Monday, September 30, 2013

Brad About Books: The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente

Read on June 25, 2013
Expected Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 256 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Series: Fairyland, #3

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

Check out my review for previous novels in the Fairyland series:

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two is a whimsical, magical story in the ever epic world of Fairyland. Catherynne M. Valente has truly done it again - not only has she exceeded my love for the first two books, this third novel blew them out of the water. Fantastically incredible!

I absolutely adore this series. Every time I step into Fairyland with September, I know I'm always in for a treat: a magical adventure, gorgeous writing, and delightful characters are always in store. And The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two was no exception. In fact, it's my favorite of the series! We always get to see a new section of Fairyland in each story, and the adventure that September embarks was spectacular. Dazzling and downright phenomenal, this series is extraordinary.

September, oh September, how much I love you. Though she is older and more mature from previous adventures, she still has that spark of energy and quest for knowledge. Everything about September is everything I love in a protagonist. Two words: Moon-Yeti. Each book in this saga offers an incredible outlook on fantasy, from Shadows to yetis. Going on this adventure to the moon with September, Saturday, and Ell was truly one of a kind, and I adored this third novel. If you're a fantasy fanatic, this marvelous series is a must-read. 

The writing style is, simply put, amazing. Each sentence is lyrical and draws the reader further into Fairyland. Catherynne M. Valente has a remarkable writing style that shines through the pages majorly. The only bad part about this series? I never want it to end! A rip-roaring and stunning novel to an exceptional, flawless series. 

Overall, The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two is a dazzling novel that will appeal to readers of any age. Being on any adventure with September is fantastic - Catherynne M. Valente knocked it out of the ballpark with this one!

M Y   R A T I N G

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Brad About Books: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente

Read on April 28, 2013
Published: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 258 pages
Source: RAK
Series: Fairyland, #2

This review is entirely spoiler free, even if you haven't read book one, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There is a highly addictive and brilliant sequel that builds upon the magical world masterfully created by Valente. I can't express how much I adored this novel!

World-building is the biggest part of a story for me. I love everything of how an author can weave together an eccentric, lush, and rich world, then play upon it in a sequel. I thought that the world was already amazing in book one, but woah, it got ten times better in The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There! We get to see the mirror, sinister underworld of Fairyland, and I loved getting to see and explore the differences and contrasts between both Fairylands. Catherynne M. Valente did an exceptional job with expanding upon the epic world of Fairyland, and it was definitely my favorite part of the whole book. A new favorite book of mine! Love this series!

"Shadows are the other side of yourself." In The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, we explore Fairyland Below, the place which shadows (mirrors, basically, of Fairyland residents) live. And the ruthless Hollow Queen, Halloween, just happens to be our protagonist's shadow. Any adventure with September is grand and fantastic, but seeing the depths of Fairyland Below with her was awesome. And I hate to say, but I loved Halloween! Wicked and lost, Halloween definitely left a mark on me after finishing this phenomenal sequel. The characters are truly stunning. They're all unique and wonderful, with a dash of snark and adventure. Valente has created a masterpiece of a series that shouldn't be missed; readers of any age will devour this series whole.

Adventure! Fast-paced scenes! Tension-filled moments! What more can you ask of in a middle grade? We all know of the dreaded Sequel Syndrome - in which a sequel doesn't live up to book one's epic-ness - but The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There most definitely veered away from the SS. Everything about this second novel was compelling, captivating, and always kept my eyes on the page, turning pages as fast as I could. A marvelous gem amongst middle grade.

Overall, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There is a brilliant and incredible addition to a fantastic series. Rich, compelling, and deeply enticing, I couldn't put this book down!

M Y    R A T I N G

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Brad About Books: Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

Read on April 22, 2013
Published: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt (Macmillan)
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 362 pages
Source: Purchased
Series: Ruby Red, #2

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

Sapphire Blue is wild, thrilling ride that hooked me from the first page and never made me want to put it down. I wasn't sure if this sequel could be any better than book one, but it was! This series is a one of a kind gem!

