Saturday, January 25, 2014

Stacking the Shelves: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were LiarsIts been a while, but I finally have a great Stacking the Shelves! This week I got an ARC of  We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Its not due out until May, but people, I have read the first 15 pages and its pretty fabulous. Its romantic and moody and slightly dark. I think its going to be a rocking book!

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE (GoodReads).

This reminds me of the The Romantics by - did you ever read it? Its a movie, too:

What's new to your shelf this morning? As always, a big cheers to Tygna's Reviews for hosting Stacking the Shelves- happy weekend!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: Allegiant, by Veronica Rother (Divergent Series # 3)

Greatly Anticipated! Much loved series (cough cough Four Forever).  I was EXCITED to get my hands on this after months of library lists!

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Originality:  6.  For the last in the series, we made big jumps to the world outside the fence, though I kinda just wish we had stayed inside.

Absurdity: 8.  LOTS of revolutionary ideas here, LOTS of them, some of which were highly absurd, and brainwashy.  Why did the peoples from inside the fence ever fall for the GP/GD schpeal?  Four, you are better then that!  I just found that hard to believe, which had cascading effects for the storyline.

Level of Paranormal Romance:  9.  O Tris and Four, your love and bickering in the middle of a revolution was an uphill battle, but I felt pretty swoony towards Four the whole time.  

"I fell in love with him. But I don't just stay with him by default as if there's no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me.” 

Staying spoiler free, but this book knocked me on my heels and left me with a lot of emotions.

Level of Harry-Potterness: 6.  I really loved Divergent, and happily plowed through Insurgent.  Allegiant was not the same, and I think it took on too much outside the fence and never had enough time to build the plot, but just raced through with character choices that just weren't thought out or explained.   I think I will stay back in book one, with the training, the meeting of Four, and the learning of the world that was Divergent.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Wicked We Have Done

The Wicked We Have Done (Chaos Theory, #1)Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice.

If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent.

Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.

She doesn’t plan on making friends.

She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either (GoodReads).
Due out in mid-March, The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian has a cool cover, a sci-fi + prison break feel., Plus romance? Okay, I won't say no! I hope its a fun read 

What made your Waiting on Wednesday this week? As always, cheers to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting WoW.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare is the first book in the Infernal Devices trilogy, which recently wrapped up. Aka- the perfect thing to binge on! Who doesn't love to read a series that is already done. It encourages late night reading sprees and even later-in-the-same-night digital purchases of the next book in line.
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them.... (GoodReads)

Clare's books suck you in. The writing is easy, the plot flies forward, and stories unfold in a short period of time. 

Originality: 4 Steampunk!  automatons and corsets, and some eye-roll inducing posturing, when convenient for swoon, of victorian mores. Girls who don't now who they are, why they are valuable, why they are the key to saving the world, and unaware of their beauty. Overall, we have seen this all before.

Absurdity: 9!!! Steampunk = absurd to me. I can't help it!

CC: Lots of eyerolls for the references by Tessa to what heroines in books do... blargh.  How can this be the same girl who quotes Dickens/Shakespeare?

Level of Paranormal Romance: 7.  Will and Jem, you will realize by the end of page 4, are going to be two points of a love triangle. One is good, one is a badboy. Both are handsome (because, obviously), mysterious, and best friends. But guess what? I expect most readers are ok with it,  because woooooowwweeee these two are equally, if differently, smoldering.

CC- did anyone else think Will was VERY similar to Jace with his moody/brooding/charming self?  Cant say he wasnt swoony just like, pull it together man.

Level of Harry Potterness: 2. I am not reading these books for their literally effects, but for fun. 

CC- agree with GS.  For sure, it was an easy read, and you kinda know plot twists are coming when the characters think they have solved the puzzle halfway through the book- if there wasn't a twist, what happens in the next hundred pages?  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tournament of Books X

As I try to read more smart books, per my 2013 New Years Resolution that has received an extension for 2014,  the Morning News is stepping it up and offering me some great choices!

