Thursday, August 29, 2013

Brad About Books: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Read from August 25 to 26, 2013
Expected Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Format: ARC
Page Count: 356 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Series: Internment Chronicles, #1

(fantastic title, fantastic cover)

On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.

Perfect Ruin is a phenomenal masterpiece that shouldn't be missed. With incredible world-building, a brilliant and strong heroine, and a mystery that will completely consume you, you can't go wrong with Perfect Ruin. I can't even explain to you how much I adore this book!

World-building is everything to me in a book. I love a good, creative world that will capture me right away and make me want to explore it with the characters. I have never seen a world like Perfect Ruin. Could it be because it's a city in the sky? Or that if you fall off the edge, it's over? Or that it's enclosed by trains running around Internment? How about all of the above. Everything - and I do mean everything - in Perfect Ruin worked for me. Lauren DeStefano has weaved together a genuine masterpiece that I fell in love with so hard. Unique, original, and absolutely fantastic, Perfect Ruin is easily one of my favorite books of the year.

Oh gosh, Morgan. Morgan is a stunning protagonist. She's headstrong, determined, and loyal - she knows what she wants and will go to the extreme to get it. And with this big of a mystery surrounding a city floating in the sky, how could you not be intrigued? Morgan knows of the lethal dangers that is surrounding Basil and Judas, and she knows that getting to the bottom of this mystery could lead to her doom. Such a strong and wonderfully developed character like Morgan doesn't come around very often, and I appreciated that DeStefano crafted a brilliant protagonist like Morgan. Actually, every character was brilliant! Pen, the loyal and awesome best friend; Judas, the dark and mysterious stranger who you never know is help or a wicked force; and Basil, the supporting and marvelous male lead that stayed beside Morgan's side all the way through. Perfect Ruin did not disappoint by any means. So good!

That ending crushed me. It ripped out my heart, threw me around, shook me up, and kept me in its clutches. Perfect Ruin was impossible to put down. I was so hooked with the mystery and wondered whether Morgan would end up like her brother; if I wasn't reading this novel, it was the only thing on my mind. I could ramble on and on explaining my love for this beautiful and amazing start to a promising series. Fantastic. Stunning. All the feels.

Overall, Perfect Ruin is a masterfully done and unique novel that made me beg for more and fall to the temptation of Internment. Lauren DeStefano's newest novel is sure to be a mega hit! I'm so happy to add this book to my all-time favorites shelf.

M Y    R A T I N G

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Brad About Books: Hideous Love by Stephanie Hemphill

Expected Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 320 pages
Source: ALA

From award-winning author Stephanie Hemphill comes the fascinating story of Mary Shelley, a brilliant teenager who wrote one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time: Frankenstein.

An all-consuming love affair.

A family torn apart by scandal.

A young author on the brink of greatness.

Hideous Love is the fascinating story of Gothic novelist Mary Shelley, who as a teen girl fled her restrictive home only to find herself in the shadow of a brilliant but moody boyfriend, famed poet Percy Shelley. It is the story of the mastermind behind one of the most iconic figures in all of literature: a monster constructed out of dead bodies and brought to life by the tragic Dr. Frankenstein.

Mary wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen, but inspiration for the monster came from her life-the atmospheric European settings she visited, the dramas swirling around her, and the stimulating philosophical discussions with the greatest minds of the period, like her close friend, Lord Byron.

This luminous verse novel from award-winning author Stephanie Hemphill reveals how Mary Shelley became one of the most celebrated authors in history.

Despite from seeing some not-so-good reviews, I loved Hideous Love! The beautiful writing, the engaging arc, and the tragic and achingly stunning story of Mary Shelley all worked together flawlessly for me - I really, really enjoyed this book!

I'm just going to go ahead and state the obvious Goodreads has shown me: Hideous Love didn't receive the best of reviews from my friends. But it was one of my most anticipated books of fall, so I knew I had to give it a shot; and in the end, I'm so thrilled I did! This, to me, is the best example of trying something for yourself before you knock it. I thought that the writing was masterfully done. While it is a slower-paced novel, I was so hooked and engrossed by Mary Shelley's story and the twist that Hemphill spun on it. The fact that Hideous Love was told in verse was superb; it fit the story so seamlessly, and I fell in love with this book so much. Beautiful, enthralling, and fantastic!

