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Friday 31 August 2012

The Modified Cover Reveal + Giveaway!

 I'm super excited to be taking part in the cover reveal and swag giveaway for The Modified by C.A. Kunz, hosted by Young Adult Novel Reader Blog Tours!

 The Modified
C.A. Kunz

What would you sacrifice to save the one’s you love? To save the one who holds your
heart? To save the world?

Kenley Grayson is all too familiar with these questions. After Earth is thrust into its first intergalactic war with an unknown race called the Bringers, our military forces begin to suffer heavy losses. Desperate for a solution, the Allied Federation issues a worldwide draft for every able seventeen-year-old to enlist. As Kenley turns seventeen, she finds herself thrown into the very war that took her older brother’s life. This year’s draft is a little different than in the past though. A new program, known as the Magnus Project, has been introduced, and only the best and brightest qualify. Kenley is amongst a select few whom are chosen to join this elite group of soldiers, and as a part of this project,
undergoes a modification procedure that leaves her and her peers endowed with powers beyond their wildest dreams. As Earth continues in its struggle against the Bringers, Kenley is transported to a high-tech training facility, the Magnus Academy, to prepare for the major battle that lies ahead. It’s here that she meets the California heartthrob, and son of a legendary war hero, Landon Shaw. As
unexpected feelings toward Landon begin to develop, Kenley wonders if this is the right time or
place for romance to bloom, especially when those feelings start to interfere with her training. With the weight of the world on her shoulders, Kenley is constantly reminded of how important she and the rest of the Magnus cadets are to the fate of humanity. She is one of the Modified, Earth’s last line of defense against utter destruction.

The Modified releases this Fall! Like the cover for The Modified? Well then head over to Nathan Szerdy’s website and peruse his amazing collection of works. He has some amazing stuff!

The mom and son author duo, C.A. Kunz, thoroughly enjoys writing about things that go bump
in the night and futuristic action-packed romances while drinking massive amounts of English
breakfast tea and Starbucks coffee. To find out more about this duo and their books visit their
blog, or find them on Facebook and Twitter!

 Along with the cover reveal, the authors are giving away some swag! Enter in the rafflecopter below for your chance to win some of the swag shown!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great day/night!

Thursday 30 August 2012

Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Page Count: 468 pages, Hardcover (I read the Paperback edition, 468 pages - Simon & Schuster UK)
Date Published: May 8th 2012  (first published June 7th 2012)
Find it on Goodreads: Second Chance Summer
Source: Purchased
Rating:  4/5

 Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.
Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.
As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

 My Thoughts: What seems like a fluffy, cute read is actually a story filled with depth and had me in tears multiple times. 

The description doesn't really do this book many favors. It makes it seem like a mindless summer read that you'll forget in a few days. But it was absolutely not that. This is a book about family, friendship, love and forgiveness. After reading Pushing the Limits, I really wanted something to get my mind off of things and to try and cheer me up. While this book was fantastic, it was also not the book to do that with. I absolutely loved Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, so I was super excited for this book to come out... I think a lot of people can agree with me on that. This is the perfect book for lovers of contemporaries that aren't filled with instluv and cheesy story lines. 

The Edwards family charmed me from the very beginning. I loved how distant they are at first, and the fact that their old cabin and a stray dog can help bring them together during a really horrible time. Taylor's dad is sick with terminal cancer, so they decide to spend one last summer at their old summer cabin. There they begin to reconnect and learn more about each other than ever. The entire family felt so real... They were all people I can imagine staying in the cabin next to mine. I LOVED Taylor's brother... I have a real weakness for those adorably awkward brothers in YA. Then there was her little sister, who reminded me of myself two years ago, actually. Always dancing around the house, my family avoiding  my kicks and leaps because it's completely normal. Matson got the 'young dancer' spot on. Then there was the mom and dad. Obviously it was hard not to love Taylor's dad. And I felt so much for her mother. She had to be so strong whilst watching her husband slowly die... Matson had me tearing up in some of the scenes with Taylor's mum. 

