Book Blast: The Sun Dwellers by David Estes

Today I'm taking part in the book blast for David Estes' new novel, The Sun Dwellers, which is the third novel in his series The Dwellers! The novel is released today so I definitely recommend you check it out!

The Sun Dwellers by David Estes.

Goodreads Summary:
Includes a bonus Dwellers Short Story (Anna's Story) and a sneak peek at David Estes' follow up YA dystopian series, Fire Country!

With those she's closest to dying around her, Adele embarks on a secret mission to the Sun Realm to assassinate the President. Along the way she'll uncover secrets about her relationship with Tristan that she might not be ready to face. 

Tristan has a secret, too, one that's been eating him up inside ever since he met Adele. Will he reveal all, and risk the loss of friendship and love at a time when he needs it the most?

At the same time, Adele's mother, General Rose, must lead her soldiers into battle to face the sun dweller army in the hopes of holding them off until Adele can complete her mission. Can she outlast the strength of President Nailin's elite fighting force?

There's only one truth in their world: someone must die.

Have you started David's The Dwellers series yet?

These are the three books in the series: The Moon Dwellers, The Star Dwellers, and The Sun Dwellers!
I won an ecopy of The Moon Dwellers from David but haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I'm excited to be able to! It sounds like a great dystopian series!

About the Author:
"I was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when I was very young. I grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually I moved to Sydney, Australia where I met my wife. A reader all my life, I began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010. I'm a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefer writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table."

You can find David here:
Blog: davidestesbooks
Facebook: facebook.com/Davidestesbooks
Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/3167424.David_Estes
Twitter: davidestesbooks
Amazon: www.amazon.com/David-Estes


Blog Tour - Review: The Warlock's Curse

Today I'm taking part in the blog tour for The Warlock's Curse hosted by Candace's Book Blog Book Promotions.

The Warlock's Curse by M.K. Hobson.
ebook, 341 pages. (Provided for me for the tour).
Published October 31, 2012.
Published by Demimonde.

THE YEAR IS 1910. Eighteen-year-old Will Edwards has landed a prestigious apprenticeship at Detroit’s Tesla Industries, the most advanced scientific research center in the United States. It’s a plum prize for a young man who dreams of a career in the new science of Otherwhere Engineering.
But his father doesn’t want him to go. And he won’t tell him why.
Determined to get there by any means necessary, Will finds unexpected support along the way. His old friend Jenny Hansen—daughter of a San Francisco timber baron—is eager to help him for reasons of her own. And so is his estranged brother Ben, who he hasn’t seen in over ten years.
But running away turns out to be the easy part. On the first full moon after his eighteenth birthday, Will is stricken by a powerful magic—a devastating curse laid upon his ancestors by the malevolent sangrimancer Aebedel Cowdray. Will must find a way to control the magic that possesses him—or the vengeful warlock’s spirit will destroy everything and everyone he loves.

My Review:
This was a really enjoyable book! There were so many great things about it.

The prologue definitely set an interesting tone. It describes the struggle that witchhunter Anson Kendall faces in trying to get revenge on warlock Aebedel Cowdray and finish his father's work, but the warlock places a curse on Anson and his family, promising to return in the bodies of his descendants and do evil on the nights of the full moon. This was written in an excellent style which was extremely effective for the subject matter. The prologue would not have had the same impact had it not been written the way it was. I really enjoyed it.

On to the story itself:
I thought the characters were fantastic. Will is a wonderful, brave young man with big dreams that his family does not approve of. He gets so tired of his father holding him back, so he stands up for himself and took a big risk to chase his dream, which I really admired.
I also really liked Jenny. She is a smart, fun girl who is not afraid of chasing some adventure. I really enjoyed the teasing, often flirty chemistry between the two, but that they still appeared just like the old friends that they are. I thought it was great too that they could learn from each other the whole way through.

The world building was fantastic. This novel is set in an alternate version of our world which is filled with not only technological advances of the early 1900s, but also with magic. There are so many implications of having magic as a real, integrated part of the world, and Hobson has covered many of them in her writing. So many aspects of the magic are worked into the world so well that it doesn't seem out of place, despite the fact that that was not what our world was like at all. The world, that is so like ours but still so different, really comes alive and feels real.

