Monday, June 27, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading? June 27, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme that is hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. To be a part of it, just post what you finished in the past week and what you plan to read this week. After writing your post, go to Sheila's blog and leave you post's link on the link entry form at the bottom of the What are you reading? post.

I managed to get a little more accomplished this week. As always, it is never as much as I'd like! I'm still trudging through and I think I may just have convinced another bookie that she needs a Nook....We'll see, but I'm pretty sure I can get her addicted to it as well. :)

Anndddd....Here's what I got to read this week:

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan - Review
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto - Review
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld - Review

What I'm diggin' in now:

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

What's up next on the list:

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Now, honestly, who in their right mind would complain about a line up like that for the week?!? Heh, it's sure not gonna be me! LOL I have a feeling this is going to be a great week book wise....just maybe. If not, it probably be safe to say that the problem would be me... I'll pop the reviews and all that fun stuff up ASAP after finishing them. It's going to be epic!

Happy reading, friends!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

In My Mailbox: June 26, 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is a great way for bloggers to socialize and network their blogs and to share upcoming releases! To join in all the fun, simply:
  1. Make your own IMM post! You can post about books you've bought, gotten from the library, received for review... books don't have to arrive via your mailbox.
  2. You can post weekly, every other week, or one week out of the month, it’s up to you and it doesn't have to be on Sunday.
  3. Once you have your IMM posted, go to The Story Siren on her Sunday post and add your link to the list.
  4. Comment on other bloggers IMM posts.

This week was really slow for me as far as buying books. I'm trying to get caught up on my TBR list, so for a couple of weeks I'm going to only buy things that I can get at a good price.

Here's what I came up with this week:

Legacy by Cayla Kluver - Yes, you are seeing that correctly. It is not an ARC, I bought it right off the shelf. Someone got their release dates mixed up.....Their error, my gain!!

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz - I'd seen different release dates for this one, Ms. Shultz had mentioned June 28th to Marla as the official date, but stores and online sites show either June 21st and June 28th. Either way I lucked up with both of these books!

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough - I found it on Amazon for a discounted price and snatched it up. I've received mixed reviews from bloggers and friends on this one. It'll be interesting to see how well it goes for me.

Books borrowed from a friend:

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (ARC)
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Yes, I have a really, really good friend! (Thank you coffee and cupcake buddy, Marla) I can't express how excited I am to get to read both of these. One ending and the other beginning a series for me.

Keep an eye out, the next couple of weeks are going to have some great reviews going up!

Hopefully, I will have more to report next week. Today I am going to my favorite used book store to dig around to see what I can find. McKay's typically does not let me down, but since I'm going on a weekend day I am afraid it might. I always seem to have better luck catching the books I want on a week day. Wish my luck and I can't wait to share my new acquisitions with you soon!

Happy reading, y'all!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What's Your Status? June 25, 2011

This meme comes from Zakiya at Butterfly Feet Walking On Life. The object is to post what you have finished in the last week, what you are currently reading, what you plan to read in the coming week, and what you want to buy next. You can also post about reviews you've written, challenge statuses, and memes you have done, though these aren't mandatory.

What I finished this week:

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan - Review
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto - Review
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld - Review

What I'm reading now:

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld - I'm really starting to think that he needs a bigger vocabulary. Many of his characters in this book and in Leviathan repeat the same phrases over and over and over....
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins - Just starting into this one today!

What's up next on the list:

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

I am every excited about both of these books. Forever is, sadly, the conclusion to one of my all-time favorite series. I wish there could be more from the wolves of Mercy Falls, but alas, all good things must end in time. (However, I thought that about Harry Potter and I see how well that turned out; there's more things to do in that world apparently...YAY!) Starcrossed comes to me highly recommended from friends, bloggers and non-bloggers. So, yeah, I can't wait to dig in and see what all the fuss is about! LOL

I am going to try my best to get my Goodreads Challenge completed before grad school starts in the fall. I've only got 12 left till it's complete so, in theory, I should be able to nail that quite soon!

Happy reading, friends!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Book Blogger Hop; Follow Friday - June 24, 2011

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy-for-Books. It is a great way to connect with other book lovers and bloggers! The Hop lasts from Friday till Monday, so there is plenty of time to participate. To join in, post the Hop and weekly question to your blog, add your name to the Linky list, and start HOPPING through it!

Q: When did you realize reading was your passion and a truly important part of your life?

Well, that's a good question. I don't think there was ever a point where I realized "I love this", because it's always been such a staple in my life. The closest answer to this for me is probably high school. I was so busy and involved in activities that I realized I missed being able to read what I want instead of what I was being told to read. I guess it's so weird that I think that is one of the few reasons I wish I was finished with graduate school already....I know my reading is going to cut back a lot this fall.

