Monday, October 29, 2012

Brad About Books: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Published: July 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 388 pages
Series: Strange, #1

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Victorian times . . . with zombies? I don't need to hear anymore; do you?

Susan Dennard's debut novel, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, was epic. The whole concept with a necromancer bringing the dead back to life in the 1800s is wonderful, and Susan Dennard did a great job at crafting this novel together. 

The beginning was a bit slow, though. But I have this problem with all historical fiction novels, so I knew what to expect. But when I got 30 pages in, something insane and crazy happens. And Susan Dennard never stops with the action; which I loved!

The author made the Dead in this novel terrifying. Usually, zombies in stories don't always scare me, but these sure did. Whenever they popped up, chill bumps came up on my arms. The descriptions, the actions, the scenes, everything with the Dead was simply and utterly amazing. Seriously, Susan did a fantastic job with this book!

The Spirit Hunters were so cool! They were like a huge crazy family that has every element possible; the one you love to hate, the one you hate to love, the annoying, the brave. It can all be found in this group of bandits! And the romance that was spun into this novel was just great. It was there and it was bright, but it didn't overshadow the plot! Score! 

And finally, the ending! I don't do spoilers here on BookYAReview (or any place else), but gosh, this novel has to have one of the best endings ever. CAN I PLEASE HAVE A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY NOW? PLEASE? I'm just over here dying for the sequel. Don't mind me.

But seriously, so much foreshadowing was in this book! And when you find out everything, your mouth will fall open. I guarantee it.

Overall, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY was super amazingly brilliant. I can't wait for book two! Seriously, bring on July 2013!


Monday, October 22, 2012

GIVEAWAY Stealing Parker + Guest Post!

Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire, I am able to be apart of the HOME RUN BLOG TOUR and host a giveaway for STEALING PARKER by Miranda Kenneally! But first, I have a guest post from the author herself. Take it away, Miranda!


Peanut Gallery:  Where does Miranda get her inspiration?  Find out as Miranda speaks about her idea origins. As a bonus, Miranda shares the best advice that she ever got about being a writer.

Geez, this is a pretty hard question. I get my inspiration from all over the place. From conversations I have with friends and people at work. From inside jokes with my husband. I read lots of books, and see how my favorite authors write plot arcs and characterization, and then I set out to do that too, but with my own edge. I often look through my junior and high school yearbooks to remind myself of how I felt when I was younger. I also like to read my old diaries. One time I got a book idea from a true fact under a Snapple lid. Another time I got a book idea because somebody had broken into my car!

I got the idea for the “Jerry Rice fake baby home ec” project in Catching Jordan because I remembered this time I was out on the football field in junior high, and a football player was pushing another player around in a stroller.

The best advice I ever got as a writer?
- An editor told me my strongest skill as an author is writing groups of teens goofing off and talking about nothing, so now I try to have my characters bantering while doing lots of wild and wacky things while trying to move the plot forward. And I have a great time doing it! I try to write silly scenes that I hope people will enjoy reading.

~ ~ ~

Thanks so much for that awesome post, Miranda! And now, I'm hosting a giveaway!

This is for one copy of STEALING PARKER. And this contest is open INTERNATIONALLY! Anywhere in the world is eligible to enter this giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Brad About Books: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Published: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: ARC
Page Count: 256 pages
Source: Publisher
Series: Catching Jordan, #2 (You can read them out of order, but it is advised to start with Catching Jordan)

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.

After her family's scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won't turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys--a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far...especially when he starts flirting back.

I loved STEALING PARKER so much! And I'm not a big fan of contemporaries. Miranda Kenneally put some much thought and heartbreak into this novel, and I loved that!

The writing style in STEALING PARKER is what first caught my attention. The way that Kenneally made Parker's character come to live really ignited a spark in this novel. And gosh, can Miranda make some great characters! I thought that Parker's dad was just a great character, and her best friend, Drew, was just a really good best friend to her. 

