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

Friday, June 28, 2013

Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Stung by Bethany Wiggins
"Fiona doesn't remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered-her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right wrist-a black oval with five marks on either side-that she doesn't remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. And she's right. When the honeybee population collapsed, a worldwide pandemic occurred and the government tried to bio-engineer a cure. Only the solution was deadlier than the original problem-the vaccination turned people into ferocious, deadly beasts who were branded as a warning to un-vaccinated survivors. Key people needed to rebuild society are protected from disease and beasts inside a fortress-like wall. But Fiona has awakened branded, alone-and on the wrong side of the wall . . ."- summary from Amazon

This was a really interesting dystopian, and had such a crazy, wonderful concept at the center of it. The book sucks you right in, but I had to force myself to keep reading after about 100 pages of not knowing ANYTHING. Fiona wakes up and knows nothing about this current world, and so when she does meet up with other people, Arrin and later Bowen, they keep mentioning things and not explaining them. And I know they're just trying to stay alive and all that crap, but still, I need a little something! Otherwise, it's just confusing. Eventually, Fiona gets some memories back and is given explanations for what exactly happened to the world, and it's all fine and dandy.

Anyway, the book is done really well and kept me reading. It helps when your main character is spending the whole book just trying to stay alive, so there's always something happening. There's a lot of action in this book and, yes, a romance, but I felt like that took a backseat to most everything else going on, at least until the end.

The ending is just awesome. I was burning through the pages so quickly to see what would happen next. It wraps this chapter of things up well so it's not a huge cliffhanger, but I'm still excited to read the sequel and see where things go from here.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more of this series.

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

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

6th Year Blogoversary Post!

So a few days ago (the 23rd, to be exact), my blogoversary happened and it's been 6 years now! Can you believe it? I also found out that Ticket to Anywhere, run by my friend Gail, started on the exact same day and year. It took us a few years to find each other, probably not until BEA 2010 or shortly beforehand. Book blogging was a whole different world back when I started. I mean, I had my blog on Myspace, of all things (which sucks because they got rid of the blogs, and I wasn't able to save all my reviews in time), and didn't move here to BlogSpot until 2009.

It always amazes me to look back at what I've accomplished with this blog, and all the amazing opportunities it's given me. I've reviewed over 600 books, met countless authors, publishing people, and bloggers, attended numerous events, have had meals and hung out with authors, attended several conferences and book festivals and so much more. It's been an amazing journey that hopefully will keep going on for a long time.

I cannot thank my readers and various other supporters enough. You guys have really kept me going all these years, showing your enthusiasm for my reviews and this blog as a whole. A lot of you love my vlogs, which I really need to get back into doing! It's been too long. I love getting comments that tell me you've gone out and bought the book because of my review, or are bumping it up your TBR. Or are interested in something an author said in one of my interviews. It makes me happy too seeing authors and publicists really getting behind me and my blog, and encouraging me. I've made some wonderful friends with authors, other bloggers, and a couple publicists. It's a world I'm so happy to be a part of; I don't know what my life would be like without this blog and without all those amazing wonderful books (ok, I probably would've just gotten them from the library, but they don't get everything!). I'm extremely grateful.

Now, for a bit of self-promotion- I wrote a guest blog for Gay YA earlier this month and it's been overrun by spam comments (but thank you to the two real people who commented!), so please leave some real comments in there. I'm very proud of it, and want to share it!

Finally, leave me some love in the comments. It'll do me good. :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Blog Tour + Giveaway- Proxy by Alex London

I'm pleased to be a part of the Proxy blog tour. This book sounds amazing and I cannot wait to open it up! I've got a short excerpt from Proxy and then the author, Alex London, wrote a little bit about the writing of the book. Enjoy!

Proxy excerpt: “When night fell, they sat around a campfire tucked into a giant cave at the base of the canyon. Outside, the horses grunted and stomped and drank water from old stone troughs that smugglers had used for decades, centuries maybe. The smugglers’ trailers were as ancient as they were secret.” – page 265, PROXY

Choosing favorites is difficult. There are the scenes that I had fun writing and there are the scenes I struggled and struggled and struggled with that ended up shedding some important light on the work as a whole. I love the scenes that come easily and I love the scenes that demand a lot of me, so it’s hard to choose just one!

I love the first chapter of Proxy because it exists in the finished book in almost the same form as when it poured out of my fingers. I wrote it a very long time ago, before I knew what the book was even about. I knew the story would be about two boys, a patron and his proxy, who takes the punishments when his patron screws up. I knew I wanted to open with the patron screwing up, but I really didn’t know much more than that. As I wrote the scene with Knox and the girl in the stolen car, it all became very clear to me—who Knox was, what his mistake would be, how it would set the world in motion and how much Knox had to grow from the spoiled brat in those opening pages to the boy we see on that final page. The middle was hard, but the beginning told me a lot about the book was writing to the end.