The only thing I can say that really disappointed me about this book was the big 'betrayal' that Taylor committed. The way the author built up tension and suspense as to what it was, when it was finally revealed, I was a bit like, 'Huh?'. It was made up into this huge thing, that ended up being really overemphasized. If there had been more focus on the relationship between Taylor and her father, and less about the not-so-dramatic past, this book would have gotten five stars out of me. Although this book was also about Taylor rekindling her old friendships and relationship with Henry, my favorite scenes were the ones with her family. Yes, her friendship with Lucy was important, as well as her romance with Henry, but there were a few times where I felt the book start dragging along and not have much going on. But at the same time, I felt there were plenty of times where the author did the perfect amount of detail, and made the book filled with emotion and detail that was personal to the characters. I don't know if that makes any sense, but it did in my head...  I did like Henry, he was cute and sweet and the relationship between him and Taylor took time and forgiveness, so that was an absolute plus. But I wish we could have delved a little bit more into who he was. We learn a bit about his past, but not much more about him. Then there was Lucy, Taylor's ex-best friend. She was hard to like at first, but eventually grows on you. 

This is a great book for the summer, if you enjoy books that will have you reaching for the tissue box half the time! It's got a story that is filled with real characters and a real story. There were so many things that Matson included in the story that made it so much better, like the fact that Taylor's father wanted to do as many things that he hadn't done before he passed, or the fact that Taylor and Lucy help Gelsey and her new friend have an epic sleepover. It was things like that that made this book amazing to me. I'm really loving Morgan Matson's works, and am looking forward to what she comes up with next!

Have a great day/night!

Cover Collection (3)

Happy Thursday guys! This week there was a really exciting cover revealed... Aimee Carter's The Godddess Inheritence! Plus, a ton of other covers were new to me or revealed this week!

What's your favorite cover this week? Any that you can't wait to read? Let me know in the comments!


Authors Are Rockstars Tour Featuring Katherine Longshore! (Interview + Giveaway)

Hi everyone! Today I am part of a tour that has been going on all month... the Authors are Rockstars tour! My rockstar author is debut historical fiction author, Katherine Longshore! I absolutely loved her book Gilt  and am so thrilled to be hosting her on the blog today! Katherine is kind of a role model to me, because the way that she has lead her life is so inspirational. (Yes, I absolutely stalked her blog/website...) I think the fact that she has traveled all over the world, hoping to find inspiration, and then finding it in history is just so fantastic. I've never really thought about writing historical fiction, but after reading Gilt, I would love to dabble a bit in it and see if I could do it!  Katherine creates these characters that have obviously lived in the past, but makes it feel like they're living now. Her characters all had such depth and emotion, which makes it easier to remember that they were alive once, too. But enough of my rambling! You can see my 5 star review on the book here.

Visit Katherine on her website and scroll down to enter for the chance to win a signed copy of Gilt! And yes, this is an international giveaway!

1. What do you think is the most difficult part in writing historical fiction?

The stories I tell and the people I tell them about are very familiar to many modern readers. Henry VIII is part of our consciousness. Even if we know nothing about him, we know something – if you know what I mean. It’s very difficult to take a story that’s been retold a hundred times and find something new and fresh about it that will convince people to hear it one more time. Because of these retold stories, people have
preconceived notions about a lot of my characters, so it’s tough to write them. To make them believable, relatable, real. Not just history, but people who had thoughts and feelings and reasons. Fortunately, that’s also what I love about writing historical fiction. To look at the facts, and make characters fit into them. We don’t know what Catherine Howard was like. All we know is what she did. The two biggest weapons in my arsenal are the questions Why? And What if? The fun part of fiction is finding the answers.

2. Would you say the Tudors era is (one of) your favorite periods in history?

Definitely. In part because of the richness and change – the Renaissance, the
Reformation, the discovery of the New World. In part because of the romantic allure of it
all – the costumes and the jewels and the palaces. But mostly because of the characters.
Henry, his wives, his sisters. Their children, who ruled a country rife with drama and
political intrigue. They changed the world. Imagine that. They changed the world.

3. Is there another time in history that you'd like to study and write a book that is set in
that period?

I’m fascinated by Henry V and Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years War. All of the
English sovereign queens – Mary I, Elizabeth I, Anne, Mary II, Victoria – inspire me.
And the queens who aren’t really considered queens – Boudicea, Matilda, Jane Grey. The
chaos of the French Revolution intrigues me greatly, but also intimidates me because I
know nothing about it. I love the clothes and the rapid evolution of women’s lives during
the Edwardian Era, just before and during World War I. Honestly, I could go on studying
and writing forever – the material is endless.

