Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: Crash into You by Katie McGarry

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind. 

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look. But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other (GoodReads).

Crash into You (Pushing the Limits, #3)PEOPLE this companion novel to Pushing the Limits is just as fab as Dare You To. These books are fun and brimming with sexy dudes. What more could you ask for? Oh, thats right, a good story. Luckily, that exists in Crash Into You by Katie McGarry as well.

Originality: 4. This is basically "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel, plus street racing.
Absurdity: 2/10. This score reflects whether or not you get behind this almost insta-love, wrong side of the tracks story. I support it, but if you don't buy it, this book is going to be hard to swallow.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 9. ISAIAH! He is swoon- worthy. Get on board.
Level of Harry Potterness: 5. These books are saved from being pure guilty pleasures by the nuanced  way McGarry deals with the foster care system and teenagers in need of counseling. Snaps!!

This book comes out tomorrow- treat yo' self!

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy from Harlequin Teen. Happy reading followed. (We do not accept or receive compensation for eeviews at YAF and WS.)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

I know I read this as a kid, but a girl can only retain so much about intergalactic battles across years of sci-fi reading. Boyfriend's book club is reading this, and since I have unofficially joined so I can discuss with BF.... I jumped on the Ender's Game bandwagon.  In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister. 

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.
Originality: 8.  Even though plot aspects kept coming back to me, this story is unique and a world of its own.  There is not too much up front world builidng, but the story unravels though the introductions to each chapter and the quick moving plot.Absurdity: 7.  6 to 11 year olds do not talk like this.  My neighbor is 7.  He says things to me like "Did you just come from your car? "Why are you leaving your apartment?".   He even had trouble getting Trick or Treat out this Halloween.  Nevermind anything close to the stoic determination of Ender's internal monologue. Besides this, well did you note the part about intergalactic war? Just go with it.Level of Paranormal Romance: N/A.Level of Harry Potterness: 8.  This book is fast past, engaging, and keeps you guessing.  The story never gets bogged down in details and just keeps jumping ahead months and years and pulls you right along.  I am not a super fan of the very end ending, I think it actually brought out more plot holes then resolutions.  Without giving anything away, was I the only one who felt that way?I am very much looking forward to seeing the movie, and enjoyed this re read of a classic children's book.  Let's hope the movie doesn't disappoint! (cough cough Golden Compass....)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty
Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart. Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love. (GoodReads)

SIGH. They always get me when book publishers compare things to Graceling. I think GASP. could it be? (It isn't always. Some things are too good to be true). But here's hoping! Thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting Waiting on Wednesday, where we share soon-to-be-published books we are looking forwards to. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge is our WoW this week. What is yours?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: Ask The Passengers by A.S. King

Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother's pushiness and her father's lack of interest tell her they're the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn't know the passengers inside, but they're the only people who won't judge her when she asks them her most personal questions . . . like what it means that she's falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can't share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don't even know she's there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers' lives--and her own--for the better.

In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society's definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything--and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love. (GoodReads).

Ask The Passengers

Ask The Passengers by A.S. King made me feel sad and happy at once. I liked Astrid a whoooole lot, but am not sure if the happy outweighs the sad.

Level of Originality: 8. This is a book that explores LGBT teenage experiences alongside a little magic in the way Astrid can seemingly send love to the passengers in the sky. LOVE.

Level of Absurdity: 3.. This score doesn't represent Astrid or her high school experience; A.S. King does such a good job describing her and her life.

Level of Paranormal Romance: 5. Nothing paranormal, just lots of sweetness. And making out in walk in freezers. As a teenager I worked in a snack bar with a walk in freezer and I have to admit, these ladies are capitalizing on a natural asset. This romance is just what Astrid needed, since her best friends are suspect at times and her parents are THE WORST.

Level of Harry Potterness: 5. The sending of love that Astrid does is my favorite part of this book. To her dad and mom, but also the the planes overhead. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review: The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3)The epic conclusion to Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she's never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most (GoodReads).

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson was a satisfying conclusion to trilogy. Lets get to the review!

