Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cover Reveal: Options by Abbi Glines

Hey guys! Today I am revealing the cover for Abbi Gline's latest novel, OPTIONS. It is a YA urban fantasy, and  a first book in a new trilogy. It is to be released on February 5, 2013! Here is the cover!

Book Description:
"Two paths. Two completely different roads. Each one standing before me. Each one holding a different destiny. In life you're just supposed to choose one path.  In life you're not given the chance at choosing one specific future. Until now. Until me.  Why am I different? I don't know. But I'm going to see those roads and walk down each one. When it's over I'll know which one to choose because I'll know my - options."

Isn't it just GAAWW-JUS? What do you think about this cover? I love the complementary colors on this cover: the green background and then the contrasting red title words. It's very mysterious with the door at the far end of the forest tunnel, I think. And the girl is beautiful!

This cover was designed by Stephanie Mooney at Mooney Designs.

Make sure you add it to your to-read list! And happy reading!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

"When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse enclosed by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them, open. Every night they are closed tight. And that every 30 days a new boy is delivered in the lift.
Thomas was expected. Only the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. 
Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets that are buried within his mind."

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Release Date: October 6, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
Pages: 374, Hardcover

Guys. Guys.

I read this book about a year and half ago, before I remotely even knew about the blogging world. I picked it up simply because my friend told me to read it. And I did. And I LOVED IT. Reading it the second time, I love this book just. As. Much. There is still the non-stop action, intensity, and sheer AWESOMENESS of it all. So. FREAKING amazing y'all.

Everything was perfect for me in this book: the world building, the characters, and of course, the cliffhanger endings at the end of each chapter. I absolutely canNOT wait to continue with the series. The Maze Runner is a unique dystopian that will not leave readers disappointed.

First, the world-building. It's incredible. The fact that the main character, Thomas is inserted into the world of the Glade with no memory of his past is a perfect setup for the readers. As Thomas learns more and more about his new world, it's as if the readers are learning right alongside him. And there is so much detail! James Dashner sure did a fantastic job creating this distinctive world. It definitely stands out.

Next up, the characters. James Dashner was easily able to portray each character's thoughts expertly. I was able to understand very well of what each character was going through; whether it be stress, loss, hope, I got it. I really, really loved Newt & Chuck. Even though they may not be the brightest of the lot, they have a special place in my heart for being there for Thomas.

Lastly, the cliffhanger chapters. Mr. James Dashner is a clever, clever man. He does this thing, called CLIFFHANGERS. At the end of literally, EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER. It's not frustrating, nope, not at all. It freaking makes the reader keep on reading, and reading, and reading, until the last page is flipped. Now that's talent.

To sum it all up, The Maze Runner is a fast-paced dystopian that is a MUST for all dystopian lovers. If you love tension, LOTS of action and all that good stuff, The Maze Runner is NOT one you'll want to miss.

Grade: A+

Source: Library

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Weekly Book Haul (26)

Hey y'all! Not too many books this week, but they are all quite awesome! (All links lead to Goodreads)

*Hides in shame. I'm so good with this library book ban, right? Lol no.

Audiobook Library:
*Already read this one 2 years ago, but wanted to read again! :)

My Reading Pile (July 29-Aug. 4) hosted by Rachel @Fiktshun
Here we are... heading into the last month of summer. *cries* Last week was a pretty sloooow week for me, so I do hope to finish 1 or 2 more before July is officially over! Books I hope to read this week:
I'll probably be able to finish Thirteen Reasons Why very early in the week, and I'm about halfway through The Scorch Trials. After The Death Cure, I'd LOVE it if I can get a head start into The Kill Order!

What books did YOU get this week? I'd love to know, leave your links in the comments please! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

"After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined."
Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Pages: 416, Hardcover

I was really freaking scared to start this book.

Why? Well, obviously this book was hyped up to the MAX. Literally every review I read was "FIVE STARS FIVE STARS READ THIS BOOK NOW." Thankfully, I was very satisfied with Sarah's masterpiece. I certainly understand why everyone was in love with this one: the action, characters, romance, intensity, mystery, and more! However, there's just this one thing that brought my love for this book down a notch: the pacing in the beginning that was supposed to grab my attention.

First, though, let's talk characters. Every character was so, so unique and important, even the background characters. They all somehow intertwined into the story, making themselves significant. . Celaena is one kick-ass heroine everyone is sure to love. She's bold, strong, and smart. Everything I love about a female character! And then there's Chaol. I loved him from the start. He is always, always, always at Celaena's side. Surprisingly, I didn't find it annoying at all. Instead, I found it heart-warming, and yes, even if he IS a guard, I don't know, it just made me love him that much more. And Dorian. At first, I really, really, despised Prince Dorian. From my point of view, he was just a bratty, arrogant player. But now… I kind of really like him. I'm still a bit undecided on which "team" I'm on. Guess we'll just have to find out what happens in book two, eh? ;)

Next, the elements that were thrown in expertly into this novel. We've got action, mystery, romance, fantasy, everything that makes a reader a happy cookie. All of these were mixed in very well and I can say that I would LOVE to see more. The action kept me on the edge of my seat; the romance had my heart thumping a million beats a minute; and the mystery had my skin crawling. Everything was great.

Then there's that pacing in the beginning that I didn't like. Throne of Glass was hard to get into. For sure, it definitely lagged, and I had to push myself through, telling myself, "The good part is coming soon, I can feel it!" It was quite detailed and just slow in general.

But aside from that minor defect, Throne of Glass is a wild ride you won't want to miss, filled with tension, a murder mystery, a sweet romance, and much, much more. I cannot wait to see more from Sarah J. Maas.

Grade: A

Source: Publisher via Netgalley--Thank you so much, Bloomsbury! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Waiting On: Alice In Zombieland by Gena Showalter

"She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.
Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.
Her father was right. The monsters are real….
To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies…."


Title: Alice In Zombieland
Author: Gena Showalter
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN

Y'all. Y'all. 

I've been hearing AMAZING things about this one, and it just looks so so great. And the cover is just so puurrttty. I haven't read anything by Gena yet, but I like really really have to. 

What are you guys waiting on? Leave me links and I'll stop by your blog. :)
*Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at BtS.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Weekly Book Haul (25)

This week was full of awesome. Like actually. (All links lead to Goodreads):

*I got The Kill Order last week from Netgalley, so I figured that it would be good to read them first. And this series was part of my Summer To-Read List! :)

Won (ish):
*My library had a Summer Reading Program and you got a free book when you read 7 books. Technically I picked Finnikin of the Rock, and I made my sister choose Unwind. :)

*EEEEPPP. Thank you so much St. Martin's Press, Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarlequinTEEN, and Netgalley! 

Audiobook Library:
*I finished the first one earlier in the week, I decided to continue! Love this series!

For Review (Blog Tour)
*GUYS. My first blog tour EVARRR. I'm so excited. Thank you Jaime & Tara! Sign-Ups are closed, but you can check out the post here! Thanks Shane for hosting it!

My Reading Pile (July 22-28) hosted by Rachel @Fiktshun
July is ending too soon! Here is what I hope to read this week:

Speak was on my original TBR pile list, so I'm still going strong and following it. I need to start The Maze Runner series, since The Kill Order is out in a couple of weeks and I need to read the whole series before posting my review. 

What books did you get this week? What's in your reading pile?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting On: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

"The story of a girl named Chelsea Knot who takes a voluntary oath of silence after her gossip-mongering ways yield unexpected consequences…
Say she’s sorry isn’t enough."


Title: Speechless
Author: Hannah Harrington
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN

The synopsis given is quite short. Nonetheless, I'm still excited. It sounds pretty emotional if you ask me. And I really enjoyed Hannah's debut novel, Saving June. I loved her writing and I can't wait to see more of it! And that cover is so freaking simple & beautiful it kills me.

What are you waiting on? Leave me links and I'll come and stop by! :D
*Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at BtS

Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

"Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever. 
BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally. 
But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after. 
With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?"
Title: The Catastrophic History of You and Me
Author: Jess Rothenberg
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Pages: 375, Hardcover

I was five pages in when The Catastrophic History of You and Me drew me in. In that instant, I knew I had already fallen in love with this book.

I went into this one not expecting too much. All I knew was that it would be cute, light read about love and a broken heart. And maybe some grief along the way. However, after completing the book, THE CATASTROPHIC HISTORY OF YOU AND ME became one of my favorite contemporary/paranormal novels. It was definitely cute for sure, but it wasn't exactly light the entire time. It was heartfelt and tender, as well as profound and beautiful. Jess Rothenberg has truly blown me away with such a intangible and delightful read with entertaining characters and fabulous imagination.

I love how the story started off with a bang. Death. In the beginning. We readers don't see that too often. Brie dies of heartbreak, and she pretty much goes up in heaven to meet Patrick, a Resident Lost Soul. Throughout the story, she goes through the 5 stages of grief and eventually recovers and learns that who she thought she was meant to be with is actually the wrong person.

The characters were, like I mentioned before, entertaining. Brie was so absolutely hilarious, I totally want a friend like Brie in my life. Her sarcasm is the type that I like, and I found myself cracking up on nearly every page. Patrick was so, so sweet. I was devastated when he was gone for part of the book. And HAMLOAF. <3

I also really enjoyed the paranormal aspect into the story. While I consider this book more of a contemporary, it's definitely a but paranormal because of the ghosts, zooming through heaven and earth, and Angel Island as well. It's a bit reincarnation, too. I reveled in all of the awesome creativity put into the story.

Despite the length of The Catastrophic History of You and Me, I flew through it, and before I knew it, I was done, satisfied, and wanting more. If you're looking for cute love story that is quite emotional, this is the perfect book. I will read anything by Jess Rothenberg now.

Grade: A+

Source: Library


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Weekly Book Haul (24)

I didn't get TOO much this week, but they are ALL. SO. AWESOME!

*cringes* I don't even know if I'll get to this one but it was all pretty on the new shelf and I couldn't help myself.

Bought (Amazon Kindle):
*HarpterTeen is having Epic Deals! 

From Netgalley:
*Thanks to Random House and St.Martin's Press! (major squealing and bouncing off the walls were involved upon approval of these titles.)

My Reading Pile (July 14-July 20) hosted by Rachel @Fiktshun
I hope to finish listening to Glass Houses by Rachel Caine sometime this week, it's quite a long audiobook! I want to start the next one in the series. I also want to read The Catastrophic History of You and Me (back on the pile) and The Princesses of Iowa. Possibly start Unwind.

What did YOU get this week? What's on your reading pile? 
Feel free to leave links and I will stop by your blog and comment! :)
Happy reading, everyone!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

""I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.
So wrong for each other...and yet so right.
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again."

Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Pages: 384, Hardcover

"'Because growing up means making tough choices, and doing the right thing doesn't necessarily mean doing the thing that feels good.'"-Pushing the Limits (quoted from eARC, not final)

All 384 pages of this lovely book was worth it.

Not only did PUSHING THE LIMITS contain a steamy romance, it was able to capture the depth of two problematic teens who are just trying to find normal. I felt everything in this book: anger, love, loss, hope, and so much more. The plot, humorous writing, and the characters DEFINITELY will grab hold of the reader's attention until all 384 pages are consumed.

The plot was strong and intricate. I don't think there is a thing that I didn't enjoy about the plot. The way Noah & Echo met, worked together, and later, their relationship. Although the pacing wasn't incredibly fast, it still kept me flipping pages (er, tapping on my Kindle). The conflicts that interfered were perfect and purposeful; it was easy to follow along.

THE WRITING! I LOVED Katie McGarry's writing style! It was really comical and amusing, and I definitely highlighted a lot of lines in the story, because they are just KEEPERS.

" 'Are you ready to take the ACT on Saturday?' my father asked. Did chickens enjoy being put on trucks labeled KFC? 'Sure'." -Pushing the Limits (quoted from eARC, not final).

And, best for last, the characters. Oh lord, the characters. Can I just say that I adored just about every single character? They were all extremely different but I loved them all the same! Echo and Noah were so emotionally damaged, but their process of healing was so beautiful to watch. And their freaking relationship. TORE ME TO PIECES I LOVED IT SO MUCH. One of *the* steamiest relationships I have ever read (McGarry is the queen of steamy)! Beth and Isaiah were hilarious. Well, Isaiah was. Jacob & Tyler, I JUST WANT TO KIDNAP YOU GUYS they are so adorable. The characters really kept me going in this book.

Ultimately, PUSHING THE LIMITS is one flawless contemporary novel that has deserved a spot on my favorite books of 2012. This is one EVERYONE should pick up, for the intriguing characters,  endearing romance, witty writing, and fantastic plot.

Grade: A+

Source: Publisher via Netgalley--Thanks so much Harlequin TEEN! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Waiting on: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

"For fans of Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided. A political rebellion ignited. A love that was meant to last forever.
Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself. "


Title: Mystic City
Author: Theo Lawrence
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Random House Children's Books

This whole book looks awesome. A mix of some sick dystopians, and that COVER. Wow, talk about intriguing. 

What are you waiting on? :D 
Leave links below! 
*Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at BtS

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review: The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee

"Sixteen-year-old Rinn Jacobs has secrets: One, she’s bipolar. Two, she killed her grandmother. 
After a suicide attempt, and now her parents' separation, Rinn and her mom move from California to the rural Ohio town where her mother grew up. Back on her medications and hoping to stay well, Rinn settles into her new home, undaunted by the fact that the previous owner hanged herself in Rinn's bedroom. At school, her classmates believe the school pool is haunted by Annaliese, a girl who drowned there. But when a reckless séance goes awry, and terrible things start happening to her new friends—yet not to her—Rinn is determined to find out why she can’t be "touched" by Annaliese...or if Annaliese even exists. 
With the help of Nate Brenner, the hunky “farmer boy” she’s rapidly falling for, Rinn devises a dangerous plan to uncover the truth. Soon reality and fantasy meld into one, till Rinn finds it nearly impossible to tell the difference. When a malevolent force threatens the lives of everyone she cares about--not to mention her own--she can't help wondering: who should she really be afraid of?
Annaliese? Or herself?"
Title: The Unquiet
Author: Jeannine Garsee
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 388, Hardcover

The Unquiet reminded me a lot of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

Kind of.

Besides the ghosts and all that in this novel, there was definitely that psychological thriller aspect in there. Yes, the ghost-part was a little scary, but no, the psyc.-thriller part wasn't as awesome as Mara Dyer. In fact, The Unquiet left me really, really disappointed. Furthermore, the novel was way too stretched out for me, and I think it could've been shorter. Or maybe that's just me, wanting the story to be over.

The characters completely fell flat for me. None of them stood out. I didn't like Rinn, the main character, because I just couldn't connect. Sure, she was different than most characters because she is bipolar and almost committed suicide, but okay. Alrighty. Now what? And at first, I liked Nate (the love interest) a lot but then I just grew really bored of him. And all of Rinn's "friends"? Shaaalllooww. Why would you ever be friends with them?

Also, the concept didn't even make much sense. There was a LOT of things going on. I understand that it had the psychological thriller-type thing going, and the point is to blow your mind, but some areas just could have been elaborated more. For example, the Voice(s). It was pretty much described in one sentence. And the shadows. I would have loved to hear more of the history behind that.

Lastly, the ending was just disappointing. UM, HELLO. Isn't the conclusion of a novel supposed to be AWESOME since it's kind of what the reader remembers? Well, in this case, it just kind of ended for me. They were supposed to figure out the whole ghost business. They did, but in a way that I wasn't expecting (in a bad way). I was expecting so much more EPIC from it. The build up and tension right before the conclusion was so great, and then it sky-dived suddenly into a shallow pit that left me extremely disappointed.

The ONLY reason why I could finish this book was the creepiness. Yes, I do love me some creep-factor! I was pretty scared. Yeah, I liked it. It kept me up on my toes, and the suspense was really heavy at some points!

In the long run, The Unquiet was a shudder-some novel that wasn't exactly for me, simply because the characters didn't stand out, the concept left me perplexed, and the result fell short of my expectations.
Nonetheless, if you like creepy ghost and thriller-type novels, I'd recommend giving this one a try.

Grade: C+

Source: Publisher via Netgalley--thank you Bloomsbury! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

"When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.
T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends. 
Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man."

Title: On the Island
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
Release Date: (Re-Release:August 16, 2012 PB) September 3, 2011
Publisher: (Re-Release: Penguin/Plume)
Pages: 368, Paperback

Wow, you guys, seriously. One of the MOST. Phenomenal books I have read this year.

Read it.