Like I said before, Hideous Love is a slow-build kind of book. It took me a couple of pages for me to get into the groove of the story, but it wasn't long before I caught myself sinking deep into this rich and fascinating world. If something happened to Mary, I ached for it. If she succeed, I cheered her on. I absolutely love it when an author can make me connected to a character like that, much less an actual person. What's weird is that I didn't enjoy Frankenstein at all, but I loved the story that was based off of the author! If you're in the mood for a wonderful historical that will have you falling in love with the characters and captured by the writing, definitely give Hideous Love a try!

Stephanie Hemphill, why don't you just rip my heart out. The ending of Hideous Love is what made the book for me. Hemphill just reflected the scenario of Mary Shelley's pain and struggles so incredibly, and I felt a better understanding for Mary after this novel. And though I've said that Hideous Love is a slow-build book, it's not boring by any means. The pacing fit the story so well - whether it was her family or Mary's writing, she goes through many hardships, and Stephanie Hemphill brought that essence of obstacles to Hideous Love so well. Highly recommended!

Overall, Hideous Love is a slow-paced, brilliant book that enthralled me and made me feel a connection to the characters I haven't felt in a very long time. Hideous Love is lovely!

M Y    R A T I N G

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Brad About Books: Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter

Read on June 20, 2013
Expected Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: ARC
Page Count: 480 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Series: White Rabbit Chronicles, #2

This review is entirely spoiler free, even if you haven't read book one, Alice in Zombieland.

Gena Showalter nailed it with this sequel! Not only was Through the Zombie Glass even better than its predecessor, it blew it out of the water! Woah. This book was awesome.

I absolutely love the way Showalter bends the classical and timeless Alice in Wonderland and makes it her own. While the series isn't a direct re-telling (it doesn't always follow the essential plot of AiW), it has the lyrical and epic twist on it that draws the reader in and never lets them go. Who doesn't love a good zombie story now and then? The White Rabbit Chronicles has rapidly become one of my favorite paranormal series. With a tough and awesome heroine, vicious zombies that can't be controlled, and just the right amount of romance, Through the Zombie Glass is phenomenal!

Such a clever plot twist, Gena Showalter! I didn't expect the turns and twist that this novel took, and page after page, something continued to shock me and made me read even further on into the book. I couldn't control myself from flying through these pages! The zombies in this book aren't your typical zombies, which I absolutely loved. Through the Zombie Glass veers away from the norm of supernatural creatures and molds it into its own vivid, awesome creation. I applaud Showalter for that - it's stunning, unique, and all-around epic. Also, the stakes are so much higher in Through the Zombie Glass. There were times that I was on the edge of my seat and had my stomach in my throat, just because Showalter masterfully weaved together a high suspense that left me hanging and consumed me whole. I still think about this book to this day. That dreaded "Sequel Syndrome"? Totally passed right over this series's head! So good!

Two letters: ZA. OH MY GOSH YES.

Endings are very important to me with a book - I love a fast-paced, thrilling ending that will make the story complete. And I totally got that from Through the Zombie Glass. While I did enjoy Alice in Zombieland, I definitely could have used some more action and zombie-goodness in it. However, Through the Zombie Glass absolutely made up for it. The scenes are quick, and you feel like you're on the battlefield with Alice and Cole. Such a fantastic sequel! Even better than book one!

Overall, Through the Zombie Glass is a brilliant and daring sequel - and I loved every moment of it. Sure to be a mega hit!

M Y   R A T I N G

Friday, August 23, 2013

Brad About Books: The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

Read on April 4, 2013
Published: April 2, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 406 pages
Source: Purchased
Series: Darkness Rising, #3

This review is entirely spoiler free, even if you haven't started this series.

Read my reviews for the first two books in this series:

The Rising is an electric, pulsing, and dazzling finale to one of the best paranormal series out there. I'm sad to let this series go, but I couldn't have asked for a more fantastic ending! Definitely the best of the trilogy!

The best part about this trilogy is the character development. Reflecting back to book one, The Gathering, all the characters have extraordinary changed - for the good, or for the worst. And I loved how Armstrong did! She wasn't afraid to break her characters or put them to the test, and I really appreciated that. And oh man, The Rising definitely pushed Maya and the gang past their limits! I was afraid for them the entire time, and I absolutely loved where the plot took these characters - it was so fantastic!

