Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cover Talk: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Oh man, what a babe. This cover was released today, July 31, in case you missed it. This is the third book in The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

I rather like the color scheme for this. I feel like the red (a constant theme through the three covers) is a nice touch to the long hair, which is supposed to be Repunzel. I feel like the blue will be very pretty on bookshelves.

I'm glad that they haven't had a cover change for these books yet. With more than just these three books planned for the series, I can see a cover change coming in the future, although I really, really like these covers. This cover makes me already excited for Cress.

Along with the release, a Q & A, and an excerpt was released from the author. The full article can be found here:

Over and out,

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

'Member when you were a kid and everyone said how they wanted to go to space and be an astronaut? No. Just no. After reading this book, I simply want to never, ever leave my room and pretend that that didn't just happen.

It's been decades since anyone set foot on the moon. Now three ordinary teenagers, the winners of NASA's unprecedented, worldwide lottery, are about to become the first young people in space—and change their lives forever. Mia, from Norway, hopes this will be her punk band's ticket to fame and fortune. Midori believes it's her way out of her restrained life in Japan. Antoine, from France, just wants to get as far away from his ex-girlfriend as possible.
It's the opportunity of a lifetime, but little do the teenagers know that something sinister is waiting for them on the desolate surface of the moon. And in the black vacuum of space... no one is coming to save them.
In this chilling adventure set in the most brutal landscape known to man, highly acclaimed Norwegian novelist Johan Harstad creates a vivid and frightening world of possibilities we can only hope never come true.

Now, don't get me wrong. This book was fantastic. But it was just so, so creepy and scary. The scenarios that the author created were so realistic and unexpected. The beginning of the book was very timid and fun, to the end which was down-right nightmarish. (Okay, maybe not to most people but I'm a wimp.) If this book hadn't been as light in the beginning, I doubt the end would have been as chilling.

I feel like this is a "You love or you hate it" kind of books. If you go onto Goodreads, you will see mostly negative or neutral ratings, but I thought that it deserved much higher for what it sparked within me.

The characters and the story line were so well-crafted that I really can say no more about this book. It was creepy, it was fantastic, and it will stay with me for a long time.

(That ending blew me away. I'm just so confused!)

Rating: 5 out of 5 creepy stars

Over and out,

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Book Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

This book took me a long time to read. Originally, I had gotten it from the library, but as it happens, I had to turn it back in before I could read it. It took me buying a nice copy from Half-Price books and it sitting on my shelf for a few weeks before I read it, and let me just say, this is definitely the book to read if you are suffering from any sort of book hangover.

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.
Let's start at the beginning, shall we? I thought (for the first about 100 pages) that this book was really slow. It wasn't that the scenes were action-packed and quick, it was more that I didn't feel anything for the characters. I did think that her mind-erasing skills were the bomb though. I could easily picture being so scared if that had happened to me. 
The symbol for the odd children, the Psi (the symbol on the cover), I found to be really cool. I liked how the children really took it back for their own use.
I loved the color-categorization thing they had going on. This particular aspect actually took me awhile to figure out, but once I did, I really liked it. Instead of having scientific names, they used colors for each power. Now, Ruby is an Orange, which is sort of a mind-based power. She can erase memories, plant ideas, and the like. She pretends to be a Green (something to do with photographic memory, I believe) so that she won't be killed (the Oranges are, obviously, viewed as dangerous by the government.
Once I clicked with Ruby, I really liked her as a narrator. I loved the scene were she and Zu were in Walmart, walking around and taking clothes and whatnot, because, let's face it: we all want to run around Walmart doing whatever we want. I liked how accepting Zu was of Ruby into their group.
Let's move on to the annoying characters. Annoying character #1: LIAM. I was all right with him as a character until he became the love interest (not much of a spoiler, trust me). It just makes me so sad to think that I already know that she's going to end up with Liam and ugh. JUST GO AWAY. Literally, I've read so many characters that are just like him. I'm seriously contemplating contacting Alexandra Bracken through her Tumblr and demand that they not end up together.
Chubs was just kind of there for me. I did like how he hated Ruby though, for a good hunk of the book. I was like, "YES! YES. YOU GO GIRL!"
Character that I love but everyone else hates and he's going to be just like every other could-be character out there: Clancy. This book went like way, way up when he showed up. I hate how he literally has no chance with her because, "Oh! She has LIAM LIAM LIAM. Congratulations to the happy couple." So frustrating.
(IT WAS A WARNER-JULIETTE-ADAM relationship ALL OVER AGAIN. Kill me. Why do I always get the unwanted guy on the love triangle?)
That ending had me close to laughing but the sad part is is that Ruby will spend the next to books pining over the boy she can't have. Never heard that one before.
It's not that I didn't like Liam as a character, I just didn't like him. Simple.
I'm sorry that this became a rant about Liam, but it was needed. Clancy could have so much character development and potential (but that would just be a crazy thought, wouldn't it? Let's not push those boundaries, kids.) 
The ending, I thought, was quite good, but I was so mad about the Clancy sitch that I just couldn't even. 
Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (CLANCY!)
Over and out,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Review: The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