"In case you’re new to all this, the ToB is an annual springtime event here at TheMorning News, where a group of the best works of fiction from last year enter a March Madness-style battle royale.

 In March, these novels will be seeded and paired off in an NCAA Tournament-like bracket. For each pairing, one of our esteemed judges will read both novels and advance one, with a transparent explanation of how they made their decision. Along the way, our ToB Chairmen, authors Kevin Guilfoile and John Warner, will weigh in with commentary, and you, the readers, will add your own.

 Eventually, only two books will remain, to be judged by our entire panel, and one will be crowned the Rooster of 2014."

Here they come in all their glory- if you need a book to read that is somewhat above the normal insta-love werewolf/angel romance, this is a good place to start!

Finalists for the 2014 Tournament of Books

Pre-Tournament Playoff Round

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Toxic Heart (Mystic City #2) by Theo Lawrence

Remember how much Crazy Camper liked Mystic City by Theo Lawrence? (see said happy review here!). Good news is, this week we can share Toxic Heart, book two in Lawrence's series, as our Waiting on Wednesday. What made your Wow? P.S.: Cheers to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting WoW every week!
                                         Toxic Heart (Mystic City, #2)

A city in flames. A trust betrayed. A perfect love destroyed.

Has Aria lost Hunter, her one true love?

Ever since rebellion broke out in Mystic City, pitting the ruling elite against the magic-wielding mystics, Aria has barely seen her boyfriend. Not surprising, since Hunter is the leader of the mystic uprising, and he'll do whatever it takes to win freedom for his people—even if that means using Aria.

But Aria is no one's pawn. She believes she can bring the two warring sides together, save the city, and win back the Hunter she fell in love with.

Before she can play peacemaker, though, Aria will need to find the missing heart of a dead mystic. The heart gives untold powers to whoever possesses it, but finding it means seeking out a fierce enemy whose deepest desire is for Aria to be gone—forever (GoodReads).

Monday, January 13, 2014

Review: Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev (Book 2 Théâtre Illuminata)

Act Two, Scene One 
Growing up in the enchanted Thèâtre Illuminata, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith learned everything about every play ever written. She knew the Players and their parts, but she didn't know that she, too, had magic. Now, she is the Mistress of Revels, the Teller of Tales, and is determined to follow her stars. She is ready for the outside world.

But the outside world soon proves more topsy-turvy than any stage production. Bertie can make things happen by writing them, but outside the protective walls of the Thèâtre, nothing goes as planned. And her magic cannot help her make a decision between - 

NATE: Her suave and swashbuckling pirate, now in mortal peril.

ARIEL: A brooding, yet seductive, air spirit whose true motives remain unclear.

When Nate is kidnapped and taken prisoner by the Sea Goddess, only Bertie can free him. Bertie's dreams are haunted by Nate, whose love for Bertie is keeping him alive, but in the daytime, it's Ariel who is tantalizingly close, and the one she is falling for. Who does Bertie love the most? And will her magic be powerful enough to save her once she enters the Sea Goddess's lair?

Originality: 10.  This is a YA book in it's own genre, so imaginative and unique.  Even in Book 2 of the series, I loved the originality.

Absurdity: 9.  The originality is also a bit bonkers... but what can you do.  There are gods, creatures, and fantasy abound, all wrapped around some teen romance.  Absurd but also just great.

Level of Paranormal Romance: 10.  This is the whole point of the book, Bertie's love for Nate and Ariel.  TEAM ARIEL over here.  I couldn't remember enough of Nate from book 1, but Ariel steals the show with his devotion:

“A blind man could see that man would die for you, but that doesn't mean you won't die alongside him.” 

Level of Harry Potterness: 7. While a totally different type of the story, the writing is lyrical and at times beautiful. There were some sentences that stopped me in my tracks.  So nice to read a book where you can tell the author spent time crafting paragraphs to make the most of the words, even if many of them are about how hungry the fairies are!

"There should be more to love," said the earth, "than 'it did not kill me.' More than 'I survived it.” 