There is also a camping scene in the desert in the middle of the book where the three central characters (Spoiler Alert: there’s a girl) get to (briefly) be normal teens again, silly, flawed, sarcastic, hormonal. I love that scene. Syd gets to be himself in a way we rarely get to see him in the story, open, comfortable in his skin, laughing. Knox gets to make fun of himself, and the girl-who I can’t say much about for plot reasons-gets to make fun of both of them. It was a scene that felt good to write, it made me think of my own good times with my friends in high school, joking even when the world around us seemed to have gone mad. I also love exploring the friendship between these two boys, one gay, one straight, and it was the scene where I think they both the most comfortable with each other. It was a chance to catch their breath before all hell broke loose again. A chance for the reader to breathe too.

And lastly, the last scene of the book, which I rewrote and reconceived a million times (well, seven times, counting when I hid out in Penguin's offices and tweaked it in pencil one last time on the final page proofs). I ended up surprising myself with what happened. I don’t want to ruin it, but I did not expect it to go the way it did (although looking back it seems inevitable…like I was setting it up from page one…I just didn’t know it). It makes me cry and it makes me smile and I hope readers won’t be too mad at me for it. I'm very proud of that scene. Spoiler Alert #2, with apologies to Dickens: It’s a far, far better scene I wrote, than I have ever written; it is a far, far better ending than I could have ever known.

Here's a bit about Proxy:

The adventure novel of the year! Inspired by The Whipping Boy and Feed, this adrenaline-fueled thriller will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games for its razor-sharp insights into the nature of human survival and its clever writing.

Knox was born into one of the City's wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.

Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.

Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.

A fast-paced, thrill-ride of novel full of non-stop action, heart-hammering suspense and true friendship—just as moving as it is exhilarating. Fans of Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider series, James Dashner's Maze Runner, Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking series, and Marie Lu's Legend will be swept away by this story.

Alex London writes book for adults, children and teens. At one time a journalist who traveled the world reporting from conflict zones and refugee camps, he now is a full time novelist living in Brooklyn.

You can find Alex London on twitter and his website.

I also have an ARC of Proxy to give away, courtesy of Penguin. US residents only! Just leave a comment by Monday, July 1 at 9pm EST and you're entered!

Find the next stop on the Proxy blog tour on WORD for Teens tomorrow!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Vampire Academy Movie London Trip Contest!

I got an awesome email last week about this amazing contest for the Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters movie. The Weinstein Company (the producers of Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters) is sending one lucky fan (and a traveling companion) to London to hang with the cast of Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters! How cool is that?!

All you have to do is go to this website and put in your information. There so needs to be a dedicated fan winning this instead of someone who just wants a free trip, so there can be lots of pictures taken of Richelle's characters come to life!

Aside from the grand prize, they're also giving away 100 cast signed posters as First Place prizes! Unfortunately, this contest is only open to US residents.

So go and enter, and good luck to you all!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer Solstice Sequels Tour- Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

SUMMER SOLSTICE SEQUELS – 4 books, 4 authors, 4 days of prizes!

It’s day 2 on the Summer Solstice Sequels tour, where authors Jessica Spotswood (BORN WICKED), Fiona Paul (VENOM), Elizabeth Richards (BLACK CITY), and Lili Peloquin (THE INNOCENTS) have teamed up like The Avengers to celebrate the launch of their upcoming sequels!

Today we’re spotlighting Jessica’s new book, STAR CURSED (The Cahill Witch Chronicles), which is out TODAY (weeeeeeee!), with a book highlight and giveaway!

Publisher: Putnam
Release date: June 18, 2013

With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate's friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

Cate doesn't want to be a weapon, and she doesn't want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood's schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she'll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

In the highly anticipated sequel to BORN WICKED, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess's quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Indie Bound | Goodreads

Jessica Spotswood is the author of the Cahill Witch Chronicles: BORN WICKED (2012), STAR CURSED (June 2013), and untitled book 3 (summer 2014). She grew up in a tiny, one-stoplight town in Pennsylvania, where she could be found swimming, playing clarinet, memorizing lines for the school play, or - most often - with her nose in a book. Now Jess lives in Washington, DC with her playwright husband and a cuddly cat named Monkey. She can be found doing yoga, teaching writing workshops for teens, or - most often - with her nose in a book. Some things never change.