This novel has actually two things I'm not a fan of: a contemporary feel and sports (yes, I do not like sports). But for some reason, I couldn't hold myself back from turning these pages! Miranda presented the sport of softball/baseball in a way that didn't bore me and actually made me interested in the sport. Props to the author for that!

But a seventeen-year-old girl falling in love with a twenty-three-year-old guy? Totally spells out trouble. And with all the events, I wanted to shout at Parker so many times, but then other times, I wanted to help her out. I just kept going back and forth with my feelings for her characters! And Brian (the love interest)... ah, where do I start with him? I really didn't like him. He didn't deserve Parker, in my opinion.

And that ending was so sad! I'm not giving out any spoilers, but that ending actually made me feel sad. If you've read this novel, you know exactly how this novel ends, and I didn't really like it. I just didn't feel like everything was resolved. But who knows, maybe we'll get a glimpse of Parker again in Kenneally's next book THINGS I CAN'T FORGET.

Overall, I thought STEALING PARKER was better than CATCHING JORDAN! Miranda Kenneally, you did a great job with this novel! Can't wait to read book three.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Brad About Books: Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Published: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 356 pages
Series: Lux, #2

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we're linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there's this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that's possible. Against all common sense, I'm falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

Oh gosh, what can I say about ONYX? ONYX is simply a great book! Filled with character development, romance found in each chapter, and action like none other in YA novels. Jennifer L. Armentrout definitely dodged the sequel slump!

My favorite part of ONYX? All of the character growth that occurred in this novel. Especially Daemon's character; in OBSIDIAN, he was a jerk (but with reason), snarky and sarcastic, but in ONYX, he finally becomes a better person towards Katy. And Katy was even better! She became this kick-butt and tough character, no matter what the situation is. I loved how Armentrout put lots of effort into these characters!

The writing style in the Lux series is just so utterly captivating. When I picked up ONYX, I seriously couldn't stop reading! This series is just so addicting, and I'm dying in anticipation for OPAL! The way she describes (but it's not overly described) this world and her characters, it's one of the best writing styles I've ever read about. I must check out her other books! (I'm actually getting the Covenant series in November!)

THE ACTION IN THIS BOOK IS INSANE. So many fight scenes, so many kick-butt moments, and so much suspense were in ONYX! I sometimes felt like I was fighting alongside these characters (I seriously hope that doesn't sound creepy), and I could feel the suspense and drama radiating off the pages.

And you can't have a Lux novel without romance, right? I'm not the biggest fan of romance in novels (as long as it doesn't overshadow the plot, I'm all good), but somehow, Jennifer L. Armentrout makes the romance in this series seem believable and genuine. The love just flies off of these pages of excellence. I highly recommend that you give this series a shot!

The ending of ONYX was mind-blowing. Armentrout tortured me on the last page, because I knew I would have to wait a few months for OPAL to come out (but I am so happy OPAL comes out in less than two months!). And if you've read this book, you know exactly the thing that is revealed at the end.


Absolutely crazy! The author put a perfect blend of drama, action, romance, and a one of a kind spin on the YA paranormal romance market. She has one of the most original series in YA novels!

Overall, I loved ONYX even more than OBSIDIAN! Bring on the third book! So excited to see where the author takes this story next.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Brad About Books: The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

Published: October 2, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: ARC
Page Count: 256 pages
Source: Publisher

One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and pancake-loving younger brother, who irritated and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not. In fact, he was quite, quite different.

When Liza's brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his soul.

She knows, too, that she is the only one who can save him.

To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with little more than her wits and a broom. There, she uncovers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and overexcitable nids . . . as well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the spindlers' nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly tests--or else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.

I was really excited to read and review THE SPINDLERS, but I was disappointed by this novel. The writing style didn't captivate me, and I was utterly confused at some parts.

The concept of this novel was very intriguing. And with Lauren Oliver's poetic and wonderful writing style from her previous novels, I knew that I was going to love THE SPINDLERS. And yet I just . . . didn't. The voice of Liza in this novel actually annoyed me some parts. I felt like she complained a lot but posed herself as this strong and defiant girl. I just didn't know what to make of her character.