If I could meet Michelle Hodkin, let's just say that I would have a few words to say to her...

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.
She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.
She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.

This book is a sequel, before I get started. I have a choppy review of the first book, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. It drove me crazy, and it's safe to say that this book didn't let up.

To start, let me just proclaim how much I like her brother, Daniel. He's so funny and almost like a relief for Mara and the reader.

The beginning of the book made me want to scream. It was like PLL all over again! I hated how no one believed her and I was just like "I BELIEVE YOU HOMEGIRL. DON'T LET THEM GET YOU DOWN." Thank goodness for Noah. Mara really got to experience what a relief having someone fully, totally trust you be like.

This book was painful in many regards. The way Michelle Hodkin wove her story was incredible- the way that the light, the dark, and the humor were all perfectly balanced.

Every author does this, but it gets me every time. Whenever a character is wrongfully judged and doesn't get the justice they deserve, it drives me crazy. The fact that her own mother didn't believe a word she said hurt like it was my own mother.

Mara is an unreliable narrator, a fact that heavily influences the plot. You don't know what you just saw was true or not, you don't know if it was all just lies concocted by her own subconscious.

The way that the powers of the kids is laced in is great. It doesn't feel like a superhero novel. It's more of a, "What are these? WHHHHHHAAAAAT?"

Dr. Kells, I was not suspecting. Now I hate her guts.

The ending is explosive, just to warn you. It's much, much worse than the first book's cliffhanger, which is just kind of a actual cliffhanger that sets up book 2. This book had the worst ending in the world- not in a bad way. More in a way that made me want to rip my heart out. Something happened that I refuse to believe. Something terrible. I think Hodkin is toying with us. I can hear her laughing at me right now, I swear.

You know those books were the reviews are just like, "So beautiful and haunting..." And they never are? This book actually was. It was beautiful. It was haunting. It was perfect.

Rating: Painfully amazing

Over and out,

Monday, July 15, 2013

Book Review: The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

I love this book. I must've read it about a million times. And, do you know what's weird about that? It's a contemporary. No dragons, no sorcery. But somehow, Eulberg never fails to catch me off guard and love a story. If I had the power to make a movie, this would definitely be high on the list, simply because of what a strong heroine it has, along with the fun and dynamic plot.

Love is all you need... or is it? Penny's about to find out in this wonderful debut.
Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows: no more. It's a personal choice. . .and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born: The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways . . . which is too bad, because there's this certain boy she can't help but like. . . .

