Friday, October 19, 2012

Ten by Gretchen McNeil


Ten

Summary (from Goodreads): And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?


Review: Oh, Gretchen McNeil. You know how to mess with my mind. I thought I had Ten all figured out. I thought I was ready for every single twist and turn that you would throw my way. I had read And Then There Were None, the Agatha Christie novel that inspired Ten. I came into this prepared to do some serious sleuthing and thought I had the killer pegged by chapter 5. I thought I was right until the last few chapters, which I spent freaking out because the plot twists were just so ingenious.

Gretchen McNeil has created a fantastic mystery in Ten. Ten teens come to a secluded island, ready to party for the weekend. Unfortunately for them, they were all tricked into coming so they could be picked off one by one by a mysterious killer. The tension in the book is something that contributes to it's scary feel. It's truly terrifying watching these kids try to solve the mystery of why someone is hunting them as they're being hunted. Something you learn very quickly in this novel is that no one is safe. Gretchen McNeil does a great job of building up that sense of hopelessness and dread.

Ten is the type of book that makes your heart race. It's a great read. Just be sure to leave the lights on.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Catching Up and Mini Reviews

Hi there, faithful readers! You all look like you haven't aged a day, even though it's nearly been a month since we last chatted. In my defense, I've had a lot going on recently.

Saying that I've been busy over the month of August would be a huge understatement. I'm still in the process of moving, which has taken much longer than I hoped it would. At the current rate we're going, we'll hopefully be all unpacked and settled in by mid September. On top of the move, I started my second year of college last week. So... yeah. Just call me Jared McBusypants.

All of the stuff that moving and being a student requires aside, I have had time to read, I just haven't had the time to type up my thoughts into a coherent blog post. To make up for it, I have written this trio of mini reviews covering my most recent reads. These aren't my full thoughts; just quick blurbs covering my main points. This should get me all caught up and back on track. Things are settling down, so we should be back to our regularly scheduled programming shortly.

TighterTighter by Adele Griffin (Summary from Goodreads): When 17-year-old Jamie arrives on the idyllic New England island of Little Bly to work as a summer au pair, she is stunned to learn of the horror that precedes her. Seeking the truth surrounding a young couple's tragic deaths, Jamie discovers that she herself looks shockingly like the dead girl—and that she has a disturbing ability to sense the two ghosts. Why is Jamie's connection to the couple so intense? What really happened last summer at Little Bly? As the secrets of the house wrap tighter and tighter around her, Jamie must navigate the increasingly blurred divide between the worlds of the living and the dead.

Brilliantly plotted, with startling twists, here is a thrilling page-turner from the award-winning Adele Griffin.
 

My Review: Tighter was a great read. It was very creepy and suspenseful. Experiencing this book through Jamie's eyes was particularly unsettling as she tried to uncover the mysteries of Little Bly. I was certainly creeped out by the end of the novel.

Monster   Monster by Walter Dean Myers (Summary from Goodreads): Young, black, 16-year-old Steve Harmon, an amateur filmmaker, is on trial for the murder of a Harlem drugstore owner. Steve copes by writing a movie script based on his trial. But despite his efforts, reality is blurred until he can no longer tell who he is or what the truth is.

My Review: There were many things that I enjoyed about Monster. I liked the varied typography. The novel flips between handwritten notes and a typed film script. The script format was not only stylistically interesting, it also kept the courtroom details from being confusing. It was a quick, intriguing read.










An Abundance of KatherinesAn Abundance of Katherines by John Green (Summary from Goodreads): When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. He's also a washed-up child prodigy with ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a passion for anagrams, and an overweight, Judge Judy-obsessed best friend. Colin's on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which will predict the future of all relationships, transform him from a fading prodigy into a true genius, and finally win him the girl. Letting expectations go and allowing love in are at the heart of Colin's hilarious quest to find his missing piece and avenge dumpees everywhere.

My Review: This novel in typical John Green fashion, was wonderful. The Characters were great, the story was fun and interesting, and there was a plethora of Green's quirky humor. Unfortunately, I felt that this was Green's weakest novel. It just didn't seem to pack the emotional punch, like Looking for Alaska or The Fault in Our Stars did.     


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday # 13 - The Casual Vacancy

Book: The Casual Vacancy

The Casual VacancyAuthor: J.K. Rowling

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Expected Release Date: September 27th, 2012  

Summary (From Goodreads): When Barry Fairweather dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.


