Thursday, September 27, 2012

Brad About Books: What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Published: September 18, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 343 pages
Series: The Hybrid Chronicles, #1

I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

WHAT'S LEFT OF ME is a wonderful  and great story, a very unique premise, and a well-rounded set of main characters that will make you root for them in any situation they are in. This book is spectacular!

Kat Zhang did a great job at crafting Eva and Addie, our main characters. They respect and love each other, but fight with each other sometimes, like all sisters do. And with the situation they're trapped in, I hoped that nothing bad would happen to them. But of course, everything goes down the drain.

The writing style just blew my mind. Zhang gave her characters such a marvelous voice; each character was depth and complex, and gosh, the dialogue and action that was given to them was just fantastic. I loved every inch of this story. 

Some more things that I loved about her writing style was the pieces that I found in this book. One piece was sorrow; I felt so sorry for Eva because of what's she going through, and with everything being thrown at her, it made me want to reach out to her even more. And another theme, and the biggest one, I found was hope. Hope is infused so much in this novel; hope for a better future, hope for a chance to live a life again, hope to stay alive. And I just found it amazing how much hope and sorrow was put into this book. Kat Zhang, you are a genius!

The action in WHAT'S LEFT OF ME was non-stop. I will admit that the first few pages were a slow going, but come on, it's the beginning. And when the action started, it never stopped. All havoc broke loose, and Kat didn't ever stop throwing more problems and action scenes at us. Greatness! WHAT'S LEFT OF ME is one of those books that is super hard to put down. I finished it in under 24 hours!

And before I wrap up this review, let me say this: IS THE AUTHOR TRYING TO EMOTIONALLY KILL ME FOR THE WAIT FOR BOOK TWO?! The ending of WHAT'S LEFT OF ME is just insane and totally terrific. The ending is where the action sky-rocketed, and I don't think I ever set the book down towards the end. Seriously, read this book!

Overall, WHAT'S LEFT OF ME is such a fantastic book! Make sure not to miss this book. WHAT'S LEFT OF ME is going places.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday Wishes (3)

It's Wednesday, so you know what that means! Wednesday Wishes time!

Here is my wishlist for this week:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Brad About Books: Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck

Published: January 11, 2011
Publisher: Splinter
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 403 pages
Series: The Tiger Saga, #1

Passion. Fate. Loyalty. 

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?
The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.
Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.

TIGER'S CURSE is an epic fantasy adventure that will take you on a magical ride to India!

The beginning was pretty slow going, but once it picks up, the action just flies off the pages. Kelsey, our main character, is a pretty likeable character, but has some major flaws, which I will point out in the next paragraph. Ren is such an awesome character; he's nice to everyone around him, is a tiger (hello?! Totally awesome!), and is just an interesting and well-developed character.

What annoyed me so much from Kelsey was the nickname that she likes to be called: Kells. It's okay if it comes up here and there, but usually, everybody calls her Kells. Sorry, but it got on my nerves.

My favorite part about TIGER'S CURSE was just the adventure that this book takes you on! We get to travel to India and some more places (can't say or it would be a spoiler!), and the author did a great job of capturing that feeling of being in India. I definitely felt like I was traveling in the jungle with Ren and Kelsey!

The writing style is another great part of this book; every chapter felt like the adventure was taken to another level, which I loved. And when a character named Kishan entered, I knew that even more adventures would happen later in this series! I definitely enjoyed how much Colleen Houck put into this book to make sure that the reader felt like they was along for this epic ride! 

And the final 150 pages were totally fantastic! So much action occurred within those pages, and I don't think I ever set the book down when I came to the ending! And gosh, Houck made her characters shine and develop in ways I couldn't imagine within only the first book. Greatness!

Overall, TIGER'S CURSE was such a fun ride. I loved the India journey and all the events that happened in this book. If the main character didn't have an annoying nickname, this would have definitely been a 5-star book! Highly recommend this series!

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Brad About Books: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Published: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper)
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 294 pages

And their doom comes swiftly.

