Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Asunder by Jodi Meadows

Asunder by Jodi Meadows
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls—and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

Many are afraid of Ana's presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Ana was told that nosouls can't love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection."- summary from Amazon

I NEED BOOK 3 NOW!!! So much is revealed in this book and then the book ends on such a cliffhanger that it made me want to finish the trilogy right away, but I must wait!!

I feel like this installment was better than the first. While I enjoyed the first, I did feel like not a whole lot happened. Here there's more action, more information revealed, and it all happens at a nice pace. I always had a hard time putting the book down, especially during the second half of the novel. Meadows does a really wonderful job writing the myriad of interactions between the residents of Heart, and there are a LOT of them.

I also wanted to punch a few people throughout the course of the book, which just shows you how invested I am in Ana and Sam. Meadows really makes you feel for them as they continue to work on their relationship despite all the horrible things thrown their way.

Overall, a fantastic second book that doesn't fall victim to the sophomore slump and I cannot wait to see how Meadows wraps the series up in the final book.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Perry's Killer Playlist by Joe Schreiber

Perry's Killer Playlist by Joe Schreiber
"When Perry ends up in Venice on a European tour with his band Inchworm, he can’t resist a visit to Harry’s Bar, where Gobi told him she’d meet him someday. The last time he saw Gobi, five people were assassinated one crazy night in New York City. Well . . . Gobi shows up, and once again Perry is roped into a wild, nonstop thrill ride with a body count. Double crossings, kidnappings, CIA agents, arms dealers, boat chases in Venetian canals, and a shootout in the middle of a Santa Claus convention ensue."- summary from Amazon

I really enjoyed the first book in this series and had absolutely no idea a sequel was coming out until an email from the publisher showed up in my inbox a few weeks before publication. I immediately downloaded the book from Netgalley.

I will admit that this book wasn't as good as the first. This one was more action-packed, which did make for a suspenseful, page-turning read, but it wasn't as funny as the first novel. It is humorous, but it didn't have the same level as the previous one, so I wasn't as invested.

But aside from that, this book is insane. Schreiber does a really good job writing all the action scenes and we do get to find out more about Gobi (a LOT more), which involved some emotional scenes. It showed some great character growth.

Overall, not as good as the first humor-wise, but still worth a check. I wonder if there'll be a third...

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Infinity Ring: A Mutiny in Time and Divide and Conquer by James Dashner and Carrie Ryan

A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner
"History is broken, and three kids must travel back in time to set it right!

When best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste stumble upon the secret of time travel -- a hand-held device known as the Infinity Ring -- they're swept up in a centuries-long secret war for the fate of mankind. Recruited by the Hystorians, a secret society that dates back to Aristotle, the kids learn that history has gone disastrously off course.

Now it's up to Dak, Sera, and teenage Hystorian-in-training Riq to travel back in time to fix the Great Breaks . . . and to save Dak's missing parents while they're at it. First stop: Spain, 1492, where a sailor named Christopher Columbus is about to be thrown overboard in a deadly mutiny!"- summary from Amazon

Divide and Conquer by Carrie Ryan
"Dak, Sera, and Riq might be in over their heads when they attempt to stop a Viking invasion!

Hundreds of ships carrying thousands of warriors are laying siege to medieval Paris. The Parisians are holding their own, but the stalemate can only last so long. And that's bad news -- especially since Dak has been captured, forced to work alongside the Vikings while Sera and Riq defend Paris from within. No matter which side wins, the kids lose!"- summary from Amazon

Oh my goodness, I LOVED reading these books! They really put a fun twist on history and make it a quick read while challenging readers. And while the two books are written by two very different authors, I didn't notice any real differences in the writing. The characters all felt the same; obviously, that's the point but sometimes it can be a bit tricky to write a series like this.

I really enjoyed the settings of these novels and am excited to see where the books go next! Both of these are out in stores now, with Book 3 coming out Feb 2013 and Books 4-6 following in 2013 and Book 7 out in 2014. There's also an online game component associated with these books, which I think is really cool. I haven't had a chance to partake in that aspect yet though.

FTC: Received ARC of Book 1 from publisher and e-galley of Book 2 from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Collateral by Ellen Hopkins

Collateral by Ellen Hopkins
"Meet Ashley, a graduate student at San Diego State University. She was raised in northern California reading poetry and singing backup in her best friend’s band. The last thing she ever expected was to end up a military wife. But one night, she meets a handsome Marine named Cole. He doesn’t match the stereotype of the aggressive military man she’d always presumed to be true; he’s passionate and romantic, and he even writes poetry. Their relationship evolves into a deeply felt, sexually charged love affair that goes on for five years and survives four deployments. Cole desperately wants Ashley to marry him, but when she meets another man, a college professor, with similar professional pursuits and values, she begins to see what life might be like outside the shadow of war."- summary from Amazon

It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Ellen Hopkins. Her books are just absolutely amazing and touch on so many different subjects and struggles that people go through. Dealing with a significant other in the Marines (or in any branch of the Armed Forces) is something that so many people have gone or are going through.

It's heartbreaking reading Ashley's tale and everything she goes through. The book flips back and forth between the past (when she first meets Cole) and the present (after being with him for five years) with Cole's poems in between each section break. I liked the idea of Cole's poems being in there too to get a little perspective into him.

I do feel like the other man bit took way too long to get to and it felt a bit rushed when it did happen. Not to say that it didn't feel right when they started to see each other, but I would've liked a bit more lead-up to it. Either way, it led to a heart-wrenching climax and I didn't want to see the book end.