4. Is there anything that you can suggest to someone who's hoping to become a historical
fiction author?

Know your material. Love your material. You’re going to be living in this timewarp for
a very long time, so make sure you’ll want to stick around. That knowledge and that love
of the subject will shine through every word you write.

Read, write, revise. Rinse and repeat. Nothing is wasted in this business – not a single
fact or written sentence. It may not all end up in your book, but it’s all worthwhile.

5. Are there any characters in your book that remind you of yourself?

Most of them. Too often, I let people get away with things and take advantage of me –
much like Kitty. But like her, I love and protect my friends with unquestioning ferocity.
I want my own way and have to stop myself from being manipulative like Cat, but I also
want to share my success with those around me as she does. I want a quiet life out in the
country with the person I love, just like William. I ferret away information and objects
and secrets like Alice and blurt out the wrong thing at the wrong time in the goofiest
ways like Joan. Parts of Culpepper come from my darkest experiences. Edmund reminds
me of a time I was easily led and hurt people because of it. But this doesn’t mean they
are all me, that this is some psychotically messed-up autobiography. After all, don’t we
all recognize ourselves in others? Fictional or otherwise?

6. What was the most rewarding thing about writing this book?

Getting to know the characters. Throughout my teens and part of my twenties, I wanted
to be an actress. I loved the process of becoming someone else and discovering the
parts of me I could use or discard. Delving deep into my own emotional well to draw up
equivalent feelings onstage. I do the same thing in my writing, only much more deeply
because now I not only put emotions in their actions, but thoughts in their heads and
words in their mouths. It’s a huge responsibility, and one that I don’t take lightly.

7. What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?

As a child I loved The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and From the Mixed-up Files
of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler with equal measure. As a teen, my favorite books were
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway and A Room With a View by E.M. Forster.
Looking at this list now, I see they are all stories of travel and discovery…

8. If you hadn't traveled so much in the past, do you think this book would still be a
reality? Or would it perhaps be a different genre?

I can trace a direct line from my traveling days to this book, so it’s hard to imagine
it happening without them. I went to England for two weeks before venturing on to
six months in Africa. And I did not find England inspiring. England in February is
wet, lackluster and depressing. But while traveling through Africa, I met a charming
Englishman. If I hadn’t married him, I may never have returned to England, may never
have fallen in love with English history. If I had never traveled, I would probably have
written a contemporary novel about a theater geek who works at an espresso bar and
dreams of exotic adventures…

Thank you so much for answering my questions, Katherine!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone!

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Confessions

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic is Bookish Confessions (Anything! You dog ear, you hated a book  but said you loved it, you have $500 library fines... anything goes!)

1. I'm actually very ashamed to say this, but I sometimes dog-ear! *cringes* But only if I'm really desperate, and only if it's my book. Never to a library book or a borrowed book! It's only if I don't have a bookmark or a piece of scrap paper, or if there's a quote that I love but am not able to write it down...

2. I crack the spines of books I'm not enjoying... I know that sounds odd, but if I'm not enjoying a book I find it a little easier to get through if the spine is cracked and I can bend it so that I don't have to see how much longer I need to read it. That sounds terrible, now that I spell it out.

3. I'll skim sometimes, if there's a scene that I just can't get into (usually an action scene) or if the book is just really dull, but I want to know what happens in the end.

4. Similarly to the last one, and I'm ashamed to admit it, but the times when I'm reading a book and it's just really boring, or the protagonist is being super annoying, I will skip about thirty pages and see if anything good is going to happen, and then I'll go back to where I was. That sounds terrible!

5. I no longer allow myself to go to the library alone, because when I do, I end up coming out of it with about 8-12 books. And then I end up having a really huge fine!

6. I'm slowly collecting another set of Harry Potter books, because my original set is a) so [lovingly] beat up that they're difficult to read and b) no one is allowed to touch them. No one has ever read them except for me, and my nana has read my 1st and 2nd. You could say I'm very slightly protective of them.

7. I refuse to buy a purse that won't fit a book in it.

8. All of my friends have adopted the name 'Kristy's Library' for my room, and whenever they need to read a book, they come to me first. When we have sleepovers, they always take about ten minutes to look at my shelf and if they find a book they want to read, they have to fill out a little card with their name, the date and the title, and then put the card in place of the book. Wow, I sound very OCD.

