Friday, January 31, 2014

Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Book: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #3
Released: January 28, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 400 (Kindle)
Rating: 5+
From Goodreads:
The earth-shattering conclusion to Veronica Rossi's "masterpiece" Under the Never Sky trilogy and sequel to the New York Times bestselling Through the Ever Night (

Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won't even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.
First and foremost, if you have not read the first two book in this series, Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night, you should get thee to a bookstore, Amazon, or wherever you like to buy books right now and buy this series. As with all books in series, there will be mentions of plot points from the first two books. 
You tell 'em Snape.
So up until a few months ago, I had never been worried about how some of my favorite series would end. Was I totally happy with Mockingjay? Eh, not so much, but it was still good. I loved the end to The Bitter Kingdom. But all of my dreams of HEA were shattered, SHATTERED I TELL YOU, when I read Allegiant (my review of which is here). Since then I've been so much more cautious and let's just say scared, to read series enders. I was much more optimistic when early reviews started coming in and some of my favorite reviewers said good things about this book. I am thrilled to say that Ms. Rossi most definitely did not disappoint.
On to the review. 
The story picks up 4 days after Through the Ever Night Leaves Off. Aria is suffering from being shot. Perry is trying to figure out how to save the Tides, Roar is shrouded in grief, the Dwellers are sick, and poor Cinder is still captured by Hess and Sable (who is so SO incredibly evil). Basically everyone needs to find the Still Blue. The aether is now almost constant, and has turned red-something that last happened before the Pods were created. 

One of the best things about this book was all of the action. I loved every minute of it. Our heroes are under constant threats from all different directions. They're facing the aether storms, Hess, Sable, discord between the Tides and the Dwellers. It never stops. Even when you *think* they are going to get a reprieve, something else pops up.

But mixed in with all of that action there are some wonderfully swoon-worthy moments between Perry and Aria. What I love so much about their relationship in this book in particular is how much they open up and actually TALK to each other. Communication people. It works! But my favorite moments from the entire book is when they are discussing how Perry doesn't have a nickname for her (while Roar, on the other hand has TONS for her).

Seriously. How DO you find a nickname to encompass all of that?

Another one of my favorite aspects of this series has always been the friendships. Aria and Roar have to been one of my favorite book-friendships EVER. I love those two together. They fully understand one another in a completely platonic relationship. They maintain that close connection throughout the turmoil that has occurred (and does occur) during this series. While Aria and Roar maintain their friendship, Roar and Perry are definitely at odds during this book. It hurt my feels to see these two former best friends hardly even tolerate one another.

There were definitely a few surprising characters this go round. Soren quickly became one of my favorite people in this book. He's snarky, intelligent and damaged. I enjoyed his developing friendship with the Tides. Which leads me to Brooke. I couldn't stand her in the first two books, but she definitely came into her own in this book. And then there's Sable. Dude is every villain you've ever read about and wanted to throttle rolled all in to one. We only got a small glimpse of his evilness in Through the Ever Night when he killed Liv. He takes it to a whole other level in Into the Still Blue. 

I'm not really going to go into the plot points, because you really just need to read this for yourself. There's so much that happens and I think it's best read if you have no idea what you're getting into. Just know that it's full of awesomeness.
One last thing that I thoroughly enjoyed about this book: it's realistic (within the realm of this world anyway!). There are lots of schemes. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. I appreciated that Rossi didn't make everything easy for them just because they're our heroes.  
I love these characters. I didn't want them to go away. EVER. I didn't want this series to end. I'd be more than happy to continue living in this world-maybe some more stories involving Roar perhaps?

I'll leave you with my favorite quote from the story:
Smart girl, Aria.


Hey everyone!

We finally joined Bloglovin! Now you can follow us over there as well!

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Monday, January 27, 2014

Top Ten Worlds We'd Never Want to Live In AND Characters We'd Never Want to Change Places With

We LOVE this week's topic so much, we've decided to do a combination of both of the choices. There's so many crazy worlds and I'd-hate-to-be-them characters out there, so let's get started.

Lindsay's Selections:
I am seriously excited about this one. Some weeks are harder than others (last week's Top Ten was more difficult for me), but this week is most definitely not. Since Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Dystopian are my favorite genres to read, I have lots of worlds and characters to choose from this go round. I'm going to alternate the worlds I'd never want to live in {designated with a (w)} with characters I'd never want to change places with {designated with a (c)} for this week's list. Note: Certain plot points may be discussed for characters especially, but only for the most well-known books.

Let's start with the most obvious....