But actually, the entire premise was breathtaking and engrossing. The whole time! I don't think I've ever read so long at a time. (3-4 hours straight? Yeah, I think so.) I was captivated because the dangers and adventures that T.J. and Anna went through was just extremely intense. I loved it. And it's inspiring. So, so inspiring.

I would like to let everyone know that this is not a YA novel. It's targeted toward Women's fiction (I'm pretty sure), but it does have YA crossover appeal. I had no problem reading it, since one of the main characters start out as a 16 year-old boy.

ON THE ISLAND is not your typical read. At first, reading the synopsis, I was a little… disappointed. Another story about a plane crash, and getting stranded on the island? First thoughts: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. But still, I went on with it and boy was I wrong. The growth of Anna and T.J.'s relationship was beautiful. I was reluctant about their romance as well, but then I thought about it and it kind of just seemed.. Natural after awhile. I would be pretty darn close to someone if I were stuck on the island with them for 4 years, too. In the end, it was all perfect and myheartjustdied. In a good way.

Pretty much what I'm saying is, go read this book. I clearly have a hard time writing a decent review for miraculous books. And this one was just beyond miraculous. Exceeded my expectations.

Grade: A+

Source: Publisher via Netgalley--Thank you Penguin Group! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Review: Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

"Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice,until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places."
Title: Liesl & Po
Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 307, Hardcover

What an amazing middle grade! I don't usually read middle grades, but since this one was from Lauren Oliver, and I had heard so many wonderful things about it, I decided that I had to pick it up. And I'm so glad that I did! There were so many aspects that I loved about this story; the characters, the magical-ness, and the story-blending. The story simply leaves the reader yearning and wanting more.

The story starts off with many different characters. Liesl, a little girl in the attic. Will, a little boy who is an apprentice to the Alchemist. Po & Bundle, ghosts from the Otherside that only Liesl can see. The Alchemist, known to make magic. A box of magic and a box of ashes becomes an ongoing problematic chase. Each character's story somehow blends together and their issues seem to mix and the outcome of it is a very powerful and enchanting story.

The characters were so fabulous! Liesl, Will, Po, and Bundle work so well together as a team. I loved how Will and Liesl met--two orphans who crossed paths, in hiding. Of course, I loved the evil villains, they were very evil indeed, just how I like them. And Mo! We can't forget about him! Let's just say, even if he isn't the brightest, he has the biggest heart.

The plot was very well-paced. The introduction to each character was great, their own stories so unique. And Lauren Oliver did such an outstanding job of slowly intertwining their anecdotes together! I was astounded and very content with the story-blending.

Lo and behold, the magical-ness! This story certainly brought me back to the days of endless fairytales and magic. It was so wonderful to read a light story for children again. This story left me a bit nostalgic.

Assuredly, LIESL & PO is a middle grade you won't want to miss out on. It's adorable, with characters that will make you want to join the adventure. It will surely leave readers wanting more MG from Lauren Oliver!

Audiobook Performance: *applauds Jim Dale* Once again, this narrator is just professional and keeps the listener engrossed in the story with great narrating.

Grade: A

Source: Online Library (Audiobook)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Weekly Book Haul (23)

I got some freaking awesome books this week! =)

Bought (from Amazon Kindle)
*I'm not sure if these deals are still available, but you should go check! :)

*I know, I KNOW. I'm terrible. 

*Thank you so, SO much Scholastic!

My Reading Pile (July 8-July 14) hosted by Rachel @Fiktshun.

This week I plan to start Glass Houses by Rachel Caine! This is #1 in the Morganville Vampire Series. I cannot wait to dig in! I just finished Liesl and Po on audio, so I figured this one would be my next audio. I want to read The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee, as it is a Netgalley title and I need to get it done. I'd love to start Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry as well. I can't wait for that one!

What books did YOU get this week? What's in your reading pile? 