9. I have two bookstores that I go to on a regular basis and in one of them, the girls all know me and if you saw me talking to them, you'd think we were friends outside of the store. But we're not. They also know which books I'm into and not, as well as what I've read and haven't. And in the other, they know me by name and have a store cat who sticks by my side the entire time I'm in the store... Can you tell I spend a lot of time in the stores?

10. Other than my internet friends and fellow book bloggers, I only have two real life friends that I trust their book recommendations. My other friends have very different book taste than me, and it's rare that we really enjoy a lot of the same books.

Those are my bookish confessions! Do you have any dirty little bookish secrets? Leave me a link in the comments to your TTT and I'll check them out!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday 27 August 2012

Mini Reviews (1)

These 'Mini Reviews' posts are going to only occur when I have two or more books that I've read, but find difficult to review, or if it's a short story. Here's my first two!

Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Poppy/Little Brown
Page Count: 236 pages, Hardcover (I read the Paperback edition, 215 pages - Headline)
Date Published: May 24th 2012  (first published January 2nd 2012)
Source: Purchased
Rating:  3/5

My Thoughts:  Cute is really the only word I can use to describe this book... Cute.

I was so excited about this book, because it seemed like such a fun, easy going story. But while reading it, while it was a fun book, it also felt as if it was trying to take itself too seriously, if that makes any sense. It was so short, only spanning 24 hours, but it felt as if it could have gone on a lot longer. Hadley and Oliver were cute characters, but because of the short time span, we didn't get to find out as much about them as we would have, had the book been longer. It was pretty predictable, but I didn't expect any different. It was a good, easy read, after a bunch of books that were tougher and more emotional. Check out this book if you're looking for a cute contemporary to temporarily get your mind off things!

Author: Shari A. Brady
Publisher: Createspace
Page Count: 249 pages, Paperback
Date Published: June 11th 2012
Find it on Goodreads: Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye
Source: Sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 3/5

 My Thoughts: Way too many conflicting emotions about this book...

I've had people I'm close with pass away in the past, but never a sibling. That alone made this book hard to read, because I had no idea how to relate with Carmella. I felt so terrible for her loss, but then at the same time, she did so many things that I just couldn't imagine, and I'm trying to figure out if it was just her grieving process, or if she and I would never see eye to eye. Her lists were a good insight to her head, but they also gave me a headache at times, because many of them said that she, Carmella, had no reason to live. That made me a bit frustrated, because yes, your sister died, but shouldn't you be out living your life, trying to make Francesca proud, instead of wallowing away in your closet? But then, I don't know, because I have never experienced the loss of my sister. Then there was the fact that this book touched a lot on Christianity and it made me a bit uncomfortable at times, because I have no idea how to review a book that touches so much on religion. I was raised Christian (I went to church), so I understand the concepts and all, but I'm still exploring my religious beliefs and so, I have no clue. The writing was both great and awkward at times, but mostly it was good. I think I would have understood this book better had I gone through the grief that Carmella does in the book. But honestly, I'm kind of glad I don't know that grief quite yet.

Happy reading, everyone!

Sunday 26 August 2012

Stacking the Shelves (14)

Stacking the Shelves is a book haul meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews -This is a great way for us to share what books we added to our shelves each week!

For review:

The Grimm Chronicles by Isabella Fontaine & Ken Brosky

That's all I got this week! Leave me a link in the comments to your haul and I'll check it out!

Have a great day/night!

Thursday 23 August 2012

Cover Collection (2)

Happy Thursday guys! Here's the round up of covers I've come across this week! I'm sorry I didn't do these while I was away, but from now on there should be a Cover Collection every Thursday!

 Click on the title for the goodreads page and the author name for author's website.

Happy Thursday!

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Page Count: 384 pages, Hardcover (I read the Paperback edition, 392 pages-Mira Ink)
Date Published: July 31th 2012
Find it on Goodreads: Pushing the Limits
Source: Purchased
Rating:  4.5/5

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

My Thoughts: I can't really describe how I feel about this book... I loved it way too much!

This is a fantastic book. The writing was delightful and the story addicting. It's not just a fluffy contemporary... This book is filled with subjects not often touched in YA but are deep and important. Filled to the bone with a beautifully simple writing style and a romance that fans of Simone Elkeles will swoon over, this was a book that will keep you reading t'ill early morning. 