The paranormal aspect (what kind of paranormal aspect? You'll have to read to find out!) in this series is incredible, and as soon as I read the last page and closed the book (I didn't want it to end, by the way. I was devastated after the last line, but I couldn't have asked for a more powerful and out-with-a-bang ending), I knew that this was the best of the trilogy. This is one of those series that is impossible to put down; there is never a dull moment, and as soon as you get inside this world, you're stuck there. The characters won't leave your head, and the dilemma in the Darkness Rising trilogy will leave an imprint on your mind. If I wasn't reading The Rising, it was the only thing on my mind.

Remember when I said that The Rising had an out-with-a-bang ending? Let me delve further onto that. If you love an explosive and dynamic ending that will leave an impression on you and wrap itself completely around you, then this series is a must-read. The Rising has such an epic, climatic finale, and I was on the edge of my seat throughout it all. The Rising did not disappoint by any means. Kelley Armstrong, thank you so much for this journey - I loved it so much!

Overall, The Rising is a marvelous ending to such a fantastic YA paranormal series. A phenomenal conclusion!

M Y   R A T I N G

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Brad About Books: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Read on July 6, 2013
Expected Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: ARC
Page Count: 448 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Series: The Raven Cycle, #2

This review is entirely spoiler free, even if you haven't read book one, The Raven Boys.

The Dream Thieves is, simply put, one of the best sequels I have ever read. Stiefvater built upon this rich and vast world, and I couldn't get enough of this book. I never wanted it to end. Phenomenal.

What I loved the absolute most about The Dream Thieves was the fact that are main protagonists in book one, Blue and Gansey, were mostly sideline characters in this sequel. We definitely get to see more of them, don't get me wrong - and they're just as great as ever! I adore Blue so much. I love how she handles her situations, and how she deals with being wrapped up in this complex and overwhelming mystery. Gansey is also fantastic - he's continuing his search, and I loved how Maggie Stiefvater really pushed his character to see what his limits were and what he would push the boundaries for. But in The Dream Thieves, we get to see more of Ronan, who was a supportive character in The Raven Boys. I LOVE it when a series does it! You guys don't even understand. Ronan is such an interesting character! He's dark, mysterious, and even a little sinister. And while I loved Blue's voice in The Raven Boys, it was definitely a nice change to hear more from Ronan. Maggie Stiefvater knocked it out of the ballpark with The Dream Thieves - mind-bending, heart-shattering, and all-around fantastic.

For those of you who have read The Raven Boys (and if you haven't, what is wrong with you?! GET ON THAT.), you remember the mystery that was surrounding the town, correct? Stiefvater takes it to a whole new level in The Dream Thieves! Dark secrets come to light, and the amount of the truth that is revealed is stunning. The last line of The Raven Boys boggled my mind for months, but I completely understand now. I'm not even joking you, I love this book to pieces. Stiefvater's Raven Cycle has easily become one of my favorite series of all-time. If you haven't started this series, I highly, highly recommend it. You won't regret it!

Can we just talk about the last 25% of the book?! So much action and tension and drama and I just can't. I was on the edge of my seat, biting at my fingernails, looking over my shoulder, and all that goodness while reading the ending of The Dream Thieves, and I absolutely loved it. But really, all of this book is excellent. The writing is gorgeous, the plot is exquisite, the characters are fantastic, and the entire plot is unique and one of a kind. My gosh, The Dream Thieves was brilliant.

Overall, The Dream Thieves has become one of my favorite sequels of all-time. Addictive, enthralling, and a masterfully executed story, The Dream Thieves completely consumed me. Marvelous!

M Y    R A T I N G

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Brad About Books: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Read on April 20, 2013
Published: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Henry Holt (Macmillan)
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 322 pages
Source: Purchased
Series: Ruby Red, #1

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Ruby Red is a whirlwind of a novel, with combinations of epic moments and wonderful characters that make this crazy and awesome read even more enjoyable. I wish I could travel back in time to experience Ruby Red again!