1(w). Panem from The Hunger Games. I mean who out there would want to live in a world like this? Ridiculously oppressive government, horrible living conditions, and that whole kids being forced to kill each other for sport thing. Yeah, count me out.

Which brings me to...

1(c). Finnick Odair. You thought I was going to say Katniss, right? But think about it. How much crap did Finnick have to endure? He won his games, only to be used and abused in the most awful ways in the Capitol. He was forced to sell his body. Forced to be paraded around like a piece of meat. The girl he loved, Annie, was driven mad. Then he had to go BACK into the arena to fight AGAIN. He makes it out of there alive only to die at the hands of the mutts while breaking into the Capitol. And doesn't even get to see his child born. I'd take Katniss over Finnick any day.

2(w). The cities from Pawn. A caste system based on test scores (and a rigged testing system at that)? A world where you can only have 1 kid, and if you do have more, the kid is placed in an orphanage? Think about the job Kitty chooses as an ALTERNATIVE to working in the sewers. Apparently prostitution is better than cleaning sewers. No thanks.

2(c). Rachel from Defiance/Deception. You're in love with a guy who doesn't return the sentiment. Your dad is missing/dead. You have a giant THING from the underworld who wants to kill everyone. The Commander of your city pretty much wants you dead. And then you're forced to leave your home and roam the wilderness, only to get kidnapped.

3(w). The world in Under the Never Sky/Through the Ever Night/Into the Still Blue. While living inside a Pod where your whole life is basically a virtual reality wouldn't be too terribly awful, it's the world outside the pod that would suck. Two words: Aether storms. Not even Perry or Roar could make it worth living there.

3(c). Lilac LaRoux from These Broken Stars. The whole spoiled girl part isn't THAT bad. But then being stranded on a crazy planet (even though it's with Tarver) would be horrible. Hearing voices and thinking you're going crazy? No fun. Plus that whole {highlight for spoiler} *being dead and then resurrected thing*.

4(w). The City of Chicago in Divergent/Insurgent/Allegiant. A whole world of sucky. Having to decide where you are going to live for the rest of your life at age 17? A decision teenagers can totally be trusted with /sarcasm/. Add that to the fact that it is basically some ridiculous experiment for the government to study you.. count me out.

4(c). Alyssa from Splintered. She hears bugs talk. BUGS you guys. I hate bugs. Also the skeleton rabbit-like thing. And flowers that chase you. And alllll of the other weird things that inhabit Wonderland.  I'm currently reading this one, and only 50% through, but you couldn't pay me enough to take her place. Waaaaay to creepy for me.

5(w). Lumatere from Finnikin of the Rock. While Lumatere gets better during the second and third books, it would be one of the worst places to live during the days of the Unspeakable and during the rule of the Imposter King. Homes and crops burned to the ground, murder and rape. Terrible living situation.

5(c). Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings/The Two Towers/The Return of the King. I thought for my final pick I would go a little "old school." While I considered Bilbo and numerous other characters, the honor of person I would least like to trade places with is Frodo. He inherits this lovely, shiny ring from his eccentric uncle, only to discover its the One Ring. He embarks on a journey to destroy the ring which leads to him getting stabbed by a magical blade (that still hurts him many years later), sees his wizard buddy die, is attacked by one of his supposed protectors, followed by a creepy dude named Gollum, goes through a place called the Dead Marshes (full of dead people. DEAD people just floating there, face up. Staring at you), wrapped up by a giant spider for food, and has a digit bitten off by Gollum. Poor Frodo. At least he gets to hang out with some elves in the end, right?

Honorable Mentions: The worlds from: the Shatter Me trilogy, The Host, Shadow & Bone/Siege & Storm, and These Broken Stars. Also these characters: Melanie from The Host, Molly Weasley from Harry Potter, and Four from the Divergent Trilogy.

Sarah's Selections:

This Top Ten Tuesday wasn't as easy for me. Not because I couldn't think of anything or anyone, but because there were too many characters and worlds to choose from. Here are the ones that made the top ten. 

1. Gemma from Stolen. First of all, who wants to be kidnapped? Duh. Second. How horrific is it when you don't know how you feel towards your kidnapper? Do you fear him or love him? Not a place I'd like to be. 

2. Panem in The Hunger Games. While the subject of children fighting to the death makes for an incredible reading and marvelous cinematic  experience, who in their right mind would actually want to live in Panem? Oppression, starvation, rebellion, and witnessing the slaughter of children are way low on my bucket list. 

Which brings me to ...