Time travel is such an interesting and unique topic, and the way that Kerstin Gier handles it is flawless. There's so much history and backstories behind this family, and I loved getting to experience it all with Gwen. Gier has put so much thought and time into making this family tree of history just bloom off the page and come alive, and I applaud her for that. It makes this series complete! With Sapphire Blue, we delve deeper into the mystery of what's going on behind closed doors; this sequel blew me away. If you loved Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue will knock your socks off!

Not only are Gideon and Gwen stunning characters, new characters get a spotlight in this sequel, adding to this already rich world. This series is a breath of fresh air in YA, and I couldn't get enough of Sapphire Blue. Gier's melodic and captivating writing style flowed off the page masterfully - it's vibrant and bubbly, but also has a dark undertone that breaks through the cracks to reveal sinister secrets. I was so happy to see that the dreaded Sequel Syndrome flew over this series' head. So good!

With the twelve time travelers, Gwen has a lot on her shoulders in Sapphire Blue, and I loved that Gier wasn't afraid to break her characters. She put them through so many trials of betrayal, defiance, and love, and they all played a key part in this sequel that wove together an incredible story. Sizzling and daring, Sapphire Blue exceeded my expectations and more!

Overall, Sapphire Blue is a compelling and fantastic sequel that grabbed me right from the beginning and never let me go. Kerstin Gier nailed it with this one!

M Y    R A T I N G

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Brad About Books: Blackout by Robison Wells

Read on July 20, 2013
Expected Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: ARC
Page Count: 432 pages
Source: ALA


Laura and Alec are trained terrorists.

Jack and Aubrey are high school students.

There was no reason for them to ever meet.

But now, a mysterious virus is spreading throughout America, infecting teenagers with impossible powers. And these four are about to find their lives intertwined in a complex web of deception, loyalty, and catastrophic danger—where one wrong choice could trigger an explosion that ends it all.

Blackout is, simply put, epic. Divergent meets X-Men in this fast-paced, awesome story that always kept my eyes glued to the page and my pulse racing with these characters. Legendary!

I'm a huge sucker for post-apocalytpic, dystopian novels, and the fantastic thing about Blackout is that it brings something new and fresh to the table. Kids being infected with powers? Sign me up. I was invested into this rich and vast world right from page one and never wanted to leave. Not only is this world dark and strange, it's one of the most unique settings I've ever seen done. With superhumans and terrorists running around a plagued world, disaster and havoc will arise; Wells did a phenomenal job with this novel. Fans of Divergent will eat this book up. Blackout is one of my new favorite novels for the year!

What a marvelous cast and ensemble! Laura and Alec are a great contrast between right and wrong; is what they're fighting for worth the cost? And Jack and Aubrey are the shining light of innocent, but they might be turning rotten on the inside. I loved this contrast between good and evil! Robison Wells plays on so many levels of good vs. evil and the fight for power. If you love your books with the right amount of action and characters that will blow you away, Blackout is a must-read. I truly believe that this will be a new buzz book! It's rich in it's fast-paced, tension-filled moments, stunning with its flawlessly contrasted characters, and original with its storyline and writing style. So amazing!

That ending! Please tell me there's a sequel! Wells did an exceptional job with this ending. Even though there was never a dull moment within Blackout, that ending just knocked the book out of the ballpark. It's almost like a race against the clock - time is ticking, and you're not sure if you'll come out on the other side. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and I absolutely fell in love with this book.

Overall, Blackout is a new, shining gem within the post-apocalyptic genre that shouldn't be missed. Wholly unique and brilliant, Blackout is an exceptional and astonishing new novel that captured me and never let me go!

M Y    R A T I N G

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Brad About Books: The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

Read on July 7, 2013
Published: September 10, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: ARC
Page Count: 288 pages
Source: ALA

(fantastic cover, fantastic title)

Family is forever. 

Especially when they're immortal.

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.

The Chaos of Stars is an extraordinary and incredible take on Egyptian mythology that left me starstruck and in complete awe. Kiersten White has done it again! 

I haven't read a whole lot of Egyptian mythology (in fact, I don't think I've read any!), so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect going into The Chaos of Stars. But believe me, I was blown away! Being the only mortal in an immortal Egyptian gods family, it can get stressful, and White did a phenomenal job with developing Isadora's character. She starts off a bit whiny and naïve, but she evolves into a fierce and fantastic protagonist as the novel progresses. And I think that was done on purpose: you're not suppose to fall in love with Isadora automatically - you grow to love and cheer her on. That was done masterfully! All of Isadora's family members are messed up and twisted, but I couldn't help but love them all. Seriously, The Chaos of Stars is a true gem of a novel. 

 Even though The Chaos of Stars comes in under 300 pages and is on the smaller side of novels, it packs a punch and the action is non-stop. Action scenes and high tensions are thrown at the reader like gunshots; I tore through these pages so fast! The Chaos of Stars is a brilliantly crafted novel that will have you in its clutches and never let you go. I was still invested into this story long after I turned the final page.

Speaking of final page... holy woah, that ending was phenomenal! I didn't expect that much action in the ending, but there was so much of it. It didn't feel forced at all; the action scenes weren't just "there" to give the book that extra oomph. They felt authentic and deserved a spot in The Chaos of Stars, and they complemented the novel so well. If I had to give this book a flaw, it was that I had a little rocky beginning with the book. But as the novel moved on, I fell in love so hard with this novel. A must-read!

Overall, The Chaos of Stars is a masterful and powerful novel that utterly enticed me and kept me way into the night, turning the pages as fast as I could. Kiersten White has knocked it out of the ballpark once again! I loved this book!

M Y   R A T I N G

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tumble & Fall Blog Tour + GIVEAWAY! (US/CAN only)

Hey everyone! I'm here today with Alexandra Coutts, author of the marvelous Tumble & Fall, as part of the Tumble & Fall blog tour! This book is fantastic, and I'm so happy to have Alexandra on the blog for a Q&A!

1)   If you knew you only had one week to live, how would you spend that week?

If I had one week left, I would insist that everyone I love make their way to the island where I live. We would spend our days at the beach and our nights in front of a fire, talking, playing music, cooking delicious homemade dinners (and baking lots of brownies!) I think in a scary, stressful time, the comforts of home – and family - would be what I’d crave most. 

2)   Where did the inspiration for Tumble & Fall spring from?

I usually get my inspiration for books from characters, first. In this case, I had been dreaming of the character of Sienna for a long while. A girl who had struggled with depression, spent time in a rehab facility, and was then confronted by the challenge of coming home and fitting back into her old life. Gradually, I started asking myself: What would make the transition of coming home even more complex? And that question led to another question: What would the end of the world be like for somebody who already wanted to die?

Those questions led me to the asteroid, Persephone. And I quickly realized that as the story grew, I’d need more characters to tell it. From there, TUMBLE & FALL was born!  

3)   All three characters were different in their own unique way - which was your favorite to write about?

Although I was most connected to Sienna’s story, since it was my way-in to the book, I had the most fun writing about Caden. His adventure is the most dramatic of the three, and I’ve never written anything like it before. There’s kidnapping, bodyguards, a secret bunker…it was where I really gave myself permission to get a little bit crazy. Because if ever there’s a time to get crazy, it’s got to be the end of the world, right?   

4)   Describe Tumble & Fall in five words - go!

Second chances. Love. Forgiveness. Hope.

5)   Are you working on any new projects you can share with us?

I do have a new YA book in the works, but it’s too soon to talk about it! I can say that it takes place on Martha’s Vineyard, and that it’s totally, 100% asteroid free! 

Thanks so much for those answers, Alexandra!

Make sure to stay connected with Alexandra and Tumble & Fall!
-Alexandra Coutts is part of the September Fierce Reads Tour with Leila Sales, S.A. Bodeen and Marissa Meyer. The tour schedule is on our blog:
-All Fierce Reads book and tour info can be found on our Facebook Fan Page:
-Follow Alexandra on Twitter:
-Find Alexandra online and read her blog:

Giveaway time! This giveaway is for one hardcover copy of Tumble & Fall, and is US/CAN only. Enter below!

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Fallout BLOG TOUR + Giveaway! (US/CAN Only)

Hey everyone! Today, I'm with S.A. Bodeen, author of The Compound and The Fallout for The Fallout Blog Tour! I asked S.A. some questions, and she answered! 