  • Originality: 5. I like this desert world and the magical aspects. Full on fantasy here, but it doesn't feel cribbed from George R.R. Martin or anyone else, so props to Carson!
  • Absurdity: 6. I have to say, Carson really expects you to bring your A game regarding her fantasy world-building. I felt like this book dropped you back into Elisa's world really fast, and I was confused by the vocab and who was who for a while. It came back to me, but if you like to reread books, it would help to revisit the first two before getting involved. (and as always, absurdity points for the troll-like Godstone in Elisa's belly button. YIKES).
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 6. Hector and Elisa know what they want (hint: each other) but sometimes they refuse to communicate. Grrrrr, people! If these lovebirds had just used their words, we could have had even more great romance. But even as it is, this was a satisfying relationship to read. I will always love Humberto best, but Hector has my vote for VIP smoldering solider any day.
  • Level of Harry Potterness: 6. This is a thoughtful series. Carson presents interesting questions about body image, faith, and what it means to be an independent adult. LIKE!
Want to know more about this series? BECAUSE YOU SHOULD. That is a natural feeling about good books. See my reviews of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, book one, and The Crown of Embers, book two.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Defy by Sara B. Larson

A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Defy (Defy, #1)Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect? (GoodReads).

Say it with me folks: "anything that rifts on Tamora Pierce's Lioness Quartet is a must read!" Defy by Sara B. Larson is due out in January.  And I will be eagerly waiting on it! What made your Waiting on Wednesday this week? A cheers of our whiskey sours to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting WoW!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Top Ten Covers We Wish We Could Redesign...Because They Hurt Our Souls

Happy Tuesday friends! Today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the fab The Broke and the Bookish, is dedicated to books we want to makeover (a la Stacy and Clinton, with just as much sass by more snacks). These books deserve better covers. Some because they are kickass but appear lame in their current binding, and some because we need to be able to read in public!

Dan Wells wins for most boring book covers. (Or his publishers. Probs not his fault). These books are great, but these covers are not exactly pushing boundaries. Also, did someone make Kira a white girl on the second cover? Bad news bears all around.


Good books that deserve better covers....because I would never want to pick these up as is....
                       ChimeUnearthly (Unearthly, #1)Defiance (Strange Angels, #4)

This entire series is the ultimate in terrible covers. Exhibit A, Exhibit B.
The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey, #3)The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #2)
And the truly bootleg. Did someone make this on their personal computer? It reminds me of the terrible photos in those computer photo-find in your favorite dive bar......I can't read this series for these ridic covers.

Evernight (Evernight, #1)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Stacking the Shelves: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Switching places has never been so much fun—or so romantic—in this real and endearing novel about two girls who share the same name.
Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure skater who choked during junior nationals and isn't sure she's ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she'd give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life. Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player who's been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she's playing the worst she's ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she's the lucky one. But it didn't occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It's not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you're someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

I am looking forwards to reading Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill, the newest book on my (digital) shelf this week. We received an ARC and are pretty jazzed. Do you all remember how adorable Meant to Be was!?! (If not, ta daaaaa here is my review). A big thanks to Tynga's Reviews for hosting Stacking the Shelves. Let us know what you got this weekend!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Movie Updates: Winter's Tale

Winter's TalePEOPLE!! I have been wanting to read Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin For.Ev.Er. And now it is going to be a gorgeous-looking movie. With Irish accents for bonus points. I love NYC, and I love magical realism. Somebody get me to the library!

New York City is subsumed in arctic winds, dark nights, and white lights, its life unfolds, for it is an extraordinary hive of the imagination, the greatest house ever built, and nothing exists that can check its vitality. One night in winter, Peter Lake, orphan and master-mechanic, attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side.
Though he thinks the house is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the love between Peter Lake, a middle-aged Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young girl, who is dying. Peter Lake, a simple, uneducated man, because of a love that, at first he does not fully understand, is driven to stop time and bring back the dead. His great struggle, in a city ever alight with its own energy and beseiged by unprecedented winters, is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature (GoodReads).
Who else wants to read this before the movie comes out? Lets do a group read!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Review: Night School by C.J. Daugherty

Night School (Night School, #1)Allie Sheridan’s world is falling apart. Her brother’s run away from home. Her parents ignore her. And she’s just been arrested.


This time her parents have had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to boarding school, far from her London friends. 

But at Cimmeria Academy, Allie is soon caught up in the strange activities of a secret group of elite students. When she’s attacked late one night the incident sets off a chain of increasingly violent events. As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, she finds out that nothing at Cimmeria is what it seems to be.

And that she is not who she thought she was.... (GoodReads)

Night School (Night School, #1)Night School by C.J. Daugherty is not what I thought it was either! I don't mean to give you spoilers or anything, but I waited for like 200 pages convinced this was going to turn out a la Hogwarts. I was waaayyy off base.