3. Johanna Mason. She says it all when she says, "They can't hurt me. I'm not like the rest of you. There's no one left I love." It breaks my heart just thinking about it. They've taken everything from her. 

4. Lumatere from Finnikin of The Rock (during the days of the unspeakable and the rule of the Impostor.) There's no sun, the river has ceased to flow, the impostor king has the crops burned and the young girls raped. At times the fathers choose kill their daughters to keep them from this fate. Need I say more? 

Which brings me to... 

5. Lady Beatrice from Finnikin of The Rock. She repeatedly sows her crops only to have them burned by the Impostor's men. She taken in front of the people of her village, beaten and used as leverage to get them to obey the Impostor. She's raped repeatedly and ends up pregnant by one of her rapists. Not exactly a situation anyone would want to be in.

6. The Village of Novikribirsk from Shadow and Bone. Being taken by The Fold and falling victim of the volcra aren't exactly appealing. 

Which brings me to ...

7. Genya from The Grisha Trilogy. Sure she's gorgeous and everyone envies her beauty. However, who wants to be used by the Darkling to seduce a sleazy old King? Then forced to betray their one true friend? And to top it off the Darkling takes away her beauty, the only thing she has left, by disfiguring her. I think Genya definitely got the short end of the stick. 

Which also brings me to...

8. Baghra from The Grisha Trilogy. A mother's love has no boundaries. That's why Baghra's story breaks my heart. To be the mother of The Darkling, to know the truth about the evil he's done, to have a glimmer of hope for redemption, and then for that hope to be stripped away by her own son ... I can't imagine. 

9. Scotland in 1743 from Outlander. No plumbing, no electricity, disease, no modern medicine, the infant mortality rate, the mortality rate during labor, the constant fighting between England and Scotland ... I could go on and on. As romantic as it is on paper, when you think about it from a reality standpoint, it's not romantic at all. 

Which brings me to... 

10. Claire from Outlander. Most people would think I'm nuts but I'm coming at this from a very logical place. Time travel would be pretty awesome. However, when you think about the impact you could have on ALL of history by changing the smallest thing, it loses most of its appeal. Claire basically has the world riding on her shoulders. Her situation comes with so much responsibility. Everything she does, everything and everyone she she touches could possibly change the course of History. Not to mention, girl couldn't shave, bathe regularly, or use deodorant ... Thank you, but no.

(Note from Lindsay: Uhhh wouldn't Jaime make up for all of the above?? Cause, JAIME FRASER.)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Review: A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

Book: A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
Released: 9/28/2005
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
Pages: 288 (paperback)
Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

"I couldn't remember my sin, but I knew it was deep. My banishment from heaven was proof of it."

Helen is Light; a ghost with a deep grieving guilt that has left her unable to cross over. Helen has been haunting people for over 130 years. Her current host is Mr. Brown, a high school English teacher. One day in Mr. Brown's classroom something unexpected happens; a is boy staring directly at Helen. He sees her and Helen is drawn to him. The boy, known as Billy to his friend and family, is really James; a World War 1 soldier kept from passing on due to all the pain and guilt from war. Curious about how and why he can see her, Helen leaves Mr. Brown to find out more. What she discovers completely rocks her world as she realizes there's a chance for her to experience life once more. As Helen and James navigate their new relationship, together they must also confront their past lives and the lose of the teenagers they not inhabit. 

There are so many supernatural romances on the shelves that it’s hard to find one that stands out from the crowd and actually delivers a unique story. A Certain Slant of Light certainly does that. It’s far more sophisticated and adult compared to many of the other paranormal books out there. 

Though we're never fully introduced to Billy and Jenny, I became just as invested in their stories. One particular scene which really stood out to me in took place between these two Billy and Jenny near the very end, where they meet for the first time, but have already become a staple in each other's lives.

There's a sadness about this story that is very touching. Helen and James are two people who are desperate to be together, but realize that they may have to sacrifice their own happiness in order to help Billy and Jenny find the desire in themselves to live.

This book made a huge impression and touched me deeply. It's definitely worth the read! However, it's not meant for younger readers as it contains strong adult themes. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Book: Pivot Point by Kasie West
Series: Pivot Point #1
Released: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 320 (Kindle)
Rating: 5
Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)

From Goodreads:
Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

 I've mentioned before that I tend to lean more towards sci-fi/future/dystopian books more than contemporary, but I'm quickly coming to love contemporary more and more. I've read some fantastic contemporary books lately, and this one is no exception. Added bonus? Some fantasy elements which I really LOVED. 

I don't know what took me so long to read this one. I bought it at the end of last year, and sat there and looked at it for weeks on my kindle screen, always choosing to read another book. Finally I decided that I wanted to read it, and now I can't figure out WHY I waited so long. 

Addie is the star of our book. She's a paranormal high school student, with the ability to see or "search" into the future based on decisions she makes. So when her parents announce they are getting a divorce, it should take a simple search into her future to decide which parent she wants to live with, right? Stay with her mom and her best friend in the Compound, or leave and enter the Norm world with her dad. Turns out her decision is not that simple.
In one potential outcome, Addie remains at the top secret super Compound with her mom and her best friend Laila (who has memory modification abilities). She starts dating Duke (telekinesis), the hot, all-star quarterback.

In the other potential outcome, Addie moves to Dallas with her dad, and starts at regular high school where no one has even heard of people with super powers. Here she meets Trevor, a super nice and cute boy she wants to make her new best friend.
90% of this book switches back and forth between the two potential outcomes. What makes it so interesting, is that Addie is truly living these situations. She'll remember everything from the other outcome while living the one she chooses. While the setting does alternate, I really appreciated that West uses words and definitions to keep each world straight, highlighting which one Addie is currently in.
What particularly draws you in, is the characters. Addie is a totally likeable and I was immediately invested in her as our main character. She's funny, kind, and while she doesn't love football (IN TEXAS! This is not okay. It's our state sport...), she has lots of other redeeming qualities, like a love for all books.
Hahaha. Sorry, not sorry. :)
I love the addition of the super powers the characters have inside the Compound. It's not over-the-top physical abilities, but mental. Which is totally awesome. Telekinesis? Check! Persuasive Abilities? Check! Mood Control? Check! Memory Modification? Check! Lie Detecting? Check! But they aren't the only characters in the book. It's hard not to love Trevor. He's sweet, nice and just an all around good guy (because, duh, he's a Texan). 
I found myself more invested in the NORM story line than the one inside the Compound. Not that it wasn't interesting. While I liked Duke, it was hard not to root for Trevor. I actually found myself switching my preferred OTP throughout the book.
One of my favorite things about the book was how there were still elements that intertwined to create the overall mystery that happens throughout the book. While I don't particularly love big mystery books, I love ones that have a slight mystery element (when they aren't the main focus of the book). I love trying to figure out the overall picture (which is also probably why I'm currently OBSESSED with Veronica Mars. For real. I can't stop. It's put a major dent in my reading time), and I liked trying to fit the pieces together from both outcomes to figure out what was going to happen.
I would have loved to see more world-building, and I'm hoping there will be more in the second book, Split Second, but it didn't bother me too much, and definitely  not enough to change my rating. Overall I really LOVED this book, and can't wait for February 11th when the next book comes out.
PS. This is today's (1/25) kindle daily deal, so go snag it on amazon for $1.99 right now! You won't be sorry!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Top Ten Things on Our Reading Wishlist

Right before Christmas we made a list of the things Santa should bring us. Since he's magic, we asked him to bring us all kinds of crazy stuff, some of which would also fit in with this week's Top Ten.

Lindsay's Selections:
 I thought this would be a little more difficult for me, but once I got going, I didn't have too hard of a time thinking about things I'd want to read about, so here goes:

1. Epilogues or basically books going on forever and ever telling me how my favorite book characters live happily ever after. I want to know everything. I want to know that my OTPs get married and have lots of babies. I don’t even care if its anything major. I just want to know.  I mean, who doesn’t want to read about little Darcy kids running all over Pemberley? Or what really happened with June and Day after they had dinner at the end of Champion? **insert favorite book here that you desperately want to know more about how they lived happily ever after** (This extends to TV shows, do you hear me Gilmore Girls and Doctor Who alternate universe where Duplicate 10 and Rose are living? I need more.) 

The books that have done this I really appreciate, like The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. Pretty sure “All was well.” Was a brilliant ending for a series.

            2. I mentioned this in my Santa post, but I would like it if JK Rowling would just keep writing novels in the Harry Potter universe. Companion novels, prequels, whatever she wants to write, I’ll read it.

      3.  Book Soundtracks. As I mentioned in my post for This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, I would love to have the music that is mentioned in books. And if there’s no music specifically mentioned, then the music that inspired certain scenes. Sarah J. Maas listed a bunch of songs that she listened to when writing Heir of Fire. If these were available for actual purchase, I’d buy!