Why I'm Waiting: When it was announced that J.K. Rowling would be releasing a new book in 2012, I happy danced like a lunatic.


Can you blame me? It's J.K. Rowling! The woman could write a refrigerator manual and I would buy like 20 copies! The Casual Vacancy is a very different story than the Harry Potter series, but I don't think that's a bad thing. In fact, I'm really excited to see what Rowling does with this new story.

Also, it's release date is the same week as my birthday, so...



What books are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. 


Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch (The Near Witch)Summary (From Goodreads): The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen.
The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.


Review: The Near Witch is a wonderful novel for many reasons, the most important (for me at least) being originality. I'm always excited to see originality in YA novels. Often, the same ideas or themes are used over and over again. Victoria Schwab not only introduces us to a new idea and theme, but she creates an entirely original world for readers to explore in The Near Witch.

The novel is set in the village of Near and the surrounding Moor. Not much more about the setting is explained. We don't know the location of Near (although I pictured England because of the moor) or the time period the novel is set in. As someone who likes to have a clear picture in my head of the setting of a novel, this was frustrating for me at first. However, as I continued reading I realized that the vague setting added to the novel's atmosphere. It made everything a little more mysterious and tense as our protagonist explored the moor.

And while we're on the subject of the protagonist, let me just say that Lexi is a wonderful one. She's very much like Katniss Everdeen, in terms of her resilience and courage. It was a joy to read the book through her eyes. Schwab has a great handle on all of her characters, from the paranoid villagers to the eccentric witches that live on the outskirts of Near.

The lore of The Near Witch was well crafted; at times it felt like reading a Brothers Grimm tale. Schwab did a good job of incorporating The Near Witch into the plot. We learn more about her little by little. It was almost like a dual narrative: The Near Witch's story and Lexi's story. This added a nice layer to the novel.

Bottom Line: The Near Witch was a wonderful read. Perfect for fans of fairy tales/fairy tale retellings!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday # 12 - The Diviners

Book: The Diviners

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)Author: Libba Bray

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Expected Release Date: September 18, 2012

Summary (From Goodreads): 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.


Why I'm Waiting: I first fell in love with Libba Bray when I read A Great and Terrible Beauty. It was a rich, gothic, historical/mystery/paranormal novel that managed to juggle all of these elements with ease, not an easy feat for any writer, but Bray definitely pulled it off. I'm so excited that she's getting back to similar themes with The Diviners. The historical setting is a little different for The Diviners however - instead of Victorian England, we will be exploring 1920's New York City. As a big Great Gatsby fan, I'm so excited that Bray set the book in this time period. Basically I could gush about this book forever, so I'm going to stop for now and continue the gushing once I actually read it!

Also, creepy trailer:

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What books are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #11 - Every Day

Book: Every Day

Author: David Levithan

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Every DayExpected Release Date: August 28, 2012       

Summary (From Goodreads): Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.


Why I'm Waiting: I have a confession to make: I've been terribly lax in my David Levithan reading. In fact, Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List (co-authored by Rachel Cohn) is the only David Levithan novel that I've read. This is ridiculous for two reasons. 1) I loved Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List and 2) I've heard nothing but good things about David Levithan's work. I vow to change my Levithan ignorance this year and I think Every Day would be a great place to start. It has a creative concept that could be very intriguing. It sounds like Invasion of the Body Snatchers from the Body Snatcher's point of view. That story on it's own would be interesting, but Levithan raises the satkes by adding a love story to the mix. This will surely be a great read, and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

What books are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #10 - Son

Book: Son                                                         

Author: Lois Lowry

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt        

Expected Release Date: October 2nd, 2012       

Summary (From Goodreads): Told in three separate story lines, Lois Lowry’s Son combines elements from the first three novels in her Giver Quartet — The Giver (1994 Newbery Medal winner), Gathering Blue, and Messenger — into a breathtaking, thought-provoking narrative that wrestles with ideas of human freedom. Thrust again into the dark, claustrophobic world of The Giver, readers will meet an intriguing new heroine, fourteen-year-old Claire. Jonas from The Giver is here too, and Kira, the heroine of Gathering Blue. In a final clash between good and evil, a new hero emerges.