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

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

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

I can't even begin to explain how much I love TEN! TEN is a fast-paced thriller, with jump-out-of-your-seat moments, secrets that will shock you, and an ending that will terrify you until the very last page. 

I should start off by saying that i read TEN in one night: start to finish. I couldn't put it down! McNeil composed a mystery novel in which all of the events in this book actually made sense. She did a terrific job with this novel, and I would recommend it to anybody -- mystery lover or not!

Our main protagonist Meg is a very likeable character. She's always there for her friends, always wants to help out, and is always sharp on the tack. Especially when it comes to murders around her. I never once found her to be annoying or idiotic, like some characters are in books that feature murders. Minnie, on the other hand, is a very completely different story. She's quick-tempered and will push anybody aside to get what she wants. Minnie is definitely not the best of friends in YA literature.

And the whole thing with a serial killer murdering these ten teens on an island cut off from the rest of the world . . . mind equals blown. If you don't know, TEN is an inspired story by Agatha Christie's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. I thought that Gretchen did a great job at tackling that very popular mystery novel, and I wanted more and more after I read the last page! Fantastic!

THE. ENDING. No spoilers here, but GUYS. WOW. My jaw was literally open for the entire final fifty pages. McNeil had me on the edge of my seat; I was even checking over my shoulder to make sure the killer wasn't standing behind me! Love it when a book makes me do that! And like I said before, everything makes sense in the end! Didn't see a bunch things coming in this novel.

One last thing before I end this review: somebody in Hollywood, PLEASE buy the movie rights to TEN! This would make a killer movie! (no pun intended) Thrilling, captivating and scary; TEN deserves to be on the big screen!

Overall, TEN is one of my favorite novels of 2012! If you want a novel with secrets and betrayals, shocking moments and terrifying conclusions, TEN is definitely the book you should buy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday Wishes (2)

It's Wednesday Wishes time again!


Happy reading!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Brad About Books: The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

Published: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (Harper)
Format: e-ARC
Page Count: 384 pages
Source: Publisher
Series: The Peculiar, #1

Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged.

In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings--Peculiars--and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.

One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley--Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.

First he's noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish . . . and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.

Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, "The Peculiar" is Stefan Bachmann's riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.


Stefan Bachmann's debut novel, THE PECULIAR, was absolutely stunning! THE PECULIAR is quite possibly the best middle grade novel I've ever read, and it will be adored by readers of any age.

I knew that I wanted to read this book ever since I heard of it. So when Harper offered it on Edelweiss, I pounced on it. Thanks for approving me, Harper! And when I started reading this book, I was sucked in from the very first few words. And I didn't stop reading until I was halfway through the book. It's that fantastic.

The writing style was mind-blowing. Stefan Bachmann created this excellent world that immediately grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. And I loved every second of it. With our main protagonist, Bartholomew, we go on an epic and wonderful adventure through the faery slums of Bath, trying to find a friend when we all desperately need one. 

Bartholomew was such a great character. He's funny, sly, and different, which makes it all the better. Bachmann made his character so vivid, I felt as if he were real. I know, sounds crazy right? If you read this book (WHICH YOU MUST), you will understand exactly what I mean.

After finishing THE PECULIAR, I knew that this was the best middle-grade novel that I have ever read. No other book has made me lose myself into a charming world; made me think about things I had never consider; and most of all, it made me think of people, and how everything little action that we do affects them in more ways that anyone can ever imagine. I feel that THE PECULIAR is a novel about friendships, and the outcasts who are in need of one, even when everyone around them won't give them a chance. And with all the other crazy events happening in the book, I loved that this book taught a few lessons to the reader.

THE LADY IN PLUM. Oh wow, was she super creepy! Bachmann gave her a voice that made me shudder and give me chills. And I even actually started watching behind me just to see if someone -- like her -- was staring at me. Seriously, she is one of the most disturbing characters I've ever read about.

And this storyline was something totally different than what I've been reading lately, and this is totally a great thing! I've never read about faeries in a victorian Bath, much less a story of faeries getting hanged for who they are. 