Stalk her at: Website | Twitter | Facebook


Each day the authors have come up with a fun quiz for you to play. Today’s game is Name That Book!

Based on the picture clues below, work out what each author’s favorite book is! They’ve also provided a clue to help you along. The contest will close at 12pm EST, June 28. Any entries after this date will not be counted. Winners will be notified by email. US only. Entrants must be over 13 years old. Entrants under that age must have a parent or guardian enter on their behalf.

2 x ARCS of STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood

Let’s play!

Elizabeth’s favorite book

Hint: A potions book, a horcrux, and one killer ending…

Jessica’s favorite book

Hint: A classic children’s story about an orphan girl growing up on a farm.

Fiona’s favorite book

Hint: You don’t have to be mad to work at Buddha Burger but it helps, in this surreal dark comedy…

Lili’s favorite book

Hint: Classics student Edmund ‘Bunny’ Corcoran becomes the victim in a real-life Greek tragedy, in this 1992 adult bestseller.

Entry form
Summer Solstice Sequels entry form


Jess, Liz, Lili and Fiona are throwing at Twitter party on Thursday June 20th, 6.30pm EST, #SSSequels to celebrate the launch of their books! They’ll be answering your questions and giving away LOADS of prizes, courtesy Penguin Teen, so you won’t want to miss out. See you there!


17 June
Good Choice Reading
PHOENIX by Elizabeth Richards

18 June
Book Chic
STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood

19 June
Jean Book Nerd
BELLADONNA by Fiona Paul

20 June
Fiction Freak

Monday, June 17, 2013

Interview + Giveaway- The Well's End by Seth Fishman

A deadly virus and an impossible discovery unite in one enthralling can’t-miss read

Sixteen-year-old Mia Kish has always been afraid of the dark. After all, she’s baby Mia, the one who fell down a well. That was years ago, though the darkness still haunts her. But when her classmates and teachers at ritzy Westbrook Academy start dying of old age from a bizarre and frightening virus that ages its victims years in a matter of hours, Mia becomes haunted by a lot more than the dark. Their deaths are gruesome and Mia worries she and her friends may be next. In order to survive, Mia and her small crew must break quarantine and outrun armed soldiers in hazmat suits who shoot first and ask questions later.

And there’s only one place to go—the Cave, aka Fenton Electronics. Mia knows it’s somehow connected and hopes her dad, Director of Fenton Electronics, who has always been strangely secretive about his work, has the answers she needs, and more importantly a cure to save everyone before the whole town succumbs to the mysterious virus. Unfortunately, it’s not answers Mia discovers, but something far more treacherous and impossible than even the virus itself.

A high-stakes, fast-paced adventure with imagination and heart.

Seth Fishman is a native of Midland, Texas (think Friday Night Lights), and a graduate of Princeton University and the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. He spends his days as a literary agent at The Gernert Company and his nights (and mornings) writing. He lives in Jersey City, New Jersey. This is his first novel (that’s not in a drawer).

Here's an interview with the author, and an ARC giveaway below it:

1) How did you get the idea for The Well's End?

That's a good question. And while there are a number of influences, the main idea stemmed from an event that happened in my hometown of Midland, Texas when I was young. A baby girl fell down a twenty-two inch hole and was stuck for 58 hours. Her name was Jessica, and she was quickly dubbed Baby Jessica by the media. Here's an archived piece on the event. While there's much more going on in my book, I was fascinated by the idea of what would happen to that girl in the world I created, and so was born Mia... Baby Mia who fell down the well.

2) Are you working on another novel? Can you tell us anything about it?

I'm happy to say that Putnam bought two books from me, for a series, so I'm about 3/4ths through book two, and had something of a breakthrough this week actually, so I'm quite excited. I can't say much of the plot, as it spoils The Well's End, but the goal in mind is to get you connected to the characters enough in book one that you'd follow them anywhere...

3) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or, if you don't like those, your favorite snack to have while writing or as a reward for writing?

Well, I DO love Jelly Belly's (bubblegum), but I don't snack on them when I write. When I write I either am eating almonds (odd, I know), butterfingers (my wife hides them in my shoes she knows I love them so much!) and, of all things, Nerds. But Nerds are dangerous. Once you start, you can't stop.

4) You're a literary agent too. How did you get started in that field, and was it hard to juggle that and writing?

I went to the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England for my MFA in Creative Writing, and there we met agents. They didn't bother with the Americans too much, so I got to see my friends interact with agents objectively, which was very interesting. I learned quickly that that the process of professionalizing a work begins with agents. Editing and packaging and submissions and on and on. Many of those big and wonderful self-made writers (like Hugh Howey) still rely on agents to help them guide their way. We do so so much more than sell a book, we're there for the entire process from start to finish, and that was really appealing to me. I hope to have my clients with me through my entire career, and me through theirs.