Why I'm Waiting: In my opinion, Lois Lowry is one of the titans of young adult literature. I was eleven when I first read The Giver, and it was a great introduction to YA for me and I highly recommend it if you haven't read it yet (seriously, if you haven't read it yet, go get a copy from your library, Amazon, local indie, etc. You won't be disappointed!). Gathering Blue and Messenger are also fantastic reads. It will be great to see all of the different storylines from these loosely connected novels come together. These books were a part of my childhood, so I'm excited to revisit them in this new novel!

What books are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1) 
Summary (From Goodreads): In his wickedly brilliant first novel, Debut Dagger Award winner Alan Bradley introduces one of the most singular and engaging heroines in recent fiction: eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. It is the summer of 1950—and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia’s family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

To Flavia the investigation is the stuff of science: full of possibilities, contradictions, and connections. Soon her father, a man raising his three daughters alone, is seized, accused of murder. And in a police cell, during a violent thunderstorm, Colonel de Luce tells his daughter an astounding story—of a schoolboy friendship turned ugly, of a priceless object that vanished in a bizarre and brazen act of thievery, of a Latin teacher who flung himself to his death from the school’s tower thirty years before. Now Flavia is armed with more than enough knowledge to tie two distant deaths together, to examine new suspects, and begin a search that will lead her all the way to the King of England himself. Of this much the girl is sure: her father is innocent of murder—but protecting her and her sisters from something even worse….

An enthralling mystery, a piercing depiction of class and society, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a masterfully told tale of deceptions—and a rich literary delight.


Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie was a great young adult mystery novel. It had a lot of elements going for it that I really like. It features a quirky small town, an old mansion, colorful characters, an intriguing mystery, and a strong, intelligent protagonist. Flavia de Luce is the lovechild of Sherlock Holmes and Nancy Drew. She is full of passion and curiosity, and still seems like a kid even if she is very mature for her age.

Buckshaw, the mansion where Flavia and her family lives, is beautifully detailed by Alan Bradley, as is Bishop's Lacey, the nearby village. It's full of interesting locations and people, which adds a lot of depth to the story. It isn't just about Flavia walking around Buckshaw and Bishop's Lacey. Other characters are living their lives and have their own storylines, which makes everything feel very real.

The mystery itself was rather slow going, but I didn't mind because I enjoyed reading about the other inhabitants of Buckshaw and Bishop's Lacey, something that probably would have been lost had Bradley increased the pace of the mystery. Things do pick up in the last hundred pages or so, as the case comes together. I'm really looking forward to reading the next book in the series. 

Bottom Line: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is an enchanting mystery novel with a great setting and characters. A perfect read for a lazy summer's day!


         

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday # 9 - The Edge of Nowhere

The Edge of NowhereBook: The Edge of Nowhere                          

Author: Elizabeth George

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton

Expected Release Date: September 4th, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads): The Edge of Nowhere, the first book in George’s new YA series, will follow a teen girl with psychic abilities who runs away to Whidbey Island, Washington, and is abandoned by her mother.

Why I'm Waiting: I'm excited for this novel. It has a paranormal element but from what I've read on Goodreads, it also is a bit of a mystery. I'm sure that Whidbey Island will be a super creepy place that I will never want to visit! Add the mama drama to that and you have a recipe for a book that I will surely devour.

What books are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #8 - Ten

Ten Book: Ten                                                           

Author: Gretchen McNeil

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Expected Release Date: September 18, 2012

Summary (From Goodreads): And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off the from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?


Why I'm Waiting: When I found out about Ten, I did the happiest happy dance ever. It has everything I want. It's a murder mystery set on a creepy island, it's a retelling of And Then There Were None (My favorite Agatha Christie novel), The cover is fantastic. There might even be some teen angst. Who doesn't love some good teen angst?

What books are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #7 - For Darkness Shows the Stars

For Darkness Shows the StarsBook: For Darkness Shows the Stars       

Author: Diana Peterfreund

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Expected Release Date: June 12th, 2012

Summary (From Goodreads): Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.


Why I'm Waiting: This book sounds fantastic! I love it when authors retell classics. It's fun to pick up the novel it was based on (in this case Persuasion) and compare the stories to see what was incorporated by the author and what they changed. In this case, Diana Peterfreund has added a science fiction element that sounds really interesting. Also, the cover is beautiful, and I'm a sucker for good cover art.

