Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Brad About Books: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Expected Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (Random House)
Format: E-ARC
Page Count: 303 pages
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Series: Lies Beneath, #1

Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

I was really anticipating LIES BENEATH, so when I got approved on NetGalley for this title, I freaked out. But I have to say, I was a bit disappointed with this book.
The writing style felt a bit choppy for me. Anne Greenwood Brown has her great moments in dialogue in this book, but I felt that something was missing in this book. Maybe it was the lack of action for the first half? Maybe it was our main character suddenly falling in love with Lily? I just can’t put my finger on it.
And that’s the thing: Calder (the main character) almost instantly fell in love with Lily (the love interest). I sometimes love insta-love, but I really wasn’t a fan of this relationship. Calder is a snarky and laid-back guy, while Lily is protective and hides her true feelings. I just didn’t see any chemistry.
But I loved Calder’s sisters. They were even more snarky and sarcastic than he was! Brown made these characters come to life, and I applaud her for that.
Overall, I was disappointed by LIES BENEATH. Maybe book two will be more action packed (even though LIES BENEATH had tons of action in the second half). 

M Y   R A T I N G:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Nothing Special Blog Tour: Geoff Herbach Interview!

Today, I have Geoff Herbach on BookYAReview, talking about "Senior Superlative"! 

The weirdest thing happened on the way to writing a blog post about what I was like in high school and what I wanted out of life: nothing!  (Sort of.) 
If you’d asked me my senior year – way back in the days of Lionel Richie and young Madonna – “Herbach. What will you be?” I would’ve taken a long sip of my chocolate milk and said, “Probably an English professor and a writer of some kind.”  That’s what I figured I’d do.
Sure, I also wanted to watch TV, break dance, and play professional football.  But, I knew, from having not been paid to watch TV that TV watching wasn’t a viable career.  I’d had a terrible dancing accident that left me unsure of my qualifications for break dancing fame (spun off a stage).  I also knew, from having played against some very good high school football players, that I didn’t like getting my head smashed really hard (and figured pros would probably smash my head harder, even).  I was left with my love for books and for writing funny stuff.
In college, though, I forgot after a while.  Writing didn’t seem practical.  I was also extremely social – wildly, inappropriately social (not gross inappropriate, just inappropriate because all my time was absorbed in messing around with friends instead of studying).  I finally figured out (inappropriately) that I should be more practical, should do something that would earn money.  
It took me about ten years eating from candy dishes in cubicles for me to remember my high school self.  I tried break dancing first, but it hurt too much.  Then I started writing again.  And so, here I am, doing what I thought I would.
Thank God.  Seriously.

Thank you Geoff for that awesome post!

Be sure to pick up Geoff's newest novel, NOTHING SPECIAL! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Brad About Books: The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

Expected Publication Date: August 21, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
Format: ATWT ARC
Page Count: 240 pages
Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight. The only passenger, Robie doesn’t panic until the engine suddenly cuts out and Max shouts at her to put on a life jacket. They are over miles of Pacific Ocean. She sees Max struggle with a raft. 

And then . . . she’s in the water. Fighting for her life. Max pulls her onto the raft, and that’s when the real terror begins. They have no water. Their only food is a bag of Skittles. There are sharks. There is an island. But there’s no sign of help on the way.

THE RAFT disappointed me on major levels. I expected an epic tale of survival and bravery, but the story did not flow how I wanted it to go.

The main character in this book is one of the most selfish and most annoying characters I have ever read about. She drove me crazy. When they first get on the raft, one of the characters named Max got a blow to the head, so he slept to try to ease the pain. Then, Robie (the main character) found some Skittles. Here's how her dialogue went:

"He had Skittles in his bag? He had plenty of time to tell me! I'm eating all of them now and saving none for him." 

I absolutely hated Robie.

But the idea of this novel is genius. Every since one of my blogging friends (and real life best friend) told me about this book, I wanted to read it so bad. But nothing turned out how I wanted it to, and some scenes had no relevance to the story.

Let's address that issue: some chapters in this book played no part in the story. Max told some chapters of his wrestling career in high school and how he had to remove the food from his body that he had just devoured. This went on for many chapters. And in the end, it didn't go along with the story. If it wasn't for the very short chapters, I don't think I could have finished this in about a day.

I did enjoy two scenes in THE RAFT though: the landing of the plane and the sharks. S.A. Bodeen describers jumping into the water so well, that it made me feel as if I were jumping out of the plane with the characters. And the sharks were terrifying to the point that made me set the book down!

And the ending made no sense to me. I'm actually still confused about it! I wanted to like THE RAFT, but in the end, it just wasn't the book for me.

Overall, I did not enjoy THE RAFT. While it had those two great scenes, it didn't make up for the selfish protagonist and "filler" chapters.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Brad About Books: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Published: March 16, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 327 pages
Source: Amazon.com
Series: The Body Finder #1
First Line: "Violet Ambrose wandered away from the safety of her father as she listened to the harmony of sounds weaving delicately around her."

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.

THE BODY FINDER was a creepy and scary read with a supernatural twist that kept me up into the dark hours in the night on the edge of my seat, fearing for the characters in the book. 

I was first turned off by this book because of the slow beginning and third-person writing style. This all changed by the third chapter. I was hooked into the story and didn’t want to stop reading. The way that Kimberly Derting made this novel come to life was beyond belief. She describes this book in a way that makes it seem like it is real life.
I loved how the killer had some chapters to himself. They were terrifying in a way that made me want to shut my eyes really tight, so I wouldn’t have to read what would happen to his victims. Of course, I couldn’t help myself but read away.
Violet is such a complex character. She can detect dead people through “echoes”, or imprints left from a killer. That idea alone was what made me want to read this book. She is not afraid to go out into the real world and find the killer herself.
I think Jay is perfect for Violet. They have been best friends since they were young, and they enjoy the same things. I think Kimberly Derting has made a great YA couple in THE BODY FINDER.
Speaking of page numbers, around page 250 is what made me the most frightened. The suspense and climax leading up to this scene is unbelievable. And when this big scene does happen, I had to set the book down and take a step away from the book. It was that scary.
Overall, THE BODY FINDER was a great novel that makes for a great first novel. I can’t wait to read more of the series! 

M Y    R A T I N G:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Ash-Born Boy: READ NOW!

 It's May 15th!
Not only does THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab come out in paperback TODAY, but, to celebrate its release, "The Ash-Born Boy" is finally up over at <a href="
 http://un-requiredreading.com/books/the-ash-born-boy">Disney*Hyperion's website</a>!

So, what IS "The Ash-Born Boy"?

It's a free story Victoria wrote as a thank-you to her fans, and she wrote it to answer ONE question: "Who was Cole before he came to Near?"

Now, if you've already read THE NEAR WITCH, "The Ash-Born Boy" is guaranteed to change the way you see Cole.

And if you haven't read THE NEAR WITCH yet, don't worry, "The Ash-Born Boy" won't spoil anything!

So basically, either way, you should go read Cole's story ;)

And if you want to wait and read THE NEAR WITCH first, don't worry! Cole's story will stay up on Disney*Hyperion's website, and if it ever comes down, Victoria will carve out a space for it on her own site. It will always be available somewhere, and it will always be free.


Cole's story isn't the only goodie to go along with the paperback release. In the back of the paperback itself, you'll find the first chapter of Victoria's new book, THE ARCHIVED, which doesn't come out until January!

So what are you waiting for?

Help Victoria celebrate today by taking a look at "The Ash-Born Boy," and don't forget to buy/order/pick up your own paperback copy of THE NEAR WITCH!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Brad About Books: Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Published: October 11, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 303 pages
Source: Amazon.com
Series: Hartley Featherstone #1
First Line: "There are three things you never want to find in a locker."

Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he’s pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren’t enough, now he’s depending on Hartley to clear his name. 

But as much as Hartley wouldn’t mind seeing him squirm, she knows he’s innocent, and she’s the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school’s resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer’s next victim.

Inside DEADLY COOL is a fun and light-hearted read, but with a killer twist (pun intended!) with a murdered going around high school and killing people.
Hartley Featherstone was a great character. She is almost like a modern day Nancy Drew. Gemma Halliday did her homework in finding out everything teenagers loves, whether it is iPods and earbuds, or the types of cars that teenagers drive. I was so impressed and fascinated with the way she created this story!
And let’s talk about her writing style. The writing style is almost too much like a teenager. The writing is a bit simple with bits and pieces of complex scenes thrown in at different parts of the story.
The killer stuff in DEADLY COOL was so cool. I have to say that I did guess correctly of who the killer is, but the climax leading up to when the killer is revealed was simply awesome. Gemma Halliday had me on the edge of my seat as I feared for our beloved protagonist.
But the ending of DEADLY COOL made me a little frustrated. It left me with so many questions. Hopefully those will be answered in the sequel.
Overall, DEADLY COOL was a fun book, but had its scary and frightening moments. Hartley Featherstone is the new Nancy Drew! 

M Y    R A T I N G:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Brad About Books: Underworld by Meg Cabot

Published: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Point
Format: ARC
Page Count: 336 pages
Source: Publisher
Series: Abandon, #2

Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead.