The concept of Ruby Red is very engaging and highly addictive - how could you not resist a time travel story?! And luckily, Ruby Red is one of my favorite time travel stories I've ever read. Wanna know what I loved most about this time travel? There was a plot reason for time travel. It's not just something cool to give the story that extra dazzle, extra push. The story revolves around family secrets, heartbreaking betrayals, and traveling back in time to fix the past and restore the future. And the mystery! Gosh, Ruby Red is such a tension-filled, edge-of-your-seat type of book, and it's impossible to put down. My only regret was not picking this one up sooner! Loved it!

Gwen was awesome, short and simple. I get that some times, characters need to be a little naïve in order to get a true grasp on the situation at hand, but I feel that some characters go way past the boundaries with being naïve. Thankfully, Gwen wasn't that type of character. Sure, she was apprehensive at first (who wouldn't be?), but she handled the situation very maturely, and I loved her character! And can I just give Kerstin Gier a round of applause for not putting insta-love in the book? It could've been so easy to make Gideon an insta-love character that would fall in love with Gwen, and the story could have taken off from there. But Ruby Red doesn't revolve around love! It worked flawlessly. Ruby Red was masterfully structured and complexly rich; Kerstin Gier did an incredible job with this fantastic novel.

And while I had just a little trouble getting into the beginning (by, like, 25 pages, maybe?), it's so easy to be captivated and fall under the spell of Ruby Red. It will absorb your mind and consume you whole; I never, ever wanted to put this book down. It was that awesome.

Overall, Ruby Red is an explosive, fiery tale that wrapped itself in my brain and never left. I still think about it to this day. Ruby Red is epic!

M Y    R A T I N G

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Brad About Books: How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Read on July 12, 2013
Expected Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 389 pages
Source: ALA

Her greatest mistake was her one true love. 

Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he’s never seemed to notice that Reena even exists…until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behind.

After: Almost three years have passed, and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena’s gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she’s finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn’t want anything to do with him, though she’d be lying if she said Sawyer’s being back wasn’t stirring something in her. After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.

How to Love is, simply, fantastic in every way imaginable and possible. My favorite contemporary novel of all-time, for sure! Powerful, heartbreaking, and incredible, How to Love should not be missed - absolutely phenomenal!

If you know me, you know that I only recently began to get into more contemporary novels. And How to Love was one of my most anticipated reads of 2013. You have no idea how relieved and thrilled I was to discover that How to Love lived up to all of the hype surrounding it; it's truly great! The emotions, the heartbreak, the characters, the writing style, everything blends and flows together perfectly and congruently, and How to Love has easily become one of my favorite books of all-time. If you love contemporaries, you seriously must pick up this book. It's a revolution in the YA market.

What I love most about How to Love is how the story is told: we have the Before chapters, which tells of Sawyer and Reena's life before Reena became pregnant, and the After chapters, set three years later with their daughter, Hannah, and their love rekindling. It was just so unique and interesting! And I love how the situations and dilemmas feel authentic. I can't express that enough. Reena does not jump back into Sawyer's arms when he comes back into her life; he hurt her in ways he could never possibly imagine, and Reena will never forget that. Oh my gosh, I am so happy that Reena did not go running back to him by any means. It felt totally real and genuine! I thank you for that, Katie Cotugno - for not only created an authentic, incredible novel, but just for this masterpiece of contemporary literature. How to Love is incredibly phenomenal and fantastic. I loved this book to pieces.

And the writing style - GAH. Talk about stunning. The way Cotugno bends the words makes them flow off the page so easily and masterfully. This novel is sure to be a hit, and I can see myself re-reading this book in the future; it's that wonderful. I'm serious with this recommendation, guys. How to Love is an absolute must-read. One of my favorite books ever.

Overall, How to Love is an achingly beautiful, satisfyingly incredible novel that moved me, shook me, and completely consumed me. I couldn't get this novel off of my mind. If you're in need for a great love story, How to Love is the fantastic way to go!

M Y    R A T I N G

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Brad About Books: Starfall by W.A. Fulkerson

Published: February 23, 2013
Publisher: Createspace
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 364 pages
Source: Author in exchange for an honest review
Series: Starfall, #1

The day an Ungifted witnesses his star fall from the heavens is a moment that shapes the rest of his life. Finding one’s star means choosing a gift, and having a gift means a better life- especially for Ducasus and Malleus. Born into slavery on a Flare’s plantation, the twin brothers spent their youth watching the sky, waiting, wishing, hoping for the day when their ticket to freedom might come. When it does, it is nothing like either of them ever expected. 