I'd say it isn't easy to wake up early and write, then go to work and edit/read/doagentystuff and then come home and read for work and then write some more. Sometimes it would be nice to just have my mind away from editing and be a zookeeper or something. But that said, I love love love my job because it puts me so close to the brilliant writers out there. My clients are amazing, and such friends, and there's nothing more satisfying than helping them get their careers started and moving. Now that I have a similar course going on, I understand even more what is important to them - I think I've only become a better agent as a writer.

5) What book(s) are you reading now, or are about to start? Are there any upcoming books you're excited about (aside from your own)?

Aside from my clients' and potential clients' material, I'm reading Laini Taylor's Days of Blood & Starlight (which I find to be so well-crafted) and Bill Cheng's Southern Cross The Dog, two books that are fairly opposite. But I like to read across genre and age. Lots of really amazing stuff out there now.

And finally, the giveaway is of an advance copy of The Well's End once copies are made available and a signed piece of Kate Beaton art. This contest is open to US/Canada residents and all you have to do is leave a comment by Monday, June 24 at 9pm EST.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Moonset by Scott Tracey

Moonset by Scott Tracey
"After the terrorist witch coven known as Moonset was destroyed fifteen years ago—during a secret war against the witch Congress—five children were left behind, saddled with a legacy of darkness. Sixteen-year-old Justin Daggett, son of a powerful Moonset warlock, has been raised alongside the other orphans by the witch Congress, who fear the children will one day continue the destruction their parents started.

A deadly assault by a wraith, claiming to work for Moonset’s most dangerous disciple, Cullen Bridger, forces the five teens to be evacuated to Carrow Mill. But when dark magic wreaks havoc in their new hometown, Justin and his siblings are immediately suspected. Justin sets out to discover if someone is trying to frame the Moonset orphans . . . or if Bridger has finally come out of hiding to reclaim the legacy of Moonset. He learns there are secrets in Carrow Mill connected to Moonset’s origins, and keeping the orphans safe isn’t the only reason the Congress relocated them . . ."- summary from Amazon

I just love the way Tracey writes witches. I mean, it's just awesome. I've read his debut and now this book (I know, I still need to read Demon Eyes, and I have an e-galley of Phantom Eyes- yay!) and he's got a fan for life basically. I was a little concerned about this being a series, but I can see it now after having finished this first book.

In regards to the magic, I love how Tracey really sets the world up, especially in such a different fashion from the Witch Eyes series. He always imbues a sense of history into his worlds rather than only focusing on the present. It makes for a more compelling, full read. There's also some very real danger with these witches and magic, which makes it a bit more different than other witchy books out there.

Anyway, despite all the dark magic and killings, this is actually a pretty funny book. I laughed a LOT while reading it; Justin is a fun narrator and I liked seeing his interactions with Ash and of course his siblings too. Tracey really made the siblings feel and interact like a family would; it just felt so realistic reading their conversations. Then there's Justin's love interest in Ash, which made for some great, witty repartee, despite his inexperience in the love department.

Overall, another great book from Tracey and a good start to a series. Looking forward to the next book!

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cover Reveal- A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers

I only just heard about this book the other day but I am so excited for it because I love Lisa so much. Her Personal Demons trilogy was fabulous and I can't wait to read this New Adult title from her, which will be out later this year (with the sequel just two months later, I believe)! Here's the synopsis and links to pre-order, then the cover, and then a giveaway!


Have you ever gone just a little too far?

Lexie Banks has.

Yep. She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother.In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it’s more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation. But still, he’s been her best friend and confidant for better part of the last few years…and is so off limits. It’s a good thing she’s leaving in two days for a year abroad in Rome.But even thousands of miles away, Lexie can’t seem to escape trouble. Raised Catholic, she goes to Confession in hopes of alleviating some of her guilt…and maybe not burning in hell. Instead, she stumbles out of the confessional right into Alessandro Moretti, a young and very easy on the eyes deacon…only eight months away from becoming a priest. As Lexie and Alessandro grow closer, and when Alessandro’s signals start changing despite his vow of celibacy, she doesn’t know what to think. She’s torn between falling in love with the man she shouldn’t want and the man she can’t have. And she isn’t sure how she can live with herself either way.