What books are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fateful by Claudia Gray

FatefulSummary (From Goodreads): The RMS Titanic is the most luxurious ship ever built, but for eighteen-year-old Tess Davies it’s a prison. Travelling as a maid for the family she has served for years, Tess is trapped in their employ amid painful memories and family secrets.

When she meets Alec, a handsome upper class passenger, Tess falls helplessly in love. But Alec has secrets of his own… and soon Tess is entangled in a dangerous game. A sinister brotherhood that will do anything to induct Alec into their mystical order has followed him onboard. And Tess is now their most powerful pawn.

Tess and Alec fight the dark forces threatening to tear them apart, never realising that they will have to face an even greater peril before the journey is over…

New York Times best-selling author Claudia Gray delivers adventure, dark paranormal suspense, alluring romance, and a truly surprise ending, set against the opulent backdrop of the Titanic's first — and last — voyage.


Review: Wow, I'm not even sure where to begin this review. I should probably start by telling you guys that I loved it! Fateful was such a great book. It blended many different elements yet was able to make them all work together.

The main focus of the book is between Tess and Alec's romance, and the obstacles that they have to overcome. It's really done in an interesting way, since Tess is a maid and Alec is the heir to a huge steel fortune. It adds a nice upstairs/downstairs touch to the story and reminded me a little of Downton Abbey. Gray also adds some great relationships between side characters, so it isn't just a focus on Alec and Tess. Other characters have the chance to grow and develop as the story moves along.

There is a lot going on in this book. There are the historical aspects of the Titanic and the class system, as well as the paranormal aspect of werewolves and Gray's take on werewolf mythology with the Brotherhood, a powerful group of werewolves who use their abilities to gain wealth and influence throughout the world. While all this information can make the book seem dense at times, Gray keeps the action moving along at a nice pace.

I felt really anxious while I was reading this book. I think that was because I know how the story of the Titanic ends. There is the sense of urgency to the story which made it much more exciting.

I found Claudia Gray's writing to be really enjoyable. I haven't read the Evernight series, but Fateful made me want to check out her other work.

Bottom Line: Fateful was a great page turner! I'd reccomend it to fans of books that combine historical and paranormal themes, like A Great and Terrible Beauty.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #6 - Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone
Book: Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone

Author: Kat Rosenfield

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Expected Release Date: July 5th, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads): An arresting un-coming-of-age story, from a breathtaking talent

Becca has always longed to break free from her small, backwater hometown. But the discovery of an unidentified dead girl on the side of a dirt road sends the town--and Becca--into a tailspin. Unable to make sense of the violence of the outside world creeping into her backyard, Becca finds herself retreating inward, paralyzed from moving forward for the first time in her life.

Short chapters detailing the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson's life are intercut with Becca's own summer as the parallel stories of two young women struggling with self-identity and relationships on the edge twist the reader closer and closer to the truth about Amelia's death.


Why I'm Waiting: Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone sounds like a really original and interesting idea. I like books that tell multiple stories that weave together. The mystery part of this novel is what really intrigues me. How did Amelia Anne die? I guess we'll find out come July 5th!

What books are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bout of Books Readathon Wrap Up








Bout of Books Read-a-Thon






The Bout of Books 4.0 Readathon is now over and I (drumroll please)... Didn't. Meet. My. Goals. *facepalm*. Ok, before you all start feeling bad for me keep in mind that I finished one book and am well over 100 pages into four others, so it's not like this readathon week was a complete failure for me. This also was my first readathon, so I didn't really have a strategy going in. Since I enjoyed the readathon this time around, I plan on participating next year as well. Here are some things I plan on doing differently...

1. Plan, plan, organize, and plan some more. I felt like one of the biggest blunders I made this week was not creating structured reading times. I think it would be very beneficial to set aside a couple of hours each day that I could devote solely to reading during the readathon week. That way I know I can at least get through a hundred pages or more everyday. I could have also set aside time for blog posts, challenges, etc. I also should have given my reading selections a little more thought. Most of the books I picked were 300 - 400 pages long. I think it would have helped my reading momentum if I had put a few shorter books (200 pages or less) into the reading pile. That way I would have something that moved along a little faster if I felt like I was in a reading slump.

