Saturday, December 31, 2011

Challenge Wrap-Up Post

I decided to participate in the 2011 Debut Author Challenge (DAC) hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. It was my first time trying the challenge, and I had fun. For me, it was more about keeping track of how many debuts I read, rather than reading as many as I could.

I think I may have altered the rules a little for my blog. I don't know if indie or self-published authors can count towards the challenge, but I included them anyway. To me, the challenge was for Debut YA authors, and they were Debut YA authors, regardless of how they published their book.

I ended up finishing 10 Debut YA books, so I didn't complete the challenge, which was to read 12 Debuts. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to participate in the 2012 DAC because I have so many other books to catch up on, that I don't think I'd be able to complete the challenge again. Maybe I will just for fun. I'll keep you posted.


I also participated in the 2011 A to Z Challenge hosted by Becky @ Becky's Book Reviews. The challenge was to read 26 books, each starting with a different letter in the alphabet. I had fun just filling in my list and seeing how many I'd completed and which I hadn't hit on yet. It was hard trying to read next based on what I'd need to complete the challenge, so I didn't do it that way. I just enjoyed filling it in as I read books. It's amazing how many books start with the letters A, H, S and W.

I didn't complete this challenge either. I did pass the halfway point, which I consider a win! It was enjoyable, but I don't think I'll participate again. I know I'll never be able to complete it!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Publish Date: October 18, 2011
Genre: YA, paranormal
Pages: 404
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

I was so happy to get this as an early Christmas present from my roommate. Yet still, I waited until I had finished school to start it, hoping I’d have tons of time to read it all in one go. That didn’t quite happen, but when I finally found the time, I devoured it in a couple days.

I enjoyed everything about this book. I loved how Maggie created such strong relationships between the riders and the water horses, how the capaill uisce (pronounced CAPall ISHka) seemed so tangible, how the important parts were the horses and the races and the relationships. I especially loved how the romance wasn’t in your face. I was worried when I was a little over halfway through the book and there was still no sign of romance (I love the romance in novels). But then I realized: the romance isn’t what’s important. Those things I mentioned before are.

But then you see that the romance is there, it just isn’t in-your-face obvious. And that’s because it’s so real. It’s none of that insta-love, no starcrossed lovers, nor overcoming evil overlords together. It’s real life. They meet. They get to know one another. They get that flutter in their stomachs when they think of the other... And so on. It’s just so realistic and I loved that.

Puck and Sean were both marvellous characters. It was great to see both of them grow throughout the book. I know Maggie loves writing characters that grow and change throughout the story, and I definitely believe she accomplished this with Puck and Sean. Puck definitely has to be one of the strongest female characters I know. She’s brave and strong and so many things I admire. And Sean was already a responsible adult to begin with, but the way his priorities and his heart shift and change throughout the course of the book was great to watch.

I don’t know how many good things I can say about this book, but I know it’ll never be enough to fully express how amazing this book truly is. It has secured a safe place at the top of my favourite reads of all time, and I know I will be rereading this in the near future.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (46)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that showcases upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating!

This week I'm waiting on two books, out next month!

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Publication Date: January 3, 2012

Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY.

Why I want it: This sounds like an awesome world that Rossi's created, and I definitely want to be a part of it. Perry sounds like a really different character, and I want to get to know him. And I love the names: Perry and Aria. Very original.

Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Publication Date: January 24, 2012

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...

Why I want it: Myth retelling! I like how we're told from the beginning about a love triangle and it seems legit. Very bad versus good. I was definitely first drawn in by that cover! Isn't it amazing?

What upcoming releases are you looking forward to?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I just wanted to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my lovely followers! I'm so happy to have each and every one of you as part of my blog!

I wish you all the best this holiday season, and hope that you take the time to kick back, relax and read a good book! I sure will be!

Happy Reading!

And have a Happy New Year, too!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (36)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
DO NOT INCLUDE SPOILERS (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away, so that you don't ruin the book for others)
Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR list is they like your teasers!

This week I'm reading Maggie Stiefvater's latest novel, The Scorpio Races. Here's my teaser:

I take a deep breath and try not to remember her scream from earlier. I try not to think about how my parents died. I need to think about Gabe and his face when he said that he was leaving. I feel like my hands are fluttering, but they're quite still at my sides.

