Sunday, September 30, 2012

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Book Summery (Via Goodreads): Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

     Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

     The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate—or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.

Book Review:
Sarah Beth Durst has been one of my go-to authors ever since I read Enchanted Ivy. Drink, Slay, Love was even better! When Durst announced the upcoming release of her novel Vessel, I knew I had to get a copy. Durst has written an original story which includes love, mystery, mythology, and adventure. From page one, I was completely hooked. This character driven novel does not disappoint. Liyana finds her strength as she seeks out the goddess who is to inhibit her body. Korbyn is a fantastic counterpart. Their chemistry alone makes this book worth reading. I enjoyed learning more about the dessert people and their way of life and mythology as the story went along. I loved meeting each vessel and learning about their tribe. Seriously, I can not say enough awesome-tastic things about this book. I highly encourage you to read it!

Favorite Quote:
"On the day she was to die, Liyana walked out of her family's tent to see the dawn. She burried her toes in the sand, cold from the night, and she wrapped her father's goatskin cloak tight around her shoulders. She had only moments before everyone would wake."

Cover Art Commentary: 
I looooove the cover of this book! The colors are rich and gorgeous! I love the  dessert setting and the full moon in the background, it really speaks to the story.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Just can't finish what I started

A feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This weeks topic: Top Ten Series I Haven't Finished:
Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard: I read the first few books in the series, but they couldn't hold my interest. Honestly, they aren't as well written as the TV series. I ended up selling back all the books in the series. From now on, I just plan on sticking to the TV series.

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan: I've read the first 2 books in this trilogy. While they are solidly good zombie reads, they are very dark. I have to be in the right mood to read them. This book has been on my TBR pile since its release.

Underworld by Meg Cabot: I read the initial book in this series, Abandon. It was a great book, but Aimee Carter's Goddess Test series has the same concept, but is executed a little better...This takes away some of my interest in Cabot's Underworld series. I still plan on reading this book, however. 

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink: I read the first book in this trilogy and purchased the other 2, but have not read them yet. While I enjoyed the book, it had a rather slow reading pace. I still plan on finishing this series, but have to be in the mood for a good Gothic novel.
Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris: I read the first 2 books of this series after polishing off Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series (at least what was available at the time). This series just doesn't hold my interest as well. I ended up selling back the books I had bought in this series. Honestly, I believe that Harris should have ended the Sookie series with book #9 Dead and Gone. I read #10 Dead in the Family and there's not much left to the overall story arc. I haven't read any good reviews of the subsequent books in the series, and haven't had any desire to pick them up either.

Timepiece by Myra McEntire: I remember reading the first book in this series, Hourglass. I devoured it. However, I remember the story taking a kind of weird turn towards the end. I still plan on reading this one, but it isn't on the top of my TBR pile.

Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison: So I've only read the first book in this series. Again, I remember devouring it, but the story took an odd turn towards the end. Reviews of the subsequent books in the series weren't stellar. I tried reading the second book, but couldn't get into it. 

Birhtmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien: I read the first book in this series. I liked it, though I remember pacing being a bit slow. I still plan on reading the remainder of this series.

Dreamless by Josephine Angelini: So I remember reading the first book in this series, Starcrossed. I remember enjoying it quite a bit. The mythology and world-building were superb. What tripped me up was the was so over the top. I still plan on reading this book, but am waiting for the right mood to hit.

Matched by Ally Condie: I remember devouring this book. Again, what tripped me up what the over the top romance. I also think I read some less than savory reviews of the sequel Crossed. However, I still plan on finishing this series. I am curious to see what happens!

What series have you started, but haven't finished?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Book Summery (Via Goodreads): It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.