Not only do I love the writing, but I love the message that this book sends. For me, it makes me feel independent and wanting to put myself first. I think that teen girls everywhere could relate to this and take something away from it.
Penny Lane's character development is another aspect that I love. In the beginning, she leans on her boyfriend Nate, who cheats on her. Because of this, she starts to hate boys and love and yada-yada. As the novel progresses, though, she begins to see that you can lose personal relationships that way and miss opportunities that she wouldn't have missed otherwise.
Her friends are also really funny and help Penny along her journey. Diane breaks away from her boyfriend and rekindles her friendship with Penny, which becomes as strong as ever. Tracy provides that little voice that's wondering how she got in this but is still willing to stick by Penny.
This is the perfect book for a rainy day, or anytime you've been wanting your hope in humanity to be restored, or even a light read. 
Rating: 6 out of 5 stars
Over and out,

Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

So, I'll admit, I've been skeptical about reading this. First, the book had little tiny samplers in Barnes and Noble, which seemed a bit pretentious to me. Then, he's (Rick Yancey) got about half a million reviews on the back (not that they aren't the exact same reviews as every other book, but still. And, to top it all off, this book is what I call a "tall" book, meaning that it's length is slightly taller than most. And usually, those books are reserved for J.K. Rowling types. Like I said, pretentious. As if he already knows how great his book is. Naturally, I had an aversion.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
However, when I finally picked this up, I LOVED it. I think that this book is seriously going to be the next Divergent, which was this next Hunger Games, which was the next Twilight, which was the next Harry Potter. It didn't feel like I was reading 457 pages of blah, like most books. It wasn't filled with SAT words or nonsensical syntax, like some books. It was like easy. The entire story was engaging and quick, like you only had to read a page, instead of a book. 
So, by that, my review may be scattered and not in any chronological book event order, but it won't contain any major spoilers that couldn't be figured out immediately.
Ringer. Yes, that is a character's name. If you get the gist of the summary, then you'll make the inference that they have human armies (not really, don't look at me when you find out that it's totally not). Anyway, each of the members of the child armies have army names (crazy, I know. But seriously, that took like three sentences to describe where she got her name- too long). Ringer is a pretty brunette in which our beautiful love interest could potentially be harboring feelings for and I DON'T LIKE HER. Not because she's not a great character (she is), but more because I have the dumb mindset that Cassie, the main protagonist, should have the guy.
Evan. For the longest time with this character, I didn't like him. Basically, he's lying to Cassie and she knows it, but he was constantly covering his tracks with dumb excuses. However, he grew on me. That's all I have to say to that shameful confession.
Ben. LOVE ME. 
Cassie. She was awesome because she was all like, "I am an independent womaaaan who, not only don't need no man, but I also will shoot you if you touch me." Sometimes, those sarcastic-bang bang protagonists get on my nerves because I don't see shooting people as an ends to show how awesome you are, but she ended up being better than I first expected. Her sibling love for Sammy was evident and potent.
If you love action books, this is for you. Every other page was a logical, thought-out action scene that was just great, followed by character development and even romance.
I could go on and on about this book, but you'll just have to go pick it up to see how great it is. I highly, highly recommend this. It definitely makes my 'absolute favorite books' list (which is a hefty accomplishment, let me tell you). GO READ IT. I SWEAR IT ISN'T AS PRETENTIOUS AS IT LOOKS. It seems to me like one of those books that you could re-read forever and never get tired of.
Rating: 5 million out of 5 stars
Over and out,

Friday, July 12, 2013

Book Review: The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

This book should seriously come with a warning like "WARNING: Do not read if prone to emotional breakdowns because of fictional characters."
Okay, time for me to sound like a three-year-old when I say that it's just not fair! WHY? WHY?

A new threat haunts the streets of London…
Rory Deveaux has changed in ways she never could have imagined since moving to London and beginning a new life at boarding school. As if her newfound ability to see ghosts hadn’t complicated her life enough, Rory’s recent brush with the Jack the Ripper copycat has left her with an even more unusual and intense power. Now, a new string of inexplicable deaths is threatening London, and Rory has evidence that they are no coincidence. Something sinister is going on, and it is up to her to convince the city’s secret ghost-policing squad to listen before it’s too late.

