Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cover Reveal: Shadow of Time by Jen Minkman

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Shadow of Time by Jen Minkman
Cover Designer: Jen Minkman
Cover reveal organized by: AToMR Tours
Expected release date:  January 1, 2013

All Hannah needs is a nice and quiet vacation after her first year of teaching French at a high school. She joins her brother Ben for the summer in their mom’s log cabin in Arizona. There, she meets Josh again, Ben’s childhood friend from the Navajo reservation. The little boy from the rez has grown up fast, and Hannah can’t help but feeling more for him than just friendship.

But fate apparently has something else in store for her. And it’s not peace and quiet. Night after night, Hannah is plagued by strange nightmares about the past of Navajo Nation and terrifying shadows chasing her. They seem to come closer – and why is Josh always present in her dreams?
Sometimes, the past has a way of catching up with you.



Bio:

Jen Minkman (1978) was born in Holland, in the town of Alphen aan den Rijn. When she was 19, she moved between The Hague, Salzburg (Austria), Brussels (Belgium) and Cambridge (UK) to complete her studies in intercultural communication. She is currently a teacher of English, career counsellor and teenage coach at a secondary school in Voorburg, Holland. She tries to read at least 100 books a year (and write a few, too!). She is a published author in her own country, and translates her own books from Dutch into English for self-publication.

In her spare time, she plays the piano, the guitar and the violin. For every novel she writes, she creates a soundtrack.

Review: Supernaturally by Kiersten White

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Supernaturally (Paranormalcy #2) by Kiersten WhitePublished: July 26, 2011 by HarperTeenHardcover, 336 pages

Add Me on GoodReads!


Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be...kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees. 
But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. 
The prize in question? Evie herself. 
So much for normal. 
--GoodReads.

2 Stars
Review

What? 2 Stars? Why, yes, fellow reader. TWO stars. Why, you may ask? Why only TWO stars when the Paranormalcy is obviously a super amazingly awesome series that I've been hearing about from other people? Well, it's because I was quite disappointed. Seriously. All my hopes and dreams from White's stunning first peek of Evie's life in the Paranormalcy trilogy were crushed as I advanced through this book. Actually, I had been quite hesitant to continue with this trilogy because I have this thing that whenever I find a really GREAT series, I don't want to continue reading the sequels in fear that my perspective/view of the book/author would change. Has that ever happened to you? I feel like that's partially why I refuse to read Iron Knight, the 4th (FULL) book in Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series.

Don't get me wrong; I love Kiersten White's writing style. In fact, I WORSHIP her writing. It's easy to get through and I definitely don't have ANY trouble NOT putting down any book of hers. I'm not kidding. I was hooked onto White's hilarious, modern teenager Evie's point of view, even though it lacked:

A) a honest to goodness plot 
B) decent characters 
C) a "so-what?" factor.

Now, I shall start with point A. There's really not much to give away in the book; it basically followed Evie's life as she obsessed over her water spirit of a boyfriend Lend and talked about how she LOVED him so much that she was JEALOUS that he could would LIVE FOREVER and that she wasn't doing anything wrong when she decided NOT TO TELL HIM THE TRUTH after promising to share everything and tell no lies right to his face. Wow, Evie, WOW. Evie yearns for a normal life after being cooped up in a paranormal agency all 17-18 years of her life and gains this little pleasure. After about 1-2 months of this, Evie beings to complain about the BORINGNESS (for once, Evie is correct) of school, and displays real attitude to her snarky gym teacher. She has no friends and dedicates her entire being, or really, lack of being (she is an Empty One, remember now, kiddies) to her BF Lend-y (the water) boy *cue hearts and flowers and fields of daisies.* That's really not quite a healthy lifestyle. Not only that, but Evie is quite irresponsible and is blinded to the fact that there will be only ONE FUTURE for her and that is attending Georgetown, making Lend's babies, living the rest of (her) life with him (he's immortal, dur) and making more kissy face. She doesn't even consider ONCE that she might not get in. Well, for being such a "mature" teenager that is much more "educated" about life (namely paranormals) than other normal kids, why didn't you effin plan your life out or apply to back-up colleges JUST IN CASE?

Not only that, but the real plot actually continues in a rush. It's almost as if White finally, finally woke up from her sleep writing and finished the book in the last 30 pages! Heck, there's little to no plot and she even accepts a request from IPCA, a paranormalcy agency that Evie worked for and fought to ESCAPE from in the first book, to RETURN back to the place she STARTED. What? WHAT THE HECK WAS THE POINT OF THE FIRST BOOK THEN?!? 

Oh, Evie. You're not just an Empty One in the Soul. You are also an Empty One in the Head. *SIGH*

The first 300 pages doesn't even really lead up to much of a climax in the last 30 pages. I could correctly predict what was to happen next and wasn't at all shocked. Well, I suppose being an avid NCIS watcher may help in these situations, but seriously. What a disappointment. 

B) LACK OF DECENT CHARACTERS- SEE ABOVE AT EVIE RANT.

