Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Twisted (Deathwind Trilogy #1) by Holly Hook


Twisted (Deathwind Trilogy #1) will be released on December 15, 2013.  

Twisted (Deathwind Trilogy #1) is a spin off from The Destroyers Series
Sixteen-year-old Allie isn’t like other girls.  Instead of spending her summer break sitting around on the beach, she takes the epic vacation of a lifetime.

Tornado chasing.

And she’s not disappointed.  Just a few miles from the town of Evansburg, Nebraska, Allie meets her dream of seeing a tornado.  In person.  She can’t wait to tell her friends back home.  Never mind that her parents are going to kill her.

But her dream soon turns into a nightmare, and a strange event leaves her shocked.  Confused.  When she returns home to Wisconsin, something’s…different.  Allie now bears a curse so awful, it could destroy everyone and everything she’s ever known.

With her best friend, Tommy, Allie must return to the plains to find a way to reverse it.  She enters a world that she had never imagined, where she becomes a pawn in a fight to save the people of Evansburg from her fate…or to destroy them.

The cover will be revealed on November 15th!  If you are interested in participating in the cover reveal sign up here.  In the meantime here is the first chapter from Twisted!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

WARNING: Very mild spoilers below. Mostly stuff that's in the summary or pretty predictable from the start, but just to be safe, proceed with caution.

Summary: One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Kim's Review: This was such a perfect ending to the series. Painful, but perfect. The way everything is explained is so realistic - it seems like something that could actually happen in the future, and it is sort of scary to read about. Everything just clicks together, and it's weird to look back at the first book and be like "THIS was happening the whole time???" The whole idea of people "outside the fence," just miles away yet you never even knew they existed, is pretty creepy. It is fascinating to get to read about basically a whole new world and society and what was happening the whole time Tris was inside the fence.

It was a little hard to keep track of all of the new characters, but I still liked them and thought they were a great addition to the series. The only problem I had was that I couldn't really remember who some of the old faction members were, so I found it hard to feel for them because I didn't really "know" them. I suppose that's more my fault, though, for not rereading Insurgent some time in the last five months. Some of the more important supporting characters, like Caleb and Christina, really shined, and I enjoyed getting to see some insight into their characters and actions.

Lastly, I'm trying to keep this review spoiler-free, but THAT. ENDING. I don't think I'll ever be okay ever again. Damn you, Veronica Roth! (But also thank you for allowing me to get sucked into the insane world of Tris and Four - if Christina can forgive Tris, I suppose I can forgive you for the pain and suffering this book put me through. ;) )

Review: Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce


Cold Spell (Fairytale Retellings #4)
Author: Jackson Pearce
Published: Nov. 5th, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pages: 336
Source: ARC

Kai and Ginny grew up together–best friends since they could toddle around their building’s rooftop rose garden. Now they’re seventeen, and their relationship has developed into something sweeter, complete with stolen kisses and plans to someday run away together.

But one night, Kai disappears with a mysterious stranger named Mora–a beautiful girl with a dark past and a heart of ice. Refusing to be cast aside, Ginny goes after them and is thrust into a world she never imagined, one filled with monsters and thieves and the idea that love is not enough.

If Ginny and Kai survive the journey, will she still be the girl he loved–and moreover, will she still be the girl who loved him?

I liked Cold Spell a lot, but not as much as Fathomless (the third novel.) Cold Spell was fairly average plot-wise. It was light on lore, and the clear cut goal didn't leave much room for unexpected plot twists. I thought it was very anticlimactic. Of course, I've never read the original Snow Queen so I can't compare it to that. 

For the people who have read the other books in this series, you'll be happy to know that there are references back to them! 

I liked all the supporting characters, but I didn't feel very empathetic for Ginny or Kai. I supported Ginny, but I didn't really sympathize for her. I wasn't upset with any of the choices she made but everything about her was a bit blah. I appreciated her development when she realized she could live without Kai, but she still didn't actually grow; she just realized she could live without him if she absolutely had to. It was a half effort, not a whole one. 

I liked Mora, but I thought her backstory was a little confusing for the average reader. I wish there had been more of her PoV, and more explanation of the Fenris. The lore that was there was very interesting, I just wish there had been more development of it!

I found this book to be fairly average. Pearce has a wonderful writing technique. If you read and enjoyed the other novels, you may be a little disappointed since it is the conclusion, but Cold Spell is charming nonetheless.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

So I met Veronica Roth today.

I went to an Allegiant Tour stop today, and got to meet Veronica and attend a Q&A. It was absolutely amazing, and she was so sweet! More under the cut because it has taken me this long to learn that Blogspot lets you do read mores and I want to take full advantage of it. ;)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

SummarySet over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

Marissa's Review: I adored this book. I literally zipped through it and spent the whole day yesterday reading it. This is a very meaningful story about first love and how two of the most unexpected people were able to find it with each other despite their differences. I loved this story because not only are Eleanor and Park unique but also their character and relationship development are done so nicely. The little things like sitting next to each other on the bus soon turned in to the best part of their days. This isn't just a story about love between two people. It's also a story about learning to love and find yourself, which both Eleanor and Park experience throughout the book. We learn from their relationship that first love definitely isn't easy and it has its ups and downs, but it isn't entirely impossible either.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Happy Allegiant Release Day!!!