I can do this.

I am totally loving the story in this book. Human flesh-eating water horses! How cool! And of course, pair that with Maggie's writing and it's bound to be amazing. I can't wait to keep reading!

Feel free to share your teasers! I'd love to see what you're reading.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Must Read Monday (6)

Fans of Fiction
Must Read Monday is a new meme hosted by Jenna at Fans of Fiction. The idea is to create an acrostic poem about a book in the chosen category of the week.
This week’s category: Best rainy day read

Somewhere on
Tiny Nantucket Island,
A girl and boy meet, and she almost
Rips his head off.
Cursed to be starcrossed lovers,
Reliving an
Old tragedy, Helen and Lucas learn
Secrets of her past, while her
Saftey becomes his main concern.
Even with the Fates against them, they are
Destined to be together.

My acrostic this week is inspired by Josephine Angelini's STARCROSSED. I read this in the summer and fell in love with it. It's a perfect Rainy Day Read because it's one you won't want to put down! So take the whole day and sit inside reading! Why bother going out in the rain? You'll definitely like this book if you like Greek and Roman mythology. It's Helen of Troy meets Romeo and Juliet.

Check out my review here.
Add it to your Goodreads shelf here.

Feel free to try out this new meme! It's fun! And it's a great way to introduce blog followers to new books.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review: True Intentions by Lisa Kuehne

Title: True Intentions
Author: Lisa Kuehne
Publisher: Noble Young Adult Romance
Publish date: May 23, 2011
Genre: YA, paranormal
Pages: 257
Source: From author for review
Series: True Intentions
1. True Intentions
2. Deadly Intentions
Ava O'Brian is dealing with more than a teenager's typical temptations of right versus wrong. Ava is unaware she possesses a rare and unique gift, a soul with the ability to influence. Unfortunately, Satan will stop at nothing to gain control of her special ability.

Ava's faith is seriously shaken when she is the sole survivor of the car accident that kills her father and twin brother. When she relocates and faces the ultimate temptation in Samuel Perry, her mysterious classmate living on earth since 1798 to tempt and damn mankind, Ava isn't sure she can resist.

Sam must decide if he will lead Ava straight into the devil's trap or place his immortal existence on the line in order to keep her alive.

What ultimate price is Ava willing to pay for love? What if it means giving up her life or turning over her soul straight into Satan's hands for the boy of her dreams?

Ava’s story starts out looking pretty bleak. She’s lost both her twin and her father in the same day, and within months, her mother has moved them across the country. The story was very fast-paced and filled with adrenaline. There was never a moment where I was waiting for the story to pick back up. I wanted to turn the page and find out what would happen next. This book definitely kept me up late at night reading.

I really enjoyed Ava as a character. She had a lot to deal with, but took it all in stride. She was really strong after her family passed away, mostly for the sake of her mother. But when they got to California and Ava could be a teenager again, she fell hard for the most mysterious, most gorgeous guy in school. Granted, she didn’t really have a chance since the point of his existence is to tempt mankind. Gotta be beautiful to do that.

Sam was a great character. He’s also stuck in a crappy situation, but he tries his best to do his job without being too horrible of a person (or demon). Unfortunately for him, Ava has powers of persuasion of her own, she just doesn’t know about them and how to use them. But her influence over him is immediate, and he’s willing to throw away his life to protect her, instead of destroying her like he should be doing. His heart is definitely in the right place.

I had to get used to the writing. I’m used to books being all first person or all third person. TRUE INTENTIONS was told mostly in first person, from Ava’s point of view, but also from third person at random times. It was different from what I was used to and bugged me at first, but eventually I got over it because the story kept pulling me back in. The ending was very open-ended and definitely left me wanting more. Thankfully, I discovered that there is a second book in the works, titled DEADLY INTENTIONS. I just wish I knew when it was coming out!

Visit Lisa Kuehne on her website here.

Thanks to Lisa herself for the review copy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (45)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that showcases upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating!

This week I'm waiting on:

Fever (Chemical Garden #2)
by Lauren DeStefano
Publication Date: February 21, 2012


Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion... by any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever.

Why I want it: I absolutely LOVED WITHER when I read it in the Spring (check out my review here). I can't wait to see where the story will take Rhine next. I bet it'll be exciting and dangerous.