C) "So what?" factor - So Evie does this. So Evie does that. She learns about 2-3 pieces of important information. MAXIMUM. So what? Where is this leading? Where could you possibly be leading me now, White? Your stories are like your Faerie Paths. I can't get out of them without you to guide me. Please tell me reading Supernaturally led up to SOMETHING important for your third book, Endlessly. And please let it be kind of decent! I really don't know what to expect anymore....

...............................
Time lapse: 1 hour
...............................

Okay, okay. So maybe I'm being a little bit harsh. Well, who wouldn't be? I had expected so much, and White's lack of a plot really brought down the quality of her writing. I started to hate Evie, a character I so much admired during Paranormalcy! Evie's constant whining about life, and blindness to what was going around her really pissed me off. I certainly hope White's writing improves in her third book Endlessly if I ever read it.



Purchase here at: Amazon/ Barnes&Noble/ Book Depository

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 11/28

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"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event that features the books that we (the bloggers) are highly anticipating. "Waiting on Wednesday" was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Rosie Only Secretly Inevitably Expects (to read)

Touch of Death by Kelly Hashway
Expected Publication: January 15, 2013 by Spencer Hill Press
Paperback, 229 pages
Add this on GoodReads!

Jodi Marshall isn’t sure how she went from normal teenager to walking disaster. One minute she’s in her junior year of high school, spending time with her amazing boyfriend and her best friend. The next she’s being stalked by some guy no one seems to know.

After the stranger, Alex, reveals himself, Jodi learns he’s not a normal teenager and neither is she. With a kiss that kills and a touch that brings the dead back to life, Jodi discovers she’s part of a branch of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac, Ophiuchus. A branch of necromancers that are descendents of Medusa. A branch of necromancers with poisoned blood writhing in their veins.


Jodi’s deadly to the living antd even more deadly to the deceased. She has to leave her old, normal life behind before she hurts the people she loves. As if that isn’t difficult enough, Jodi discovers she’s the chosen one who has to save the rest of her kind from perishing at the hands of Hades. If she can’t figure out how to control her power, history will repeat itself, and her race will become extinct. --GoodReads

Pre-order Touch of Death at: Amazon/ B&N/ TBD

Jenny is "Waiting On":


This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith 
Expected Publication: April 2nd 2013 by Poppy

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

In This is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith's new YA novel, perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O'Neill meet—albeit virtually—when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about his pet pig, Wilbur. In the tradition of romantic movies like "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle," the two 17-year-olds strike up an email relationship, even though they live on opposite sides of the country and don't even know each other's first names.

Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don't tell each other everything; Graham doesn't know the major secret hidden in Ellie's family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles.

When the location for the shoot of Graham's new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie's mom want her to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

Just as they did in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, the hands of fate intervene in wondrous ways in this YA novel that delivers on high concept romance in lush and thoughtful prose.    -- Goodreads

Pre-Order This is What Happy Looks Like at: Amazon / B&N / TBD


Angie is impatiently dying for:

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Expected Publication: December 11, 2012 by Razorbill
Add this to your Goodreads!

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword... 

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed? --Goodreads

Pre-order Falling Kingdoms here: Amazon/ B&N/ TBD

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bookish Goodies

1 comment:
Well now, I didn't read a book this week, so here I am letting you know about some cool bookish goodies. Here we go.

For all you Hunger Games fans:




















Other Random Bookish Goodies:
















If you see anything you like hint it to your family and friends for either the holidays or you birthday! For more stuff look on etsy.com

Cover Reveal: Crossfire by Laura Bradley Rede

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Crossfire (Darkride Chronicles, #2) 
By Laura Bradley Rede 
Cover Designer: Once Upon a Time Covers
Expected release date: January 2013 
Links to find the book: www.darkridechronicles.com

Summary 
It’s hard to move on when someone you love dies – especially if that someone is you. But that’s exactly what Cicely Watson is trying to do: move on, away from the sunlit life she knew and into her life as a vampire. It’s the only way to protect her friends, and her only hope of being with the guy she loves. Now that Ander can control the wolf inside him, Cicely is determined they will finally be together – even if their natural instincts tell them to tear each other apart. 

But when Ander meets a new girl with a power he can’t resist, Cicely fears she saved his life only to lose his love. And what about her own feelings for Luke Marianez, the handsome vampire prince? She always claimed dark, brooding Luke simply wasn’t her type, but can she still deny the fire between them now that she’s his kind? When the enemy captures someone she loves, Cicely is forced to choose. Can a heart that stopped beating start loving at last? Or will true love be caught in the crossfire? --Goodreads


Author Bio:
Laura Bradley Rede grew up the oldest of nine kids in a small town in Maine. She now lives in a little hippy-punk neighborhood of Minneapolis with her wonderful partner, their three amazing children, one Great Dane, one dachshund, and four city chickens. She is a winner of the Writers of the Future Award for fantasy and science fiction and the author of the YA paranormal romance DARKRIDE, as well as many YA short stories. She often quotes Bela Lugosi, the original Dracula, who said “I have never met a vampire personally, but I don’t know what might happen tomorrow.”
After all, a girl can dream. 