There were many good aspects to this novel that didn't make me internally sob. That was left to the last ten or so pages. For example, you don't actually know who the antagonist of this novel is until the last section, when you realize how obvious it was all along. It was right under the reader's nose. However, I certainly wasn't expecting it.
Johnson left the end of this book at a cliffhanger, building up plot ideas for the next book. There certainly are some aspects that I would thoroughly like to be resolved.
I really liked Rory's love life in this book. In the first book, Rory had a boyfriend named Jerome that I enjoyed but didn't like I don't know, DIE over or anything. Then, this book rolls around and a new love interest is discovered at the very end and then it's shattered and I CAN'T.
This book actually was really quite slow in the beginning but if you are having doubts, don't! The ending will make it all worth it, I promise.
If you haven't checked out the first book in this series, The Name of the Star, then I highly recommend it. This book has left me in a very fragile state.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Over and out,

Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Review: Rebel Heart by Moira Young

There is a price on Saba’s head. She brought down a ruthless tyrant and saved her kidnapped brother. But winning has come at a terrible cost. Saba is haunted by her past—and a new enemy is on the rise, an enemy who searches for her across the Dust Lands.
Saba needs Jack: his moonlit eyes, his reckless courage, his wild heart. But Jack has left. And her brother is haunted by ghosts of his own. Then news comes that tells her Jack can never be trusted again. Deceived and betrayed, haunted and hunted, Saba will need all of her warrior’s strength just to survive. For the enemy has cunning plans of his own…

This book is the sequel to Blood Red Road, a book which I do have a review on if you would wish to read it. I really enjoyed it, and let me tell you, this book did not let me down.
I had fears that this book would just be a tattered continuation of the first book, but it wasn't. I had fears that many of the characters would not grow and develop, but they did.
To start, remember Lugh? Yeah, that kid with the long hair who played the damsel in distress in the first book? Well, he's back and actually has scenes in this book. And he is possibly the most annoying character in this whole book. He grips and complains and tells Saba what to do, when I thought that Saba was doing just fine, thank you very much. He makes it out like Saba can't be someone other than the twin he once had while he can go and be a new person.
At first, I had some trouble remembering who the Tonton are (or who invented that killer name), the main antagonists for this book. 
I loved how this book seemed to have consequences. With many books, the characters get off the hook for doing the stupidest, most illogical things, but Moira Young makes sure that Karma goes full circle, Saba and Jack included. For the majority of the novel, Jack and Saba are not together, just as a forewarning  However, I do really like their romance as it seems real and potent. Their miscommunications often cause conflict in itself, for they cannot explain for their actions (and then Saba gets mad and violent and does things she probably regrets now). That wouldn't have happened if stupidity had been solved on both sides.
However, Saba almost shatters their whole relationship when DeMalo comes into the picture. I can't help but imagine him as like some creepy 40 year-old loser when really, I'm sure he's not but I can't help myself. I hate DeMalo just as much as I hate Lugh, which says something. He really throws a rift in this novel, especially toward the end.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It left me breathless and craving more.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Over and out,

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Have you ever read a book that felt like it had dragged on but, somehow, you still were surprised with it and wished you had read faster? That was this book. Don't let the size fool you- this isn't a book to be missed.

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult—also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer—if he doesn't catch her first.
My first point: this setting was great. In need a Gatsby refresher- 2012 YA style? This was certainly a great fit if you miss that world. From the flashing lights, to even their dialect, it was easy to slip into this world.
Somehow, I feel like the setting makes up for some of the characters. I rather liked Evie, the protagonist, but others, I simply couldn't connect with. I enjoyed Will and how he seemed to be rather calm but still had the right amount of 'zing'.
I feel like the ancient killer thing is getting done quite a bit nowadays. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson might be the only reason, but who could tell? Not me.
Like I said in the opening paragraph, this book took me longer than a day to get through (crazy, I know). However, Bray didn't let me down in the end. I just as easily could have stopped reading (I read Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce in the middle), but I didn't and I'm glad for that.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Over and out,