AND CAN I JUST SAY, I AM SO HAPPY THAT THERE IS A SEQUEL. THE PECULIAR leaves on a big cliffhanger, and once I finished it, I cringed inside because I thought that there was no sequel. And finally, I saw that a sequel was listed on Goodreads, and I almost jumped around the room with happiness! Bring on 2013! I'm ready!

(And did you know that Stefan Bachman is only like 18?! That blows my mind. Way to go, Stefan!)

Overall, you must read THE PECULIAR. This novel is magical, whimsical, fun, dark, daring, and most of all, brilliant. I can't recommend this book enough!

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(By the way, here's the fantastic trailer to THE PECULIAR! Stefan Bachmann composed all the music!)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Brad About Books: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Published: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: ARC
Page Count: 416 pages
Source: Publisher
Series: The Raven Cycle, #1

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of theShiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

First, I want to thank Scholastic Press for sending me an ARC of THE RAVEN BOYS! Thanks guys! 

THE RAVEN BOYS is a fresh and compelling read that had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Maggie Stiefvater has such a vivid imagination and wonderful prose!

I will say that I was confused for the first sixty pages of this book. But once I figured out what was going on, I fell in love with this book hard. I've never read a novel like this -- and I don't think I ever will! -- and Maggie Stiefvater managed to capture my attention from just the prologue. And with her lyrical writing style, it was easy to fall into this world with these fantastic characters.

I want touch on the subject of Stiefvater's writing style. When I read this book, I felt like I was reading poetry -- and not the boring kind. The kind that makes you consider things you've never considered. The kind that makes you lose yourself into the world. The kind of writing that makes you forget everything else while you're reading the book. It's absolutely brilliant what Maggie did with this book and how she made me invest in this story and these characters.

Speaking of these characters . . . oh gosh, how I loved them so much! Blue was such an interesting character to read about! She's fierce, a bit odd, and knows what she wants from life. I really enjoyed how she wasn't a damsel in distress, but how she also wasn't that annoying kind of independent. And The Raven Boys; gah! Maggie made them such awesome characters to read about.

Gansey was just a unique character; plain and simple. The whole storyline involving him was fascinating, and then the whole tie-in with ravens made it even more original. Then we go to Adam, who is just a nice and calm character. But don't get on his bad side, because he will drop you to the ground. I felt sorry for Adam during moments in THE RAVEN BOYS; I just felt like his family didn't support him any. And there's this one scene in THE RAVEN BOYS that features Adam that is nail-biting. Read the book and you'll know exactly what I mean!

Enter Ronan, the fierce, strong and tough guy from the prestigious private school. He doesn't take crap from anybody -- and I do mean anybody -- and was another stunning character by Stiefvater. He always had something going on with him, which made him very likeable and interesting. And finally, we come to Noah, who is probably the most gentle out of the Raven Boys. He doesn't say much and doesn't really get involved. But he's got some secrets that he's been keeping from people, including himself. Right before page 300, something BIG is revealed, and my jaw literally fell open.

And can I just express how much I'm dying for the sequel? Maggie Stiefvater left this book in such a way that made me want to scream to the top of my lungs in desperation for book two. Seriously, 2013 needs to come sooner! 

Overall, THE RAVEN BOYS is a must read. Don't be alarmed by the confusing beginning, IT GETS SO GOOD. Maggie Stiefvater, you are simply brilliant! 

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday Wishes (1)

So guys, I thought I would try something new today! I've done my very first Wednesday Wishes post! Wednesday Wishes is a meme where you show books that are on your wishlist/made it on your wishlist this week.

The person who inspired me to make this video was Bunny @ I love watching her videos, especially her Wednesday Wishes videos! 

Here is my Wednesday Wishes video!

What's on your wishlist? Let me know in the comments! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Brad About Books: Defiance by CJ Redwine

Published: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper)
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 403 pages
Series: Defiance, #1

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

I will admit that DEFIANCE was a bit slow for me for the first forty pages, but then BOOM, DEFIANCE hits a high mark and becomes one of my favorite fantasy novels I've ever read. CJ Redwine is an author to watch.