Starfall is an exciting, adventure-filled journey inside a world filled with giants, monsters, and races not yet known. A new mythology begins now.

Starfall is a dynamic, explosive tale that packs a punch. This novel is a force to be reckoned with. 

After reading the synopsis, I knew I had to have my hands on this book. And while I'll admit, the beginning threw me off, and I was confused, everything settled out towards the middle and ending. A new mythology is brought forth in Starfall (side note: how awesome is that?), and things take a bit to get set up. But once we learn everything, this novel takes off like a rocket and never lets up. It's impossible to put down, and it consumes your mind. Very epic and highly addictive!

The idea of a slave discovering his destiny is quite interesting! I'd never seen it done before, and I was definitely curious to see how everything would play out. What I wasn't expecting was loads of awesome and peculiar creatures, fast-paced scenes that kept me up late into the night, and wonderful characters that were fantastic to be on an adventure with. I can't tell you how happy I am with Starfall - for fans of Percy Jackson and Shadow and Bone! You won't be able to put Starfall down!

That. Ending. Woah. I keep mentioning it, but it's insane how crazy it is to quit reading this book - it's nearly impossible. I hated to tear my eyes away from the page, and the ending of the book was completely wrapped around my mind and wholly captivated me. I need the next book pronto! Loved it!

Overall, Starfall is an epic, stunning tale that will pull readers in and never let them go. Needing some awesome fantasy in your life? Look no further; Starfall has you covered.

M Y    R A T I N G

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Brad About Books: My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush by Laura Toffler-Corrie

Read on August 3, 2013
Expected Publication Date: August 20, 2013
Publisher: Roaring Brook (Macmillan)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 352 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

While coping with middle school drama and costuming a teen production of Fiddler on the Roof, fourteen-year-old Jenna falls for Luke, an angel, and joins him in battle against demonic foe Adam, who wants Jenna's ancient pendant.

My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush is a light-hearted, fun paranormal read that is filled with beautiful love scenes - but with those love scenes comes, unfortunately, insta-love.

I was intrigued by this novel just from the premise - we have an angel and his evil foe, clashing together because of our main protagonist, Jenna. It just sounds really cool! But while it does sound cool, I had a few issues with this book. I couldn't tell if Jenna and Adam had anything going on, and I felt like Jenna flip-flopped with her feelings. Aside from all that, it's impossible to deny that My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush is a fun read! Definitely impossible to put down, and I found myself sucked into the story very easily!

I feel like this book would be a great transition book from tween-readers to teen-readers. It definitely has the light-hearted and easy to read vibe, and it's incredibly easy to get invested into the story. Jenna was such a great protagonist. She was strong, loyal, and determined - everything that makes a great heroine. And honestly, I felt like she handled situations like a leader and very carefully. If you fall for an angel, you're not just going to rush into their world, no? Luckily, she didn't - she took a moment, paused, and asked herself if she really wanted to become apart of this. And I really appreciated that from Laura Toffler-Corrie!

The ending was my favorite part about My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush - talk about fast-paced! Action was flying off the page, and I couldn't get enough of this book. Plus, who can resist a nice paranormal read now and then? Such a great book!

Overall, My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush is an energetic, stunning read that captivated me and never let me go! So good!

M Y   R A T I N G

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Brad About Books: Deception by C.J. Redwine

Read on July 5, 2013
Expected Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 480 pages
Source: ALA
Series: Defiance, #2

This review is entirely spoiler free, even if you haven't read book one, Defiance.

Deception... oh my gosh, Deception! I really enjoyed the first novel, but C.J. Redwine created an even more epic and dazzling sequel that had me completely enthralled. Phenomenal with a capital P!

I'm going to be honest: when I read Defiance, the first book, I had some trouble getting into it. It took me about forty pages to adjust to the world and characters, but after that, it soared, and I fell in love with it. I had no problem whatsoever getting into Deception! It probably was because I was used to the world of Baalboden, and to Rachel and Logan. But Deception brings something to the table I've never seen done before in this genre: betrayal amongst friends. There's an enemy within the group of rebels, and someone isn't who they say they are. And I loved that! It was so interesting to guess who was the backstabber and see how Rachel and Logan progressed in this brutal, harsh wasteland. Redwine definitely put her characters to the test in Deception, and it was absolutely phenomenal. One of my favorite reads of the year!