Not this time.

But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.

Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.

But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.

And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.

First off, thank you so much Point for sending me an ARC of this book!

UNDERWORLD was a great follow-up to ABANDON, but something was missing for me in the story.
If you read my review of ABANDON, I said of how I didn’t like all the flashbacks coming out of nowhere. Luckily, that wasn’t a problem in UNDERWORLD. The pacing was excellent in this book, and I loved the way that Meg Cabot portrayed this Greek myth re-telling.
We get to see a lot of these characters grow in UNDERWORLD. Pierce is coming to cope with all of bizarre things happening to her, while John is trying to keep her safe from the vicious Furies. I really liked the snark that Kayla, a side-character, had in this book. And Pierce’s dialogue got so much better in this book. She finally understands why John is doing what he is doing to her, and she’s ready to face her darkest fears.
But something just wasn’t there for me to turn this review into 5 stars. Maybe there wasn’t enough action. There was action in UNDERWORLD, with the Furies and all, but there was a lot of chapters that just featured scenes of characters talking. Any other way, I still did really enjoy UNDERWORLD.
In conclusion, UNDERWORLD was even better than its predecessor, and the characters matured so much in this book! Can’t wait to read the third book next year! 

M Y   R A T I N G:

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Bloggers of the Deep Tour: Author Zoraida Cordova Interview!

Today on BookYAReview, I have author Zoraida Cordova and her list of top ten books to read when on a desert island!

If you didn't know, Zoraida Cordova is the author of THE VICIOUS DEEP, a fantastic mermaid and mermen novel with a bit of a twist. If you haven't got your hands on a copy yet, I highly suggest that you do so!

Top Ten Books to Read when Stranded on a Desert Island: If you are going to be stranded, may as well find something to pass the time. Just make sure you plan ahead…
#1 would have to be HOW TO SURVIVE ON A DESERT ISLAND. Because, really, if I don't survive, I won't get to read #2-10. 
#2 Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, obvi. 
#3 A collection of fairy tales from around the world.
#4 The Harry Potter series, because I'll need a little hope to keep me going. 
#5 Montana Sky by Nora Roberts. Don't you roll your eyes at me. Deserted islands get lonely.
#6 Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins because every word is beauty. 
#7 Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown. Partly because I'd like the company of merpeople. Partly because I'd like to read it before I get stranded. But also because I can't say I want to get stranded with my own mermaids ;) 
#8 Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 8 graphic novels. When facing the forces of darkness (strike that), nature, I'd ask myself, What Would Buffy Do? 
#9 The Essential Neruda. Pablo Neruda was exiled to an island where he fell in love and wrote poetry. Maybe I'd get the same inspiration. 
#10 A blank notebook, to write my own stories.

Thank you to Zoraida Cordova for her list of books! She picked some great books! (especially Beauty Queens and Lies Beneath). 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Brad About Books: White Cat by Holly Black

Published: February 8, 2011
Publisher: McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster)
Format: Paperback Reprint
Page Count: 310 pages
Source: Barnes and Noble
Series: Curse Workers, #1
First Line: "I wake up barefoot, standing on cold slate tiles."

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn’t got the magic touch, so he’s an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

WHITE CAT is a dark and fantastic novel with imagination beyond belief.
Like I just stated, WHITE CAT is one of those books that has the best imagination trapped inside the story. Holly Black did an amazing job crafting and weaving this dangerous world together, and she made her characters very realistic.
Speaking of characters, our main protagonist, Cassel, is one of the best male characters I have ever read about. He is interesting and has a backstory behind him, which makes him even more interesting. And he’s so clever with all the things he says and does. And the white cat in the story? I thought that the way Holly Black introduced that key element into the story was perfect.
I felt sorrow for Lila. Once you learned what actually happened to her and her death (*NOT A SPOILER*), it makes you want to rip two specific character’s heads off.
And again, this world is incredible. I have never read a book like this, and I highly suggest that you read it.
Overall, WHITE CAT was fantastic. I need to read book two ASAP.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Brad About Books: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Published: October 1, 2008
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 472 pages
Source: Amazon.com
Series: Seven Kingdoms Realm, #1
First Line: "In these dungeons the darkness was complete, but Katsa had a map in her mind."

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.     When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone

     With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.