Book Review:
I have been meaning to read Diana Peterfreund's books for a while now. Specifically her Killer Unicorn series. When I heard this book was based off of Jane Austin's Persuasion, I wasn't sure if it was the right book for me. I will openly admit that I have not read any of Austin's books. However, after reading several rave reviews, I thought I would give Peterfreund's book I try. I'm glad I did. While I can't compare it to Austin's writing, it did have some Hawthorne undertones which I appreciated. I was hooked instantly. In fact, I lost several hours of sleep reading this beauty. I loved the overall character-driven story arc. The contrast between Elliot and her family is profound. Elliot sacrificed a lot for the good of the people who worked on her farm. I experienced Elliot's triumphs as well as her downfalls right along-side her. Her pending romance with Kai was EPIC, it made me ache. The dystopian setting was fantastic. It made me think about the type of genetic research that goes on today...what will the human race be like in 100 years? There are many ethical and moral dilemmas which led me to ponder what I would do were I in Elliot's shoes. What I didn't like about this book was the ending. It felt a bit rushed and a wee bit anti-climatic. There is such a build-up over the first 350 pages, it made the ending feel abrupt. Peterfreund could have easily added another 50-75 pages to smooth and flesh out the ending, which would have left me feeling more satisfied. All in all, a fantastic read, abrupt ending and all. I will definitely be diving into her Killer Unicorn series soon!

Favorite Quote:
“Envy hurt exponentially more than heartbreak because your soul was torn in two, half soaring with happiness for another person, half mired in a well of self-pity and pain.” 

Cover Art Commentary:
This is one gorgeous cover! I love the backdrop of stars against the dark blue background.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: People I'd Like to Meet

A feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This weeks topic: Top Ten Twelve Bookish People You Want To Meet:
  1. Maggie Stiefvater: I follow her on LJ. She always has interesting and hilarious posts...not too mention I love her writing! 
  2. Holly Black: Another author I follow on LJ. Love LOVE her writing! 
  3. Rachel Caine: I fell in love with Caine's writing when I read the Morganville Vampire series and then again with the Weather Warden series. I follow her on LJ and twitter...hilarious!
  4. Stephanie Perkins: I just adore her books and follow her blog. Always phenomenal!
  5. Sarah Beth Durst: I read her blog and have read almost every book she has written.
  6. Nancy from Temporary Worlds: Nancy and I have been friends on LJ for a long time. Her reviews are top notch and insightful!
  7. Shara from Calico Reaction: Shara and I have also been friends on LJ for a long time. Occasionally, I will participate in her monthly book clubs. She has expanded my literary horizons quite a bit.
  8. Tina from Tina's Book Reviews: Another blog pal that I met when I started my blogger review site. She is a sincere, insightful reviewer, who I also consider a friend.
  9. Juju from Tales of Whimsy: Another blog friend who is a well-known reviewer. Juju has been a blogging friend and consistent commenter since I started my blogger site. Her comments always make me smile!
  10.  Rachel from Parajunkee: Another long time, well-known book reviewer who I consider a friend (as well as a phenomenal graphic designer)!
  11. Julie from My 5 Monkeys: Another long time blogger friend who I'd like to have coffee with!
  12. Stephanie from Steph the Bookworm: Another blogger I consider a friend. She seems down to earth, friendly, and has great taste in books!
What top ten bookish people would you like to meet?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sweet Shadows (Medusa Girls #2) by Tera Lynn Childs

Book Summery (Via Goodreads): Three teenage descendants of Medusa, now united, must claim their heritage to fight the monsters escaped from the abyss.

Gretchen may have known she was a descendant of Medusa long before her sisters--after all, she's spent her life fighting the monsters that escape the abyss--but that doesn't mean it will be easy to teach the other girls the ropes.

Greer has pressing social commitments on her plate and precious little time to train in her newfound powers. But that wretched second sight won't leave her alone, and her fabled heritage seems to be creeping into her fashionable life.

Grace has worries closer to home--like why her brother, Thane, has disappeared. He's hiding something. Could it possibly be related to the secret heritage the triplets share?

Book Review:
I fell in love with Childs' writing when I read the first book in this series, Sweet Venom. With reminiscent tones of Sarah Beth Durst and C.C. Hunter, Childs tells a story of modern-day triplets in their teens who discover they are from the bloodlines of Medusa. From there, adventures ensue. The three girls: Gretchen, Greer, and Grace are adorable and as different as they come. The story is told in alternating voices of the girls. I am fan of alternating narrative voices, but I know it's not for everyone. I have completely become invested in these girls, their quest, as well as their individual storylines. There is definitely more action this time around. There is also more romance budding and the overall mythology thickens. I love picking up these books when I'm in a reading slump or simply want to get lost in a good story. Childs has a whimsical, but realistic voice that makes me dive right in, gulping every last word down until I turn the last page. I have her other two YA series waiting to be read: Oh. My. Gods. and Fins. I definitely plan on reading these soon!