Rachel Adams: the kick-butt heroine that the YA market needs nowadays. Right from the very first page, I knew that the main protagonist would not be annoying, and would be strong, fierce and fearless; exactly what I like it characters. I just want to thank CJ Redwine for making such an awesome character!

And then we come to Logan, the love interest of DEFIANCE. Do you know what's the cool thing about the chemistry between Logan and Rachel? It doesn't overshadow the plot. And Logan was actually a really good character as well! He was strong and very intelligent with every thing he does. And then we come to the wicked Commander, who is seriously one of the best antagonists I've read in 2012. Not only is his mind set to take over anything that isn't in his power already, but he also is sneaky and clever, making sure nobody knows where he is. Even though we're suppose to hate him with a passion, I really enjoyed reading about him; he's just so mean, it's sometimes enjoyable.

And this plot. Original. Unique. Fresh. EPIC. That sums up the plot. The first forty pages were pretty slow, but after we hit that page count, the action, pace, plot and romance just sky-rockets. I was sucked into this story and it made me not want to set the book down. Any. And with all the crazy action scenes featuring the Cursed One, the Commander, and just Rachel and Logan, I couldn't hold myself back from flipping those pages.

*cough cough* THE CURSED ONE. Such a cool beast! CJ Redwine describes its terror and destruction it causes so vividly, I could see everything happening in my head. The Cursed One was definitely one of my favorite parts of DEFIANCE.

And gosh, those last 100 pages. Fantastic epicness were filled into those final 100 pages, and I couldn't contain myself from flipping those pages. And I just have one message: BOOK TWO, PLEASE COME SOONER. Seriously, I think CJ Redwine is trying to emotionally kill me on the wait for the sequel to DEFIANCE. Need it now.

I think I could go on even longer for my feelings for the incredible DEFIANCE. Even though the beginning had its slow patches here and there, DEFIANCE is definitely not one to miss. CJ Redwine has went up on my top list for fantasy authors! 

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Brad About Books: Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

Published: September 20, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 292 pages
Series: Cold Kiss, #1


When Wren's boyfriend, Danny, died, Wren decided that what she wanted—what she had to do—was to bring Danny back. And so, in a heartbroken fury, armed with dark incantations and a secret power, she did.
But the Danny who returns isn't the boy Wren fell in love with, and she must hide him away while her life unravels around her. Then Gabriel transfers to her school and somehow he knows what she has done—and he wants to help make things right.

But Wren alone must undo what she has wrought—even if it means breaking her heart all over again


"Danny was mine, and I was his, and that wasn't going to work out if he was dead. So I would make him not dead, not anymore. That was my first mistake. It also turned out to be the biggest."

Amy Garvey's YA debut novel was such a fun and interesting read! I wasn't sure how I felt about the book within the first twenty pages, but by the end, I was left gasping for the sequel.

COLD KISS has a premise that I've never heard of before; which I love. I could only imagine how much trouble our main character Wren got herself into when she brought her now undead boyfriend back from the grave. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire novel for these characters. And with that kind of ending, it was perfect.

The writing style flowed easily with the story and definitely captured my attention right away. The action starts off right away, and I was so glad that Amy Garvey put a captivating scene in the very first few pages. COLD KISS was definitely a very cool read!

Gabriel was an odd character for me. The way that he instantly attached himself to Wren kind of threw me off guard, but once I adapted to him and his characteristics, I started to really enjoy his character. 

And Wren is a very great protagonist! She's protective of her sister, she's funny and quirky, and she has a big secret that instantly made me love her character. Props to Amy Garvey for making a great character!

And the ending was cruel to me. When I read that last page, I knew that I wanted the sequel, GLASS HEART, so bad. September 18, can you hurry up, please?

Overall, COLD KISS is one of the most original novels in the YA market. While it had its minor flaws (some character development and pacing), I still recommend it!

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