      4.  Since I can just ask for whatever I want in this post, I would like the option to purchase all the books in a series for immediate reading, even though they haven’t been published yet. I’d put down some serious cash to read Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo, Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, and Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Even better if I could just binge read them all when I want, meaning I would have read each book in the series as soon as I finished the previous one. Essentially, I want to be a hermit who never leaves the house because I’m constantly reading. (Blame this on Netflix and Amazon Prime. I’ve become a serious binge-watcher of TV shows. In fact, the amount of books I’ve been reading has gone way down since Veronica Mars came on Amazon Prime. It’s all I want to do).

      5.  My love of Dystopian novels is no secret. I LOVE them. I’m in no way tired of reading about them yet. So what I would love to read more about is what things have happened leading up to the world I’m currently reading about. Often times we’ll get glimpses, but I always want to know more. Why was the Capitol formed in The Hunger Games? Why is there a caste system in Pawn? What caused all the global issues in The Legend Trilogy? More about the world in which Juliette, Warner & Adam are living in the Shatter Me Trilogy? I could go on and on, but you get the point.

Sarah's Selections:

I could go on and on about my reading wish list. I already covered this subject a bit with the Top Ten Books I hoped Santa would bring me from our TTT in December. Here are a few more ...

1. I need more of the World of Witchcraft and Wizardry in my life. It would be fantastic if J.K. Rowling would write about the original Order of the Phoenix. Which brings me to ...

2. I want more Minerva McGonagall. She is by far one of my favorite HP characters. I would love to read about her life before Harry Potter. 

3. Suzanne Collins, can you please write a book about life before and during the uprising? I just gotta have the whole story. How did the districts come to be? Was the Capital always so eccentric? Why the uprising? I have so many questions!!!

4. The Darkling from The Grisha Trilogy. Can I get more information, please? I mean, he's been around for hundreds of years right? So I need to know more about him, like why he turned out the way he did. Has he ever been in love? I need Darkling romance. 

5. We all know how much I love Melina Marchetta. Just in case you need a reminder ... I LOVE LOVE LOVE her. I also LOVE time travel novels. So what would be better than a book about time travel by my favorite author?! Her fantasy trilogy is so rich and imaginative so I really believe a time travel novel from her would be a-mah-zing!

Thanks for stopping by! What's on your wish list?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Book: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Released: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Pages: 288 (Kindle)
Rating: 4.75

This Song Will Save Your Life

From Goodreads:
Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together

Oh how I loved this book. So very much. It's a great mix of quirky, complicated, funny, and a book I would love to buy a soundtrack to (that's a thing right? Cause it totally needs to be a thing). 

I loved the character of Elise. She was deep and complex and just so wonderful, even though her fellow students didn't appreciate her. She does everything she can to become popular after numerous failed attempts and rejections from her fellow students. She studied to be popular. STUDIED you guys. She read up on the latest trends in fashion magazines. Listened to popular music so she would know what everyone else was talking about, even though she despised that kind of music.

It doesn't work. Not even at all. She's an outcast among outcasts. After a particularly rough day at school, she decides she is going to kill herself. Except that she can't. She thinks of all the things she'd need to do first, like making a playlist. And thinks it would be a good idea to practice first and when she sees the blood she calls a girl from her school, who calls the police. This part right here? I expected the whole book to be dark and brooding, but it's not. This is the only part of the book that is sad. But you know what? I totally bought it. You feel for Elise right from the very start of the book. Which is impressive in and of itself. What fabulous writing.
Much flailing occurred during this book
One night while she's out walking in the middle of the night (a common occurrence), Elise stumbles upon a night club. A club that will change her life, in more ways than one. She meets Pippa and Vicky outside the club. Once inside she also meets the enigmatic Char. A DJ. A hot and charming DJ. Together they give Elise something she never really had before-friends.

What is so wonderful about this book, is that even if you were the most popular one in high school (I was not!), you can still relate to Elise. Her emotions and feelings are totally real, and you can't help but root for her. You want her to be happy. You want her to realize how wonderful she really is. Her growth as a character is amazing. You all know how much I love some character growth! Elise goes on a journey to discover herself, and boy does she succeed.

I would love to go in to more detail, but I don't want to give away and more plot points. But do yourself a favor and pick this one up. It's worth it.