This story ended up being a lot more intense and darker than I had expected. This didn't mean, however, that I didn't enjoy it! While I was surprised at some of the wild and sinister things that happened, I was definitely enthralled in the story. I'll admit I was a little disappointed in the ending, mostly because Will isn't who I want him to be at the end. This may be completely different from what others wanted or imagined, though.

Overall I thought this was a great novel that really captured and maintained my interest and my curiosity throughout. It had great characters and an amazing world.
4 stars!

About the Author:

M.K. Hobson’s debut novel, The Native Star—the first book in her Veneficas Americana series—was nominated for a Nebula award in 2010. She lives in the first city in the United States incorporated west of the Rockies. Her favorite writers are Theodore Dreiser, Sinclair Lewis, Booth Tarkington, Gore Vidal, and William S. Burroughs. The Warlock’s Curse is her third novel. You can find out more at her website, www.demimonde.com.

Website: http://www.thewarlockscurse.com/
Twitter: mkhobson
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mkhobson
Book trailer: http://youtu.be/oyrYAfu8IMg

Now for the giveaway!
There is a shared giveaway going on for the tour. You can enter below.

Up for grabs is:
Prize package of *signed* copies of The Native Star, The Hidden Goddess and The Warlock's Curse as well as a swag pack of a Tesla Industries pin, magnets and a sticker *not shown*.
*Open to US only*

13 ebooks of The Warlock's Curse 
*Open worldwide*
Ends 12/30/12

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal: Shadow of Time by Jen Minkman

I am happy to present today, along with AToMR Tours, the cover reveal for Shadow of Time by Jen Minkman!

Title: Shadow of Time
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Author: Jen Minkman 
Cover Designer: Jen Minkman 
Cover reveal organized by: AToMR Tours
Expected release date: January 1, 2013 

Link to find the book: http://www.nwelsaturay.com/jenminkman/english/shadowoftime/index.html

Book Description:
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.

Author 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. 
Jen Minkman | Facebook| Twitter

What a pretty cover. I love the colours in it! Good job, Jen!


Waiting on Wednesday #6: The Madman's Daughter

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!
This week, I'm waiting on:

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd.

Expected Publication: January 29, 2013.
Publisher: Balzer & Bray.

Goodreads Summary:

London, 1894. Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns her father is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations were true. 

Juliet is accompanied by the doctor’s handsome young assistant and an enigmatic castaway, who both attract Juliet for very different reasons. They travel to the island only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: he has created animals that have been vivisected to resemble, speak, and behave as humans. Worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape the island, even though her horror is mixed with her own scientific curiosity. As the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Why I'm excited: Well first off, I'm so happy that it's coming in January! That's pretty soon! Plus more historical! I'm a sucker for it. Also, it sounds so intriguing, mysterious, a little creepy... how could I not be excited!?

What are you waiting on this week? I'd love for you to leave a comment and include your own WoW! :)


Review: Timeless by Alexandra Monir

Timeless by Alexandra Monir.
Hardcover, 304 pages.
Published January 11, 2011.
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers.

Goodreads Summary:
When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance.
Michele is soon leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – a quest that will determine the fate of both of their lives.

My Review:
I had mixed feelings about this book for a while, but it grew on me and by the end I found I was enjoying it. It was a cute story about lovers living in different times and the magic that enables them to find each other.

The main character, Michele, is kind of awkward and very impulsive, not usually thinking her decisions through before she acts. She does have her good qualities, though, especially that she truly cares about the people around her, even when they're not from her time. She truly wants to help the ancestors she meets and feels good when she does. One issue I did have though is some of the language used. A teen girl from our time would not use the word "décolletage" in everyday description, for example. There were small inconsistencies like that.

I really enjoyed the time travel aspect of the novel. It started off quite cheesy, with a key that twitches and sparks, and whatnot, but when it got into the story of Michele meeting her ancestors and Philip and helping them, it got interesting. Since I love historical fiction, I loved reading about the different era in the 1900s that Michele travelled to, and they seemed quite realistic. I really liked seeing the history. I was almost a little disappointed when it went back to her modern-day life. The history aspect was definitely my favourite part of the novel.

As for the relationship... I wasn't too sure. I really liked Philip. He was everything you imagine a debonair, Gilded-era young man to be, and he was very sweet and romantic. I did feel that their relationship was a little bit "insta-lovey" though. I understand that it's not really, because of their situation and history, but there were times that it felt that way.

The ending was definitely interesting! It made me excited to read the sequel even though I had a few doubts about the novel. I'm glad it'll be out this year!

Overall, 3.5 Stars!


Stacking the Shelves #6 - Nov 25

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly post by Tynga's Reviews showcasing your new books! 
Links (the book titles) go to Goodreads.

This week I received some fun goodies in the mail!

An ARC of Pantomime by Laura Lam.
From the publisher.
Thanks, Strange Chemistry!

A copy of The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe along with a notebook, pen, and bookmark!
From the author. Thank you, Megan!

It was personalized, too! :)

And a 3 pack of 2011 ARCs along with a cute Penguin tote bag!
Vicious Little Darlings by Katherine Easer.
Damned by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié.
The Future We Left Behind (aka 1.4) by Mike A. Lancaster.
I won this from the Spooktacular Giveaway.
Thank you Cari from Cari's Book Blog!


Review: No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz

No Safety In NumbersNo Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz.
Hardcover, 263 pages.
Published May 29, 2012.
Published by Dial.

Goodreads Summary:
Life As We Knew It meets Lord of the Flies in a mall that looks just like yours

A biological bomb has just been discovered in the air ducts of a busy suburban mall. At first nobody knows if it's even life threatening, but then the entire complex is quarantined, people start getting sick, supplies start running low, and there's no way out. Among the hundreds of trapped shoppers are four teens.

These four different narrators, each with their own stories, must cope in unique, surprising styles, changing in ways they wouldn't have predicted, trying to find solace, safety, and escape at a time when the adults are behaving badly.

This is a gripping look at people and how they can--and must--change under the most dire of circumstances.

And not always for the better.

My Review:
I debated between giving this novel two stars or three, eventually deciding that the areas of the novel I didn't enjoy overruled the ones I did, so 2 stars is where this novel stands for me. 
I think that Dayna Lorentz did a good job creating (almost) true, often strong teenage characters. The slang they used was pretty accurate, their flaws were definitely what teens find in themselves, and she used emotions like jealousy and attraction in ways that teenagers experience. There were, however, some unexciting stereotype characters and interactions which did not seem to have any depth to them. I felt that even when only comparing the main characters, for the majority of the novel some were better developed and more legitimately motivated than others (for one example, I felt one of them, Shay was much more strongly motivated and had more reason for motivation than another, Ryan). 

There was explanation that felt repetitive and I found the action to be quite slow-moving for the first half of the novel, however it didn't totally lose me. There was enough to keep me reading until the action picked up about halfway through, however, had I not read as quickly as I did (or read the whole first half in one sitting), I may have felt differently about it. I likely wouldn't have been as excited to pick it back up. The plot felt hard to accept at times. I had moments where I almost had to turn off my brain to allow the plot line to pass by without picking it apart. Many things felt a little forced and kind of unbelievable. There were good parts to the plot though  like having some romance between characters without making it overwhelming or the focus of the whole story. I just think that the way the story played out didn't suit the kind of story that I really enjoy.

Finally, my initial reaction to the ending was definitely disappointment. I really wish Lorentz had wrapped up the entire storyline in the one novel, though I suppose in a time where anything less than a trilogy is a rarity, I shouldn't be too surprised. At this point I don't know if I will bother to read the following books because I worry now about how much longer she will drag the story on. I wish the whole story had taken place in the one novel. It seems hard to fathom that there can be enough material in the rest of the storyline to write two more books about. 

Overall, I was not as impressed by it as I had hoped, though I think I probably overestimated a bit. It's unfortunate, but I had to give it 2 stars.


Waiting on Wednesday #5: The S-Word

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!
This week, I'm anxiously awaiting:

The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher
Expected Publication: May 7, 2013.
Publisher: Gallery Books.

Goodreads Summary:

First it was SLUT scribbled all over Lizzie Hart’s locker.

But one week after Lizzie kills herself, SUICIDE SLUT replaces it—in Lizzie's looping scrawl.

Lizzie’s reputation is destroyed when she's caught in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, Lizzie takes her own life. But someone isn’t letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie’s diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn’t deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, Angie's own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out.

Debut author Chelsea Pitcher daringly depicts the harsh reality of modern high schools, where one bad decision can ruin a reputation, and one cruel word can ruin a life. Angie’s quest for the truth behind Lizzie’s suicide is addictive and thrilling, and her razor-sharp wit and fierce sleuthing skills makes her impossible not to root for—even when it becomes clear that both avenging Lizzie and avoiding self-destruction might not be possible.

Why I'm excited: The summary really got me on this one. It deals with some tough subjects and I'm interested in the idea of a girl doing whatever it takes to figure out what happened to her best friend while dealing with some serious issues of her own. The idea of all the mystery is intriguing as well.


Review: Venom by Fiona Paul

Venom by Fiona Paul.
Harcover, 432 pages.
Published October 30, 2012.
Published by Philomel.

Goodreads Summary:
Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.

My Review:

This book is being marketed as one of the 'Breathless Reads'. The title completely fits. This book blew me away in so many ways. It was elegant, it was mysterious, and it was impossible to put down. I am in love with this book.

First, the writing. It is beautiful. It flows effortlessly and paints a vivid picture of the places and the characters in my mind. Venice absolutely comes alive; I was sucked into Cass' world and never wanted to leave. I will be reading everything Fiona Paul writes because she is so eloquent and so powerful. The scenes that were sinister had my heart pounding and my mind reeling.

The characters were so intriguing. I always wanted to see more of them and know more about them. The main character, Cass, is really quite fun. Mentally, she's very well-balanced: she cares for people and is aware of how her actions may affect them, yet she's a young woman! She wants to have fun and a little freedom! She has a bit of a rebellious streak, but doesn't lose her concern for those close to her. One thing I really enjoyed about her is how passionate she is. She doesn't always allow it to show, but readers get to see that side of her. Falco was also a very interesting character. He's fun as well, very flirtatious, certainly not concerned with what is "proper", and at the beginning of the novel, is quite a breath of fresh air in Cass' life! Until, of course, some suspicion falls on him. Then he gets more and more mysterious until neither Cass nor the reader really knows what to believe! Cass questioned all the same things about him that I did, so I found myself sympathizing and commiserating with her. Madalena, Cass' best friend, is also an enjoyable character. She can be selfish but is not mean, and she and Cass balance each other out very well, which was great for the story.

The story itself was something I could not tear myself away from! I loved how there was the main, major mystery concerning the murder, but that there are little side-mysteries included along the way. It helped it feel like there were things being accomplished and moving along, instead of feeling like Cass was working towards an impossible, drawn-out goal. Also, this novel absolutely BURNS with sexual tension! I loved it! Nothing too risqué or shocking, but definitely hot! The effect that Falco has on Cass was enchanting and, in my opinion, perfect for their situation. As a girl who has not previously been in the company of too many men, certainly not ones who she had feelings for, her emotions developed in a very believable manner. I definitely loved that there was more to everyone than it seemed. That's essential in a mystery!

Honestly, when I'm reading a book I always try to find something to comment on that the author could have done better, or that simply didn't work for me, but I came up blank for this one. I was so engrossed in the story and the characters that I didn't find anything that stood out as not enjoyable. This is one of the best books I have read all year! If you only buy one book this year, make it this one!

5 stars, no doubt about it! (Can I give it more than that? I do!)


Stacking the Shelves #5 - Nov 18

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly post by Tynga's Reviews showcasing your new books! 
Links (the book titles) go to Goodreads.

This week I got totally spoiled, both by myself and by others!

ARCs of Black City by Elizabeth Richards and The Innocents by Lili Peloquin.
I won these two Breathless Reads from Fiona Paul's Venom Release Party. Thank you, Fiona!

Signed paperback of Soul Meaning by A.D. Starrling.
Won this by Twitter contest from the author. Thank you, A.D. Starrling!

ARC of Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry.
I received this one through the awesome program ARCycling.
Thank you, Jennifer!

And then I spoiled myself and got 8(!) paperbacks! Indigo was having a special, I couldn't help it. I'll definitely have to restrain myself for a few weeks now!

It was a good week for books! How was yours? What did you get this week?


Cover Reveal: Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton

Today The Mod Podge Bookshelf and Mod Podge Blog Tours are hosting Kelsey Sutton's Some Quiet Place cover reveal!


Elizabeth Caldwell has perfected the art of pretending to feel emotion, but it’s always a lie. After a near-fatal car accident when she was a small child, Elizabeth lost the ability to feel any emotion, but along with that loss she gained bizarre abilities: she can see the personified Emotions she cannot feel.  Fury, Resentment, Longing—they’ve all given up on her, because she doesn't succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one. Fear. He’s consumed by the mystery of Elizabeth’s past, consumed by her.