GRACELING was fantastic. I’m a sucker for high fantasy, and this has now become one of my new favorite books.
Katsa is just a such a great character. She is so strong, but she has her weaknesses. She doesn’t let anybody stop her from doing what she wants to do, and I loved how she stood up to her uncle (A.K.A. one of the kings of this world).
Don’t hate me, but with a name like Katsa  and just seeing The Hunger Games, I compared names a lot back and forth. Now, these are two totally different books, but some names are similar:
Katsa and Katniss (fighter; main protagonist)
Po and Peeta (both love the main protagonist)
Giddon and Gale (both love the main protagonist) 
Bitterblue and Rue (both get help from the main protagonist) 
Did anybody else notice this?
The action in GRACELING was awesome. When action does pop up in the book, Cashore makes the reader feels as if they are fighting alongside the characters. And for me, the pacing was perfect. If you’re looking for an action and fast-paced book, you won’t find it in this book. Because this world is very complex and complicated, GRACELING is a very complex novel; therefore, it takes time to explain this entire world. Once you do understand the Seven Kingdoms world, this book is super hard to put down.   And coming from someone who hates slow books, I can say that this one not to be missed. It’s almost a five-hundred-page novel, and I read it in two days.
If you haven’t read GRACELING and you love high fantasy, this a must-read book. Seriously. Just keep your mind open because Kristin Cashore is going to take you on one of the most epic journeys of all time!

M Y    R A T I N G:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Brad About Books: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Published: September 15, 2011
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 215 pages
Source: Amazon.com
First Line: "The monster showed up just after midnight."

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting — he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. 

The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. 

From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd — whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself — Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

A MONSTER CALLS is now one of my favorite books of all time. The writing style inside the book was perfect, the characters were so interesting and fascinating, and the illustrations in the book were creepy and elegant.
If you are thinking that this book is horror, you are mislead. While this looks as if it might be a scary book, it is not. It is almost a coming-of-age novel. But there is one scary thing about A MONSTER CALLS: the truth.
Yes, that is the main storyline. The monster wants “the truth” from our main character, Conor. While that doesn’t sound intriguing at first, once you do find out what the truth is, it’s shocking and a bit frightening.
This whole story idea is brilliant. Siobhan Dowd, who was the person to create this story, but, unfortunately, passed away before she could complete the book herself, has one of the most vivid and creative imagination I’ve ever seen.
And Patrick Ness did a phenomenal job with A MONSTER CALLS. I finished this book in a day. The way he wrote this story was pure and fresh, but disturbing in some ways. 
And even though it is middle grade, A MONSTER CALLS is one not to be missed. The characters inside the book were all so interesting and unlike any characters before. I have to say that the Monster was my favorite.
The Three Tales in A MONSTER CALLS made this story whole. In these tales, the Monster explains why he comes walking because “Conor called to him”. In the end, when the truth is explained, this is also is explained.
And that’s the thing about this novel: everything makes sense in the end. All the loose ends are tied up, and it ended just the way I wanted it to. I had no questions left after the end of the book, since all of my previous questions had been answered!
Jim Kay did an amazing job with the illustrations. Next time you are in a bookstore, pick this book up and just look at the illustrations. You will be in awe. And you most definitely need to buy this book and experience the journey for yourself!
Overall, A MONSTER CALLS is one of the best books I have ever read, with it’s quirky characters and dark storyline. You will not be disappointed by this read! 

M Y   R A T I N G:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Brad About Books: The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova

Published: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: ARC
Page Count: 384 pages
Source: Publisher
Series: The Vicious Deep, #1


For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave.

He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.

His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he’s heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he’s suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods.

Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea…and now it wants him back.


THE VICIOUS DEEP is one of the best mermaid books I have ever read! It has action, a sea kingdom setting, and a great male protagonist. Bonus points for the male protagonist. 
This entire mermaid realm that Zoraida created was beyond incredible. The way that she describes the Sea Kingdom and all of the people living inside it made me want to dive into the story so I can experience the story myself. Yeah. It was that good.
Tristan was such a great character. When you figure out what secrets his family is keeping, it’s pretty unbelievable. But in a good way. And Layla, his snarky sidekick and possible love interest, was just as epic as well. I loved the way that Zoraida made these characters come to life in my mind. 
The Silver Mermaid in the book freaks me out, though. On the back of the ARC, there is a little excerpt from a scene in the book. That scene gave me a nightmare. This mermaid is creepy and dark and utterly fascinating. I hope we get to learn more about her in book two!
Zoraida’s writing style in the book was clever and amusing. Her way with words sucked me into the story from the very first page. I could easily see this book being turned into a movie.
The action in this novel was brilliant. It was perfectly paced; we got to see some scenes of the castle and character development, but we also have a perfect balance of fighting and action scenes. 
And can we just talk about the tagline of the book? “Don’t let it pull you under.” Props to whoever came up with that! I love that tagline.
Overall, Zoraida Cordova’s THE VICIOUS DEEP is a mermaid tale like no other and has left me gasping for the sequel.