Echo and Noah were equally amazing characters. They both have their own issues and personalities.They were never flat. I really liked Echo, because she was both so strong and yet had this huge vulnerability to her, which I find to be the best types of characters. She was very sheltered and naive, but that was something she did to herself in a way. Echo has gone through something so terrible and horrible but she can't remember any part of it. When she begins to go see a therapist to try and bring back these memories,  she meets Noah. Noah is visually your typical bad boy who couldn't have a care in the world, but he's only like this because society has labeled him after one incident. He plays the part well, until he meets Echo. She and him meet and though they might not really get along right away, there is a connection and they can't seem to stay together. Their relationship was both sweet and steamy. There were moments where I could not stop smiling because they were so cute together, and other moments where I felt like screaming "GET A ROOM!" but then realized that they're in a book...  Maybe that's a bit over exaggerating, but you get my drift? Noah and Echo were a couple that I really enjoyed reading about. They understood each other better than anyone else, and they didn't have to change for the other person, but they were able to show their true, better sides. It was really nice to read about a relationship like this. Yes they had their problems and trials, but that was all part of the voyage.

Filled with emotion and tension and secrets, the story was amazing. It was not an instaluv story with cliche teen problems. This book was filled with issues that are rarely touched so deeply in YA. But the great thing about this book was the fact that it also had a light touch to it with tons of humour and reasons to make you smile, made the book not so draggy and depressing. The way it was written was really neat, because like Echo getting her memory back, you find out information throughout the story, not right away. I wasn't left with missing information at the end. While reading, be patient. Your question will be answered sooner rather than later. The story was a tad predictable, but at the same time had me guessing at random what was going to happen next. The story is told in alternating chapters between Noah's and Echo's point-of-views, and the author did that really well. We get to read about how everything is working out on either side of the relationship, as well as what is happening in their own lives. It absolutely aided the way the story flowed and went about. All of the characters were very much there, within the story, and they all had a contributing factor within the story. Noah was probably my favorite character, just because he's so complex and different. He cares so deeply for his little brothers, and doesn't seem to know how to give them what's best for them, but he's trying. He definitely makes mistakes and has flaws, but that made him real. He deals with his demons and he figures out schemes to get what he wants, but he also cares so deeply for the people that he loves, and is still trying to come to terms with his parents' death. 

Pushing the Limits was a beautiful read that had me in tears, smiling like a madman, and making me tear my hair out. The story was both original, and not, and all of the characters were amazing. I'd suggest this book to any fans of Simone Elkeles, as well as any fans of contemporaries that are a bit darker and not so typical. Or any fans of a romance that is both the sweetest thing in the world, and really, really hot. One of the nice things about this book was that yes, the romance between Echo and Noah was a huge part of the book, because that's what it's about, but the romance didn't completely overshadow the bigger problems that the characters had. I think everyone should read this book, as soon as possible.

Happy reading!!!


Tuesday 21 August 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books You've Read During The Lifespan Of Your Blog (19)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic is Favorite Books You've Read During The Lifespan Of Your Blog.

1. It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini - This is one of my favorite genres, raw contemporary with no fluff, no sugar coating. This book was fantastic.

2. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins - Wendy Higgins wrote an amazing debut. The writing was incredible and the story unique.

3. Divergent  & Insurgent by Veronica Roth - I'm cheating, I know! But these two books are AMAZING!!! Read them. Now!

4. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi  - I love this book. Enough said.

5. Gilt by Katherine Longshore - Longshore did a fabulous job in making the reader feel as if they were in the Tudor era.

6. Wither by Lauren DeStefano - I love the style of this book. It's creepy and chilling, and completely believable.

7. Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles - This author is amazing. The way she writes her romances is so fantastic and this book was so good!

8. Raising Wild Ginger by Tara Woolpy - I have never loved a book like this so much! I still can't stop thinking about it!

9. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead - SYDNEY! ADRIAN! AGHHHH!

10. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - This is probably a pretty obvious one, but I mean, come on. It's John Green. Of course it was fantastic!

11. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarthy - I had to add this one in because it was just so fabulous! A contemporary that wasn't filled with insta love and cliched problems... This one was real and raw and beautiful.

