Monday, December 30, 2013

Winter Book Binges

A gchat from Crazy Camper to Grad Student:

CC: I've got Linger on audio book, Defiance on my Nook, and Poems to Learn By Heart in hard copy.  Think I am ready for a night on the couch?

We here at YAF & WS hope you are having a fabulous holiday season! We will be back to the book blogging fun in 2014-- see you then!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Audiobook Review: Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater

Continuing my winning streak of Maggie Stiefvater books, I downloaded Shiver in audiobook:
Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. 
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Narrator Voice: 8.  First Sam chapter I was all, "heck no, voices for characters pretending to be other characters" but 5 minutes later, in love. Maggie S. doesn't skimp on her audiobook productions, and just like the Raven Boys, I loved this.

Originality: 6. Werewolves in a cold climate.  But the non-originality of the subject matter doesn't matter when Stiefvater is telling the story, because her voice makes it different. Points for the temperature readings at the start of each chapter.

Absurdity: 8 I spent the first 5/6ths of this book all "Just move to Florida already where it is warm," but otherwise, the high levels of absurdity is the flirtation with insta-love that is happening here.  Thank god we never get to imprinting a la Twilight...teenagers in high school with no parents/absent parents and sneaking boys into their rooms? CC and GS's mom would have smelt out a boy in a room.. well, faster then a wolf could....

Level of Paranormal Romance: 9. This book is all about Sam and Grace and their connection.

Level of Harry-Potterness: 7.  In spite of some questionable material, the story is captivating.  Could not stop listening...Linger, The Wolves of Mercy Falls Book 2, has already been downloaded...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

I may be a bit toooo old for these books, but alas I crushed it late last night while unable to sleep ( we are talking 4 am here folks....)

While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel's father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city's brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father's apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

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

Originality: Is this steampunk? Steampunk in training? Hunger Games-esque? I just couldnt figure out what the level of technology happening here is meant to be.  I cant tell if that made it original or a crazy mishmosh of ideas.

Absurdity: 8.  There was an unexpected level of violence in this book, and more then once  I was like.... gasp! whhhaaat!?.and this lead to high levels of absurdity, especially in regards to why the Commander would ever care so much about Rachel.

Paranormal Romance: 5. Paranormal? Not really. Romance? HIGH POINTS.  There is alot of swooning, especially mid-battle.  Not that Logan doesnt seem hunky... but Rachel may have overreacted to her 2-year sulk that starts out the story of their love.  

Level of Harry Potterness: 4.  It just isn't.  There is a story of twists and turns, a new world, and some definite character challenges, but overall, it seems written at a younger level, but with the violence, it is a bit of a strange mixture.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top Ten New-To-Us Authors We Read In 2013

This was a GOOD YEAR for books. We cruised through paperbacks, hardcovers, and e-books. Here are the authors who we had not read before 2013 but who we are keeping an eye on and trying to read everything they have written.

Grad Student:

Sarah Rees Brennan for the Untold series
Markus Zusak for The Book Thief
Jennifer Echols and Stephanie Perkins for basically anything I could get my hands on!


Crazy Camper:
Mark Helprin for Winter's Tale
Maggie Stiefvater: both The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves and The Wolves of Mercy Falls series! 
Dan Wells for Partials

Who are your favorite new authors this year? A cheers of our whiskey sour to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting TTT!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

So I read book 2, then book 3, and then book 1. Great news, it didn't ruin this series for me. (Do I need to say it again? Yaaaaaa for companion novelss!) I see these books as a bit of a guilty pleasure, but heyo, sometimes that is just what the doctor ordered. In case you missed it (and you probably didn't) here is the deal with Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry:
Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)

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. (GoodReads).

Absurdity: 4. This book is full of cliches (bad boys with sweet sides, former popular girls who no one really understands, domineering dads) but it doesn't matter. For some reason McGarry gets away with it and this book avoids eye-rolls from me.
Originality: 3. Bad boy and good girl? Check. Wrong side of the tracks? Check. Still, its fun to see this story from both sides of views, and Noah esp. makes this book.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 7. Swoon, swoon, swoon. Tough-guy Noah is great, but Isiah steals the show (but hey- I am biased. For proof see my review/lovefest of Crash into Me.
Level of Harry Potterness: 4. There are always a surprising amount of meaningful writing about teens who have to make their own way, and while sometimes sad (Noah's brothers got me!) it makes McGarry's books stand out.

Just do it, already! Read these books!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Review: Transfer by Veronica Roth (Divergent 0.1)

The Transfer (Divergent, #0.1)Last night while a zombie movie played in the background and the Christmas tree glowed, and following an epic sneak from behind Catan win,  I read "Transfer", the short story of Four's history.

More Four! Fans of the Divergent series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth will be thrilled by "The Transfer," the first of four new short stories told from Four’s perspective. Each brief story explores the world of the Divergent series through the eyes of the mysterious but charismatic Tobias Eaton, revealing previously unknown facets of his personality, backstory, and relationships.

Mini Review: Was this a tiny tease while I wait on my library list for Allegiant? YES.  Did I still enjoy it? YES.  34 pages of Four-ness and Roth's story telling. Go ahead and indulge a little.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

The Geography of You and MeLucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too. (GoodReads).

Awwww, another adorbs story from JES! I am down for some fun fluff this spring, which is when The Geography of You and Me comes out. What made your Waiting on Wednesday this week? 

P.S.: A cheers of our whiskey sours to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting WoW!
P.P.S.: I like how this cover jives with Smith's other books. Pretty.

                                     The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightThis Is What Happy Looks Like

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Winter TBR

Helllllllloooooo again to the book-loving corner of the internet. This week we are back to participating in The Broke and The Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday. This week's list is dedicated to the Top Ten Books On My Winter To-Be-Read list. We are approaching this is a set of TBR books that we are determined to get to and have been on our TBR lists for at least a couple of months, and not get distracted by shiny brand-new books.What made your list!

         The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1)Jonathan Strange & Mr NorrellI Capture the Castle (Vintage Children's Classics)
Grad Student:
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Crazy Camper:
I am the Messanger by Markus Zuzak.
The Cuckcoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)
             The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)I Am the MessengerThe Mists of Avalon (Avalon, #1)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Review: Untold by Sarah Reese Brennan

Free from bonds, but not each other. It’s time to choose sides… On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be? (GoodReads).

Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2)
Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan was gggggrrrreeeeat! If you haven't read the first, Unspoken, click for my review, drink the Kool-Aid, and get a hold of this book.Untold, the second book in this series, continues to deliver. I was afraid in the beginning that it was going to be a second-book-syndrome victim, just spinning its wheels and keep hunky-Jared-ness just out of arms reach, but I was surprised and satisfied on both accounts! On to the review:

Level of Originality: 6. Sorry-in-the-Vale is unique. It has atmosphere, beauty, and Kami is hilariously smart, with modern-day Nancy Drew vibes. I don't think such a tiny place could really have so many witty beautiful people, but I totally accept Brennan's imaginative story.
Level of Absurdity: 4. For reals, who kisses people, even in dark spaces, and can't tell who it is? I can't believe that you wouldn't notice the difference between two different guys, esp. with Kami's powers of deduction.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 7! Brennan slays it with sly looks and almost-finished sentences. It really brings Kami and Jared's feeling alive. And the whole mind-melding thing adds a serious dose of paranormal, so all around high scores.
Level of Harry-Potterness: 7. This book is littered with both hilarious sentences and beautifully turned phrases, and as a result absolutely satisfying! And then there are bad-guy sorcerers. Bonus points.