Follow Friday is also a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee. It's another way to connect with fellow bloggers! First, blog about Follow Friday and weekly question, then leave your name on the Linky list, and visit as many blogs as you can on the list and tell them "Hi!" in their comments on their FF post. You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

Q: In light of the Summer Solstice. Also known as Midsummer...let's talk about fairies. What is your favorite fairy tale or story that revolves around the fae?

There's not a particular fairy tale that I fell in love with as a kid. I loved reading or having them all read to me as much as possible! If I had to pick a particular fairy, it would be Tinkerbell. She's fights for what she believes in and still has a heart of gold.

It wasn't until lately, however, that I actually started reading books about the fae again....And boy, what a welcome I got! I was introduced to the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. The characters and the world Kagawa created fascinates me. The story is written so intricately that I feel like I am involved in the adventures as much as Meghan, Ash, and Puck. Needless to say, I am addicted. I've picked up a couple more books with fae in them, but I am open to suggestions for others!

Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan by Published October 6th 2009 by Simon Pulse
Hardcover, 440 pages
Source: eBook, purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

From Goodreads:

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.
The synopsis itself snagged me on this one. I love period pieces, but add in steampunk with that and it's a shoe-in for me to read. This alternate world during WWI is a perfect introduction to steampunk for those that haven't been initiated yet and an excellent addition to those who have been.

The world created by Westerfeld is fascinating and the reader can easily get engrossed. The details he gives shows a clear picture of what the characters experience through the whole book. Along with that, the illustrations appearing in the book by Keith Thompson are amazing and so intricate I looked forward to seeing each one after the first. There is also something so organic about this type of book. It gives new meaning to "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" and "Going Green", but as always, there's critics to this.

The action begins from page one. I was glued to the book from that point on. Alek's journey sets the stage and fast pace for the book. It then switches to Deryn's point of view every two chapters or so. This was an excellent way to make the story line flow and keep the reader enthralled with what was going to happen next. The combination of real life and created events meld perfectly to form a harmonious plot. I love that some actual names, events, and places are involved. It makes me feel like I could lived through the same experiences that the characters have. I'm not sure how history buffs feel about this, but the aspect is definitely a plus in my book!

Alek seems like he is very mature for his age compared to most males. Through his decisions, I could tell that he'd been raised carefully and dutifully to be a leader, but he comes by a lot of it naturally I think. He has a very good ability of adjusting and changing his actions to whatever may come into his path and carrying on like it was nothing. Deryn's story is particularly interesting to me. I love the idea that she had the guts to go after and work constantly for what she wanted, regardless of the cost and constant threat of being discovered. She defies many conventions by joining the British Air Service and keeps that headstrong attitude to earn her own way. Together, they create an astounding dynamic duo that I laughed, cried, and shouted for numerous times on their journey.

This book is all about journeys and the trials and tribulations that go with them. The alternate world envisioned by Westerfeld is one that anybody can imagine themselves living in. The paths taken by the characters could be easily labeled as epic and surreal. I can honestly say I can recommend this book to anyone. It has left me only wanting more and I can't wait to dig in to the next round of action in Bohemoth!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Published August 31st 2010 by Feiwel & Friends
Hardcover, 496 pages
Source: eBook, purchased
Buy the book: Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

From Goodreads:

Three angels- Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human- are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.

Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.

The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?
I was really interested to see how this concept was going to be played out. I've always been intrigued on the various versions of angels on earth. This one had a few extras pluses with it, but it just lacked in a couple of areas that were necessary for me to really enjoy it.

The story line is very fluid and well laid out. Gabriel, Ivy, and Bethany work diligently to fit in to their new surroundings. However, Bethany differs slightly from the others, she's more open to the situation. However, this proves to be tumultuous to their mission as she becomes attached to a human, Xavier. This, however, is as exciting as this story got for me. I read along some more, found out more info on the characters relationships and ensuing plot "climaxes." Unfortunately, after the second half it was pretty anticlimactic. The plot just never reached that "I-can't-wait-to-turn-the-page" moment and then ended.

Bethany comes off as just a typical teenager. So in that respect I guess her disguise works. It does appear that she comes by it naturally rather than rehearsed like that of Gabriel's and Ivy's. She deals with a lot of the same issues as a regular teen: peer pressure, prom issues, status problems, and teenage sex. These issues are dealt with very well in the book through Bethany's experiences and probably what saved the book for me. Bethany and Xavier's relationship is strong, but really to the point of unbelievable. Both are so immature in all their other actions that it makes it seem fake and over the top.