Favorite Quote:
"'How about tomorrow after my soccer practice?' he suggests. 'We could go for pizza.'

Tomorrow feels a long way away. Who knows what will have gone crazy-crazier-in my life by then."

Cover Art Commentary:
Yes! Finally some brunette action! I am so sick of seeing blonde-haired, blue-eyed girls on the covers of YA books (not that I have anythings against blondes or blue eyes). It's just nice to see something different! :)


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2) by Kendare Blake

Book Summery (Via Goodreads): It’s been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can’t move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they’re right, but in Cas’s eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he’s seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong... these aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.

Book Review:
Ms. Blake had me at within the first few pages of Anna Dressed in Blood. Girl of Nightmares continues on my love of Blake's writing, which has subtle undertones of Stephen King. I find this to be fabulous. I must say, it takes an exceptional author to bring a ghost story to life, and Blake is right on target. I found myself several times turning on lights or the TV for comfort. It takes a lot to spook me, so well done Ms. Blake. The characters are phenomenal. I love Cas. He has color and originality. I crave to know more about him. I also enjoy the supporting characters Thomas and Carmel. The trio of friends really enhance the story. The London setting was spectacular. Dark and mysterious, with an air of adventure. There is soooo much I want to squee about this book, but I don't want to ruin it for potential readers. Overall, if you are looking for a good, spooky read look no further! This truly doesn't read like a YA book, just a good horror story. Sadly, it looks like this is the end of the series as posted on Blake's facebook page. Sad, but true. Looks like she is starting a new series Antigoddess. While I look forward to this new series, I'll admit that there is still part of me that hopes she continues on the Anna series!

Favorite Quote:
“Everyone seems to know more than I do, and being on the shallow end of the information pool is starting to piss me off.” 

Cover Art Commentary:
Ok, so my cover isn't all read like the one pictured above. It has some gray mixed it, but it's pretty much the same...and it's gorgeous! :) I love the continuation of the "Anna" theme! 


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Things that make you go hmmmm

A feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This weeks topic: Top Ten Books That Make You Think:
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood: This is probably my favorite Atwood novel to date. It really makes you think about women's rights. I mean, all Atwood novels to some extent, but this comes to the forefront of my mind.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher: This book stayed in my mind for days. I have not personally known anyone who committed suicide, but this book makes you think about what they were going through and where their mindset was.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant: Another great feminine piece. A lot is written in the Bible about men, but little about women. This historical fiction piece offers up a female perspective in Biblical times. I've recommended it over and over again.

Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine Brooks: This book was an inspiration for me to write an award winning paper on feminism in the Islamic culture. Another highly recommended book!
To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee: This book makes me think about justice and doing what is right instead of what is easy. A fabulous novel. Also, I kind of had a little crush on Atticus Finch.
The Giver by Lois Lowry: This was my very first introduction into the dystopian genre. I remember it made such an impact on me, I read it again immediately.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand: This book made me think a lot about the culture we live in, mainly our capitalist society. Everyone should read Rand at some point in their life.
Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: This was my first introduction to Rand. It sure left an impression. It made me think about my personal values and why I valued them.
Night by Eli Wiesel: A heartbreaking story about the Jewish culture during the Holocaust. A very close family friend was born in a concentration camp, so this book holds a close place to my heart. I try very hard to ignore the Oprah sticker on it.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn: My favorite book out of the transcendentalist movement, though it is considered a "dark" transcendentalist piece. 

What books get your wheels turning?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano

Book Summery (Via Goodreads): Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary.