Overall, another wonderful read from Hopkins and I highly recommend it as I do all her other books.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Anyway by Arthur Salm

Anyway by Arthur Salm
"Max is a good kid—but you wouldn’t know that if you met him at the boring family camp his parents dragged him to over the summer. There, for a few exciting weeks, Max reinvents himself as “Mad Max” and gains a bad-boy reputation for being daring, cool, and fearless.

But when Max returns home, he finds it’s easier to be fearless with strangers than it is among friends, and he is not particularly proud of the way his behavior over the summer hurt people. Can he find a way to merge his adventurous alter ego with his true identity as a good guy?"- summary from Amazon

This was a good, funny book but wasn't necessarily something that held my attention. I thought it would be a quick read since it's a middle-grade book with some illustrations and footnotes and also because it's 180 pages. I was wrong- it took me 2.5 months to read it. I just didn't feel compelled to read it. I liked it while I was reading it, but I was never DYING to open it back up again. I usually had it next to my bed and might read a few pages before heading to sleep, but it wasn't something where I needed to know what happened next.

Max is a wonderful character though and I enjoyed reading his adventures. I think middle-grade readers will definitely enjoy this book. Salm did a great job with Max's voice and it really rings true. Max is a boy just trying to find his way in this crazy world, just like everyone else.

Overall, this book is a good effort, but not necessarily a run-out-and-get-it kind of read.

FTC: Received hardcover from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

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."- summary from Amazon

Why have I waited so long to read another A.S. King book?! I haven't read one since her debut, though I own the two books in between that and this one. I will need to get on them as soon as I can. Also? You know my review from the other day, about where I said I rarely read gay books so when I do, I have high expectations? This is how you write a gay book. Not that this is necessarily JUST a gay book or anything, but King writes Astrid and her questioning so well, and of course there is a lesbian romance (actually, two and a gay male one, so maybe this is mainly a gay book after all, lol), it's just simply fantastic and deserves mention.

But it's really more about Astrid feeling out of place in many other ways than just her sexuality. King writes a compelling voice that kept me hooked and flipping the pages. Astrid is a wonderful, sarcastic character and her friends are all great. The small-town setting was really brought to life too and made for the perfect backdrop.

I don't even know what else to say, except that this book is amazing and you all should read it (and King's other books). She's a wonderful author who deserves more mention and acclaim. I can't wait to go back and read the other two books I missed.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Andy Squared by Jennifer Lavoie

Andy Squared by Jennifer Lavoie
"Seventeen-year-old twins, Andrew and Andrea Morris, have always been close. They share everything—from their friends to a room—and they both enjoy star positions on their high school’s soccer teams. All’s right with the twins...or is it?

When new student Ryder Coltrane moves from Texas to their small New York town, he spins Andrew’s world upside down. All of Andrew’s past relationship troubles begin to make sense and his true feelings start to click into place after Ryder comes out to him. His friendship with Ryder turns secretively romantic, but secrets, they soon find out, are hard to keep. Once rumors start to fly, so-called friends turn on them, and the boys’ relationship turns into a bomb about to explode. But Andrew never expected it would be his own twin, Andrea, holding a lighter to ignite it."- summary from Amazon

This was an overall okay book, but it had a cute romance in it, so that helped it a bit. I thought the characters weren't really that fleshed out, except for maybe Andrew and Ryder with everyone else kind of playing a specific role and not much else beyond that.

The dialogue at times felt stilted and a little heavy-handed. I also felt like some of the characters were pretty immature considering they're supposed to be 17 years old, especially Andrea. The book is pretty short, at less than 200 pages, and surprisingly, there were times I wasn't sure I wanted to continue reading. It felt like nothing much was happening. I powered through just because of the length. But it's weird because while nothing much happened throughout most of the book, the climax and end went by way too fast. I felt that part could've been elaborated on more and given time to breathe. The conflict just seemed to abruptly end with no real consequence. It just didn't feel right; the pacing of the whole book just seemed off.

I wish this had been a better gay romance. I don't read many of them because there aren't that many out there, so when I do, I expect something really good. Unfortunately, this just wasn't it.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Foxfire by Karen Kincy

Foxfire by Karen Kincy
"Tavian Kimura has never forgotten his kitsune mother, a shape-shifting Japanese fox spirit who abandoned him as a baby. While visiting his adoptive grandparents in Japan, Tavian learns his mother is still alive and that a faceless ghost is haunting him at every turn. The ghost’s warning is clear: Leave now. It is almost too late.

After a pack of vicious dog spirits attacks him, Tavian discovers that his paranormal fox powers are failing, killing him at an accelerating pace. Desperate to find a cure, he must track down his kitsune mother in Tokyo’s dangerous underworld. She is Tavian’s last chance to survive not only the fatal illness, but also the dog spirits who hunt him relentlessly."- summary from Amazon

This is the first Other book I read. I know, how weird is that? I have a copy of the first book (signed by Karen too!) but never got around to reading it. I saw that Foxfire was up on Netgalley and thought about reading the first two books before this, but timing just didn't work out (plus, I had no access to the second book- tried to get it at BEA but they didn't have any copies there). So I gave the third book a shot anyway, and it turned out pretty great.

I think this was the case because it seems like the books are only loosely linked and each tells its own story. I was able to pretty much understand the world that Kincy had built as well as these characters that had been previously introduced. I loved the setting of Tokyo and Kincy did a good job setting the stage and exploring the area.

The emotional journey of Tavian was very interesting and Kincy really nailed it, investing me in this character and everything he's going through. His relationship with Gwen was very fun and I loved seeing the two of them match wits and barbs. There's also quite a bit of action in here, which was nice to see.

Overall, a great book with an intriguing world and even better characters. I'm really gonna have to break out my copy of the first book and somehow get my hands on the second!

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.