With Defiance, we mainly got to see Baalboden and a few places outside the walls. And believe me when I say that I freaked out when we got to explore more of the entire world! Traveling with Rachel and Logan was a blast, especially when there is a traitor in their group - the struggles, hardships, and backstabbing that Rachel and Logan endure in Deception was one of a kind. I love it when an author isn't afraid to break their characters and put them to the test. When I was nearing the end, I had no idea what in the world would happen to this duo. I can't even express how much I love Deception. I can't even.

It's unbelievable how much action there is in this sequel! Sometimes with sequels, the plot can drag on and nothing can happen, all because we're waiting for the grand, explosive finale in the third book. That is totally not the case in Deception! It's impossible to put it down - Redwine throws action scenes at the reader so quickly, but in a way for the reader to absorb the atmosphere and feel like they're standing on the battlefield with these characters. If you enjoyed Defiance, just wait till you read Deception - it'll make grab you, shake you, break you, and never let you go. Luckily, you'll never want it to end.

Overall, Deception was a marvelous sophomore novel that had me on the edge of my seat, turning pages desperately to find out what would happen next! Truly brilliant!

M Y    R A T I N G

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Brad About Books: The Whatnot by Stefan Bachmann

Read on May 15, 2013
Expected Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow (Harper)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 432 pages
Source: ALA
Series: The Peculiar, #2

This review is entirely spoiler free, even if you haven't read book one, The Peculiar.

"Oh, the Sly King, the Sly King in his towers of ash and wind..." 

Oh wow. I mean, oh wow. I loved The Peculiar, but The Whatnot just blew it out of the water. One of my favorite sequels (and one of my favorite books, in general) of all-time! Can someone say epic? Or fantastic? Because I'm feeling all the feels.

When I read and fell in love with book one, a sequel hadn't been announced - and I was heartbroken. I wanted more of this world, more of the changelings, and more of the fantastic writing style! And when The Whatnot was announced, I literally freaked out. As soon as I got it, I had to dive into it immediately. I got it late at night and only planned to read the first chapter or so...

...200 pages later, I couldn't control myself from sinking deeper and deeper into this rich and vibrant world. Everything about this series is one-of-a-kind and marvelous - they're the best middle grade books I have ever read. If you love fantasy/all things paranormal and supernatural, these books are a must-read. You won't regret it!

What I found that was most interesting about this sequel was that the main characters from The Peculiar (Bartholomew and Arthur Jelliby) weren't main characters in The Whatnot - Hettie got to tell her story! Hettie was a bundle of joy to read in book one, and I was so excited to get the chance to read from her POV. And we get to meet Pikey, who is lonesome outcast and is brilliant. But then again, we are talking about The Peculiar Saga - everything is brilliant. From the world-building, right down to the vivid and imaginative gadgets and steampunk creations. Fantastically incredible, Stefan Bachmann is a master storyteller.

So. Much. Action. Prepare yourselves for some freaky and eerie changelings! Since we are set in the faerie world, we see the faeries for all that they are. And believe me, they are frightening! In the beginning, I didn't know how in the world the faeries could get any creepier, but Bachmann took them to a whole new level in the end. Such a phenomenal sequel - I can't even tell you how much I adore these books!

Overall, The Whatnot is a magical and amazing sophomore novel, and I could go on for hours on end on how much I love this series. The best middle-grade series out there.

M Y   R A T I N G

Friday, August 9, 2013

Brad About Books: The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

Read from April 28 to 29, 2013
Published: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 259 pages
Source: Purchased
Series: Vincent, #1

Get seduced by a sizzling account of attraction and betrayal in this previously self-published phenomenon.

There was something wicked about Beau that drew me to him. What was wrong with me? Why did I want to sin so badly?

Ashton is getting tired of being good, of impressing her parents and playing ideal girlfriend to Sawyer Vincent. Sawyer is perfect, a regular Prince Charming, but when he leaves town for the summer, it’s his cousin Beau who catches Ashton’s eye. Beau is the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, and even though he’s dangerous, Ashton is drawn to him.