Cover Reveal: The Midnight Spell by Rhiannon Frater and Kody Boye

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The Midnight Spell by Rhiannon Frater and Kody Boye
Expected Publication: February 2013

Best friends since kindergarten, Adam and Christy have always been the perpetual outsiders in their small town in Texas. The other kids call Adam gay and Christy a witch.

On both counts the bullies are right.

Their junior year in high school seems destined to be the same old same old until Christy decides to cast a love spell for Adam at the midnight hour. The next day an alluring and mysterious boy enrolls at school and sets hearts a flutter, including Adam’s. Meanwhile, Christy’s mad crush on the handsome football player Ian seems to be going nowhere fast and her witch puberty is making her life miserable.

When a great evil arrives in town that threatens everything they hold dear, the best friends realize that finding a boyfriend is the least of their worries. Soon Adam and Christy will have to battle a force of darkness that has killed in their town before, and will again. --
Goodreads

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cover Reveal: Breaking Waves by Danielle Sibarium

2 comments:

Breaking Waves (Heart Waves #2)
By Danielle Sibarium (Goodreads/Website)
Expected Publication: January 10, 2013
Purchase Heart Waves for Amazon and B&N

From the moment they met, Jenna knew Reece would break her heart, but she
never dreamed it would happen like this. Jenna is left shattered and broken. When
life becomes too painful to deal with and she feels completely alone, there’s only
one person to help her pick up the pieces and move on. The one person she doesn’t
want to turn to. The one person she promised to stay away from. Tyler.

Can Jenna put aside everything she knows about him and let Tyler help heal her
broken heart?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cover Reveal: Fall of the Night by Rachel Caine

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Fall of the Night (Morganville Vampires #14)
By Rachel Caine
Expected Publication: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Group

My Thoughts: There isn't a summary up yet for this book, so good luck! Not really a big fan of this series, which technically isn't true when I haven't even read the first book. Any series with more than the 7 book standard started by Harry Potter, I consider it overrated. Still, I can't deny that I think the cover's pretty and that I kind of respect a series praised by Richelle Mead. Anyway, I do plan to try this series out when I have the time and the empty book shelf for it.



What do you think?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review: The Queen's Army by Marissa Meyer

3 comments:
The Queen's Army (Lunar Chronicles #1.5)
By Marissa Meyer
Published: November 21, 2012

It is time. The boy must leave his family to serve in the Queen’s army. To be chosen is an honor. To decline is impossible. The boy is modified. He is trained for several years, and learns to fight to the death. He proves to the Queen -- and to himself -- that he is capable of evil. He is just the kind of soldier the Queen wants: the alpha of his pack.--Goodreads

Read it here, or purchase the eBook for Amazon & B&N!





4 Stars

Review
Gotta love the dramatic-ness of the summary. The "It is time" part just makes this sounds like a joyride. Congratulations to us the readers, because this isn't just any ordinary novella that is totally irrelevant to the plot and is a boring intro to the new guys. Well, yes this is an intro to a new guy, but it's dark, nitty gritty stuff ready to totally make the Scarlet-desperately-needed-person (SDNP) to blow up for Scarlet. I had almost forgotten and gotten over my thirsting desire for Scarlet, until I stupidly let myself read this, and now I must thank the author, Marissa Meyer, for totally destroying the rest of my childhood with your amazing series.

So far, you guys must all be thinking, "What the heck?" this has nothing to do with "The Queen's Army." What a rip-off, give me back the 10 seconds I took to read your beginning paragraph. For this, I do apologize. Deal with it, I'm going to start my short rant on this short story that explains the whole story behind Z, a new character confirmed to appear in Scarlet. Notice, I haven't read Scarlet yet because of it's ridiculously far away release date in February, so I cannot state whether this is a perfect way to tie the two books together. However, what I can say is that this was a tale that will defy the expectations one had after Cinder.

This novella that is too short for it's own good begins with Z, a lunar with extraordinary athletic prowess. He is expected to be drafted into the Queen's Army, and is extremely excited for this high honor. Despite his original anticipation to be drafted, Z realizes that this isn't rainbows and ponies anymore. The grittiness of the the Lunar world is fully revealed when he and his family are torn apart, never to be seen together again, and the army implants machinery to turn him into an ultimate warrior, a wolf, along with others. We see Z fighting for his humanity through out this novella. It's such a tragic path that he is treading, and I cannot wait to see more of him in Scarlet.

The terrifying beauty of the Lunar Chronicles is basically nonexistent. Everything in this dystopian world is meant to be corrupt and despicable, which makes me really scratch my head at why I love this series so much. There's so much strife between the lines that burst through the seams of the story. It's so dark and terrifying, I can't imagine it any better than how Marissa Meyer describes it. I loved how "The Queen's Army shows us the world of the Lunars that we've only heard rumors about. This world is evil, pure evil, which of course makes me love it even more. Hey, more pain for the characters, more gain for us, the readers!

