as much money as possible to dominate the blackjack tables. At any rate, as evidence below, I'm adhering to my ban rather nicely.

For Review
Darkhouse by Karina Halle
Fury by Elizabeth Miles
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Vanish by Sophie Jordan
The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegan
Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison
Blood by KJ WIgnall

Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston (HUGE thanks to Chrystal from Snowdrop Dreams of Books!)
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (in the amazing UK cover, thanks to Carla from The Crooked Shelf!)
Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver (again, thanks to the beautiful Carla!)
Graveminder by Melissa Marr (SIGNED, because Pam from Bookalicious is an effing rockstar.)
Plain Kate by Erin Bow (much thanks and love to my dear friend Lynn from Bringing the Epic!)

Huge thanks to all my blogger friends, NetGalley, Egmont, HarperTeen, Simon & Schuster, and Henry Holt!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Where I've Been...

I spent the holiday weekend floating in an amazing swimming pool, drenched in chlorine water and sunshine, surrounded by cocktails with my favorite people. The blog has been taking a backseat, for obvious reasons, and will for the next several days.

My husband and I work completely opposite schedules and he actually has the week off as a break from summer school. I'm totally taking advantage of this. Again, blog = not a top priority in the name of love. These opportunities don't come around very often and if I get a chance to spend mornings with Mr. Jen instead of blogging, then damnit I'm going to!

See you guys soon :)