And then there are Elizabeth's cryptic, recurring dreams, in which there’s always love, and there’s always death. Haunted by these dreams, Elizabeth paints them, knowing that they somehow hold the key to the mystery of her past. 

But a shadowy menace is stalking Elizabeth.  Her survival depends on uncovering the truth about herself.  And when it matters most, she won’t be able to rely on Fear to save her.

Kelsey is very enthusiastic about her debut novel's cover; here is what she has to say about the design:

"It is gorgeous, eerie, and maybe a little strange. I love how much relevance it has to the story, as well. The farmland in the background, the town, the stormy sky, the leaves, the way the girl is vanishing. The point is, I am in love. Hope you adore it as much as I do."

 What relevance is she talking about? 

Enter to win a Pre-Order of Some Quiet Place below to find out!!!

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

That's such an intriguing cover! Definitely makes me want to know more about the book. The muted colours are great and the stormy background looks a little sinister... I like it! 


Waiting on Wednesday #4: In the Shadow of Blackbirds

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!
This week, I'm waiting on:

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Expected Publication: April 2, 2013.
Publisher: Amulet Books.
Genre: Historical & Paranormal Fiction.

Goodreads Summary:

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

Why I'm excited: Well, this is the second historical fiction novel in a row for WoW, so I clearly love the genre! Especially wartime novels; something about them really appeals to me. Might be the history student in me. The summary sounds intriguing, and hello: "Featuring... early-twentieth-century photographs"! How cool is that?


Review: The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

The Raft by S.A. Bodeen.
Hardcover, 231 pages.
Pub Date: August 21, 2012.
Published by Feiwel and Friends.

Goodreads Summary:
Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight. The only passenger, Robie doesn’t panic until the engine suddenly cuts out and Max shouts at her to put on a life jacket. They are over miles of Pacific Ocean. She sees Max struggle with a raft. 

And then . . . she’s in the water. Fighting for her life. Max pulls her onto the raft, and that’s when the real terror begins. They have no water. Their only food is a bag of Skittles. There are sharks. There is an island. But there’s no sign of help on the way.

My Review:
This was quite the interesting read. It had a great plot and a fantastic twist that I totally didn't see coming.
While I enjoyed hearing about Robie's vacation with her aunt on Honolulu, I'm very glad it wasn't too long because, knowing what was coming, the action really picked up for me when Robie was heading onto the airplane. I liked how routine and comfortable Robie felt on the cargo plane. It made the crash feel more shocking, despite knowing it was coming.
I think the plane crash was really well written. It was detailed enough that you could see what was happening, but still fast paced to keep up the action. The raw panic Robie feels when she's thrown from the plane and struggling in the water was very realistic.
I really enjoyed Robie as a character overall. She is not totally useless; she's smart enough to work through panic and fear and try to do what she can to survive. She's not totally unrealistic though, there are moments when her slow disintegration is evident. One thing I really appreciated about her character was that (when she was totally sane) her thought processes make sense. She reaches conclusions through normal thought patterns; her ideas and solutions do not pop out of nowhere like in some other novels.

Sometimes I found some issues with the writing being a little too repetitive, but I do understand that in a way it has to be because living on a raft would certainly be repetitive.
I also have to admit that I found it a little strange how the chapters were split up (there were 57 chapters and an epilogue in 231 pages!), but it did help to keep me reading and helped the novel feel more fast paced overall, so in the end it's not really a bad thing.

THE TWIST! Oh my gosh the twist. I completely did not see this coming. I noticed a few inconsistencies in the novel that I planned to comment on in this review, until the twist came along and they all made complete sense! I was totally shocked and really impressed. The author certainly pulled a fast one on me! I felt like I should have seen it all along.
Overall, I thought it was a pretty great book with a fantastic spin that made it very different from other disaster-type novels I've read.
3.5 Stars!


Stacking the Shelves #4 - Nov 11

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly post by Tynga's Reviews showcasing your new books! 
Links go to Goodreads.

I REALLY restrained myself this week! The only book I got (for keeps, anyway, I got a few from the library) is:

Venom by Fiona Paul
Hardcover, 432 pages.
Published: October 30, 2012.
Published by Philomel.
I won this from the author via Twitter. Thanks again, Fiona! 

Goodreads Summary:
Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.

I am beyond excited to start this one, so it's okay that this was the only one I got this week!


