Friday, August 31, 2012

Afterwards

Author: Rosamund Lupton
Goodreads Rating: 3.86
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Pages: 400
Reviewed by: Nicole


I saw this book as a giveaway on Goodreads, which I didn't win but I liked it enough to add it to my "to read" shelf. When I saw I could request it on Netgalley, I jumped at the chance and was thrilled when I was approved to read it. 


Goodreads Synopses:


There is a fire and they are in there. They are in there...

Black smoke stains a summer blue sky. A school is on fire. And one mother, Grace, sees the smoke and rush. She knows her teenage daughter Jenny is inside. She runs into the burning building to rescue her.

Afterwards Grace must find the identity of the arsonist and protect her children from the person who's still intent on destroying them. Afterwards, she must fight the limits of her physical strength and discover the limitlessness of love.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What Comes Next?

So I've been debating what audiobook I should read next. I have quite a few that I have saved, but I'm looking for you to direct me towards what I should go for next. I've decided to list all of my options, and I'm hoping to get a lot of people to come out and cast a vote, so please pass this on. The options are in the order they appear on the poll. Since some of the books are parts of series, I'm not including the synopses, but rather a link to the Goodreads Page.

Note: This poll is doing something funny to my blog, its usually prettier than this, but I don't know what it is. Once I end the poll, I'll remove it, and everything will be just fine.


The Girl Who Played With Fire
By Steig Larsson


By Lauren Kate

Note: This would be a re-read from when it first came out. I want to go back and read the whole series since I don't remember it from when I first read it.


Brisingr
By Christopher Paolini


By John Twelve Hawks

Note: This would be a re-read from a long time ago. It's part of a series that I want to read at some point and I hardly remember this book.


Anna Dressed in Blood
By Kendare Blake


By Charles Dickens

Note: This would fulfill my classics requirement for the Book Worms Challenge, so I need to do this eventually.


The Daughter of Smoke and Bone
By Laini Taylor

Note: I also have this book in paperback. It happened to be free from Audiobook Sync, and so I have both versions.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Breaking Beautiful

Author: Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Goodreads Rating: 3.89 Stars
My Rating: 4 Stars
Pages: 386
Reviewed By: Nicole

I got this book from Netgalley on a whim, and I'm so glad that I did. I had seen friends reviewing it on their own blogs as well as notes on Goodreads. I was also drawn to it because I love me some teen drama and tragedy, and trust me, this book had the best of both worlds.

Goodreads Synopses:

Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.
 
When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire # 2)

Author: George R.R. Martin
Goodreads rating: 4.38/5
My Rating: 3.75/5
Pages: 761
Reviewed by: Amy


Goodreads Synopsis:


A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who hold sway over an age of enforced peace are dead, victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Weight of Heaven

Author: Thirty Umrigar
Goodreads Rating: 3.71
My Rating: 4.25 Stars
Pages: 365
Reviewed By: Nicole

I got this book from Harper Perennial for the blog tour hosted by TLC Book Tours. This was another one of those books that was outside my comfort zone for books.

Goodreads Synopses:

Filled with satisfyingly real characters and glowing with local color, "The Weight of Heaven" is a rare glimpse of a family and a country struggling under pressures beyond their control.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Simple Thing

Author: Kathleen McCleary
Goodreads Rating: 4.30
My Rating: 3.25
Pages: 297
Reviewed by: Nicole

I got this book from HarperCollins as part of the blog tour hosted by TLC Blog Tours.

Goodreads Synopses:

When Susannah Delaney discovers her young son is being bullied and her adolescent daughter is spinning out of control, she moves them to remote, rustic Sounder Island to live for a year. A simple island existence--with no computers or electricity and only a one-room schoolhouse--is just what her over scheduled East Coast kids need to learn what's really important in life. But the move threatens her marriage to the man she's loved since childhood, and her very sense of self.

For Betty Pavalak, who moved to Sounder to save her own troubled marriage, the island has been a haven for fifty years. But Betty also knows the guilt of living with choices made long ago and actions that cannot be undone. The unlikely friendship between Susannah and Betty ignites a journey of self-discovery for both women and brings them both home to what they love most. "A Simple Thing" moves beyond friendship, children, and marriages to look deeply into what it means to love and forgive--yourself.

I didn't hate this book, but there were parts of this book that made me want to pull out my hair. Those things of course, were things that were supposed to get a reaction out of a person, and so it was only fitting that I did have these reactions. For starters I wanted to kill Katie, the insolent teenager, through the entire book, at least until she became a real person at the end and not a spiteful child.

I felt for Susannah as she tried to protect her children, but her husband Mark was right when he said that she was running away and not just trying to protect her children. That actually really frustrated me about Susannah, because it was understandable that she had a lot of emotional baggage that got explained later in the book, but that is no reason to take your children out of school and move to another part of the country.

I enjoyed Betty's story, sad as it was, it showed that every situation is what you make of it. I totally hated her husband, but she made it work being on the island. I also loved learning about how she made it to the island. There didn't seem to be very much of a relationship between Betty and Susannah except for a few conversations, but I guess thats all it takes?