"The Queen's Army" is an extremely short expansion on the world of Cinder, for us who have yet to read Scarlet. There isn't much going on to really make this short story stand out, but there's just enough to keep us on our toes for what's the come. I wish there was a bit more expansion on the tension between Z and his brother, but for now, I'll take what I can get. It's fascinating to see Z try to fight the animal instincts that the army is trying to force upon him, but his acceptance of his beast behavior is what really makes me fall for this novella. The positioning of humanity and savagery is explored in such a simplistic, yet complex way that really takes ahold of the reader for the short period of time it can.



Friday, November 23, 2012

Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

4 comments:
Where She Went (If I Stay #2)
By Gayle Forman
Published: April 5th 2011 
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Hardcover, 264 Pages

It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other.


Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I StayWhere She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance. --Goodreads

4.5 Stars
Review:

Warning: This review contains (tons of) spoilers of If I Stay!
Warning: May contain a bit of spoilers of Where She Went

This book was amazing, but it didn't quite measure up to the awesomesauce that was the first book, If I Stay. Click HERE for my review of If I Stay

Before you read more of this review and in case you missed the red warning above, this book and review DOES have spoilers of the first book, since it is the sequel to If I Stay!

The sadness factor of this novel is out of the roof! You guys know how the first book ended in a sad, but happy way? Well Where She Went is the sequel of that sadness! The second book is from Adam's POV as oppose to Mia's like in the first book. I would've much rather the second novel be from both Adam and Mia's POVs, so I could have found out how Mia was feeling and how Adam was feeling as well, but you know what they say, "Life isn't a Burger King; you can't always have it your way."

If I Stay ended with Mia waking up and then breaking up with Adam and Where She Went tells the story of what happened to Mia and Adam three years later and hopefully we will find out why in the world did Mia break up with Adam! 

Three years later, Adam and Mia meet again for the first time. At first Mia just shows Adam around NYC and they make small talk and eventually they talk about bigger things...  I just realized that this novel is one of those novels that if you talk about the plot, you will spoil it for others, so I'm going to try to not talk about the plot! 

Adam is now a major rock star and is super famous and Mia is a rising star. Everything seems good on the outside for Adam, but on the inside he's always stressed-out, nervous, and he also has a lot of anxiety, but this is kind of understandable because the love of his life did break up with him. 

I found myself rooting for Adam, maybe because of how his character was painted in If I Stay, I'm not quite sure why, but I just know I was rooting for him. I also wanted Adam and Mia to get back together!

I LOVED all the flashbacks of Adam's life! Even though they may not have been necessary, they were neat.

I think it's safe to say that I officially love Gayle Forman novels. I'm really excited for her new novel to come out! If you've read the first book, you should check out the second! 

Happy reading everyone!



Purchase this book here: Amazon / B&N / TBD

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

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Hey guys! This season YAN is thankful for all of you who support us! We can't thank you enough for taking the time and reading our posts! 



What are YOU thankful for this season?

(Let the turkey wave to you!)

Happy eating everyone! Hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving! 

Book Trailer: Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

2 comments:

My Thoughts: I am really not sure on what to say about this. It looks all fancy, but doesn't really show anything about the plot besides ballerinas killing their feet. Ugh... book trailers are usually poorly and ridiculously made. However, this one is slightly better made, despite its pointlessness and different ballerinas that are switched every other shot. The music is love, so I guess I give kudos to the composer! 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Opal Book Trailer Reveal

2 comments:


(If video above does not work click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oLkv3DotkqM)

Ahhhhhhhh!!! I for one can NOT wait for this book to come out! Here at YAN, we all LOVE the Lux series!!

What did you guys think of the trailer? We love to know your thoughts in the comments below! :)




Waiting on Wednesday 11/21

7 comments:

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event that features the books that we (the bloggers) are highly anticipating. "Waiting on Wednesday" was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Rosie Only Supposedly Ingeniously Expects (to read)


The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
Expected Publication: March 5, 2013 by Tor Teen
Hardcover, 352 pages
Add this on GoodReads!

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.

Literally.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli's dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.
--GoodReads

Pre-order The Nightmare Affair at: Amazon/ B&N/ TBD


Jenny is "Waiting On":

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
 Expected Publication: June 4th 2013 by Viking Juvenile
Add this book to your Goodreads!

Set in the fictional beach town of Colby, where several of Dessen's novels take place, it features 18-year-old Emmeline, who is spending her last summer before college working for her family's vacation rental business and enjoying a summer romance with a young aspiring filmmaker. --Goodreads

You guys know how much I LOVE Sarah Dessen novels, so of course I am excited for this book! If Colby was a real place I think I would be honored to live there. :) Looks like a prefect summer read!