Review: Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire

"When plain and unpopular Annie Nutter gets zapped by one of her dad's whacked-out inventions, she lands in a parallel universe where her life becomes picture-perfect. Now she's Ayla Monroe, daughter of the same mother but a different father—and she's the gorgeous, rich queen bee of her high school.  
In this universe, Ayla lives in glitzy Miami instead of dreary Pittsburgh and has beaucoup bucks, courtesy of her billionaire—if usually absent—father. Her friends hit the clubs, party backstage at concerts, and take risks that are exhilirating . . . and illegal. Here she's got a date to lose her V-card with the hottest guy she's ever seen.
But on the inside, Ayla is still Annie.
So when she's offered the chance to leave the dream life and head home to Pittsburgh, will she take it?
The choice isn't as simple as you think."
Title: Don't You Wish
Author: Roxanne St. Claire
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 368, Hardcover

DON'T YOU WISH was certainly the perfect summer read. It doesn't exactly take place in the summer, but it has that fun, cute, easy-going vibe that represents summer. Not only did DON’T YOU WISH have the fabulous characters, adorable dialogue, and your not-so-average contemporary story, but the reader is able to walk away with an extremely important lesson.

Annie Nutter isn't exactly your average girl. In fact, she's below your average girl. She's a nobody at her school, along with her best friend Lizzie. Everyday, it seems, they dream to be part of the perfect,  popular crowd. Drowning in her misery with Annie is her mother, who is having second thoughts on her marriage. Annie's mom could've married a past boyfriend, a man who is very, very wealthy now, and lives the perfect life. Before Annie knows it, her wish just happens to come true, in a parallel universe…

The characters were so utterly fun to read about. For me, Annie Nutter in the beginning of the story seemed very immature, like a middle schooler (they are actually juniors in high school). But once she is transported to the other universe, her personality changes a little, and she definitely matures. I could definitely understand her need to be popular and perfect. I loved watching her development as she learns that being perfect isn't always the best. And Charlie, goodness, I need a Charlie in my life. He was so pure, those perfect boys who see girls as they are on the inside, not the outside.

The dialogue was one of my favorite things about the story. Roxanne St. Claire was able to capture my full attention to the story. And, while the book is a little lengthy, I found myself wanting to keep reading and reading and reading. Annie/Ayla's voice was very addicting and witty. I loved it!

Now, the creativity of the story. While DON'T YOU WISH is considered a contemporary novel, it definitely had a little twist added in--the notion of the parallel universe. I have never read anything like it before! I enjoyed the concept very much, and I thought that Roxanne did a fantastic job creating it. It was very believable.

The lesson I personally walked away with after completing the novel was: Accept your life as is. What you think you want may not be what is truly right for you. The so-called "perfect" life you see is most likely not perfect. Underneath the flawless structure, is actually a hurt, wounded tissue. Be thankful with what you have, because it could be worse.

Needless to say, DON'T YOU WISH is a captivating, charming, and delightful read that has earned it's spot in my favorite contemporaries of the year. The creativity of the story is one you won't want to miss!

Grade: A+

 Source: Publisher via Netgalley--thank you Random House! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

"It's 1941 and fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas is on Stalin's extermination list. Deported to a prison camp in Siberia, Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It's a long and harrowing journey and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?"
Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Philomel Books
Pages: 344, Hardcover

"Sometimes there is such beauty in awkwardness."-Between Shades of Gray, pg. 161 (paperback)

Um. Yeah.

I can't really talk right now. This book was absolutely amazing. Let's just list out some verbs that describe this book:

  • Captivating
  • Fascinating
  • Phenomenal
  • Outstanding
  • Inspirational

This book leaves you:

  • Breathless
  • Satisfied
  • Wanting more from Ruta!

This is a pretty crappy review, but what I'm saying is: GO READ THE BOOK. Right now. If you loved Night by Elie Wiesel, you'll love this one as well. Guys, I teared up. **Almost cried. My tears were about to legitimately roll down my face but then the moment was over because I was reading so fast and I couldn't stop since it was just so intense and now I can't stop rambling about how amazing this book is-----

Go read it.

P.S. I love Andrius. Like so much.

Grade: A+++

Source: Library (paperback)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Waiting on: MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza

"Pitched as a "Bourne Identity"-type sci-fi thriller about a teenage girl who discovers that she is a Mobile Intel Life-like Android, an experiment in artificial intelligence created by the U.S. government, and her scientist mother, who kidnapped her when she was found to have human emotions."


Title: MILA 2.0
Author: Debra Driza
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

This book looks so epic! I feel like it may be the next big thing in a couple of months... I mean look at the cover! It instantly drew me in. I always love me some sci-fi and thriller!

What are you waiting on?

*Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at BtS


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July TBR

Hey everyone! I've decided to start showing you guys what I'll be reading this month because I've found that I've gotten pretty good at following my TBR piles. I've been secretly making the list for these past couple of months now, but I was scared to post it because I was sure I wasn't going to follow it. :) But now that I'm pretty good at it, I've come to the conclusion to show you guys!

So July is pretty much Netgalley-catch-up month.

I've been getting so caught up with reading the Harry Potter series and library books that I kind of just.. abandoned the Netgalley pile. Well, more than 75% of my unread titles are released in July. So, I figured it was time to get to them.
*crossed off = done!

(Most likely in this order)

-Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Clair
-Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
-On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
-The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee
-Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
-Unwind by Neal Shusterman
-Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

It's 7 books, but I really hope it's doable. My dance classes start this month, and I'll be taking 15 classes a week. I KNOW. It's crazy. I'm SO going to get tired of my Kindle this month...

Anyway. That's my pile this month! Link me to your TBR! =)

Cover Reveal: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Hi everyone! As most of you know, J.K. Rowling has a NEW book out in the fall this year! And the cover was recently released for it, so I thought I would share with you guys!

"When Barry Fairbrother 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?
A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J. K. Rowling’s first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other."
Title: The Casual Vacancy
Author: J.K. Rowling
Release Date: September 27, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 512

It sounds pretty interesting, I am definitely planning on reading it!
My Thoughts on the Cover:
Awkward. I love the colors and all, but the overall appearance just doesn't appeal to me...

What do you think of this cover?

Monday, July 2, 2012

June Favorites 2012

June was a crazy month.

But my first couple weeks of summer have been AWESOME. So much reading, so little stress. :))

In the month of June, I read:

-Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)

-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)

-The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder 

-Saving June by Hannah Harrington

-Hourglass by Myra McEntire

-Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

-Timepiece by Myra McEntire

-A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young (audiobook)

-Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

-Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Favorite read of the month:
Between Shades of Gray & Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
(Something Like Normal came really close!)

Most Disappointing Read: 
The Probability of Miracles & Timepiece

LOOK AT DAT LIST. Ten books. TEN. I am on fire!! I really hope I can read that many next month. What did YOU guys read in June? What were your favorites? Leave links of your wrap-up posts in the comments below! =)

Happy reading!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

"When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero."

Title: Something Like Normal
Author: Trish Doller
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Pages: 214, Hardcover

I was beyond excited to find out that I had the opportunity to read Something Like Normal before the release date. But for some reason, I didn't read it until a week after it's publication date. And I totally regret doing that. This is a book you should pick up right now, simply for it's relatable characters, creative plot, and ingenious writing.

Something Like Normal isn't your average contemporary. We follow a 19 year-old man named Travis. He's broken-in and rough after his time served in Afghanistan. He doesn't exactly miss home when he returns, especially when nearly every night, he is haunted by Charlie's (his best friend during his time in Afghanistan) death. He isn't exactly excited about seeing his family, or Paige, his ex, either. But when he reunites with a girl from his pre-teen years, he find his life to be something like normal.

One of the (many) things I adored in this novel was the characters. Not only did I love reading the story from a male's perspective, but he was incredibly real and alive. I understood his actions and emotions very clearly, and I am inclined to say that I'm impressed to see that the author is a woman, because Trish Doller did such an amazing job thinking through a 19-year old man's mind. And I couldn't have asked for a better love interest. Harper was perfect; yes, as a couple, but also in the sense that she helped him live a somewhat more normal life than he had before. She mended him, and that's honestly all I needed to ask for.

Another factor I rooted for was the humor. I found myself cracking up because even though Travis was struggling through a lot of problems within his family and friends, he still had that charming & sarcastic sense of humor to keep everyone on their toes.

The plot was also very entertaining. It was drama-filled; and there was a variety of different pacing throughout the entire novel which I really appreciated. I most definitely had a smile of some sort at the end of each chapter. The only thing I wish could have changed in the novel was the length. I totally would have loved to get more Travis & Harper. =)

Trish Doller, you have crafted one of my favorite novels of the year, and I thank you for that. I loved hearing Travis's story and his growth. Everyone, this is a novel you will want to pick up and read for yourselves.

Grade: A+

Source: Publisher via Netgalley-- Thank you Bloomsbury for the review copy!