—"More than a ridiculously sexy, HOT read, Desrochers takes you on a wild ride of self-discovery and bittersweet romance." —Jennifer L. Armentrout (J. Lynn), New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You

Here's the sexy cover:

I trace a finger along the lines of the tattoo over his heart—the kanji symbol for knowledge—as he grasps my thighs and rolls his hips underneath me.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 10, 2013

How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller

How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
"A Meth Dealer. A Prostitute. A Serial Killer.

Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.

Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?"- summary from Amazon

It's not very often I read two new books from an author like a month apart (I have done re-reads and catching up though) and I'm glad I did. Miller's first stand-alone is simply fantastic (I read the third book in the Kiki Strike series when it was released earlier this year).

There's a great concept at the center of it- a school where students learn how to be cunning criminals while remaining in the public eye (i.e. senators, CEOs, etc.). Flick is an amazing main character and I particularly enjoyed his voice. Miller's prose is very compelling, and it kept me reading long chunks at a time because I wanted to learn more and see what happened next. There's some wonderful reveals and I liked reading about all the different courses the students had to take.

There's some great interactions and relationships throughout the book. I can't really say anything about friendships because no one is as they seem, and so it's a constant toss-up regarding who the characters can trust.

Overall, a very intriguing, fun contemporary novel and one I highly recommend.

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

Friday, June 7, 2013

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
"Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can't outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling's game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm."- summary from Amazon

WOW. How could I have held off on reading this series? I'm very glad my blogger friend Yara asked for this and Of Triton because it basically forced me to read both series before I sent the sequels off to her. Bardugo has created a really fantastical world here, and memorable characters.

I don't want to say too much since it is a sequel. Alina though is a wonderful main character. I absolutely love that she's so fierce and does a good job back in Ravka (and with the privateer's ship), but there are plenty of moments of self-doubt, insecurity, and worry over her actions and whether they're the right thing to do. I enjoyed her interactions with Mal; Bardugo does a good job of showing their deep friendship with each other. I also liked the character of Sturmhond; he really lit up the page whenever he showed up.

Bardugo also works the villain angle well- The Darkling is not just one-dimensional, 100% evil. He's a character that is just as complex as the main characters, and though I feel one way about him (I want him defeated!) and don't expect that to change, there obviously is something there because he does seem to have many fans.

Overall, another wonderful fantasy series. It deserves all the hype it gets, truly.

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

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
"Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart."- summary from Amazon

I was a bit worried when starting this book because there was HUGE amounts of hype surrounding it. It took me a bit of time to get into it, but once I did, I completely understood all the hype. Bardugo has created a fascinating world here, though I will admit some of the names for rank just felt weird and like the author was trying too hard to give things a fantasy/alternate reality feel. But that's just a VERY minor complaint.

I liked the slight romance in this book too; usually in a lot of YA, romance is a big part of the plot. Not so here, which I think is what made it so good and different. The main focus is on Alina dealing with her powers, working on them, and attempting to fit in at the royal court. I really liked Alina as a character and it was fun reading her journey. I liked too how Bardugo introduced the various kinds of magic and how to use them. Seeing Alina learn to control her powers and use them during the action-packed climax was amazing to read. Bardugo ends the book on a solid note, ending this particular part but leaving room open for the sequel, which I couldn't wait to read.

Overall, a fantastic trilogy opener and definitely deserves the hype it gets.

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

Monday, June 3, 2013

Our Song by Jordanna Fraiberg

Our Song by Jordana Fraiberg
"Olive Bell has spent her entire life in the beautiful suburb of Vista Valley, with a picture-perfect home, a loving family, and a seemingly perfect boyfriend. But after a near-fatal car accident, she’s haunted by a broken heart and a melody that she cannot place.

Then Olive meets Nick. He’s dark, handsome, mysterious . . . and Olive feels connected to him in a way she can’t explain. Is there such a thing as fate? The two embark on a whirlwind romance—until Nick makes a troubling confession.

Heartbroken, Olive pieces together what really happened the night of her accident and arrives at a startling revelation. Only by facing the truth can she uncover the mystery behind the song and the power of what it means to love someone."- summary from Amazon

I really enjoyed Fraiberg's debut In Your Room (it's seriously one of my favorite reads EVER) and have been eagerly anticipating a new novel from her since then (as well as badgering her with emails wondering when the next book would come!). This book's not as good as her debut, but it's still pretty darn good.

Now, it's not a page-turner of a book. There's quite a bit of introspection and it's really more character-driven than plot-driven. I liked Olive's voice and the introduction of Nick, and seeing that relationship develop really kept me reading. Nick was a very intriguing romantic interest and I loved reading scenes of the two of them together exploring Hollywood and other places.

Overall, it's a great summer beach read and I definitely recommend it (and get her debut too while you're at it).

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