I also chose to feature this for my WoW today because Lauren announced (on Twitter and FB) that WITHER has been optioned for film! *throws confetti* I can't wait to see this on the big screen. I hope they do it justice.

What upcoming releases are you looking forward to?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cover Reveal: Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Okay, I know I JUST did a big post of book covers, but the cover for DEITY, third book in The Covenant Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, was just revealed and I love it. It matches perfectly with the other covers. And so I had to share with you all!

To start, here's the previous covers:

DAIMON is the prequel to the series (which is very valuable to read before hand), HALF-BLOOD is the first book, published October 18, 2011, and PURE is the second, to be published April 3, 2012. I can't wait for PURE!

Now that you've seen the first three covers, here's the fourth!

I love the choice of red this time around. And I'm interested to see why, for the first time, there's part of a person on the cover. I do love that they're sticking with the flaming flowers, though. DEITY is slated for publication on November 6, 2012.

Find The Covenant Series on Goodreads here.
Find Jennifer L. Armentrout's author website here and her blog here.
Read my reviews for the prequel Daimon, and the first book Half-Blood.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Judging a Book by Its Cover (3)

Back for another round! I do Judging a Book by Its Cover randomly, when I collect several book covers that I think are worthy of being judged as awesome! You can see all my Judging a Book by Its Cover posts here.

Many of these books are sequels, and I haven't had the chance to read the firsts yet, but just these covers alone are making me want to read them already!

Links will direct you to the corresponding Goodreads pages.

What do you think of these covers? Which one are you most anticipating? Please feel free to leave any comments!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (35)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
DO NOT INCLUDE SPOILERS (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away, so that you don't ruin the book for others)
Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR list is they like your teasers!

My teaser this week comes from True Intentions, a paranormal YA romance by Lisa Kuehne. I'm about half way through and it's a good story so far. Here's my teaser:

As I reach for the backpack, there's an instant, yet agonizing, sharp pain at the back of my head. Before I have the chance to scream out, my world goes black...

This story has a lot of good suspense in it. I'm enjoying it. The love story is a bit forced in my opinion, and the way it is written in different POVs doesn't quite flow for me, but it's nothing I can't handle. I'm still excited to see what will happen next!

Feel free to share links to your teasers! I'd love to see what you're reading.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publish Date: September 1, 2009
Genre: YA, dystopian
Pages: 391
Series: The Hunger Games
1. The Hunger Games (review)
2. Catching Fire
3. Mockingjay (August 24, 2010)

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Captiol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

From hardcover jacket
Find it on Goodreads here.

I rarely ever read a series of books back-to-back. I like the break between books so my brain understands that they’re not all just one long book. However, I jumped right into CATCHING FIRE within a few days of finishing THE HUNGER GAMES.

I don’t know what I was expecting from book 2, but I got much more than I anticipated. The story of Katniss, the girl on fire, just got better and better with every page turned. The rebellions and upheaval in the districts set me on edge and I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen to the people of Panem.

The relationship between Katniss and Peeta just got more and more complicated. Being back in District 12 and having Gale around again definitely didn’t help that fact. I found myself constantly frustrated with Katniss and Peeta any time they interacted. I don’t blame either of them for this, their relationship is stuck between a hard place and a rock. So is Katniss’s relationship with Gale. It’s all just so complicated!

The story was much better than the one in THE HUNGER GAMES. In CATCHING FIRE, Katniss, her friends, and her family have to deal with the aftermath of Peeta and her winning the Games together. She has President Snow breathing down her neck, and the people of Panem holding her on a pedestal as the leader of the rebellion (in a very inconspicuous way). I didn’t know so much time was going to pass over the course of the book. It worked well, but I just wasn’t expecting it. Tiny sneak peek: we get to the beginning of the next Hunger Games. But that’s all I’m saying!

I feel very comfortable saying that I enjoyed CATCHING FIRE more than THE HUNGER GAMES. There was a larger variety of settings and issues to deal with. It was very political in a sense, because of the conflict with President Snow, but that didn’t detract from the story telling. It caught me off guard a lot more often, too, but that’s always fun! Definitely worth it to continue with this series. I can’t wait to see what happens in MOCKINGJAY! That ending has my heart in knots!

Oh, and I think I’m prepared to declare myself Team Peeta! ;)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery