Tuesday, May 31, 2011

READING: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Publication date: May 3rd 2011
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: 4,5/5
Eligible for Debut Author Challenge 2011
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

I don't think you can go wrong picking up a dystopian novel at this point. After the Hunger Games obsession it is only natural that other amazing post-apocalyptic stories are gonna spring up. One of those, is Divergent.

After people realised that religion, race, political ideology are not the actual reasons for the existence of a warring world, but man's innate ability to screw up basically, his inclination towards evil, they decided to divide the world into factions, each targeting at eliminating the factors that led to its destruction.
The factions are 5: Amity-eradicating aggression, Erudite-eradicating ignorance, Candor-eradicating dishonesty, Abnegation-eradicating selfishness and Dauntless-eradicating cowardice. Each member of the community when sixteen, undergoes a test to help them decide their "calling", to which faction it is believed they would be more suitable for. After that, a ceremony takes place during which each of them is called forth to publicly declare their final choice of faction. 

I know right?And you don't know the half of it!This is only the start of a long journey the characters in Divergent have to embark in order to discover the origins of their system's corruption, in the hopes of finding a piece of their true selves along the way.

Divergent was quite a ride and I loved every minute of it!
Call me superficial, gullible, whatever, but I never stop and analyze the world building when it comes to dystopian novels. I mean unless the world building consists only of "The old ones died somehow. We are here now. I'm in love with him" I'm OK with anything they throw at me. I don't care if it sounds totally impossible or irrational. It's dystopian. Being irrational and impossible are kind of a "must".

That being said, I don't think that Divergent's world is irrational or far-fetched at all. Quite the contrary, actually. It sounds freakishly possible and doable. And the most terrible thing of all is that even though the people in Divergent had humanity's best interest at heart, and I truly believe they did at first, they still managed to screw it up because they are only human themselves and humans will always, always, have a thirst for power and superiority no matter how good their intentions are. That I believe is the message Divergent is trying to get across. A bit sad, I know, but very true.

Characters were all OK. There was plenty of room for development and Roth used it all perfectly. Apart from the protagonists, Tris and Tobias, who obviously get most of the reader's attention, secondary characters are also very well drawn. Especially Tris's friends in Dauntless whose initial fondness of Tris started wavering when they realised she's a force to be reckoned with and not just a shy, helpless little Abnegation girl.

What I didn't like about Divergent, and I really hope I won't get publicly flogged for this, was its length and consequentially the fact that it dragged at times. Especially in the beginning, all the Dauntless training was heavily detailed and unfortunately didn't help the story move forward. Which inevitably led to all the actual action taking place at the last 60 pages or so.

Apart from that though, I would recommend Divergent in a heartbeat. Brace yourselves, it's brutal. But I think that's a big part of its appeal.
I strongly believe that Divergent IS the next Hunger Games. 
Read it!

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

In My Mailbox (37)

::Thanks to the Story Siren for hosting IMM::

Divergent by Veronica Roth (GoodReads)
(which I'm currently reading; better late than never!)

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer (GoodReads)|(My Review)

Wanted by Sara Shepard (GoodReads)|(My Review)
(Can't wait for Twisted, July 2011)

The Ivy by Lauren Kunze&Rina Onur (GoodReads)
(I've been wanting to read this since like forever)

In The Shadow Of The Lamp by Susanne Dunlap (GoodReads)
(Historical-I'm in!)

Betrayal by Lee Nichols (GoodReads)


Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris (GoodReads)
(thank you Savannah from Books With Bite)

What did you get in your mailbox? :)
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READING : The Girl Who Was On Fire-Your Favourite Authors on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy

The Girl Who Was On Fire - Your Favourite Authors on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy

Publication date: April 5th 2011
Published by: Smart Pop
Genre: YA Anthology
Rating: 4/5
Katniss Everdeen’s adventures may have come to an end, but her story continues to blaze in the hearts of millions worldwide.

In The Girl Who Was on Fire, thirteen YA authors take you back to Panem with moving, dark, and funny pieces on Katniss, the Games, Gale and Peeta, reality TV, survival, and more. From the trilogy's darker themes of violence and social control to fashion and weaponry, the collection's exploration of the Hunger Games reveals exactly how rich, and how perilous, protagonist Katniss’ world really is.

• How does the way the Games affect the brain explain Haymitch’s drinking, Annie’s distraction, and Wiress’ speech problems?
• What does the rebellion have in common with the War on Terror?
• Why isn’t the answer to “Peeta or Gale?” as interesting as the question itself?
• What should Panem have learned from the fates of other hedonistic societies throughout history and what can we?

The Girl Who Was On Fire covers all three books in the Hunger Games trilogy.
If there is a book that deserves to have an anthology filled with authors' thoughts written for it, then that book is definitely the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The Girl Who Was One Fire is exactly that: authors' take on the YA phenomenon that is the Hunger Games and what, according to them, made it such a huge success. 

Personally I liked all the essays. Some were longer than others and they dragged just a little bit, giving me the impression that they were more of an analysis on the books rather than an expression of opinion on them.

Apart from that though, I was thrilled to see(it really showed)that the authors chosen are indeed huge fans of the HG and were not just doing it because they "had to", because it was just another job. I liked that they were very opinionated and passionate about the books. Sometimes I found myself thinking "Oh yeah.Hm I haven't thought of that, she's right!", and I was affected by what I read, discovering new perspectives on the matter I never thought about. There were times that I disagreed of course, because that's just me! I objected to the love triangle right from the start because I think that it's completely unnecessary to books like the HG which has such an important and deep story to tell. Also, I have my objections about Katniss's absolute selflessness but I'm not gonna dwell on this now. This book doesn't have a story so I can express my opinion about, it's a bundle of opinions ON a story. So judging other people's opinion is not the purpose of this review. 

Each essay had a different "subject". There are essays on how love was used as a weapon, on specific characters (Katniss), on how media affected the games, on how Panem may seem fictional but with the progress of science everything is possible etc.

If I had to choose a favourite, it will have to be Carrie Ryan's essay(I kinda love Carrie Ryan so it's only natural) in which she makes an eye-opening connection between the HG and reality television. She claims that reality TV exists basically because of us, the viewers, because we're watching and by doing so we "increase the ratings, and as our interest wanes the shows must become "more" to recapture our attention-". She compares Survivor to Hunger Games and how the former became more brutal along the years. Since I'm a huge Survivor fan and have watched every season I have to say the comparison is perfectly accurate but in all honesty, I have never thought about it that way till Ryan pointed it out.

She concluded her essay with something sad but also very true: 

"In the end, if there is one truth that can be taken away from the Hunger Games it is this: we, the reader tuned in and boosted its rating. Even while Katniss rails against the Games as disgusting and barbaric, we the readers turn the pages in order to watch them. We become the citizens in the Capitol, glued to the television, ensuring there will be another Game the following year. Thanks to us, the ratings are just too high to cancel the show." 

This also goes hand in hand with what Sarah Rees Brennan says about the Romans "liking for bread and circuses-for instant gratification that would distract them from the harsher realities of life." 

Overall, I liked The Girl Who Was On Fire and felt like I was discussing the Hunger Games with friends all over again. The moving and thought-provoking essays are a definite must-read for every Hunger Games fan!
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

READING: Nightshade & Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Nightshade - Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Publication dates: October 19th 2010 - July 26th 2011
Published by: Philomel
Genre: YA Paranormal
Ratings: 3/5 - 6/5

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers.
But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer–one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack–and the man–she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.
*There are some spoilers in my Nightshade review but none in the Wolfsbane one. However, I suggest you read Nightshade before reading the Wolfsbane review*

First let me tell you the reason I chose these covers: they are pretty and the new ones are hideous. That simple.

OK I seriously have to put my thoughts in order here because there is so much I want to say.
Here we go.

Nightshade:To be honest, I was instructed numerous times by many of my friends to NOT read Nightshade. I thought I'd give it a try regardless. Turns out they were partially right.
I mean, OK. NS is practically story-less and the only story in it is cleverly crafted to justify the 450-page love triangle. NS is all about Calla, Ren and Shay and Calla's choice between the two. On the side, you get some information about the wolf regime and the dynamics between the separate packs, the Banes and the Nightshades.
Character-wise I must admit Calla frustrated me the most. I get that she is torn and fell in love with some other guy at the last minute but does she have to be such a drama queen about it? I can't even remember how many times "her legs wobbled" or "her heart skipped a beat" or "she held the tears that were threatening to come down her face".
EVERY TIME, that's how many times!
I also hate it when some girls assume that just because 2 guys want her, other girls are not allowed to like said guys. I know that being territorial comes with being a wolf, but come on. It only made her look like a snotty brat.
All the other characters I liked, except maybe for Shay and that's because it seemed to me like he was constantly feeding Calla's vanity instead of trying to diminish it. I think my favorite character was Ansel, Calla's brother. He was cool.
Shay's audacious flirting with Calla in front of Ren and Calla turning him into a wolf at half the time it takes to say "ridiculous" - let's not even go there!

Wolfsbane: So why, since I didn't enjoy Nightshade, did I decide to read Wolfsbane you ask? Yeah, good question.
It was on my shelf. It's as simple as that. So I thought what the hell? I didn't HATE Nightshade with a fiery passion, so why not give it a second chance? "Maybe Wolfsbane gets a little better"  I thought. 
Oh, and it got better all right. It got A LOT better. So much so that I still can't believe how books 1 and 2 in a series can be that different.
In my opinion, Wolfsbane was a completely different story than Nightshade.
A different STORY. As in it actually had one. A complicated, interesting, intriguing, nail-biting story.It's been a while since I read a book that just totally sucked me in, one that is so engrossing you feel like you're a part of it. That was Wolfsbane. From the first page to the very last.
In WB we learn a lot about the Searchers, who fascinated me in NS and I was so pissed that there was no info on them in it. WB is all about them and their story, how they got to be who they are, what's their purpose and what are their true intensions towards the wolves. 
A lot of new characters are introduced and I liked them all. Well, Calla I continued to dislike but maybe a little less than in NS. You might get a bit overwhelmed at first, having to adjust to new surroundings and a new way of life, but you'll get the hang of it really fast. Every character is distinguishable and not one falls under the radar. Everyone and everything is important in WB. A lot of exposition is going on and you have to pay attention to every detail. The plot is so dense and there are sooo many things happening.Some I saw coming but others took me completely by surprise and that's saying something, considering I'm paranoid and I suspect everyone!
I don't know what else to say about Wolfsbane, really. I was totally hooked, at the point of biting someone's hand off if they tried to take the book away from me! The only thing I regret was reading the ARC so soon, meaning I now have to wait 9 moths(!) to read Bloodrose!
Wolfsbane: buy it, read it, love it!

1. Try to not get too attached to some of the new characters. Just saying…
2. Ren fans, please don't be disappointed. I'm sure Bloodrose will make it up to you. Us ;)
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

READING: Warped by Maurissa Guibord

Warped by Maurissa Guibord

Publication date: January 11th, 2011
Published by: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 4,5/5
Eligible for Debut Author Challenge 2011
Tessa doesn't believe in magic. Or Fate. But there's something weird about the dusty unicorn tapestry she discovers in a box of old books. She finds the creature woven within it compelling and frightening. After the tapestry comes into her possession, Tessa experiences dreams of the past and scenes from a brutal hunt that she herself participated in. When she accidentally pulls a thread from the tapestry, Tessa releases a terrible centuries old secret. She also meets William de Chaucy, an irresistible 16th-century nobleman. His fate is as inextricably tied to the tapestry as Tessa's own. Together, they must correct the wrongs of the past. But then the Fates step in, making a tangled mess of Tessa's life. Now everyone she loves will be destroyed unless Tessa does their bidding and defeats a cruel and crafty ancient enemy.

Awww I loved Warped!It's such a cutsie novel with a unique and intriguing story.

I know that a lot of people aren't exactly fans of flash-backs and the constant jumping between timelines, but I don't mind at all. In fact, I like it when I can see what happened in the past with my own "eyes" instead of reading about it being narrated by a character in the book. So I really enjoyed both the present and the epic past (horses, maidens, castles, witches-you know the drill!)
which due to Guibord's light and very vivid writing, is not at all confusing, like where am I now? how did I come to be here? and all that.

I liked both Tessa and Will's characters. Tessa, well you can't BUT like her. She is so nice and funny and pretty much has every quality you can think of. Will is so seriously medieval, sometimes in the point of snorting, other times you find yourself being smitten with him without even realising it.
Gray Lily, the villain, was fantastic! That's how a villain in a fairy tale should be like. Sca-ry! She kinda reminded me of Mother Gothel, Rapunzel's mother in a way. Creepy and completely obsessed with eternal youth and beauty.

I haven't read any books on Norse Mythology so I didn't know their version of the Fates, called the Norns. I only knew Fates through Greek Mythology (duh) and I thought that was it. Even though both myths have the same basic story, 3 women who decide humans' fate, there are also a lot of differences between them, so it was interesting to read about another take on this well-known lore.

I really enjoyed Warped and I absolutely recommend it to readers who want to be amazed by something different and unique in YA. Full of action, romance and magic, Warped will definitely keep you up all night!
Unfortunately, there isn't any news about a sequel yet. The main story ends without a hint of one, but the epilogue...not so much ;)
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

READING: Rosebush by Michele Jaffe

Rosebush by Michele Jaffe

Publication date: December 14th 2010
Published by: Razorbill
Genre: YA Contemporary, Mystery
Rating: 4/5
Instead of celebrating Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey Shore, Jane is in the hospital surrounded by teddy bears, trying to piece together what happened last night. One minute she was at a party, wearing fairy wings and cuddling with her boyfriend. The next, she was lying near-dead in a rosebush after a hit-and-run.
Everyone believes it was an accident, despite the phone threats Jane swears were real. But the truth is a thorny thing. As Jane's boyfriend, friends, and admirers come to visit, more memories surface not just from the party, but from deeper in her past . . . including the night her best friend Bonnie died.

With nearly everyone in her life a suspect now, Jane must unravel the mystery before her killer attacks again.

Rosebush came so so close to being awesome, but for me it lost its "wow" factor after the first half.

At first Rosebush was fantastic! Full of suspense and surprises that you won't see coming. The plot is so intriguing, you want to know what almost killed Jane so bad, since she has no memory after of what happened after the accident, you want to flip the pages and get to the end just to find out. 
All the characters were nicely pictured. You learn a lot about them, the relationships between them, their background, so you feel like you know them well but at the same time you feel you're just missing a tiny detail, some information about them that would help you get one step closer in cracking the case. 
So the first part of Rosebush will go by without you even noticing, really.

Now about the second half. It still had a certain amount of suspense, but not quite enough to keep you interested. In other words, it dragged. And in order to cover the fact that the plot dragged, Jaffe decided to put some extra romances in there which were not believable at all. She did a great job in the 1st half trying to convince us that Jane was head over heels for her boyfriend and had eyes only for him, only to make her throw herself at every male that happened to visit her in the hospital. It was rushed and unnecessary.

The ending was not bad and surprising enough. Although, I would rather the reason behind the killer's actions had something to do with Jane herself, like she did something wrong to piss someone off, instead of the killer being simply a psycho.

I don't think you'll regret picking up Rosebush. It's a very good thriller novel, in which you will be totally engrossed at the beginning but later on it's very possible you'll lose interest.
Recommended to Mean Girls, Private and Pretty Little Liars series fans.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

READING : Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Publication date: April 12th, 2011
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: 5/5
Eligible for Debut Author Challenge 2011
New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.

I am really really lucky with my dystopians so far this year! Enclave was my 4th and I absolutely loved it!

Ann Aguirre has created an amazing, post-apocalyptic world. Everything is constructed perfectly in Enclave. From the smallest thing to the most important one, everything was thought out to perfection. 
I think the idea of the name ceremony was brilliant. Also the distinction between Breeders and Hunters and how the latter are more honorable than the Breeders(it could be men or women)who are regarded as second class citizens, is not very far from what our world was like only a few decades ago(ahem, maybe even now). Actually, their life in the tunnels is in fact a small replica of the world above. Nothing changes, even after a holocaust.

I know a lot of people had a problem with the zombie situation. Pft, so what if it had zombies? Would you rather have humans as the bad guys?
Oh, wait.They were the bad guys.
I loved how Aguirre managed to make despicable gang members (human) look much worse than flesh eating creatures (zombies). It just got you thinking that it was people like that and their actions that led to this catastrophe. Frankly, I was more scared of the human scum than the zombies. At least zombie's actions are driven from pure "animal" instinct. Humans have a conscience. So, no comparison. 

Characters were amazing! They managed to develop in 260 pages more than I even thought possible. Deuce was pretty cool when she was in the tunnels but it was when she went Topside that I absolutely loved her! Her reaction to even the simplest of things like the sun and the rain, left me feeling amazed and so sad for her wasted years in the filth and sickness of the tunnels. Her connection with Fade was incredible, as was Fade himself. Stalker(weird name, right?) was such an interesting character and I think the most developed of the bunch. I really hope we get to see more of him in Razorland #2.

I don't want to reveal a lot about the story(even though I really want to!). I'll let you explore the awesomeness of Enclave all by yourselves! Amazing YA debut by Aguirre and definitely a dystopian gem!
Read it!

Enclave may only be 260 pages, but don't let that fool you! It's densely written so there are a lot of stuff to absorb. That doesn't mean you will be able to put it down even for a minute, because trust me.You won't!

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Thursday, May 12, 2011


First of all, I would like to thank all of you for participating in the contest and for your excitement and zeal for the SHIFT BLOG TOUR.It was an amazing tour for an amazing book and once again Karen and Jeri, thank you ever so much for doing me the honor and including me.I'm forever indebted to you.

Now, the winners of the 2 copies of Shift, one signed copy plus a Celtic bookmark and one unsigned copy, are... *drumroll*

Winner #1: Brooke @ Brooke Reports

Winner #2: Safari Poet

Congratulations to the winners :)

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

READING : Born At Midnight by C.C.Hunter

Born At Midnight by C.C.Hunter

Publication date: March 29th, 2011
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: YA Paranormal
Rating: 4/5
Eligible for Debut Author Challenge 2011
One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…

What a pleasant surprise Born At Midnight was! For reasons unknown, I didn't have high hopes for this book, but I'm here to tell you it was not bad at all!

BAM is such a fun, entertaining read! Although it's not a short book, Hunter's writing made it very easy to read, kept its pace fast throughout, and added so many details and many different little things, that there's never a dull moment in it.
The story was interesting enough. Combining all the supernatural elements together, vampires, witches, ghosts, weres, it has a little something to suit everyone's tastes.

Characters were…I said fun already, right? I don't know why, but writing this right now puts a big smile on my face because Born At Midnight was exactly that for me: a light, amusing read. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean frivolous. I just very much enjoy a book that for once doesn't have an impending doom or IL(instant love). Yes, there is not a BIG BAD in BAM, which doesn't diminish the story's value in the least. In fact, it's a very welcomed change.

I think I was talking about the characters somewhere way back…
So, Kylie, the protagonist, is a nice enough girl who comes from a broken home. I liked the fact that she wasn't a whiner or a moaner or a complainer. Granted, she may have misjudged some people but that doesn't make her annoying or a bad person. Let's not forget that she is 16 years old.
I liked her self-assurance and the way she didn't make a big deal out of being chased by 3 guys simultaneously(yep, I'm not lying). She completely owns it without being obnoxious. 
Her friends, Miranda the witch and Della the vampire, were OK I guess, although I would have wanted to learn more about their background, where they come from, how they came to be who they are.
As for the guys…the hottness level was so off the charts, that by the end I still couldn't decide who I wanted Kylie to end up with. Well OK, that's a lie. I like Lucas a lot more than I like Derek, but Derek is swoon-worthy too!

An abundance of hot guys and a great story to go with it? I'm sold!
Born At Midnight is a quick, easy but very cleverly constructed read that will definitely keep you interested till the very end!
Looking forward to book #2 which is called Awake At Dawn and comes out October 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin.

I received an ARC of this book through the First Reads program.
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Monday, May 9, 2011

SHIFT Blog Tour! READING: Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready + GIVEAWAY!!!

Welcome to the next stop in SHIFT by Jeri Smith-Ready Blog Tour! Today, I am gonna share my thoughts on Shift, the sequel to Shade, with you.Those of you that haven't read Shade, what are you waiting for??Go read it!!And then come back and read my review! Please :)

Shift (Shade #2) by Jeri Smith-Ready

Publication date:May 3d, 2011
Published by:Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Simon&Schuster Galley Grab
Rating: 5/5
Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to.
Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift.

As Aura’s search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets…and her heart.
I have to admit, I've put myself in a very difficult postion: not only did I finish Shift in a day and then I didn't have Shine to read immediately afterwards, not only Karen had offered me to participate in the Shift blog tour she would be the host of, now I have to write a review and find a way to even remotely express the emotions that Shift stirred up in me. Brilliant, incredible, awesome, amazing, beautiful, breathtaking. Shift was all that and more.

Honestly, I don't think there is a reason to dwell on Jeri's writing. From the first couple of pages in Shade I knew she is a criminally-talented person, with an insane taste in music and I totally envy her for that! So me praising Jeri's writing skills is kinda redundant because it's already been established, it's an undeniable fact.

Now, to the story. Everyone who knows me knows I am Team Logan all the way (and here I promised myself not to use the word "team" in this review,ugh!). Especially after the first scene, which admittedly is one of the best things I have ever read, I thought I couldn't possible love him more. But something happened in Shift and I found that Zack began to grow on me by the end of the book. Don't get me wrong, I am not about to start having second thoughts about Logan and suddenly become this huge Zach fan, but now I kinda get why Aura wants him in her life, he's a cool and interesting guy. And that prom-scene…whew!Hot Hot Hot!

So, I had no problem with any of the guys in Shift. The only problem I had was with THE girl, Aura. Well, not a problem per se, but let's just say a slight disagreement.
Like how I seriously cringed when Aura acted a certain way with a certain someone.
I know I am a huge tease telling you about this scene and that scene, but since I don't want to spoil the book for those of you who haven't read it yet, I have to and want to comment on some parts of it that drew my attention. Otherwise, my review would be nothing but "Awesome. I loved it. Team Logan FTW". Ah, I wish it was that simple!

But I digress. Back to Aura.
I'm still not sure what to think of Aura's actions, to be honest. No idea why she did what she did. Not that it is such a big deal which she can never come back from,no. But it still seems pretty off to me. I am certain that there is a reason behind this sudden change of character, because I believe Shade's Aura would never have done what Shift's Aura did. Maybe she is still confused and an emotional mess after what happened to Logan and she's still trying to figure out her feelings towards Zack, although they're pretty clear to me. Those of you who've read Shift and know what I'm talking about, I'm looking forward to your input in this.
Also I didn't like her being relieved when she didn't see Logan whenever she was about to meet Zack. He was the love of your life, girl! Relief is not a feeling you should have. But again, this is totally subjective since I'm Logan's girl and felt a little sad that he didn't appear a lot in this book.

Long story short, I LOVED SHIFT WITH ALL MY HEART!!!I'm in love with Jeri's writing and her world building and please please can I have Shine now??Because trust me! After finishing Shift you're gonna want to read it right away!

*A huge thanks goes out to Karen @ For What It's Worth for putting all this together and for letting me participate in the tour without me even asking, to Jeri for being such an amazing writer and person and to Simon&Schuster's publishing for providing me with an egalley of Shift. Although why they decided to torture us by not printing any ARCs of Shine, I do not know! :)

Jeri Smith-Ready’s latest release is SHIFT (May 3), the second in the YA ghost trilogy that began last year with SHADE (now available in paperback). She loves to hear from readers, so please visit her at www.jerismithready.com, or better yet, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jerismithready) or Twitter (@jsmithready), where she spends far too much time.



Prizes: Winner # 1 gets a signed copy of SHIFT, plus a shiny "Celtic bookmark," courtesy of Jeri.

Winner #2 gets an unsigned copy of SHIFT, courtesy of Jeri’s publisher.


Just leave a comment below with your email address in order to enter. This giveaway is open to everyone for the next 24 hours, when a winner will be announced at this blog.

Additionally all commenters will be entered into a draw to win the Grand Prize - annotated copies of SHADE and SHIFT, an early copy of SHINE (book three of the series, of which there will be no other ARCS) and an iPod Shuffle!

Thank you and good luck :)

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

READING: Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Publication date: June 14th, 2011
Published by: Dutton Juvenile
Genre: Paranormal YA, Mystery
Rating: 3,5/5
Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.
But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.
Wow OK where do I even start with this book? It was a hell of a ride reading Imaginary Girls, and not a bad one at all. Maybe not as smooth as I would have liked, but still a good one.

First off, I want to say congratulations to Nova Ren Suma for her exquisite writing. Absolutely mesmerizing and beautiful! Every scene that she describes is very vivid and you feel like it's about to come alive in front of you. Especially the parts between the sisters are so powerful, you find yourself holding your breath till they're over and you can breathe safely again. So, besides believing that the story is by itself unique in the YA genre, Suma's writing is unique enough to completely support such a story.