1) If you had to be locked inside of a compound, what three items would you take with you?
Carmex (Have used it since 1976. Cannot live without it. Literally. I just counted and I currently have six containers.)
The complete works of Stephen King. (I’m locked in a compound. How much scarier can things get?)
Sensible run fast/jump high shoes. (I always feel the need to be ready to run if need be. Fight or Flight and all that…)

2) What was it like to be back inside Eli's head for the sequel

A little weird at first, like the first day of riding a bike in the spring and feeling like you’ve forgotten how. But then it was cool to be able to continue his story and see him keep going on his journey to be a good person and discover all the answers…Plus it was fun to throw some more obstacles his way. I wasn’t done with him yet.

3) Three words to describe The Fallout?

  Here is my valiant effort: 1. Opaque 2.Deceptive 3.Satisfying (I hope.)

4) Where did the inspiration for The Compound and The Fallout come from? 

 I was a weird kid with irrational fears. For one, I was terrified of UFO’s and thought aliens were going to abduct me. Growing up in Wisconsin, I went to a school where we had fire drills, tornado drills, and nuclear attack drills. We would have to go sit in this smelly wrestling room in the basement. Once, a teacher remarked that we’d have to stay down there twenty years if there really was an attack. That kind of stuck with me and I became obsessed with post-apocalyptic books and movies. I always wondered what it would be like to survive a nuclear war and what would happen after. I guess I wondered so much that I had to write the story. 

5) Are you working on any projects you can share with us

Next spring the first book in my middle grade series comes out. Shipwreck Island is a cross between Swiss Family Robinson and Lost.

Thanks so much for that Q&A, S.A.! It was loads of fun!

Make sure to stay connected to S.A. Bodeen and The Fallout!

-S.A. Bodeen is part of the September Fierce Reads Tour with Leila Sales, Alexandra Coutts, and Marissa Meyer. All tour info can be found on the Fierce Reads site:

-Be sure to become a fan of Fierce Reads on Facebook:

-Read an excerpt of The Fallout on Scribd:

-Want to know more about The Fallout?:

-Become a fan of S.A. Bodeen on Facebook:

-Follow S.A. Bodeen on Twitter:

-Check out her website:

Now, it's time for a giveaway! This is a giveaway for a paperback of The Compound and a hardcover of The Fallout. This giveaway is US/CAN only. 

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

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

Read from May 25 to 26, 2013
Expected Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 336 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Series: The Compound, #2

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

The Fallout is an extraordinary and stunning sequel that had me on the edge of my seat and begging for more. A pulse-pounding and dazzling sequel to one of the most original and incredible post-apocalyptic stories out there.

I loved The Compound, and I was very eager to see where the story was going to be taken to in The Fallout. Since it sounded quite different than book one (again, no spoilers here!), I was sure what to expect, but S.A. Bodeen blew me away! Even though revenge and lethal tactics do play a major part in The Fallout, what I loved the absolute most about this sequel was that it was more about suffering and being traumatized from a haunting memory, but having to move on from it. Bodeen handled this situation masterfully, and I couldn't have asked for a more powerful, delivering sequel. Fans of Divergent and Gone will devour this series! Fantastic!

I was so happy to be on another journey with Eli. In The Compound, he was a naïve, yet tough, child, and he has evolved and matured in such a way that I couldn't even fathom. S.A. Bodeen did a phenomenal job with developing Eli's character even further. And with the ending of The Compound, I couldn't blame Eli for the things he done. I loved The Fallout even more than book one - it packs a punch and the action never lets up. The Fallout delivers a superb storyline that can't be topped; amazing!

With any Bodeen novel, the ending... oh boy, it had me in its clutches and never let me go! It was fast-paced, thrilling, and I honestly had no idea how it would end. If you're a fan of disaster stories with a fierce, awesome protagonist and an unique plot, this series is for you. The Fallout not only lived up to my expectations, they exceeded them. So, so good.