One of my favorite things about this was the music. I love music, and so this spoke to my soul. I loved the variety of music that's discussed throughout the book. SO MANY GREAT SINGERS AND BANDS. Definitely a musication for even me, a music lover. Someone make me a soundtrack for it already.
Thanks DJ Dog

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Book: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Internment Chronicles #1
Released: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 369 (Kindle)

From Goodreads:
On the floating city of Internment, you can be anything you dream, unless you approach the edge. Morgan Stockhour knows getting too close can lead to madness, like her older brother Len, a Jumper. She takes solace in her best friend Pen, and in Basil, the boy she’s engaged to marry. When she investigates the first murder in a generation, she meets Judas. The suspect was betrothed to the victim, but Morgan believes he is innocent. Nothing can prepare Morgan for the secrets she will find – or whom she will lose.

Quick Summary: First I was like ugh, then I was like what? Then I was like Huh? And finally I was like Nooooo. Or this (No major spoilers, but  there are a couple of comments that discuss parts of the book):

I really didn't know a whole lot about this book other than what the synopsis told me, plus that it had great reviews from some of the bloggers I trust. It definitely did not disappoint. While it had a couple minor things I didn't like (which I'll address in a minute), overall I really loved it. 

The world-building DeStefano does is great. The world she creates on the floating island (I guess? I don't really know what else to call it) of Internment is wonderfully deep and complex, but it never felt too complicated and was still easy to understand. The entire city could be circled by a train in 2 hours, so it's small or "roughly the size of the king's fist." Which yeah, it's ruled by a king who is a little crazy. 

So quickly to the parts I didn't enjoy as much. In order to control the population the king has done a few things I HATE. (1) Citizens are only given a certain amount of time to live, roughly 80 years. And (2) People basically have to sign up to have kids YEARS in advance-and here's the part I really hated, I mean, really, really hated: if they get pregnant without permission they are forced to have a "procedure" to abort the baby. HATE HATE HATE. Did I get my point across on that one?
We hates it. Much like Gollum hates the nasty hobbitses
The other thing I didn't enjoy as much was the main character, Morgan. She fell a little flat for me, at least for the majority of the book. She was just kinda blah. I did like her best friend Pen, the mysterious Amy, and her brother Lex, as well as Lex's wife Alice. Lex, in particular, I wanted to learn more about. 

While some people aren't fans of the fact that people are betrothed from birth, I didn't have a problem with it. Especially since Morgan and Basil legitimately liked each other. It seems like they made the best of the situation, and I appreciated that. The concept actually worked for me. 

I also wasn't sure what Morgan's relationship with Judas was supposed to be... just friends? Or is it supposed to be a love-triangle thing that never really developed? Not sure, but it did just seem like they were just going to be friends.
On to more things I loved. There is mystery around the murder and we get to unravel it along with the characters. Which I totally dig, as I love to speculate and make wild theories about what things are happening (why I loved Lost, you guys, so much). 
The characters get more complex as the story goes on. They develop more and become much more complicated and show growth. Always the sign of a good book. Even Morgan who was rather bland at the start becomes rather fabulous by the end. Growth people!

So to sum up, while the first 200 pages or so were kinda slow (but not unbearably so, at least for me), the book really picks up the last 150-ish pages. So much action and THINGS happen. THINGS that I liked. THINGS that made the book and the characters so much more interesting. And sadly, THINGS that I can't talk about because they'd be too spoilery. So you'll just have to read it yourself. :)

Do you hear that DeStefano?! NOWWWWWWW!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Top Ten 2014 Debuts We're Excited For

Welcome, welcome (I hope you read that in your best Effie Trinket voice). Sarah's back this week! Yay!
This week we're discussing books by debut authors we're excited about. So let's get started.

Lindsay's (shockingly not limited to 10) selections, in no particular order:
To be honest, I've never really thought about debut authors as a topic, so this one took a little more research than normal. But once I got going, I couldn't stop myself. There's so many books coming out in the next few months by debut authors that sound AMAZING. I even created a shelf on Goodreads just for this.

Nil by Lynne Matson - expected release date March 4
Escape from the pretend island from Lost. Or ELSE.

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman - expected release date April 22
Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)
Hitler's niece falls in love with a Jew? Intrigue.

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy - expected release date March 18

Side Effects May Vary
Live like you are dying. And then don't die. See repercussions.

 Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge - expected release date January 28
Cruel Beauty
Based on Beauty & the Beast. Also known as the movie with the library of which I'm totally jealous.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige - Expected release date April 1
Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)
Another girl from Kansas? Aligned with the Wicked Witch? Awesome.

Hook's Revenge by Heidi Schulz - expected release date September 16

*Cover Not Available* But a story about Captain Hook's daughter seeking revenge? Yes please.

Alienated by Melissa Landers - expected release date February 4
Alienated (Alienated, #1)
I want this book like, yesterday. Aliens!