Beau loves his cousin like a brother, so the last thing he wants to do is make a move on Sawyer’s girl. Ashton is off-limits, absolutely. That’s why he does his best to keep his distance, even though he’s been in love with her forever. When Ashton wants to rekindle their childhood friendship in Sawyer’s absence, Beau knows he should say no.

Ashton and Beau don’t want to hurt Sawyer. But the more they try to stay away from each other, the more intense their urges become. It’s getting way too hard to resist...

The Vincent Boys is the perfect summer read. Filled with romance, tension, and the perfect amount of teenage angst, this book is a definite must-read for contemporary lovers. I'm not even a huge fan of contemporaries, and I loved it!

The Vincent Boys is one of the best summer reads I've ever read. Not only does this novel give the vibe of summer, everything around it (the characters, the writing, the dilemmas, etc.) just screams summer! It's absolutely awesome. And while it's mainly romance dilemmas, they keep your interest and draw you in even further to the story. And the romance and romance problems doesn't feel forced! They feel authentic and genuine, and I loved that so much. Seriously, The Vincent Boys is for all lovers of romance!

Luckily, there is more than one point-of-view in this book, so the world and characters are more dynamic and vivid. The girl protagonist, Ashton, is great; though she is torn between Sawyer and Beau, she isn't naïve and totally oblivious to everything. Which I really enjoyed! And I also loved how there wasn't much of Sawyer in The Vincent Boys - this book revolves around Ashton and Beau, and if they can make their relationship (if they even have one) work in a difficult situation. A wonderful read that will be devoured by all!

Contemporaries filled with loads of tension and love angst is the best - I gobble those books up! And The Vincent Boys has become one of my new favorite contemps. Though I had a rocky experience with it in the first 30 pages or so, it picked up so quickly, and I was so invested into these characters and the world. It's impossible to resist The Vincent Boys. Abbi Glines has easily become one of my favorite contempt authors!

Overall, The Vincent Boys is an excellent summer read that shouldn't be missed. Highly addictive and irresistibly romantic, readers will fall so hard for Ashton and Beau's ever-blooming love!

M Y   R A T I N G

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (27): Panic

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

This week, I'm waiting on...

Panic - Lauren Oliver
March 4, 2014
Harper Teen

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

I want this book so bad! I recently read (and by recently, I mean last week) her Delirium trilogy, and I loved it to pieces. So obviously, I'm dying for her next book! And Panic sounds phenomenal. It looks like it'll be filled with fast-paced, nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat scenes, and I am all for that. Seriously. Can't wait!

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Brad About Books: Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender

Read on July 3, 2013
Expected Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: ARC
Page Count: 304 pages
Source: ALA

Let them eat cake... and die. 

Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots.

But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.

Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger . . .

Acclaimed author Katie Alender brings heart-stopping suspense to this story of revenge, betrayal, intrigue — and one killer queen.

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer was, unfortunately, a little disappointing for me! I really wanted to enjoy this book, and while I did at some parts, others fell flat for me.

I'll start with what I did enjoy about this book: the aspect of Paris was fantastic! I felt like I was roaming the streets of the City of Lights with Colette and a definitely-freaky-scary murderer, and I could really tell that Alender put a lot of research into this book. And I really appreciated that! The world is great, and I especially loved the twist on Marie Antoinette, and Paris in general! Colette was a great character for me... for the most part. Sometimes, she seemed naïve and didn't understand the situation wholly, but still went into it headstrong (which can be a good quality), and other times, she'd be a kick-butt, take-no-crap-from-anybody character that I fell in love. I flip-flopped with how I felt about her character.

Now, with what I didn't particularly enjoy... some of the scenes felt a little silly. The plot sounded awesome! And Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer was awesome at times, for sure. But others seemed a little farfetched and too out there for my likings. And I noticed that some of the deaths repeated! I was hoping for a little more substance from this book, and I, unfortunately, didn't get that.

But that's not to say that this isn't a good book, because it was! I think I set my expectations a tad high for this one, and not all of them were met. But if you're looking for a fun, eerie read, Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer is the perfect choice!

Overall, Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer is a good read that had me on the edge of my seat at times, and drifting off from the book at others.

M Y   R A T I N G

Monday, August 5, 2013

Brad About Books: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Read on July 11, 2013
Expected Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: ARC
Page Count: 417 pages
Source: ALA
Series: Throne of Glass, #2

This review is entirely spoiler free, even if you haven't read book one, Throne of Glass.