2. Utilize the community. In the beginning of the week, I used Twitter and the Bout of Books hashtag frequently, but by the halfway point of the readathon, I wasn't accessing the community at all. Seeing how other people were doing with their goals was a great motivator for me in the beginning, and I really should have tried harder to stick with that community throughout the readathon.

Overall,  the readathon was a great experience. I'm certainly not discouraged because I didn't meet my goals. I feel like I'll do better as I get more experienced with participating in readathons.

What are your readathon strategies? Sound off in the comments!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #5 - Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)Book: Shadow and Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Expected Release Date: June 5th, 2012

Summary (From Goodreads): Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.


Why I'm Waiting: Shadow and Bone is the type of book that I would buy for the cover alone. It looks really cool! The story itself sounds unique and interesting. It sounds like there is some sort of war going on between good and evil, and it seems very high stakes. I also am a sucker for stories where an underdog finds that he/she has the power to save the world. Honestly, who doesn't love an underdog? Shadow and Bone sounds like it has a lot of things going for it, so I'm definitely excited for this release!

What books are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bout of Books Readathon & Updates

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

I've had a lot going on in my personal life recently, so I haven't had a lot of reading/blogging time. Now that I'm done with my freshman year of college, I have decided to devote a week to reading. I am entering the Bout of Books readathon, which starts tomorrow. I'll be posting my progress on my blog, my goodreads, and twitter. If you haven't signed up yet, I encourage you to do so!

My Goals:

1. Finish my 2 current reads.

2. Get through 6 additional books.

Reading List:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1)The Woman in Black
OpheliaThe Gathering Storm (The Katerina Trilogy, #1)FatefulLike Mandarin
The Near WitchAshes, Ashes



The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
Ophelia by Lisa Klein
Fateful by Claudia Gray
Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

Are you planning on participating in the readathon? Let me know in the comments!

Updates:

5/14
Number of books I've read today: 88 pages of The Woman in Black and 54 pages of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
Total number of books read: 0
Books read:

Ok, so today wasn't very productive readathon wise. On the bright side, The Woman in Black is only 200 pages long, so by the time you read this I may already be done with it. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is moving a little more slowly, so I'll probably break up my reading slump by introducing a new book from my list into the mix. I'm thinking Fateful... nothing's more exciting than werewolves on the Titanic!

5/15
Number of books I've read today: 1 (The Woman in Black), 55 pages of Like Mandarin.
Total number of books read: 1
Books Read: The Woman in Black

Today was much more productive than Monday. I got through my first book and started a new one. I am currently working on Like Mandarin, Fateful, and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I'm really enjoying the readathon community. It's great to see so many people enthusiatic about reading! I would probably accomplish more if I spent a little less time on Twitter reading about everyone's progress, but I just can't help myself. Thon on, people!

5/ 16
Number of books I've read today: 100 pages of Fateful.
Total number of books read: 1
Books Read: The Woman in Black

I'm really enjoying Fateful. I think it will be the next book I finish. At this point I think it would be really tough to reach my goal of finishing 8 books, but I'll try to get through as many as I can.

5/17
Number of books I've read today: 100 pages of Like Mandarin, 52 pages of Fateful.
Total number of books read: 1
Books Read: The Woman in Black


I had a pretty busy day today. Life got into the way of my reading. Somehow I managed to get through 152 pages, which isn't shabby at all! I don't have anything major going on this weekend, so I should be able to devote most of my time to reading. Thon on!


5/18
Number of books I've read today: 120 pages of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
Total number of books read: 1
Books Read: The Woman in Black


I'm about halfway through three different books right now, and my goal is to get through at least two of them over the weekend. How's everyone else doing? Let me know in the comments!


5/19
Number of books I've read today: 103 pages of The Near Witch.
Total number of books read: 1
Books Read: The Woman in Black

So I started another book today because I chose the week of the readathon to develop some form of ADD. I'm having a lot of fun though, and the books that I'm reading are great!  







Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #4 - Hemlock

Hemlock (Hemlock, #1)
Book: Hemlock

Author: Kathleen Peacock

Publisher: HarperCollins

Expected Release Date: May 8th, 2012

Summary (From Goodreads): Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.


Why I'm Waiting: This book sounds really good. It combines a murder mystery with a paranormal fantasy and i'm really interested in the author's take on werewolves. From the summary it sounds like she tackles it as a virus that most people are aware of and trying to deal with like any other disease. I also am in love with this cover! I love how the vines wrap around the letters. Hemlock looks beautiful and sounds intriguing. I might have to purchase this one, even if it makes my bank account cry. I'm sure mr. debit card will get over it once he sees the cover.