Chloe and Ruby's relationship reminded me a lot of Kit and Fancy's in Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves. It was intense, disturbing and a tad perverse, which I didn't mind at all. However, in Slice Of Cherry both girls were portrayed as confused and troubled, whereas in Imaginary Girls, Ruby is the one who has power over her sister and over everyone else around her. Every friend she has, every boyfriend she has, is always on her beck and call, under her "influence". She treats her sister the same way, with that exact possessiveness, even though Chloe mentions at occasions that she doesn't always do what her sister tells her to do. Which of course is a lie and she knows it. So, the sisters' relationship is dysfunctional for sure, with Ruby having the upper hand and treating everyone badly which led to me practically hating her till the end of the book. One thing's certain though: that they both love each other immensely, beyond comprehension even.

The only things that put me off about Imaginary Girls was its sometimes slow pace, especially in the beginning when you're anxiously looking forward to get to the good parts and it takes a lot longer than you would have wanted.
That and the resolution to the supernatural element of the story, which was a bit disappointing in my opinion. I know now that the paranormal aspect has little to no importance in the story which is all about the sisters' relationship and the bond they have created, but honestly, I was kinda thrilled to finally find out what happened to London that day at the Reservoir(especially after that scene in the car!Yikes!)and what consequently happened in the end, but I didn't. Well, I guess there was some explanation but I'd like it to have been more "realistic" and not so wondrous and unreal basically.

Beautiful and haunting, Imaginary Girls is the book I'd recommend to anyone who's open to a completely different take on YA paranormal mystery.
Fans of Dia Reeves will devour this!

I know covers have nothing to do with what's inside a book, history has proven that, but I cannot pretend I haven't seen the Imaginary Girls cover. Basically because it's gorgeous and the best 2011 cover I have seen so far.

A huge thanks to Dutton Juvenile for sending this book my way :)
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Thursday, May 5, 2011

READING: Rules Of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Rules Of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Publication date: January 6th, 2011
Published by: Walker&Company (US) Simon&Schuster (UK)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, YA
Rating: 5/5
When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.
Yeah, yeah.I know! The fact that I haven't read Rules Of Attraction until now should probably be considered a crime. I think I was secretly terrified that there was no way it could top Perfect Chemistry which was perfection itself. ROA may have not surpassed PC in awesomeness, but it did succeed to shine because of Simone's unquestionable golden touch!

The Fuentes brothers will be the end of me, I'm telling you! I loved Carlos!!!Well, maybe not as much as Alex, but I loved him nonetheless. I think Carlos was completely different than his brother. You may think it's the same deal at first, gang member, tough and all that, but no. Alex was sweeter somehow, "softer". Carlos, oh my God, was tough as nails! He cursed, he talked back to everyone and never gave in. I secretly liked him acting like a total jerk sometimes (yeah, I'm crazy) and that was what I think drew Kiara to him, too. Well, at least partly. She liked that he was the total opposite of her, that he completed her. I liked Kiara very much, as well. Always controlled and composed, but also determined and fearless when she set her mind on something. Even though she seems a bit reserved at first, you soon find out that she has an awesome sense of humor and that mischievous glint in her eye when she's up to no good.  You may think "opposites attract" is a worn out cliche, but cliches are cliches for a reason. Carlos and Kiara couldn't be more different and more in love. Don't confuse them with Alex and Brit though, because they are nothing alike.

What I think would make this book as perfect as PC was if the romance started a bit sooner. More than halfway through, sure we had tons of sexual tension and innuendos but always through bickering and fighting, not through real loving emotions from either of them. It was only in the last 100 pages that we see them finally admit that they love each other. And got the iconic car scene to go with it, which was undoubtedly a bonus. I wanted more romantic scenes, that's what I mean. Just a tad.

After reading Perfect Chemistry I trust Simone Elkeles completely and I know whatever she writes or will write in the future, is a guaranteed gem. Rules Of Attraction was no exception. You shouldn't call yourself contemporary romance - fans if you haven't read Simone Elkeles's books. It's magic!

The 2nd companion novel to Perfect Chemistry, Chain Reaction, comes out by Walker Books For Young Children, August 16th 2011! It was supposed to come out May 24th but I have no idea what happened there.

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