Pre-order this book at: Amazon / B&N / TBD

~M is eagerly anticipating: 

Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George
Publication Date: December 11, 2012

When Petunia, the youngest of King Gregor's twelve dancing daughters, is invited to visit an elderly friend in the neighboring country of Westfalin, she welcomes the change of scenery. But in order to reach Westfalin, Petunia must pass through a forest where strange two-legged wolves are rumored to exist. Wolves intent on redistributing the wealth of the noble citizens who have entered their territory. But the bandit-wolves prove more rakishly handsome than truly dangerous, and it's not until Petunia reaches her destination that she realizes the kindly grandmother she has been summoned to visit is really an enemy bent on restoring an age-old curse. The stories of Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood get a twist as Petunia and her many sisters take on bandits, grannies, and the new King Under Stone to end their family curse once and for all. -Goodreads

Pre-order at: Amazon / Barnes and NobleThe Book Depository

Maya is desperately hoping for:

Being Henry DavidBeing Henry David by Cal Armistead
Publication Date: March 1, 2013

Seventeen-year-old "Hank" has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything --who he is, where he came from, why he's running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or "Hank" and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of--Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead's remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home. - Goodreads




Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: Once by Anna Carey

2 comments:
Once (Eve #2)
By Anna Carey
Published: July 3, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Hardcover, 368 pages

When you're being hunted, who can you trust?

For the first time since she escaped from her school many months ago, Eve can sleep soundly. She's living in Califia, a haven for women, protected from the terrifying fate that awaits orphaned girls in The New America.

But her safety came at a price: She was forced to abandon Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. When Eve gets word that Caleb is in trouble, she sets out into the wild again to rescue him, only to be captured and brought to the City of Sand, the capital of The New America.

Trapped inside the City walls, Eve uncovers a shocking secret about her past--and is forced to confront the harsh reality of her future. When she discovers Caleb is alive, Eve attempts to flee her prison so they can be together--but the consequences could be deadly. She must make a desperate choice to save the ones she loves . . . or risk losing Caleb forever.

In this breathless sequel to "Eve," Anna Carey returns to her tale of romance, adventure, and sacrifice in a world that is both wonderfully strange and chillingly familiar.
--Goodreads

1.5 Stars

Review
After reading Eve, I was at a sort of a loss. Eve ended with such a perfect ending to keep the reader dying for Once, I remember reading an excerpt of this book and thinking "Meh...." There was nothing truly spectacular about Eve. After all, many of its themes and plot devices were ones already used in dystopians for years, and all of the characters bugged me. So now I really wonder why I read Once because honestly, it was worse than I expected.

Once begins a few months after the epic cliffhanger we were left off on. Eve is kind of off on her own in the women's haven, Califia, and suddenly, she discovers that the women there are willing to betray her for the safety of the rest of the women. OMG! Big shocker, isn't it? I mean, sacrificing one girl is an awfully cheap price for the safety of at least 100 women, so anyone with common sense can understand. The girl's new, doesn't really contribute much to Califia society, but Eve treats this news like it's the end of the world. Like, 'WHO DOESN'T LOVE ME ENOUGH TO KEEP ME?' Everyone, Eve, everyone. Basically, I just hate the protagonist of this series with a burning passion, which kind of causes my hatred of the series. 

I know I'm being a little harsh (OK, extremely) harsh on Eve. For most characters, I'm willing by bypass the sudden case of selfishness. However, for Eve, this has been a ongoing issue from Day 0. By now, I've been hoping for some form of her maturing, to make her seem relatable. Unfortunately, this just never happens. Throughout Once  as well, Eve is still the same bratty girl who ran away from school the previous year. Not thinking anything through and believing that she's faultless when she causes tragedy to strike others.

Additionally, the plot of this book sort of fell flat as well. We find out the secret behind Eve's past, and it's not that shocking. Many plot devices overused and repeatedly used in YA are used in Once. While I was reading this book, I felt like the plot was flowing similarly to how Torn by Amanda Hocking did. (Kind of a spoiler). Although there genres were different, Torn and Once are similar in plot and building up momentum for a sort of deadpan climax. The plot is almost identical to Torn, yet I loved Torn way more than Once, surprisingly. The thing is, Wendy in the Trylle trilogy matures and becomes a competent ruler over her people. Good luck with Eve managing to lead anyone, let along to not lead them into a trap, which she does repeatedly. 

There was just something crucial missing in Once that didn't allow me to appreciate anything. The writing was decent, but just couldn't hook me to this book. Many times, I nearly gave up on reading this because I was so frustrated with Eve, as you probably have guessed. Now, I'm just really disappointed with this series and the author, and really just can't imagine myself trying to finish the series with Rise.


Purchase this book: Amazon/ B&N/ TBD

Review: Pretty in Black by Rae Hachton

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Pretty in Black (Pretty in Black #1)
By Rae Hachton
Published October 26th, 2011
Publisher: Teen Pulse
Paperback, 312 pages

Some Things are Pretty. Some Things are Black. Love is both.

[Ellie Piper]

She wanted to die. He arose from the grave. He was sent to kill her. She was trained to kill those of his kind. But fate had other plans. He searched for 119 years to find her. & There's no way in hell he's letting her go. Dead or Alive. They're fated.

[Marcus Marble]

How far would you go to be with the one you love? Would you die for her? Would you kill for her? What if the only reason you're still alive is because of her? What if the reason you came back from the dead, was to be with her? But what if your job was to kill her, but you fell in love instead? And now you're being hunted by your own kind?