There is a Beatrice who exists beyond the obligations of a daughter, outside the object of man's affections.” 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Review: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill hit the shelves on Jan 7! Now, there is no need to run screaming for the bookstore, but when you get a chance, this is a cute read to fly through.

       Being Sloane Jacobs aka redux

Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., 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 from Philly 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 in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. 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.(GoodReads).

Originality: 4. This book is The Parent Trap and The Cutting Edge mashed together. Did anyone else see this? Or does this fact escape the notice of all those who are actually teens?
Absurdity:  4. Of course the ol' switchero is absurd. But what really struck me as suspect was how easily our Sloanes managed to hide that they were brand new to their sport. I mean, The Cutting Edge says this can soooort of happen, but still.....
Level of Paranormal Romance: So much hockey boy romance. If you have always swooned for that sweaty-long-hair-under-a-helmet thing, then this is for you. Otherwise.....its a regular old bit of teen feelings thrown in. Nothing heart-stopping.
Level of Harry Potterness: 4. Middle of the road story telling. Nothing creative, but still some cute moments a few after-school-special lessons make for an easy but pleasant enough read.

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

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Audio Book Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2)

I had grand plans for devouring this book over Christmas but man was it a busy holiday!  Coming back home, to work and the commute ( and chores) allowed me to crush the rest and I loved, loved, it!

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

Narrator Voice: 9 ( with a 2 for the singing).  OK I get it Cole is a singer, so is Sam, but lets just not have the characters sing, ok?  It is bad.

Originality: 8.  I Sorta saw some of this coming, but I was hooked anyways. 

Absurdity: 5.  This mostly has to do with the real life adult stuff that gets all glossed over.  Does Sam do chores? Does he cook? Bank?  Fine fine, we wont talk about it, but I know it is there.  Also, Grace's parents are the worst and her Dad is the most absurd part of this book. Also, Sam's feelings: Absurdity = 8.  Teenage boys just do not emote like this.

Level of Paranormal Romance: 9. Stay strong, teen-werewolf love.

Level of Harry-Potterness: 8.  I find the way that Stiefvater turns a phrase grabs you and doesn't let go.  Some if it just feels so REAL, their emotions and feelings towards eachother.  It hooks you and you just cant stop.

Book Three is already on my phone to listen to....

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1)After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all? (GoodReads).

 I mean, the story reminds me vaguely of the stories/characters in Friday Night Lights. And that is NOT a bad thing! So this Waiting on Wednesday is dedicated to Wild Cards, the first is a new series by Simone Elkeles. I have been wanting to read the Perfect Chemistry books, but this will do just fine as a start. This book came out Jan 2nd. And there is something great about instant gratification. Look, I waited patiently for like 30 seconds! Now I can go get this book.

What made your WoW this week? As always, cheers to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting WoW!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Review: Across a Star-Swept Sea Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2)
Annnnnnnnd we are finally back!  We were busy with our new years resolutions, aka flossing and not wasting too much time on the internet! Sorry for the delay, but better late than never. Now on to the review. Across a Star-Swept Sea, the companion novel to For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund did not bowl me over the way the first book did, but I enjoyed the spy plot (it is inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel) and the book as a whole. Lets get down to business and do some reviewing!

Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect. (GoodReads).

Originality: 9. A futuristic world with tropical islands, spy games, and very inventive technology (see what I did there?) made this book a fun read. I want flutternotes!
Absurdity: 4. This book's fashion choices alone are cray cray, but the story holds up. Funny how classics can do that, even in a retelling.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 4. Just enough kissing to make me happy! And I always enjoy a boy who realizes that the girl is far smarter than him. :-).
Level of Harry-Potterness: 4. This book did not grab my heart like the first one, and it hasn't stuck with me the way a really fab book (aka, HP) can, but it Peterfreund is the real deal and her work stands out it its complexity and often lyric writing. FYI, you get dropped back into this alternate future pretty darn hard, so if you have time and like to reread books, look at For Darkness Shows the Stars again before you get involved..