 This is one of the first lists without Harry Potter in it! AGH! Oh well! Guess what? I'm coming home today! I'm sure I'll be super exhausted tomorrow, but I'll try and get some reviews up soon! Leave me a link to your TTT! I'll check it out ASAP!

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday 19 August 2012

Stacking the Shelves (13) - European Trip Edition!!!

Stacking the Shelves is a book haul meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews -This is a great way for us to share what books we added to our shelves each week!

Hey guys! So I have two more days until I get back home but I thought I'd show you what I've gotten these past two weeks in London, Paris and Ireland (We went all over the country :P)!


So those are all of the YA books I got and they're all paperback which is nice for traveling... Not as heavy!!! I've already read the three contemporaries and reviews will  be coming soon! I also found a bunch of french books in Paris but I can't find a lot o the covers, so maybe I'll show them next week when I can take a picture or something! OH! And we also found a first edition of the 7th Harry Potter book, which I think I most likely have, but that one is kind of getting beat up, and this one is nice and brand new! I kind of spent all my money on books here, but now I'm covered!

I'll be sure to get reviews up and running, as well as a post on the WB studio tours for Harry Potter, and some more stuff! I feel like I've been neglecting the blog for so long, but really it's just been a week... Weird. :/ 

Talk to you guys soon!

Friday 10 August 2012

Review: The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

Author: Lisa M. Stasse
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Page Count: 375 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: July 10th 2012
Find it on Goodreads: The Forsaken
Source: Purchased
Rating:  3/5

  A thought-provoking and exciting start to a riveting new dystopian trilogy.

As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.

My Thoughts:   I really really wish I had liked it more...

I'm warning you all in advance that this review is going to be very hard for me to write, because I wanted to like the book SO MUCH but it just fell short.  The claims that this book is like Lost and the Hunger Games are correct and I liked that combination enough, but at the same time, it felt unoriginal, which makes sense. Right? With dystopian books being such a fad right now, it's becoming really difficult to get a book that will stand out. I was really hoping The Forsaken would be it, but sadly it is wasn't. 

I did start out enjoying it. The introduction was great, with a prologue introducing the past with lots of background information and a bit of action. But then we enter the present time and it begins to fall short. The book starts out with Alenna and her classmates learning about Alpha Island, aka The Wheel. Everything's fine and dandy until boom! A boy on the island appears on a screen and Alenna feels an instant connection with him. I don't mind a lot of book romances, I can even tolerate some insta-loves, if it is executed well enough to not be like me eating ten jelly doughnuts, but this was too much. Yes we knew Alenna was going to get sent to the island and meet a boy... But it happened in a way that was just too unbelievable and exaggerated.They were both practically in love with each other the moment they set eyes on each other... But hadn't said a single word to the other. I just don't believe in that kind of thing. Sure the love at first sight stuff is cute and rare, but I'm getting tired of it in YA novels. Their relationship seemed purely focused on the physical side, with random secret make out sessions in little caves. I didn't feel any chemistry between them nor could I have cared less whether they stayed together or not. I didn't feel much emotion or connection with any of the characters honestly. But I did enjoy the friendship's Alenna made. I liked hers and Gadya's growing relationship, which involved jealousy and boy trouble, but they got through it. I also really liked David and Alenna together. They made a good team when they needed to, even when it was rough.

Other than the insta-love, I think there were a lot of things about the book that I could/should have liked, but I ended up scrutinizing everything and not really getting into the book. There were many times where there was a ton of things happening at one and was a bit confusing, and then for the next few chapters I was bored out of my mind. I think The Forsaken has an excellent idea behind it and there was quite a bit of action but a lot of it felt forced and all over the place. There were a lot of deaths in the book, thrown in quite randomly which reminded us that the conditions on the island were horrible, but there were too many deaths. One after another, after another, and it never seemed to stop. Then there was the worst thing. I bet you know what it is. My ULTIMATE pet peeve... Predictability.I guessed what was going to end up happening at the end of the book and it was almost exactly right. All throughout the book hardly anything surprised me, which was very irritating. I think there were a few moments where my eyes shot up in a bit of astonishment, but that was rare. I only really got into the story 2/3 of the way in. That was when the story shot up and became exciting. I enjoyed the last chapters of the book a whole lot more than any of the first bit because some of it shocked me, while other times I was just left on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen.