Destroy? Or be Destroyed?




Review 
Pretty Dark and gloomy cover, right? I do admit it, I judge books by their covers. It's the cover that attracts me to a book, and makes me read its summary to see if its something I might like. This book would normally be one I wouldn't look at (its cover is just too dark and not very appealing), but it was recommended to me by a friend, so I had to give it a chance. Luckily enough, the summary snagged my interest, and I decided to read it, and I'm glad I did.  

Pretty in Black is a beautiful gothic love story. The main character is Ellie, a girl who has recently faced many hardships, including the murder of her sister, the divorce of her parents, and her boyfriend cheating on her. She is pretty depressed and wants to die. However, in comes Marcus Marble (I love his name), with whom Ellie is immediately attracted too. You can see where this is going, right? Well it may be a more typical romance, but the paranormal side is quite fascinating. Hachton puts a unique twist on vampires, creating an original paranormal story, which can be hard to find in today's market.

Marcus Marble, how his name  and its alliteration just rolls off your tongue. It is definitely catchy. He is quite the mysterious guy at first, showing up at a cemetery, and being seemingly everywhere Ellie is (not that that isn't weird at all). And of course, he is gorgeous, but what male love interest isn't? The atypical love story that you might think of (after reading the summary) is this: boy meets girl, they are helplessly in love but try to stay away from each other, but eventually realize they are soul mates. That was what I was thinking too, but was for the most part, proved wrong. Marcus knows that his love for Ellie is dangerous, but he pursues her anyway, and his feelings only get stronger as the story continues, Marcus is very honest about his feelings and that is very refreshing. It is only Ellie who is hesitant at first, understandably so, after all she did meet him, a random stranger, in a graveyard, and suddenly he is everywhere she is.


My favorite part (besides the paranormal part), is the writing. Not only does the writing enhance the story, but it really sets the mood, leaving you with an impression of this dark and sweet story of two people in love. It also made the book fast paced, and I was very surprised how little time this took me. It's 312 pages are deceiving, but enjoyably so, I didn't put this book down and just sped through it. I am very excited to read the sequel. What a cliffhanger at the end. All in all I would recommend this to anyone who has a taste for  dark romance, or anyone else who is looking for a lovely book you're able to fly through.

Purchase this book at: Amazon / Barnes and Noble /The Book Depository



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman Blitz!

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Miss Fortune Bookie by Lauren Bjorkman

Published: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Hardcover, 288 pages

Meet Erin. Smart student, great daughter, better friend. Secretly the mastermind behind the popular advice blog Miss Fortune Cookie. Totally unaware that her carefully constructed life is about to get crazy. It all begins when her ex-best friend sends a letter to her blog—and then acts on her advice. Erin’s efforts to undo the mess will plunge her into adventure, minor felonies, and possibly her very first romance. What’s a likely fortune for someone no longer completely in control of her fate? Hopefully nothing like: You will become a crispy noodle in the salad of life.

Purchase this book here: Amazon


Excerpt

You will have much luck and little hardship.
Or the other way around.


CHAPTER 1

My friends and I were riding home from school on Muni, clinging to an
assortment of slippery handholds, when Linny almost blew my secret identity.
“Listen to this one,” she said, reading off her iPhone, a faint but smirky
glint in her eyes. “‘Dear Miss Fortune Cookie. My cousin thinks I’m chasing her
boyfriend. Her boyfriend and I never flirt, but sometimes we text. What can I do to
make her believe me? Just Friends.’”

In fact, I—Erin Kavanagh, alias Miss Fortune Cookie—had posted this
very letter on my anonymous advice blog, and Linny happened to be the only
person in San Francisco to know that, the only person in the whole world, except
for some random administrator at WordPress. She takes every opportunity to
harass me about keeping my blog a secret. “What advice would you give, Erin?”
she asked, winking this time.

I kept my face as neutral as possible. Luckily Darren and Mei were only
paying attention each other. As usual.

Personally speaking, I think nano-deceptions are a good thing. I regularly
use them to protect my friends from unpleasant truths. Should I tell Linny that
her favorite knit hat makes her head look like a furry meatball? Or nudge Mei
whenever Darren winces at her hyena laugh? Should I have cautioned Darren
that taking AP physics would wreck his grade-point average? Absolutely not.
Sincere lies keep everyone happy.

I blew the hair out of my eyes. “The cousin will never stop suspecting the
two of them,” I said to Linny, “so Just Friends has to stop the texting. She could
get her own boyfriend. Or move to somewhere far away like Moldavia.”

Muni, a sort of bus powered by electric wires overhead, jerked to a halt. A
seat opened up, and Linny took it. “Exactly!” She had the happiest smile ever, so
big it barely fit on her face. Metaphorically speaking. “Mei, don’t you think Erin is
a natural at giving advice?”

“Hmm?” Mei said. She was somewhat entwined with Darren and therefore distracted.