The world building of Below was superb though. I loved every second of traveling with these characters through the dark and grim place of Below! Oliver did a great job of detailing every speck of this land, and I would love to jump into these pages and journey through this world myself!

But still, THE SPINDLERS had me confused throughout the most of the book. It seemed as if the author threw too many action events at me, and I couldn't keep track with everything that was going on. Lots of twists and turns pop up many times in this book and while some were great and benefitted the story in an excellent way, some were just way too confusing and over-detailed.

But I still did enjoy THE SPINDLERS, just not as much as I hoped I would. And some characters stood out to me -- one being the rat in this novel. This character was sneaky and suspicious --  like a rat, no? -- but had a caring side, which made me fall in love with her character. I will admit that Lauren Oliver can craft a great character!

Overall, THE SPINDLERS did let me down, but I still enjoyed the read. Middle grade fanatics will fall in love with this book, I'm sure though.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Reveals: Cover for Apollyon and Trailer for Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout!

I've got some very exciting things to reveal today! Are you ready?

Deity (The third book in the Covenant Series)
Available in both print and digital version on Nov. 6, 2012
Barnes and Noble
Official Deity Book Trailer

Did you read an ARC of Deity and been dying to get your hands on Elixir, the novella told in Aiden’s POV and picks up right after the end of Deity? Well, you don’t have to wait any longer. The free novella is available now. DO NOT read Elixir if you have not read Deity. It will spoil Deity for you and not to mention, you will have no idea what is going on. 
Elixir will be available in print. Kindle, and Nook formats on November 27, 2012.
Click HERE to read Elixir. 

And I'm super excited to share the cover for the 4th book in the Covenant series, APOLLYON, which is due out April 2013.

Here's the cover!

ISN'T IT AMAZING?! I absolutely love this cover. Definitely my favorite cover in the series so far!

And here's the author herself! Make sure that you pick up all of Jennifer L. Armentrout's books! Trust me, you don't want to miss them!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Brad About Books: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Published: April 12, 2011
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 259 pages
Source: Won in a giveaway from YT Book Club
Series: Razorland, #1


In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first Deuce thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

First, I want to thank Bunny, Lindsay and Sam for hosting the YT Book Club giveaway! Thanks guys!

I had very high expectations for ENCLAVE and was ultimately disappointed. The writing style felt choppy, and I was confused at some parts, but this book had tons of action scenes too.

The premise for this novel was very interesting. I'm a huge fan of dystopian/post-apocolyptic novels, so when the YT Book Club chose this as their September 2012 book club pick, I knew I had to read this book. But I just didn't really care for some parts in this book.

The writing style was the biggest problem for me. I couldn't really connect and see the story playing out in my head, and not only that, the writing felt out of place. Even when action was flying off the pages, I still wasn't always connected to the story. And I honestly have no idea why.

Speaking of action, I must say that ENCLAVE doesn't fail to bring action to the table (particular one scene with zombies, tunnels, and an abandoned car). Aguirre puts her characters in such tough situations, it seems almost as if they're impossible to get out of it. And with zombies in the book, the action keeps going and going. Not only is our main character, Deuce, a kick-butt heroine, she's super tough and isn't afraid to stab a zombie in the darkest of times.

Fade is a totally different story; I have no idea what's going on with Fade. He's very mysterious and quiet, and then all of a sudden, he breaks out of his shell. I don't know how to explain him and his motives, but I am curious to see where Ann Aguirre takes his character development to next.

And the ending, in my opinion, was sort of a cop-out. No spoilers here, but I felt like there should be more to this story. I even flipped through my copy just to make sure that pages weren't missing! The ending isn't really a cliffhanger; just a "that's seriously how it ends?" kind of endings. And I didn't like that one bit.

But still, the action does make up for a lot of things in ENCLAVE. I'm telling you, Ann Aguirre is an expert at writing those edge-on-your-seat scenes!