Review: Thumped by Megan McCafferty

Thumped by Megan McCafferty.
Sequel to Bumped.
Hardcover, 290 pages.
Published in April 2012.
Published by Balzer & Bray.
Source: Borrowed from the library.

Goodreads Summary:
It's been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. Since then, their story has become irresistible to legions of girls: twins separated at birth and living different lives, each due to deliver sets of twins . . . on the same day In a future where only teens can "bump," or give birth, babies mean money, status, and freedom.

Married to Ram and living in religious Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once loved and believed in. But she can't seem to forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell in love with under the strangest of circumstances.

To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything she always wanted: a big, fat contract and a coupling with Jondoe, the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.

Cursed by their own popularity, the girls are obsessively tracked by their millions of fans, who have been eagerly counting down the days to their "Double Double Due Date." Without a doubt, they are two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and there's only one thing they could do that would make them more famous than they already are:

Tell the truth.

My Review:
Oh, Thumped. What can I say about Thumped?
I read the first book, Bumped, and honestly, I did not enjoy it. So don't ask me what compelled me to pick up Thumped and read it, but I did.
And I didn't enjoy this one either. Surprise, surprise.
So I'm just going to keep this review short.

This book was very frustrating for me. In more than one aspect.
First, the relationships between characters. Zen, who supposedly loves Melody, doesn't act at all like he cares about her for a while. Yes, this is for the benefit of the public, who is not allowed to know about their feelings for each other, but really? What teenage boy has that much restraint? Certainly not one I've ever met. Also, if he loves her so much, why is Ventura even an issue? She shouldn't be able to steal Zen away in any aspect if he truly does love Melody. I'm also not a fan of Melody's almost permanent jealous state. That was extremely frustrating to read! Another relationship that bothered me was that between Melody and Jondoe. Partially because it is barely developed, despite them living together. The only thing we see is Jondoe being miserable about Harmony being gone and Melody trying (not very hard) to give him hope that Harmony will come back.
Speaking of Harmony, I like that she was rebelling against her oppressive community, but it seemed so dramatic. I understand that it's important and shows her personal growth, but it felt overdone. I did like that Melody and Johndoe did show some actual growth as characters, even if it was just how I expected.
Also, can I just mention the lingo? Wow. I get that it's part of world-building, but that was just painful. Everyone in the book seemed so... dumb. That was really frustrating. And the fact that Lib spoke almost entirely in capitals. I got extremely annoyed with the character simply because of that.

There were a few things I did enjoy, though. I really like that Melody has such an attitude with Ventura, that was fun to read. It was also impressive how everyone (except Harmony, anyway) was so completely brainwashed by their society. That consistency was good. Finally, at least there were some surprises. Some things happened that I completely did not expect, which I was very glad for!

I think one of my biggest problems with the book was that I couldn't seem to get into the characters' heads and understand them, which meant I couldn't sympathize or feel anything for them except annoyance. It's not that this was a bad book, it just wasn't for me. Therefore:
2 Stars.


Cover Reveal: Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

How gorgeous is this!? I love the colours: the green background; the white, red, and gold jewels; the grey fabric. Beautiful! I've read the first novel, Gilt, and am very excited for this one to come out! It's expected in June 2013!

There's a summary available too (from Goodreads):
Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court—and to convince the whole court they’re lovers—she accepts. Before long, Anne’s popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice—but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart’s desire and the chance to make history.


Waiting on Wednesday #3: Summerset Abbey

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!
This week, it is:

Summerset Abbey by T.J. Brown.
Expected Publication: January 15, 2013.
Publisher: Gallery Books.
Genre: YA Historical Fiction.

Goodreads Summary:

1913: In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London, three young women seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of society and the distant rumblings of war. . . . Rowena Buxton 

Sir Philip Buxton raised three girls into beautiful and capable young women in a bohemian household that defied Edwardian tradition. Eldest sister Rowena was taught to value people, not wealth or status. But everything she believes will be tested when Sir Philip dies, and the girls must live under their uncle’s guardianship at the vast family estate, Summerset Abbey. Standing up for a beloved family member sequestered to the “underclass” in this privileged new world, and drawn into the Cunning Coterie, an exclusive social circle of aristocratic “rebels,” Rowena must decide where her true passions—and loyalties—lie.

Victoria Buxton 

Frail in body but filled with an audacious spirit, Victoria secretly dreams of attending university to become a botanist like her father. But this most unladylike wish is not her only secret—Victoria has stumbled upon a family scandal that, if revealed, has the potential to change lives forever. . . .