After reading The Forsaken I was left a bit disappointed, because I had a pretty good idea of what would happen in the end and then that's exactly what did. But all in all I liked the book enough. I think Stasse had a fantastic idea that could have been an incredible story, but her writing left it hanging. She's talented no doubt in world building and her platonic relationship development is great, (romantic could maybe use a little work) as well as really fast pacing, but she has weaker writing and that was disappointing. The world's set up and backdrop was really well done and I am really just looking forward to learning more about the UNA and all of the other future countries. I am hoping in the next book we will see an improvement in Stasse's writing, as well as further connection between Liam and Alenna.

I'm sorry I haven't updated in a few days!!! I'm in London right now and internet has been difficult to find for some reason. :/ Let me know if you'd like a post about my trip when I get back... I've gotten so many books!!!!! :D

Happy reading!

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Posts On Your Blog That Would Give The BEST Picture of YOU (17)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic is  Posts On Your Blog That Would Give The BEST Picture of YOU (as a reader and a person -- so pick the 10 best reviews/posts that you wish every potential reader of your blog would see!) Ok honestly, I have no idea what I should put for this... But I guess I'll just put the links to some of what I think were my best reviews or articles!

Those are my eight posts/reviews I think I am most proud of! I'm not sure which other ones I would choose! Leave me a link in the comments to you TTT and I'll check it out!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday 6 August 2012

Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Author: Robin Wasserman
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 432 pages, Hardcover (I read an ARC)
Date Published: April 10th 2012
Find it on Goodreads: The Book of Blood and Shadow
Source: A copy was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review as a part of the Ambuzzador program on randombuzzers.com.
Rating:  3.5/5
Goodreads Blurb:
It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

My Thoughts: Cryptic (I think that's maybe my word of the week...) and exciting.

I received this book for review as a part of the RandomBuzzer's Ambuzzador Summer 2012 program. I was so excited about it, because I LOVED Robin Wasserman's Chasing Yesterday books when I was in elementary school! This book sounded so amazing and freaky and really interesting. And it was! But it also took me a long time to get through it, and it had a pretty slow start.

I think most people will agree with me when I say that the book began to pick up its pace around page 100. Before that there was a lot of background to know about the characters and their relationships and how they interacted, as well as their knowledge of the history and origins of things related to the Lumen Dei. We meet Nora, Adriane, Chris and Max, who are all best friends, except Max and Adriane hate each other. Nora, Max and Chris are all studying history with a professor they call the Hoff, and are all extremely intelligent. But then the Hoff gets attacked, the offices are all ransacked and Chris is killed, and the story takes off. We then meet Eli, who is Chris's cousin. He wants to find out who murdered Chris and follows Nora and Adriane to Prague on a whirlwind adventure filled with mysterious men in cloaks, old churches and dark graveyards, as well as tons of mysterious letters from a girl who lived 400 years ago. And possibly knows the answer to all their troubles. The group is also trying to prove Max's innocence  and figure out who really killed Chris. And Nora might just unknowingly hold the key to the mysterious Lumen Dei, a machine that might not even exist, but there are secret societies who will do anything to make it work.

There have been quite a few claims saying this is like a teen version of the Da Vinci Code, and those claims  hold truth. This book is filled with so many similar things, like religion, cryptic messages, murder, etc. I really enjoyed the book, but it was so complicated and mind blowing that it took me a while to finish it. There were so many things going on at the same time and it was all in a pretty short timeline after they reach Prague. But the long letters and translations, no matter how important they were to the story, began to seem excessive. At one point I just started to skim through Elizabeth's letters, because I didn't feel the need to know exactly what was happening with her. Nora would explain it all on the next page anyways! I think Wasserman is a very talented author when it comes to the technical side, but she's also very long-winded and draws things out, at least in this book. I'm kind of at a crossroads with my feelings for this book, because on one hand, I really struggled to finish it, what with the long sentences and drawn out translations, etc. But on the other hand, it was filled with mystery and suspense and had a way of making you think one thing was going to happen and then the COMPLETE OPPOSITE DOES!!!