Overall, I was disappointed with ENCLAVE, but I am interested to see where Aguirre goes with the story, especially after that ending.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday Rewind: Books I Feel Like Everyone (But Me) Has Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme originally started by The Broke and The Bookish!

This week is a rewind week, meaning that we could choose whatever TTT topic we want. I saw Katie @ Katie's Book Blog choose Books I Feel Like Everyone (But Me) Has Read, and I thought it was a great topic to talk about! Here are my choices!

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I'm not into contemporaries, and I just never felt the urge to pick up this book. But I've heard amazing things about this book, like how it's "life changing" and "the best book ever", but I still haven't read it. Don't hate me, please.

2. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead: I'm sure at least a few of you have gasped. Yes, yes, yes, I have not read the Vampire Academy series. Again, this one has gotten rave reviews, yet I haven't picked it up.

3. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare: I feel like a lot of people have probably shunned me by now. I did try it, got 150 pages in, and stopped it, because I wasn't in the mood for it. But I do want to try it again. Especially since the movie is coming out next year.

4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: With the movie coming out next year, I feel compelled to read this. Some people have said that this is their favorite book, and I'll be honest, I have no idea what this book is about. I'll give it a try though.

5. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore: I really want to check this one out. I've heard mixed reviews about this series, but it seems that almost everybody has read this.

6: Matched by Ally Condie: I should have read this such a long time ago. I plan to read it soon (hopefully this month!), but yet, I haven't.

7: Firelight by Sophie Jordan: Everybody has recommended this to me. And I've heard that this is becoming a movie, so I better read it soon!

8: Legend by Marie Lu: Again, it seems like everyone has read this book! I've heard fantastic things about this dystopian, and I do want to read it very soon. Especially before PRODIGY comes out.

9: Unwind by Neal Shusterman: Since UnWholly has come out, everybody is raving and loving this series. I definitely need to jump on the bandwagon with this series!

10: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa: Gosh, I feel like everybody is going to hate on me for not having read this yet! A lot of people love it, but some people don't care for it, which I guess is the reason I haven't read it yet. I can't wait to read this series though!

So yes, that is my ten picks! Make sure to do a Top Ten Tuesday today!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Brad About Books: Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

Published: May 29, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 487 pages
Series: Starcrossed, #2

Can true love be forgotten?

As the only scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.

Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out--a ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies' cry for blood is growing louder.

As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen's sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos.

DREAMLESS is a great and spellbinding sequel, with just a few slow moments here and there. And this is coming from a person who cannot stand slow moments in the slightest.

DREAMLESS has just so much action crammed into these pages; even the first chapter is insane for everything that happens! Josephine Angelini never once let up on the action, and I didn't want to put this novel down! The suspense, drama and action in this sequel were just outstanding, and I had to know how it ended.

One thing that put me off from reading this at first was that a love triangle was being introduced. At first I was like, "I thought Helen and Lucas were starcrossed lovers? Seriously? A new guy is showing up that's trying to win Helen's heart?" But let me tell you, Orion (the new love interest) is just awesome! He seems to be a pretty cool guy, and he literally saved Helen! You'll find out how once you read this series, which you must!

The characters in DREAMLESS grew in many ways tremendously. Helen finally became stronger and wiser, and was ready to stand up for herself. Lucas was sort of a jerk in this book, but I understand why now. Again, read the book and you'll understand, because I don't want to spoil the book for people who haven't read DREAMLESS yet. Josephine Angelini put a lot of thought and effort into these characters, and I really appreciated that!

Like I said before, slow moments can be found in this series. But for some reason, I just didn't mind them at all; I just wanted to know how everything turned out for the characters (even though this is only book two). But DREAMLESS had tons of more action than STARCROSSED, which didn't have that many fast-paced moments in it.

The ending was just brilliant in this novel! So much action, suspense, character growth, and this massive fight scene was all in the final 100 pages, and I just flew through those pages! This series is so addicting!

Overall, DREAMLESS was such a great sequel that leaves me wanting the third book, GODDESS, so much! I can see why this series is so popular!

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