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller - expected release date January 23
A Mad, Wicked Folly
Historical novel + Pretty dress cover = win

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan - expected release date April 1

Landry Park by Bethany Hagen - expected release date February 4
Landry Park
You had me at Downton Abbey

The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel - expected release date April 29
The Break-Up Artist
She breaks up couples in high school. Sounds fun to me.
 Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas - expected release date March 11
Ask Again Later
I like the simplicity of this cover

 The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by MG Buehrlen - expected release date March 4
Trips to the past? I love.

Sarah's Selections:

I'm baaa-ack! I decided to do a full ten of my own since I've taken the last few TTT's off. Of course all of my selections fall under the YA genre. However, I think my 10 are pretty diverse as far as YA Fiction goes. I do have some of the same picks as Lindsay because, duh, great minds think alike! Enjoy. 

1. Stollen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy) by Danielle L. Jensen 

2. Far From You by Tess Sharpe

3. Half Bad (Half Life #1) by Sally Green

4. Wild by Alex Mallory 

5. The Girl Who Never Was by Skylar Dorset (No cover available.)

6. The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare (Alex Wayfare #1) by M.G. Buehrien 

7. Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief #1) by Livia Blackburne 

8. Nil by Lynne Matson

9. Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee (No cover available.)

10. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira 

Thanks for joining us! What debuts are you the most excited about this year?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review: Intangible by C.A. Gray

Book: Intangible by C.A. Gray
Series: Piercing the Veil #1
Released: December 1, 2013
Publisher: Wunderlust Publishing
Pages: 307 (Kindle)
Rating: 3.5
*I received this book from Netgalley*

Peter Stewart grew up on a unique version of the Arthurian legends taught him by his father, a harebrained quantum physicist who asserts that anything is possible. But Peter disbelieves anything which cannot be scientifically explained, despite a nagging sense that there is more to the world than meets the eye.

Lily Portman is an orphan with a secret: she can see creatures that are invisible to everyone else. These creatures control every human being she has ever met to varying degrees... until she meets Peter and his father.

When a mysterious stranger stages an accident which nearly costs Peter and Lily their lives, suddenly Lily learns that she is not crazy after all, and Peter discovers the truth of his father’s sto9
.ries… including the existence of Arthur’s ancient nemesis, one who calls himself the Shadow Lord, and a prophecy with implications so profound that it will alter not only the course of their lives, but potentially the fate of the world
I've always found King Arthur and his knights fascinating, even though I haven't read much about them since high school. Required reading can burn a person out on certain topics. So when I came across this book on Netgalley, I immediate requested it. It sounded so interesting! A mix of the Arthurian legends with magic and a current day setting? I'm in.
This book did not disappoint. Even though I typically read novels with female protagonists, I really liked Peter. He was geeky and interesting. I wanted to know more about him and his father, Bruce (who is totally lovable and nerdy). Peter knows science. Like REALLY REALLY knows science. He struggles in school because he's bored. He gets picked on by his best friend Cole's older brother (Brock) all the time. Life is rough for Peter.
The story starts off with a bang. Literally Peter and his friends are in a car crash. And he does something magical. He changes the outcome. But how?
We then go back in time to two days earlier. Peter meets a girl named Lily. Who is apparently just as crazy as his father, at least according to Peter. He doesn't know what to think of her. This part of the book is a little slow, at least for me. But it quickly picks up again when we get back to the car crash. For real this time.

Peter and his friends enter a mysterious place to escape being attacked after the crash. That place? None other than Camelot. Turns out all the stories Bruce told Peter growing up are true-to an extent. There's definitely some twists to the classic stories.
One of my favorite parts is trying to determine who the child of the prophecy is. Is it really Peter like everyone believes? I mean, he is a doppelganger of King Arthur. Or could it be Lily? Or maybe even the mysterious Kane? I have a theory, and I can't wait to see if its true.
A younger version of this guy, perhaps? I'll take it.
 I really enjoyed this story. It kept me on the ball and intrigued. I occasionally struggled with Peter's need to rely on science to explain everything. Especially complicated science like quantum and string theory. But it's easy to get around the more scientific aspects of the book as it moves at a fairly quick pace and the main story keeps you interested.

Also, the ending? The ending is wonderful. While I went back and forth during parts of the book on whether or not I would continue the series, the ending ensures that I will be back for the second book, Invincible.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Top 10 Bookish Resolutions

Once again, it's just me (Lindsay) this week. And yet again I'll be ignoring the "ten" part of this challenge. But this week it's because I don't have 10 (instead of the other weeks when I list way, way more than 10).