I guess back to why Katie made me so mad. Besides being a 14 year old, and just hating everyone, she was just an awful person, yes she was remorseful, but only when she seemed to get caught. The way that she spoke to her mother too, I mean, I know I wasn't a great teenager, but she was insufferable. I would probably have CPS called on me because I would hit my child if they called me a bitch (or I would be locked in my room crying about how much of a failure of a parent I was and how my kid hates me)(also, I know I'm a terrible person for saying that, but sometimes teenagers, myself included, need some sense knocked into them), either way, bad things.

I felt like the ending was a little bit abrupt, like McCleary realized she found a great ending, but then left a few things unresolved, so she jammed them in. It was hard not to feel that way when the rest of the book was very carefully constructed. Overall, it was a good book, it evoked a lot of strong emotions, but those emotions (which could go either way) didn't lead me to love the book like a lot of people did. It was well written, so go and enter my giveaway!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Treachery of Beautiful Things

Author: Ruth Frances Long
Goodreads Rating:  3.97
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Pages: 384
Reviewed by: Nicole

I got this book from the publisher via Netgalley for a blog tour sponsored by Shane at Itching For Books

Goodreads Synopses:

The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she's lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack's help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she's faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice--and not just her own.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Glitch Excerpt and Author Spotlight

I reviewed Glitch on the blog a few weeks back, but in case you missed it here is the link. Today, as part of the blog tour hosted by Shane at Itching For Books, I have an excerpt from this book as well as a spotlight about Anastasiu.
 
Heather Anastasiu is the author of the young adult sci-fi novel,GLITCH (St. Martin's Press/Spring 2012). She recently moved to Minneapolis with her family, and when she’s not busy getting lost exploring the new city, she spends most days writing at a cafĂ©. 

Random Facts About Her:
  • I played the piccolo in my high school marching band.
  • I paint a little, but for some reason, only in winter.
  • So, the last name, I know it looks like Anastasia, but it has a U on the end: Anastasiu (rhymes with 'so-nice-to-see-you'). It's Romanian in origin.
  • I like body art. Well, I like art of all kinds, but especially body art, i.e. tattoos, because it's the art you get to take with you. I figure, there's so much about the body we're given we don't have control over (hips, nose, forehead, chin, height, foot size, health), so much that we get no choice in, but hair color and ink designs? Hello world, this is me and the kinds of things I find beautiful!
  • I was in a wheelchair for a year during college because of health problems. Being wheel-bound and knee-high for a year certainly changed my perspective on life (pun intended).
  • Yes, I am a fan of cheesy puns.
  • My favorite book is East of Eden because it blew open my world when I first read it at age 20.
  • I also unabashedly love Twilight. I even wrote a chapter in a forthcoming book of academic essays about how Twilight, for all its shortcomings, can also have positive implications for readers in that it provides a platform for public participation in a communal female myth. It's compulsively readable and is all about engaging our fantasy lives and letting us participate in vicarious wish fullfillment.
  • I like pink and black together, but not apart.


Chapter 1 Excerpt:

"I stepped forward in line as the subject ahead of me moved. The barbaric Old World was once full of people like me. There was a whole race of humanity full of all the emotions and desires that I felt, people who almost destroyed the Earth with greed and anger and hate and indifference. They warred until the clouds rained toxic ash, the chemicals making people’s eyes boil in their sockets and their skin peel off like cooked potato skins. So much toxic material that we could never go back to the surface. Our history texts showed detailed pictures of the process, a detailed reminder of the horrors of the Old World.

Those who had foreseen had begun the tunneling down, the orderly planning of humanity’s future. Only a small percentage survived. We were a logical, orderly race—the descendants of survivors who had seen the worst of human emotion and destruction. We had learned the lessons of the past and finally scrubbed out the animal in man. We protected ourselves, blotted out the things that made us dangerous, and rebuilt. The First Chancellor called us Humanity Sublime. We lived by order and logic alone. We lived in Community.


And here I was, a traitor tucked secretly within the safe walls of the Community. A single person cultivating the same emotions that destroyed the Surface forever. I was like a ticking bomb, and it was just a matter of time before the evilness of human emotion took control. How much would I destroy before they caught and stopped me? I should go report myself.


Right now.


Right this instant.


I looked around. The Regulators were only ten paces away, rotating slowly and efficiently as they patrolled the crowds in their thick metal boots. Just a few words and I’d be free of all the secrets and lies.
It would be easy. It was the right thing to do. I’d be free from these weighty secrets. I could become a functioning member of the Community again.


My hands dropped from the cart handle. My legs took a few steps toward the closest Regulator, mechanically, almost as if they had been waiting for this moment to finally arrive.


But, wait. I couldn’t.