Book Review:
Wow. This book is still so fresh in my mind, it is going to be hard to put my thoughts into words. Also, I don't want to say too much if you haven't read Wither. I love the peek we get into the world outside of the mansion. It was gritty and sad, but honestly believable. Gabriel and Rhine's adventures keep the story well-paced and engrossing. My favorite part is the orphanage. I enjoyed Gabriel and Rhine's relationship. Though it wasn't over-the-top, it seemed genuine and sincere. The ending landed on a cliffhanger. I need the next book in this series like yesterday. I highly recommend this story for anyone who enjoys YA distopian novels.

Favorite Quote:
“Everyone should remember being born. It doesn't seem fair that we only remember dying.” 

Cover Art Commentary:
I am a  big fan of the covers of this series. This cover is no exception. I love the subtle items in the background, which have meaning in the story. Rhine is looking sickly, which is appropriate given the story and the title.  


Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

Book Summery (Via Goodreads): Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

Book Review:
I seriously did not think I would enjoyed this book as much as I did. I found myself relating to Bianca on several levels. I did not enjoy high school. Not even a little. I was bored and annoyed by my classmates. There were a handful of kids in my graduating year that I considered friends. I even dual enrolled and started college early, in attempt to stimulate my brain and regain my focus. Needless to say, I loved Bianca. I enjoyed her relationship with Wesley, messed up as it was. There have been some negative comments scrutinizing Bianca's behavior in regards to her father's drinking. In my opinion, she is young, new to the situation, and did what she thought was best. How many of us acted perfectly to adverse situations in our teens? You learn as you go along in life. I was a bit disappointed my her mother's lack of support. Obviously, she knew this might happen, but left Bianca to fend for herself. Boo. I did enjoy Bianca's friendships. At first, it seems as if she does not have much in common with her friends, but as the story develops, the friendships are enhanced. Ultimately, Bianca and her friends have a strong relationship despite their differences. I thought this was a mature and refreshing approach. Ultimately, this was a fast, engaging read. I will definitely be picking up more of Keplinger's books in the future!

Favorite Quote:
“You can lie to yourself if you want, but reality is going to catch up with you. I’ll be waiting when it does… whether you like it or not.” 

Cover Art Commentary:
Ugh. Not my favorite. I'm not a fan of yellow and the combo of the yellow and teal just seems odd. 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall is in the Air

A feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This weeks topic: Top Ten Books On Your Fall TBR List
  1. Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
  2. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  3. Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl 
  4. Because it is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin
  5. Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh
  6. Whispers at Moonrise by C. C. Hunter
  7. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  8. Conjure by Lea Nolan
  9. Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

 What books are you looking forward to this fall?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Reading Reflections: August 2012

Books Read:
Endlessly (Paranormalcy #3) by Kiersten White
The Goddess Legacy (Goddess Test #2.5) by Aimee Carter
The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano 

Total Number of Books Read This Month: 4

Total Number of Books Read This Year: 39

Most Anticipated:
Endlessly (Paranormalcy #3) by Kiersten White

Biggest Let Down:
Endlessly (Paranormalcy #3) by Kiersten White

Favorite Read:
The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

Highest Rank: 5

Lowest Rank: 3.5

Overall Reflection:
Well, I haven't been successful at reading a large number of books. This kind of sucks since it puts me behind in my yearly reading goal. However, I did some necessary work on the blog, much thanks to Rachel from Parajunkee's View. I also got caught up on posting reviews (which I was sorely behind on). I reconnected with some of my blogging friends. Unfortunately, I'm in a really tough class right now which has detracted from reading for pleasure. I hope that things quiet down soon, but I think life is going to be busy for the next few months. I was pleasantly surprised by The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger. It's been sitting on my shelf for a while. I finally picked it up because I needed a lighter read and devoured it quickly. I will definitely be checking out Keplinger's other works in the future. Endlessly (Paranormalcy #3) by Kiersten White was a bit of a disappointment. I just couldn't get into it. I really liked the first book in the series, but haven't really enjoyed the rest of the series as much. The Goddess Legacy (Goddess Test #2.5) by Aimee Carter was another pleasant surprise. It renewed my hope for the next book in the series. Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano was a sad, but engrossing read. I'm eager to read the next book in the series. Overall, not a great month, but not too shabby either.