“Nothing.” I jabbed Linny in the ribs to get her to stop talking. Gently of
course. The three of us—Mei, Linny, and me—made an enviable friendship trio.
I was the lesser third, maybe because Mei and Linny were gorgeously Chinese-
American, while I was just Boring-American. A Person of Irish.

Mei knew nothing about my connection to Miss Fortune Cookie. We used
to be best friends, and by best friends I mean we spent every afternoon and
weekend together until eighth grade, when things fell apart between us. The truth
is, Mei dumped me. Then Linny brought us together again during freshman year,
inviting us both to eat lunch with her, forming a little group. A few months later,
I mustered the courage to bring up the dumping incident with Mei, except she
didn’t want to talk about it. So we became friends again without dealing with the
past. Pretty much.

Except I didn’t trust her like I used to.

And she didn’t share as many intimate details about herself with me.

Linny beckoned me closer to whisper in my ear. “I have a question for
Miss Fortune Cookie. A very personal one. But you can’t tell Mei.”

“Why not?”

She lowered her voice more. “You just can’t, ’kay?”

I nodded. Linny usually let both of us in on every detail about her life,
although lately she’d been secretive about her new boyfriend. Whatever it
was, it wouldn’t be boring. I turned my back toward Mei and said in my quietest
voice, “Go ahead. I’m listening. What is it?”

Linny shook her head. “Not now.”

Just then, the Muni driver made the sharp turn into Chinatown, and three
things happened almost simultaneously: a bicyclist veered into the road, the
driver slammed on the brakes, and I fell into another passenger. We came to
a halt fifty feet from the stop, and the bicyclist escaped unscathed. I could tell
by the vigorous way he flipped off the driver. Then I caught sight of Mrs. Liu,
bundled against the fog, among the passengers waiting to board.

“Your mom!” I whispered to Mei. “She’s getting on!”

Mei’s eyes widened. “What the what?”

Which demonstrates a problem with sincere lies—in this case, Mei’s lie to
her mom about not having a boyfriend. They can be found out. Darren dropped
his arm from around Mei’s waist and grabbed his backpack. “Bye,” he mouthed
before zipping to the back and catapulting out the rear door. He’s considerate like that.

Mrs. Liu’s grocery bags thumped against the handrail as she marched up
the steps. She has sharp, high cheekbones and is tall like her daughter. She and
Mei both have blunt-cut hair that reaches their shoulders. Our favorite salon in
Chinatown sometimes offers two-for-one specials.

Mei hurried to the front to take the two largest bags. “Ma, let me.”

Mrs. Liu stretched her swan neck toward the window. “Who is that with you?"

Mei shook her head nervously. “No one. Just Erin and Linny. I invited
them to help with the turnip cakes.”

“No. I see boy before.” Mrs. Liu believed with every sinew in her heart
that a boyfriend would distract Mei from her schoolwork, ruining her chances of
getting into the number one university in the country, Harvard. So when Mei fell
in love with Darren last spring, she kept it a secret from her mom. For thirteen
whole months. Which showed amazing ingenuity and skill on her part, but once
you start a lie, it’s hard to escape it.
“Who is boy?”

"Oh, him,” Mei said. “Someone from AP chem. We were discussing the
homework. Chemical reactions.” She blinked fast. “And stuff like that.”

To be fair, most people have trouble lying to Mrs. Liu. Her eyes bore right
through your skull and read your thoughts as if you accidentally uploaded them
onto Facebook. It’s her superpower.

Linny stood up to offer her seat to Mrs. Liu. “Mr. F assigned loads of
homework over the weekend. He wants us in top shape for the AP test.”

Mrs. Liu ignored the seat. She had just turned forty and didn’t appreciate
the senior-citizen treatment. “Very good. Homework make you smart.”

“Ma, please sit down. Ni shi lao.” That means you are the elder, a show of
respect. It also means you are old.

“I am comfortable,” Mrs. Liu said.

Mei continued arguing politely. Though most Chinese immigrants to San
Francisco speak Cantonese, a dialect common in the south of China, Mrs. Liu
emigrated from the north, where they speak Mandarin. I was fluent enough to
follow their conversation.

Ma, ni zuo.” Ma, just sit.

Gaosu wo ta de mingzi.” Tell me his name.

Before they resolved anything, the driver pulled into the stop by Mrs. Liu’s
restaurant, and we all got off. Hay Fat occupies a prominent street corner in
Chinatown. Mrs. Liu’s heightened culinary sensibility has turned it into a legend,
luring in the more adventurous tourists and fussy locals. She serves authentic
dishes with ingredients such as fermented bean paste, whole fish with eyeballs
intact, and lotus. Her menu also includes beef broccoli in case people with less
sophisticated palates wander in by mistake.

We entered the kitchen through the alley. The dinner rush had yet to
begin, which meant we had the place to ourselves. After setting me up with the
grater and Mei with the bacon to steam, Mrs. Liu tossed a handful of sesame
seeds into sizzling oil at the bottom of the wok. I closed my eyes to better
appreciate the scrumptious smell.