I have conflicting emotions about all of the characters as well. I liked Nora enough, but I thought she was a little bland at times. But then I was also really impressed with her intelligence and her way of being able to think rationally and clearly even in a time of panic. Then there was Adriane who I found very interesting. She was a super smart girl, but hated showing that side of herself. She was catatonic after Chris died and when she suddenly got better, it was as if she was herself again. But there was a lot of emotion and confusion within her, and she really wanted someone she could trust and someone who would make her feel better. Then there was Max. At first I really liked him, but then he just became terrible. But that was all a part of the plot which I won't give away so I won't talk about Max. I'll talk about Eli. I really liked Eli. He was funny and sarcastic, as well as protective and smart. He was probably my favorite character. There was a bit of romance in this book, but it couldn't compete with anything else in the story. It never overshadowed the rest of what was happening, and that was a really nice change. There was also a bit of humour in the story. My favorite part of the entire book was probably when Nora and Eli pretended to be an engaged couple to get into some old, private papers. The only other thing I will mention that didn't impress me too much was Wasserman's portrayal of Prague. I've wanted to go there my entire life and have studied it a lot. That's one of the reason's I was so excited to read this book. But I felt like the author could have done a better job in making the city sound as incredible as it really is. The city has modernized and combines both old and new culture. We get a lot of its history from this book but I think her impression of it was a bit outdated to say the least.

When I look back at reading this book, I think the story and adventure won me over and so I ended up liking the book a lot more than I thought I would while reading it. There was a lot of character development and that was really strong. I loved how crazy everything was and how the author could fling stuff at us and it would come as a total shock. But I wish it hadn't taken so long to get to the real story. If you're looking for something that you'd like to invest some time into reading, this book would be a great choice. It is something that is filled with detail and mystery.

Oh and by the way, I did add a rating to this book. I think I'm going to figure out a rating system again, so I'll just be testing it out in the next few reviews, see what I like! Please disregard any random little changes you see to them!

Happy reading!

Saturday 4 August 2012

Stacking the Shelves (12)

Stacking the Shelves is a book haul meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews -This is a great way for us to share what books we added to our shelves each week!


That's what I got this week! I've been wanting to read these books for while so I thought I'd get them to read on the plane to the England! Let me know what you got this week in the comments below, or leave me a link to your haul and I'll check it out!

Happy Sunday!

Friday 3 August 2012

TGIF: All Time Favorite Books-to-Movies

Happy Friday! I did a poll recently for some ideas on TGIF topics, and this was one of the top ones y'all wanted! Here you go! (These are in no particular order..)

1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - Umm... DUH! Anyone who has been following me for any time at all should know that I am a huge potterhead, so of course these are on here! I can't even... Nope, I'm sorry. I don't have an explanation as to why!

2. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen - I cannot say how many times I have seen this movie, and read this book. Probably as many as the Harry Potter series, and if you've been following me for a while you'll know how many times that is... A lot. :P And yes, I am talking about the 2005 version. I have seen the others, but this one's my favorite. You could say I grew up with it. My dad introduced it to me as soon as it was on DVD and I've been watching it ever since. I can practically quote the entire thing!

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I think they did a great job with this movie! I loved Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in it! It was great in my opinion. I saw it three times in theatres, actually. I know some people were upset about stuff that was missing from the books, but I think they did a great job in keeping what was important to the whole plot. EXCEPT for the ending!

4 The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne - This movie and the book were both incredible. I cried like a baby during the movie. I read the book a long time ago though, so I can't remember a ton. But I loved the movie, as terribly sad as it was, it was also amazing.

5. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks - I have only read this one book by Nicholas and I loved it. I love the movie way too much to describe.

6. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens -  I loved this movie! Oliver Twist is one of my favorite classics, so when we watched the movie in class, I was so pleased!

7. P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern - This is one of my favorite movies and I loved the book so much, too! Sure there were quite a few differences, but I got over it!

8. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - I read this book in grade 8 for class and loved it! Then we watched the movie and I fell in love with it all over again! Everyone should read this book!

9. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer - DON'T HATE ME! I don't actually mind Twilight, at least I don't despise it like some people do. I felt like I should add it, even though it's not one of my favorites, just because I love anything Robert Pattinson acts in.  Yeah.. anyways, so don't hate me, ok?

Now, I wish I could think of more, but for now that's all I've got! I know I missed some that are kind of obvious, like The Princess Bride, Lord of the Rings and To Kill a Mockingbird, but I haven't seen TPB and TKaM, nor seen the last two LotR. I know, it's terrible! But I will watch them soon, I swear! Tell me some of your favorite movie adaptations in the comments!

Have a great Friday!
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