This will probably not be a series that I follow. The story couldn't keep my attention and I was disappointed. It had so much potential! I think that's what bothers me the most. There's so many things that could have give this the "umph" that it needed to really draw me in.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday: June 22, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme from Jill at Breaking the Spine. To join in, share the book or books that you are currently drooling over as you await their release and report back to Breaking the Spine with the link to your post. The gorgeous badge above is brought to us by Lindsay at The Violet Hour!

My "Waiting on.." book this week is one that can actually make me catch my breath when I look at the cover!

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
Expected publication: October 25th 2011 by Harlequin

No summary/synopsis at this time.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love Puck dearly. However.....there is just something about Ash that absolutely makes my toes tingle! That is why it is one of the top books that I'm pacing the floor about. I have loved, loved the series thus far and this only promises to make it even better since it will be a lot of Ash!

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Published July 2009 by Random House Children's Books
Paperback, 310 pages
Source: Borrowed from friend
Buy the book: Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

From Goodreads:
In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?
I was initially wary of starting this book. I'd read some zombie stories before, but I never was too impressed with them. This one, however, has set the bar high for any that I read following it. It did have a slightly slow start, but after that it was a constant page-turner.

The world that Ryan created is both utilitarian and evil. Each have their own unique ways of oppressing Mary in her life. From the fences and secrets that hold her inside the village to the Unconsecrated that are forever trying to get in to it, Mary holds on to to hope that there has to be something better. There has to be a world where she could have a choice in her life instead of the necessity of just surviving. This is not the place for splurges or frivolous wants and wishes. However, once the village is breached, many tough decisions await afterwards. The series of events that follow are amazing! There's just the right mixture of action, terror, and romance that kept my attention right to the very last page.

Mary is a very interesting character. As she was fairly open, I felt like I could relate to her and the emotions that she was dealing with. She carries a somewhat volatile thought process though, and that affects a good part of the plot line. I lost touch with her a little towards the end but she did come around. Since things are kept simple and, in many cases, secret, there is a lot that characters just can't see for themselves. This was slightly irritating to me at times, but by no means a deal breaker. The relationships between the characters were an interesting mixture. The lifestyle they lead affected them deeply and the conclusion of the books showed the results of those effects.

All in all, this was a great book and I cannot wait to follow up with the others. It will be interesting to see where Ryan takes this story line now. I'll be keeping my eye out for the set, they'll definitely be going on my shelves.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Have to Have it Tuesday! June 21, 2011

This meme is a new one hosted by Marla at Starting the Next Chapter. Each week there are so many new books that become available. Have to Have it Tuesday will highlight certain ones of the new releases of the week that I am itching to buy. Think of it as a wish/shopping list of books that I want for my shelves or Nook. Feel free to join in and share the new releases you find most intriguing!

Here are my top "drool-worthy" books of the week:

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey (Walker Books for Young Readers)

From Goodreads:

Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz (Disney-Hyperion)

From Goodreads:

From the author of the highly addictive and bestselling Blue Bloods series, with almost 3 million copies sold, comes a new novel, Melissa de la Cruz's first for adults, featuring a family of formidable and beguiling witches.

The three Beauchamp women--Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid--live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret--they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there's Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.

For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it's time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.

With a brand-new cast of characters, a fascinating and fresh world to discover, and a few surprise appearances from some of the Blue Blood fan favorites, this is a page-turning, deliciously fun, magical summer read fraught with love affairs, witchcraft, and an unforgettable battle between good and evil.

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young (Balzer & Bray)

From Goodreads:

We all want to be remembered. Charlotte's destiny is to be Forgotten...

Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become--her mark on this earth, her very existence--is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny--no matter how dark the consequences.

So what do you have your eye on this week? Happy reading, friends!

It's Monday! What are you reading? June 20, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme that is hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. To be a part of it, just post what you finished in the past week and what you plan to read this week. After writing your post, go to Sheila's blog and leave you post's link on the link entry form at the bottom of the What are you reading? post.

What I read this week:

Firelight by Sophie Jordan
The Twisted Thread by Charlotte Bacon

What I'm in the middle of:

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

It's taking me longer than usual to finish these, but it has nothing to the books themselves. They're both good books, but with holidays and work this week it's been difficult to get them wrapped up. I should be able to finish them in the next day or so, so start looking for my reviews!

What's up next:

by Scott Westerfeld
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

All three of these are series I absolutely cannot wait to dig into!

Happy reading, friends!

*Special note: Thank you all for becoming followers!! Over 100 in my first week! I am truly honored and humbled. - Nikki