Crown of Midnight is an electrifying, fantastic sequel that captured me immediately and never let me go. Sarah J. Maas is a stunning voice in fantasy. I'm not sure how she did it, but not only did she created a sequel that was better than its predecessor, she knocked it out of the ballpark. One of the best sequels I've ever read.

With sequels, there is sometimes the dreaded "Sequel Slump". Oh man, did that pass right over Crown of Midnight! While I loved Throne of Glass, the beginning was hard for me to get into because of the new world and complex character-building. And since I was adjusted to that, I had no problem whatsoever diving into Crown of Midnight. The action never stops in this book - whether it's with fighting and Celaena being an awesome, kick-butt protagonist, or tension-filled scenes that has the reader on the edge of their seat, you can't deny that Crown of Midnight is fantastic in every way possible. Filled with adventure and marvelous character development, Crown of Midnight shook me around and never let me go - luckily, I never wanted it to end.

One of my most favorite parts about this sequel was the character. Every single character develops and changes (sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better) in some way, and I adored that. Maas never skipped over a character and gave each character their own spotlight moment. Celaena has easily become one of my favorite protagonists of all-time; what's not to love about her?! She's an epic assassin, and she never lets anyone push her around. I didn't think we got to see a whole lot of Chaol in book one, but that was definitely remedied in Crown of Midnight. Chaol can be a tough, headstrong warrior and guard, but he also has times where he breaks down. And I really appreciated how he's not made out to be tough and fierce all the time, because he's not - Maas does an extraordinary job with her characters, and I give her a huge standing ovation for this marvelous and phenomenal second book.

That. Ending. Sarah J. Maas blew my mind with that ending - I'm still not over it! When I was nearing towards the end of Crown of Midnight, I had no idea how in the world it could possibly end. And my gosh, I did not expect that... and it was totally awesome! I think that was a very strong and smart ending, and I cannot wait to see where the story goes next. If you enjoyed Throne of Glass, you are going to fall head over heels in love with Crown of Midnight!

Overall, Crown of Midnight is a masterpiece amongst fantasy. Deeply rich and fantastically incredible, I absolutely adore this book!

M Y   R A T I N G

Friday, August 2, 2013

Brad About Books: Elegy by Amanda Hocking

Read on June 20 to 21, 2013 
Expected Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's
Format: ARC
Page Count: 542 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Series: Watersong, #4

This review is entirely spoiler free, even if you haven't started this series.

Read my reviews for the first three books in this series:

Elegy is a fantastic and phenomenal conclusion to one of the best series I have ever read. Amanda Hocking's vivid world is riveting, chilling, and simply stunning - I couldn't have asked for a better ending!

Amanda Hocking is one of my favorite authors of all-time, and I can officially say that the Watersong Quartet is one of my favorite series ever. They're so addicting and amazing! And in Elegy, more risks are taking and the action scenes are insane. Right from the first page, we're thrown into a tension-filled, nail-biting scene, and it never, ever stops. And I want to applaud Amanda Hocking for creating this brilliant series - she definitely pushed her characters to the max and challenged them in ways I couldn't even fathom. I loved how she broke them and destroyed them, which only makes them stronger. All of the characters shine out in Elegy, and it's fantastically incredible.

Another thing I love about this series is how it doesn't focus on one or two particular characters. In book one, Wake, we mainly see Gemma and Harper. But as the series progresses, we get inside Daniel's, Penn's, Sawyer's, and even more characters's heads. It can be very hard to juggle so many POVs, but Hocking tackles it masterfully. I was never once confused, and this series is the perfect balance of paranormal and romance. The Watersong Quartet is one of the best series out there, and I highly, highly recommend it!

That. Ending. I'm still not over. I had no idea how Hocking would end the series. There were many ways that Elegy could have concluded, but the path that was chosen was not only satisfying, but rich and deep - it worked perfect for the series. And since this is a complex series, I was definitely satisfied and fell in love with this finale. Hocking fans, rejoice! You are going to love Elegy - one of the best conclusions to a series ever.

Overall, Elegy was fantastic, phenomenal, and entirely marvelous. I'm so sad to let this series go, but it ended so great. Thank you, Amanda Hocking, for this journey - I loved every single moment of it.

M Y    R A T I N G