There was a reason I didn’t want to. A very important reason. I blinked several times until I remembered. There wasthe thing—the one thing they couldn’t find out about, or else they would destroy me, deactivate me.
But the Community always comes first.… 


I was an anomaly, a danger to the Community. I needed to be repaired. I turned again toward the Regulators, waiting to catch their attention and report myself. There was a murmur of dissent in the back of my mind, but it was too quiet compared to the strong clear stream of information flowing through the Link.


A Regulator had reached the end of a dispensary line and was turning slowly back to head in my direction. In a few paces, his head would sweep in my direction. I would calmly catch his attention and report myself for diagnostics. Just a few paces more.


But suddenly the quiet voice inside my mind was screaming. And then, like being underwater and then breaking to the surface, I was suddenly glitching.


The retina display flickered and disappeared from view, and the sound echoing through my mind stopped, midstream, and I was left in silence. I could breathe again. I felt myself expand in the same moment, color and sound and sense flooding back in, overwhelming me with a rush of smells and sounds.
Beside me, I heard a loud crash.


I turned in surprise and saw that two full carts nearby had toppled over sideways, knocking into an aisle of stacked boxes. A stack tipped over, the boxes breaking open and spilling rice all over a nearby subject’s shoes. He looked down for a moment before moving out of the way dispassionately.


No one else registered surprise. They weren’t capable of it. But I was, and I felt every inch of surprise and dread and terror. Emotions flooded in. It was all too fast and I couldn’t tell if I was masking one emotion before the next rose up.


One thing was sure—I was malfunctioning way too much for such a public place. Someone was bound to notice and report me. I had to get out of here. Now. I didn’t care that I hadn’t gotten all of our allotments. I felt too frantic to stay crowded in this flood of gray-suited bodies, watching them placidly kneel down to clean up the spill while I was choking inside. I tightened my grip on my cart to hide the tremor of fear in my hands.
The Regulator had made his way over to investigate the spill. He scanned the crowd, but most of the subjects had already moved away, stepping around the spilled rice and moving on to the next line. I cautiously followed suit, tugging my cart out of line and heading toward the subway. It was only then that I realized that I had glitched right as the carts were knocked over."

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Assassin Novella's

Rather than follow my usual template for a post, I'm going to talk a little about each story that Sarah J Maas has written. There were four Assassin Novella's that detailed Celaena's live before she was shipped off the the salt mines where Celaena is at the start of Throne of Glass. Since Throne of Glass hit stores today I figured what better day to tell you about the prequels.


Novella 1: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord.

This Novella introduces you to Celaena and Sam, two assassins that work for the pirate guild. I liked how much information that we were given in this story. That Celaena covers her face so no one knows what she looks like. I loved the dynamic between Sam and Celaena, their banter back and forth was really fun. I loved getting to know Celaena and knowing what she was really like. I loved that even though she was an assassin, that she had a conscience and she cared about other people.



Novella 2: The Assassin and the Desert

Another Novella that I loved. (Spoiler Alert, I loved all of them). Once again you get an inside look into Celaena and her world, not just what life is like for her, but also what this world Maas has built is like. I loved that Celaena made a friend and seemed to bond with other people. I will admit that I made a mistake and read this book third, so I knew a lot of what was coming, but I like to believe that had I read it first, I would have been surprised by the little quirks that were mentioned in Novella 3.



Novella 3: The Assassin and the Underworld

So whoops, I read this book before I read Novella Two, but I think it gives me a unique perspective because I can tell you that Maas does a great job making you feel like you didn't actually miss a novella. I loved that all of the Novella's were related in one way or another (although I won't tell you how!!!). This novella had me cringing at some points (good reasons) because I related to Celaena and what she went through in this novella.




Novella 4: The Assassin and the Empire

I decided that I wanted to read all of the novella's before I read Throne of Glass even though I already had my copy. I waited patiently to read this novella and cry, and I am glad that I read it. This was the way that the novel was intended to be enjoyed with these novella's first, and I reveled in the idea of getting to read all about Celaena before she went off the the salt mines which no doubt changed her. This one was beyond my favorite of the four.





So if you're waiting to get your hands on Throne of Glass, check out the novella's in the mean time. They're pretty fab.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Matched

Author: Ally Condie
Goodreads Rating: 3.80
My Rating: 4
Pages: 366
Reviewed by: Nicole

I've been interested in reading this book for awhile, but meeting Condie at BEA in a few days is what really pushed me to read this book now. I've said before that I like to take it slower with my dystopian books because I don't want to tire of them too quickly.

Goodreads Synopses:

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.


Check out my review!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Firelight

Author: Sophie Jordan
Goodreads Rating: 3.99
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Pages: 323
Reviewed by: Nicole


I initially got this book for my mom to read during her week off with the intention of reading it afterward. My mom loves dragons, so this book was right up her alley when it came to her reading preferences. I got the chance to read it (it is a library book so I do have to return it). Another great trilogy, that luckily strays away from the usual dystopian theme.


Goodreads Synopses:


A hidden truth. 
Mortal enemies. 
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.
Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.
Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.
Fly into my review after the jump!

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