Prudence Tate 

Prudence was lovingly brought up alongside Victoria and Rowena, and their bond is as strong as blood. But by birth she is a governess’s daughter, and to the lord of Summerset Abbey, that makes her a commoner who must take her true place in society—as lady’s maid to her beloved “sisters.” But Pru doesn’t belong in the downstairs world of the household staff any more than she belongs upstairs with the Buxton girls. And when a young lord catches her eye, she begins to wonder if she’ll ever truly carve out a place for herself at Summerset Abbey.

Why I'm excited: Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres, and this is reminiscent of books like the Luxe series by Anna Godbersen, which I really enjoyed!


Review and Giveaway: Black Moon by Jessica McQuay

Black Moon by Jessica McQuay.
Paige Tailor Series #1.
ebook, 279 pages.
Paperback published in October.
Published by Cambridge Press.

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Goodreads Summary:
"Am I losing my mind?"

Paige couldn't help but question her sanity. What other explanation could there be for her hearing a conversation held barely above a whisper in the back of a classroom full of students? What about coming home to find one of those very classmates lying in wait in the darkness of her home, ready to attack her? 

Confused, frustrated and feeling every ounce of her social ostracism, Paige confides in the one person she's always been able to count on: her mom. But when her mom reveals a deeply rooted, unbelievable family secret, Paige discovers her world is filled with more than she ever imagined possible. A world where fairytales live alongside nightmares and secrets are the glue that binds them together. Suddenly no one is who they seem and Paige is faced with more questions than answers. Can she survive in a world filled with creatures scarier than anything she could imagine and where deceit runs as thick as blood? Or will the truth send her over the edge?

Right from the beginning of the book, we've got mystery. Paige Tailor would just be your average teenager, except for the white lights that glow from her hands and her ability to hear a whispered conversation from across a classroom. The story only picks up from there, with Paige being attacked in and around her own home by a seemingly crazed classmate, Rachel (who has her own little story woven into this one in select chapters, which is interesting!). When she finally tells her mother what happens, Paige gets the shock of a lifetime: her mother is full-blood Fae, making Paige a half-blood. They travel to Varulean, the home of the Fae and her grandparents' kingdom, where Paige learns she is the granddaughter of the ruling King and Queen and will be taught how to use her wild powers. As she discovers, being a royal can get complicated, as can being a teenage girl. Put them together, and Paige ends up with a lot on her plate!

There is a lot to enjoy about this book. The plot is fairly fast-paced and has tons of unexpected twists and turns. As a reader, I felt as shocked as Paige did at some of the incredible things she learns. This is definitely not a predictable story, which is refreshing! Just when you think things will begin to clear up and make sense, the author throws another twist at you!

Paige is quite the character. We get a real sense of who she is right from the very beginning and she continuously develops as the story progresses. Early on, it appears she is fairly level-headed, even when worried or confused. However, once she gets to Varulean, she has a hot head and a quick temper, which likely comes out due to the abrupt change in world she experiences. Certainly going through everything she does would be too much for many to handle! Paige is not afraid to express herself and is very outspoken, which I admire, despite it sometimes coming off as rude. She also remains very much a typical teenager through the story; losing her cool when things go wrong, and not wanting to be her mother's "tag along". Not to mention the interesting, shifting dynamic between her and Naialah, whom she meets in Verulean, which never fails to be interesting and rile up emotions on both parts!

There is definitely an awkward family dynamic among Paige and her newly-discovered grandparents with her mother caught in the middle. This adds a sense of truth to the story because they do not immediately form one big, happy family when their ways and customs are so completely different.

I absolutely love the world-building. Varulean is presented as an absolutely enchanting place, with moss-like soil, an abundance of flourishing nature, and vibrantly coloured plants like you wouldn't see on Earth. I really appreciate that some history and description of Varulean is woven into the story, as it helps bring it to life. The magic in the novel is also incredible. The author describes things I've never imagined before, and it all sounds incredible fluid and unique.

There were a few things that didn't impress me as much. Firstly, that there were some errors in the writing as well as some awkward phrasings that should have been caught by an editor (which is who I am blaming for those!), though I was able to enjoy the story despite them. There were also moments where I wished there was better indication of who was speaking the dialogue. I am glad to say that this did improve over the course of the novel. I was also very interested in the side story that was going on with Rachel and was disappointed to find it disappear when Paige went to Varulean (though that's not the last time we see Rachel, thankfully).