Originality: 4. This starts out with a street kid/boarding school/secret society mashup, which was great. But the love triangle (I know, I know, another one). Didn't do it for me.
Absurdity: 3. I didn't have to roll my eyes too much, because I am ok with the sort of secret society that Night School is.... (see how I kept the spoilers out? You're welcome.)
Level of Paranormal Romance: 6. Bad boy versus French hottie. Both fall for the new girl with no go reason. Per usual.
Level of Harry Potterness: 3. I really, really thought some wizards were arriving at any moment. That is laughably wrong! Besides the magic, this is just a regular book. Nothing mind-melting in the writing, but it is also not terrible, and I appreciated that.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Must-read Sequels

It is Tuesday! Which means it is time to join The Broke and the Bookish in Top Ten Tuesday. This week's list is dedicated to "Top Ten Sequels We Can't Wait To Get Our Hands On." Share your list below. We probs forgot something epic and need to be reminded :-).

1. Cress by Marissa Meyer, the third in the Lunar Chronicles Series. These books are each  better than the last.
2 and 3. Rebel Heart and Raging Star, the second and third books in the Dust Lands Series, which I imagine will be as equally epic as Blood Red Road.
                   Rebel Heart (Dust Lands, #2)Raging Star (Dust Lands, #3)
4. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, book three of the Grisha Series. This series reminds me of the Graceling books in the best way possible.
5. Ruins by Dan Wells. Book three of the Partials series!
6.The One by Kiera Glass, book three in The Selection series. A guilty pleasure read, but one Crazy Camper is really enjoying.
                                           Hollow City (Miss Peregrine, #2)
7. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. Whhhhaaaaaattt!? So cool.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Review: The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #2)
This COVER. I die.
Not in the good way.
In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice. 

After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as "normal" as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for-his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he's forbidden to see her again. 

But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, "normal" simply isn't to be. For Ethan's nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan's and Keirran's fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan's next choice may decide the fate of them all (GoodReads).

Guys, I think I need to let these books go. The Iron Traitor was hard for me to get through. But then, in literally the last pages.... Kagawa always does this THING and something outrageous happens and I think, "well, now I need to see the next book......."

Originality: 8. This high score reflects the fact that this series (or the first Iron Fey series it grew from) was my first entree into the crazy world of fairy books..... I am staying true.
Absurdity: 8. Insta-love, kids with cancer, thugs, and warring fairies, quests.... it goes on and on.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 5. The Ethan Chase love stuff is ok by me (tough guy falls for good girl, turns mushy on the inside) BUT the Keirran love stuff (giving away his soul for that bland summer fairy) makes me want to throw my Nook. Eye roll, and lets move on......
Level of Harry-Potter-ness: 3. There is not a lot of good stuff that I can say about this book, but thankfully Puck shows up for a while, to be hilarious. (Unfortunately I feel weird-ed out by his perpetual teen-ness, but its better than having nothing good to say)! 

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy from Harlequin Teen. Happy reading followed. (We do not accept or receive compensation for eeviews at YAF and WS.)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Review: Infinityglass by Myra McEntire

Why are all these teens so confident/in love/sexy? This is a world remarkably free of teen angst. Its weird. But so are time-travel theories, and that is also here in spades. Why am I quibbling? Lets get down to reviewing Infinityglass by Myra McEntire.

Infinityglass (Hourglass, #3)The stakes have risen even higher in this third book in the Hourglass series.

The Hourglass is a secret organization focused on the study of manipulating time, and its members — many of them teenagers -­have uncanny abilities to make time work for them in mysterious ways. Inherent in these powers is a responsibility to take great care, because altering one small moment can have devastating consequences for the past, present, and future. But some time trav­elers are not exactly honorable, and sometimes unsavory deals must be struck to maintain order.

With the Infinityglass (central to understanding and harnessing the time gene) at large, the hunt is on to find it before someone else does.

But the Hourglass has an advantage. Lily, who has the ability to locate anything lost, has determined that the Infinityglass isn't an object. It's a person. And the Hourglass must find him or her first. But where do you start searching for the very key to time when every second could be the last? (GoodReads)

Originality: 7. Space-time continuum shenanigans! People withe the 'time gene.' It is all fun stuff.

Absurdity: 6. There are one too many cackling bad guys in here for e. and THEN the much instalove......
Level of Paranormal Romance: 10. Hourglass is basically a paranormal beautiful-people match-making service. Somebody sign me up! As I told Crazy Camper:  "on the subway i was listening to Taylor Swift while reading about paranormal teens with feelings for each other....and my brain almost exploded." At least one character acknowledged this aspect of the book....I felt validated. a bit.
Level of Harry Potterness 3. Sadly this book was not as great as the first two. I never got into the story, although all the bright young things in New Orleans was fun-ish.