IT'S FINALLY HERE!!! I'm so happy! I've been looking forward to reading this book for so long - after some technical difficulties last night, I (Kim) stayed up until midnight last night so I can start reading it on my Nook! I sure hope my teachers don't expect me to pay attention in class today because all I want to do is plow through this book and find out what happens!

Have you gotten your copy yet? What do you think so far? Feel free to talk in the comments below - but keep it spoiler free, please! :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Release Day: Hollywood Angels!

Hollywood Angels
Title: Hollywood Angels (Amateur Angel #2)
Author: Karri Thompson
Genre: YA Paranormal
Ashley’s back – and this time, she’s no amateur. She has a new assignment, someone who’s thoughtful, loveable, and caring – someone unlike her last assignment—Cannon Michaels, rock-and-roll bad boy, her celebrity crush, and the boy she loves. But will her next stint on earth will be any easier than the last? Can she forget Cannon and continue her role as a responsible guardian angel? Someone has followed Ashley back to earth, and this person reminds her of who she used to be – an untrained angel full of sorrow and regret – but this someone is rash and unpredictable, lacking the patience and training needed to watch and wait and keep his assignment from harm. What will Ashley do when she meets this unexpected angel? Can she suppress her human emotions while teaching him how to love and protect his assignment? If he doesn’t cut it as an angel, will he be replaced by another, tearing Ashley away from her true love? Find out when Ashley falls back to earth and lands in a city full of surprises – Hollywood, California.

About Karri Thompson
My debut YA novel, Amateur Angel, was released May 1, 2012. The next book in that series, Hollywood Angels, comes out October 21st. The first book in my upcoming dystopian trilogy, The Van Winkle Chronicles, will be released by Entangled Publishing Summer 2013.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Joint Review: Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Summary: Secrets, romance, murder and lies: Zoe shares a terrible secret in a letter to a stranger on death row in this second novel from the author of the bestselling debut, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece.

Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret—a dark and terrible secret that she can't confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder.

Full of heartache yet humour, Zoe tells her story in the only way she can—in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.

(We were both given an Advanced Reading Copy of this book in exchange for our honest opinions.)

Kim's Review: I loved this book! When I'd first read the summary I thought it might be one of those over-dramatic love triangles, but it wasn't at all. Pitcher kept it simple while capturing the reader's attention and entertaining them with the million questions imevitably left in their head after reading a chapter. I also liked how on the outside, Zoe's family is pretty typical - two arguing parents and their three kids whose problems they are too busy to care about at first - but on the inside, it's quite unique.
The only bad things I can say about this book is that at first it was difficult to tell whether a certain part of the story was happening in the past or present, but you get the hang of it after a while. The last letter at the very end of the book seemed sort of unnecessary as well. I think just leaving it to end with Zoe's last letter would have sufficed.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It had some really creative ideas, and Pitcher kept me interested the entire time. I would love to read more of her novels in the future!

Charlotte's Review: Ketchup Clouds was really interesting. I wasn't expecting much from the synopsis because it came across as a bit immature to me, but I really loved it. While most of it is cute and the protagonist is relatable, there are darker aspects of it. Zoe came across as pretty self-centered at first, but I didn't dislike her for it. She can't be expected to be perfect, she's human. Her two romances contrasted one another so much. It was mystifying to remember that this was the same girl in each relationship (but in a good kind of way.)
The end of the novel didn't leave me with very much closure. There were a few big things that I would change, but they didn't hurt the book overall. I loved all the relationship dynamics, especially within Zoe's family. Her sisters were very interesting and I'm glad they got a lot of focus. Her parents were a force to be reckoned with. Many misconceptions that I began the book with were completely proved false by the end of it. I liked how the book was written, with letters to Stuart and also in present and past. The entire book I went back and forth, wondering who would be the one in the coffin. The end was very unexpected.

P.S. The fact that someone dies isn't a spoiler, it's included in the synopsis and is spoken of in the first letter!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Review: The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Summary: Sage Singer befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret - he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.

What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all - if Sage even considers his request - is it murder, or justice?

Kim's Review: When I stumbled across this book in Half Price Books, it was missing the hardcover sleeve, so I had no idea what the actual plot of the story was. I am a fan of Jodi Picoult's novels, however, so I figured it was worth a shot! I'm not sure what I expected, but it certainly was not a story about a ninety year old former Nazi who asks a young baker to kill him.

However, I did really love this book. Stories revolving around the Holocaust, fictional or not, are in no shortage, but this book showed the perspectives of not only the victims, but also the Nazis themselves, those who "hunt" them, and the descendants of those survivors. All of the different perspectives was an interesting change to what I'm used to reading in these kinds of books. There were a lot of twists and turns that left me screaming at the page, especially towards the end. Before this book I had not read one of Picoult's novels in a while, but I never would have expected her to create a story like this one. She does a beautiful job, though, and I was on the edge of my seat to find out what would happen.

This is not a YA book (my apologies), but I would still highly recommend not only this book but any of Picoult's novels. She is one of my favorite authors and this book reinforced that for me. I'm excited to see what her other books have in store for me!

(4.5/5 stars)