“What should I do?” Linny asked. I looked at her appraisingly, wondering
about her secret. Not that we could talk here in the kitchen.

Mrs. Liu handed her a bowl. “Cut mushrooms. Very small pieces.”

I consider Hay Fat my second home. Mom and Mrs. Liu met when Mei
and I were in preschool and have been good friends ever since. We live one
floor below them in an apartment a few blocks from here in a quieter part of
Chinatown. Mrs. Liu has always welcomed me into her kitchen, even during that
black year when Mei and I barely spoke.

What I know of her life before America comes through Mom. Twenty-
three years ago, Mrs. Liu studied cooking at a special school in China that trains
workers for American restaurants. After finishing the program, she immigrated
to San Francisco, where she met Mei’s dad. He soon left her, and she has
remained single ever since. Which could explain some of her gruffness.

“No lollygagging,” Mrs. Liu said. The cloth she wore over her hair fell
askew, and my fingers itched to straighten it. I didn’t stop grating for a second,
though, because sometimes when I slack off from a job she’s given me, she’ll
pinch my arm. Not hard, but still.

Linny held out her cutting board for inspection. “Are these pieces small enough?"

Mrs. Liu took the board and tossed the mushrooms into the wok. “Almost.
Watch. This is secret part. Very important. Not in recipe.”

Smoke rose from the hot metal. While Mrs. Liu stirred up a storm, I took
the chance to rest my aching muscles. As I was standing there, I noticed that the
photographs hanging over the sink had been dusted recently. One showed four-
year-old Mei holding a pen and scroll, a minischolar. Next to it hung a picture of
me dressed as a sunflower for our preschool play.

The turnip cakes were for a party next week, an event to celebrate Mei’s
acceptance into Harvard. Mrs. Liu had planned it out a long time ago. I think
she decided on which dishes to serve before Mei started high school. Last July,
she bought boxes of scarlet and black decorations. She mailed the invitations a
month ago. Harvard’s acceptance emails, though, wouldn’t go out until tomorrow,
April 1, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

Now Mei just had to get in.

The three of us attend Lowell, a high school for academic types—nerds in
the best sense—a rare public school that students compete to get into. At Lowell,
we have a popular crowd, hipsters, and partiers like everywhere else, but we
worry more about SAT percentiles and college choices than our counterparts.

For us, the first of April is bigger than the Academy Awards. Tomorrow, hopes
would be mangled and dreams decapitated.

Mrs. Liu spun around to face Mei. “Meihua! That boy on bus. Shi bu shi boyfriend?"

Meihua blinked. “He’s not, Ma.”

Linny and I exchanged glances.

full denial = a lie of omission × 10 3

Mei’s sincere lie had gone bad, turned slimy and evil smelling like leftovers
jammed to the back of the fridge behind the sauce jars.

“The stove!” Linny yelled.

Flames shot upward. Mrs. Liu calmly fetched a small broom and beat out
the fire in three precise strokes. She’s efficient like that. “You are young. You
cannot know love.”

Except Romeo and Juliet were young, and though Darren had not
declared his devotion publicly from the alley or climbed a trellis to the window
leading to Mei’s bedchamber, Romeo had nothing on him when it came to
passion. I’d seen more of that than I cared to, in fact.

Mei laid the steamed bacon on a clean bamboo chopping block
and commenced mincing it into molecule-sized bits. Mrs. Liu waved her
spatula. “Harvard most important thing. Future more valuable than useless boy.
You tell me, Erin. Who is boy?”

My hand flew across the grater, and the mound of turnips grew. “The boy on Muni?"

Mrs. Liu growled with exasperation. “The Master say give elder no reason for anxiety."

Mei ducked her head. “You’re right, Ma.”


“I am not right,” Mrs. Liu barked. “The Master is right.” By the Master, she
meant Confucius, the spiritual grandfather of China, born more than five hundred
years before Jesus. Arguing against the Master would be futile. The main dinner
chef arrived, and Mrs. Liu dismissed us. “Skedaddle. Do homework. Good-bye.”

Grateful for the reprieve, I slipped out of my apron. Mei planted her feet by
the stove and lifted her chin. She looked exactly like she used to long ago when
we shoved cooked rice and fruit under the stove to feed the hungry ghost that
lived there: scared but determined. She turned to Linny and me. “I’m staying to
help Ma. Wait for me.”

Which meant Linny and I would get a little time alone and she could finally
tell me what she started to say on Muni.

Author Bio- Laura Bjorkman 

I am the author of two YA novels, MY INVENTED LIFE and MISS FORTUNE COOKIE. I also contributed a short story to the anthology THE FIRST TIME.

Though I grew up on a sail boat and loved traveling the world as a kid, I'm still afraid of the ocean. I much prefer other modes of transportation these days--plane, train, or car. Walking is best.

I love books with multi-faceted, intriguing characters. The best one make me laugh, cry, and turn the pages long past my bed time.

When I'm not reading or writing, I spend time with family and friends, talking about everything under the sun. Add in some good food to the mix, top it off with chocolate, and I'm truly happy.

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