There were definitely lots of enjoyable things about this novel! Those who enjoy magic would likely find something to love about this one. Especially the very climactic ending! It wasn't too much of a cliffhanger, thankfully, though there is definitely material for the next book in the series! It got me wondering what would happen next without feeling like the individual novel is completely unfinished, which is how I feel books in a series should end!

Overall I give Black Moon: 
3.5 stars!

I wrote down one of my favourite quotations from the novel which I found really helped highlight that despite all she experiences, Paige is still just a teenage girl, and things can get overwhelming:
"I grabbed my pillow, covered my face and screamed as loudly as I could. I screamed for the old me and my old life and all that I knew slipping away. I screamed for this new person with all of these new ideas and for how little control I felt I had over my own life... I screamed because I couldn't think of anything else to do." - Paige. (p71 of PDF copy).

Jessica McQuay has kindly agreed to provide one signed paperback copy to a lucky reader! Open Internationally! Enter using the Rafflecopter below. The winner will be emailed and announced on Twitter and will have 48 hours to respond to my email or I will pick another winner.

Please note that I am not responsible for shipping the prize, the author will be doing so. She is not responsible for any packages that get lost or damaged in the mail.

Good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The (Amazing) Sparkles and Lightning Blogoversary

I don't know if any of you have heard, but Annabelle  over at Sparkles and Lightning is hosting some amazing giveaways! In fact, she's hosting a whole week's worth!

Day 1: The first day of the giveaway has one winner receiving $65(!) worth of books of their choice! Pretty incredible. You can find that one here:

I'll be trying to keep this post updated about each day of her amazingly generous Blogoversary Celebration! Make sure you head over and congratulate (and thank) her!

Day 2: Today Annabelle highlights some of her favourite books of the year and is giving away a copy of each of the ten! 5 winners, two books each. Some of her favourites that are up for grabs include:
Check it out here: http://sparkles-and-lightning.blogspot.ca/2012/11/blogoversary-day-2.html

Day 3: Today Annabelle shared with her followers more of her favourite books of the year and is once again giving away a copy of each of the ten! Same idea as yesterday: 5 winners, two books each. Some of her favourites that are for giveaway today include:
Take a look: http://sparkles-and-lightning.blogspot.ca/2012/11/blogoversary-day-3.html

Day 4: The blogoversary post of the day today was all about showing blog love for other bloggers Annabelle interacts with. Go check out her list of some amazing bloggers!
For the giveaway today, she's offering up 15 different e-books for 15 winners!
The titles include: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Venom by Fiona Paul, The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa, Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins, Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and more.
Go enter: http://sparkles-and-lightning.blogspot.ca/2012/11/blogoversary-day-4.html

Day 5: "On the fifth day of Blogoversary, Annabelle give to usssss..." a list of some of her favourite authors! She's also offering up books by her top 4 authors (Jenna Russo, Sarah J. Maas, Josephine Angelini, and Aimee Agresti) to 4 winners!
Go see for yourself: http://sparkles-and-lightning.blogspot.ca/2012/11/blogoversary-day-5.html

Day 6: Today Annabelle shared some of her favourite publishers and some of the great experiences she's had with them. Her picks of Harlequin, Tor, and Penguin are all great ones, for sure! Today's giveaway includes 3 winners. Each wins a choice of one books plus one surprise ARC from one of the three publishers she mentioned!
You can find that here: http://sparkles-and-lightning.blogspot.ca/2012/11/blogoversary-day-6.html

Day 7: Annabelle takes today to go over some of the incredible numbers her blog has achieved in just a year. Almost 1200 blog followers and over 83000 page views! Very impressive! To celebrate the numbers, she's giving away giftcards to Barnes and Noble to her US/CAN followers in a surprise number! $5 to $25!
Go enter: http://sparkles-and-lightning.blogspot.ca/2012/11/blogoversary-day-7.html

Day 8: For the final day of her blogoversary, Annabelle wanted to "go out with a bang". She's asking for any feedback anybody has about her blog and is giving away some awesome surprises! If you enter the 8th day's giveaway, you could win one of the following: an ereader(!), $100 worth of SURPRISE books from The Book Depository, $100 worth of SURPRISE ebook for any ereader, or a mini prize where you might get swag, books or ebooks! She's crazy generous! Want in?


Sparkles and Lightning Blogoversary Celebration