Here are my bookish goals for this year:

Read more books outside of the YA category

Read more contemporary novels. I love fantasy/sci-fi. But Rainbow Rowell has taught me to appreciate the contemporary genre.

Review as many books as I can and improving my reviewing skills.

Become more active in the book blogging word and interact with other bloggers via blog comments and twitter.

Complete my Goodreads Challenge (which shouldn't be hard. I actually think I went way low). Here's where I am only 6 days into the year:

And.... that's it. That's all I got. What are some of your resolutions?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Review: The Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu

Books: Legend, Prodigy and Champion by Marie Lu
Series: The Legend Trilogy (obviously)
Released: November 29, 2011; January 29, 2013; and November 5, 2013, respectively
Publisher: Putnam Juvenille
Pages: 320 Hardcover (Legend), 371 Hardcover (Prodigy), 384 Hardcover (Champion)
Rating: Whoa. Wow. Like. Love. Give Me More. Basically 5+ Stars

Goodreads (Marie Lu's Profile)
Individual titles will be linked below
 I know I gush over books a lot. It's one of my favorite past times. I can't resist telling friends (and occasional strangers) about my favorite books. This series is most definitely being added to my suggest to friends and make them all read it list. It's a thing. I promise. I am desperately trying to figure out why I took so long to read this series (Other than the fact I found out about it in October of last year). I binge-read this series. Or did the best I could considering I have an extremely active 3 1/2 year old.

Since I read all three together, I'm just going to review them together, instead of posting separate reviews for each one. I'll just be giving some highlights from each book, because a lot of the details run together and I don't want to inadvertently spoil it for anyone.
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.
 Series would never happen if the first book wasn't fantastic. I was hooked from the very beginning of this book. The world building in this series is absolutely amazing (See Ross City in Champion). The balance between action and character development is stunning. Lu does such a fantastic job making you invested in the main characters (not to mention a few of the secondary ones as well). 

Book 1 Highlights:

About 15% in, Lu surprises you with the first major event happening-the murder of June's brother Metias (not a spoiler-it's in the synopsis. NOT THAT I KNEW THAT WHEN I STARTED READING IT. I was totally caught off guard, especially based on the circumstances of his death). 

June going under cover was maybe my favorite part of this book. I loved it. And her.

The developing relationship between Day and June. Love. Hate. Love. Complicated.

Big surprising thing that happens? Saw it coming. I'm awesome.
 The ending of Legend is magnificent. I am actually thankful I binge-read this series. I don't know if I could have waited to find out what happened next.
I'm with Hermione

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic's most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots - a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?
Occasionally second books, like second movies, have a slump. I was happy to discover this was not the case for Prodigy. While I didn't absolutely LOVE it as much as I loved Legend (and then Champion), it was still great.
Book 2 Highlights:
My hometown (Amarillo) is mentioned. This makes me furiously happy.
The "love-quadrangle" between Day-June-Anden-Tess starts. I'm not okay with this. 
I totally like Anden. He seems like a great guy with a huge weight on his shoulders. Not the same kind of Elector as his father was.
THE ENDING. This is what I posted on Goodreads:

Read in to that what you will. And be prepared.

Twists, turns, who to trust? That seems to be the main focus of this book. I dig it.
The rare Sherlock confused face. It doesn't happen often.
He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion
AHHHH. This is what the final book in the trilogy should be like (side-eyes Allegiant). There were so many things I enjoyed about Champion.
Book 3 Highlights:

Ross City in Antarctica is a place I would love to visit. I was extremely curious to learn more about the point system. It actually reminded me of the Sims. It would be a fascinating experience for sure.
The "love-quadrangle." While I firmly rooted for Day and June's relationship to make it through the ups and downs, twists and turns, I was also super interested in June's relationship with Anden. While I didn't necessarily want them to date, I did enjoy their relationship. They matched in a different way than June and Day. Now the relationship between Day and Tess? I could not get on board with Tess. I never really liked her after the first book. I suppose I liked her slightly more at the end of the series, but that's about all I can say.

Eden. I love that little boy. He's such a bright spot in an otherwise dreary world. You want him to be happy. And safe.
Suck it Commander Jameson.

The end. It reminded me of the series finale of Chuck. Which may or may not be a spoiler. Haha.
Sigh. I want a Chuck movie. Someone get on kickstarter.

 This is one of the better series I've read. If you're a fan of The Hunger Games and The Divergent Trilogy, then I think you'd love this series.