What books are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday #3 - This Is Not a Test

Title: This Is Not a Test
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Expected Publication Date: June 19th, 2012  
This Is Not a Test

Summary (From Goodreads): It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

Why I'm Waiting: This zombie apocalypse book sounds insanely intense, but the summary seems to not just focus on the zombies, but on the people fighting for their lives and the internal struggles they face. Also, the idea that these teens are stuck in their high school kind of reminds me of The Breakfast Club. The Breakfast Club and zombies would be such a great combo!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #2 - Dead to You

Dead to You

Dead to You by Lisa McMann
Expected Publication Date: February 7th 2012
Publisher Simon Pulse

Summary (From Goodreads):
Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It's a miracle... at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn't going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together. But there's something that's keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable...

Why I'm Waiting:
This book sounds fantastic! It sounds like it has some creepy mystery undertones coupled with family drama - always an intense combo. I loved the Wake Trilogy by Lisa McMann, and this just sounds like another amazing book from a great author!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Summary (From Goodreads): It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

Review: The Goddess Test was a really fast paced read. There were a lot of plot twists and turns that I didn't see coming. It kept me on the edge of my seat and even had me crying at some points.

Kate is such a superb protagonist; she makes tough decisions in this book, and the great thing about it is that she acknowledges how tough these decisions are. She realizes that she is in a ridiculous situation (Take notes, Bella Swan!) and she has a real internal struggle about it.

Also, Kate doesn't immediately fall in love with Henry. I like to picture her giving him angry glares for most of the book; that's what I would do. She really doesn't like him very much and it takes a long time for her to warm up to him.

Bottom Line: I loved it, and am now anxiously awaiting the next book, Goddess, Interrupted.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Summary (From Goodreads):
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Review: Beautiful Creatures was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I loved the southern gothic feel you get from the book. Garcia and Stohl do an excellent job of blending crazy paranormal themes, like voodoo and witchcraft with American history.

Oh, I should probably get something out of the way right now. Beautiful Creatures is technically about casters, a group of people who are like witches basically. Actually I'm not quite sure what the major differences are. I know that casters each have individual powers, all of which are freakishly awesome. I like the idea of a brand new mythology rather than the regular standbys (vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc.) Bold move, Garcia/Stohl!

Now lets move on to the romance portion of the novel. The whole Ethan/Lena romance is sweet, but, and this is my only problem with this book, it is so cliche! Ethan is instantly drawn to her because she's different than all of Ethan's super square school chums. They "slowly" fall in love and run through fields holding hands and writing poetry all over each other's well worn converse sneakers. ughhh!!!!

Bottom Line: I found the mythology interesting enough to make me want to read the next book in the series, but Ethan and Lena's romance will hopefully be better developed as the series progresses.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

In My Mailbox #9

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Hi everyone! I hope everyone's holidays went well! I was pretty busy but now I'm getting back to blogging. I have reviews of Beautiful Darkness, The Goddess Test, and Witches of East End which I'm hoping to get up on the blog later this week. I also started participating in the Waiting on Wednesday meme. You can check out my first post for that here.

And now onto the books!


For Review:
Melody Burning by Whitley Strieber (Thanks MacTeen InGroup!)

Purchased:
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #1 - The Gathering Storm

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Title: The Gathering Storm (Goodreads)
The Gathering Storm (Katerina Alexandrovna, #1)Author: Robin Bridges
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Expected Pub Date: January 10th, 2012

Oh my G! If I wasn't a broke college kid I would be on Amazon hitting the preorder button for this book.

5 reasons that I want it:

1. It's set in 1800s Russia. Pre Soviet Union Russia was a pretty fancy pants place.
2. The main character is named Katerina. If anyone watches The Vampire Diaries, you'll know why this makes me happy.
3. Katerina just happens to be able to raise the dead...so she's a little different.
4. That cover is amazing - that snow, that hat and that sassy/concerned facial expression shows me that this book means business.
5. The book trailer, which you can find here is amazing! Be prepared for some creepy white eyes, creepy old ladies, and an ominous shaking tea cup...




So that's what I'm waiting on this Wednesday. What books are you waiting for?