Overall, The Fallout is an incredible follow-up to a fantastic post-apocalytpic story, and S.A. Bodeen did a marvelous job with returning to Eli's shattered world. The Fallout is thrilling, wondrous, and unputdownable!

M Y   R A T I N G

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Brad About Books: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Read from July 21 to 22, 2013
Expected Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 464 pages
Source: ALA
Series: Elemental, #1

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

She can deny her powers. But she cannot deny destiny. 

The Burning Sky is an electric, soaring novel that captures the essence of a strong protagonist and beautiful writing. This is how fantasy should be done.

I had major, major expectations for The Burning Sky, and I was so pleased and astonished to find that not only were they met, they were exceeded greatly. I'm a huge high fantasy junkie, and this novel is such an incredible fantasy. Deception, betrayal, and magic all come together to create a masterful arc of a story; I can't even begin to tell you how truly blown away I was by The Burning Sky. If you love fantasy, historical fiction, and deadly, dazzling magic, The Burning Sky is for you without a doubt. The writing style is gorgeous. We are thrust into this world head first, and I felt like I was along side Iolanthe, training to defeat the Bane. Sherry Thomas has woven together an incredible, marvelous novel that shouldn't be missed. This is a true gem amongst YA.

The characters are what makes The Burning Sky stunning. Iolanthe has had no training to defeat anything, let alone the greatest evil in her world; but she's been told that she is the most powerful and greatest elemental Mage, so she must defeat the Bane. The evolution and growth that Iolanthe endures in this novel is incredible. She starts off naïve and weak, but she becomes strong, fierce, and determined, willing to take on anything. Thomas did an exceptional job with her character development. And Prince Titus! He seems cold and stone-hearted in the beginning, but as The Burning Sky progresses and the reader sinks further down into this rich, epic story, we learn his past and get a true feel for him. When Iolanthe and Titus collide, the world could either shatter, or the world could be redeemed. I loved these two characters as a duo, working alongside each other; they compliment and contrast each other so well. Needless to say, I absolutely loved everything about The Burning Sky.

The Burning Sky is so climatic and thrilling! There is a never a dull moment, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. This book was contagious: I couldn't enough of it and I always wanted more, more, more! It'll have you looking over your shoulder, wanting to harbor magic yourself, and make you feel like you're standing with Iolanthe on the battlefield. The Burning Sky is, simply put, phenomenal. Definitely a new favorite book of mine!

Overall, The Burning Sky is an incredible gem that shines out. Deeply rich and compelling, I never wanted The Burning Sky to end! Sequel now, please!

M Y    R A T I N G

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Brad About Books: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

Read from July 5 to 6, 2013
Expected Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Putnam (Penguin)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 336 pages
Source: ALA
Series: Heart of Dread, #1

From New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she's heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.

Ice deserts, and pirates, and dragons, oh my! Frozen is an utterly fantastic and epic adventure that was absolutely impossible to put down. This spellbinding start to a promising series has became one of my new favorite novels! I can't even begin to tell you how awesome this book is.

If you're needing something you've never read before: something so remarkably unique, something that will have you in its clutches, something that will get you invested into the world so much, Frozen is the way to go. Everything is iced over, pirates roam the seas, dragons lurk within the world, and Nat and Ryan set off on a lethal and deadly quest that will revolutionize the world. The adventures that Nat and Ryan endure in Frozen were phenomenal. From playing in a casino in Vegas to voyaging the seas, Nat and Ryan go on such an epic, heartstopping journey throughout this novel, and it's impossible to set down. I devoured this novel so quickly; I couldn't get enough!

World-building is my favorite part of a book. If an author(s) can craft together a brilliant, marvelous world, I'm sold on the novel. Oh boy, the world in Frozen is fantastic! Post-apocalytpic books are some of my favorites, but I don't think I've ever read a novel about an ice disaster. Frozen is a whirlwind of a novel that never let me go. I was enchanted by the fact of an ice desert with ice dragons roaming the world, and it's one of the key factors that makes Frozen heavily unique. Fantasy lovers, rejoice: you are going to fall so hard for the Heart of Dread series. I need the second book pronto!

The action scenes are phenomenal. Both Nat and Ryan are trying to find a way out of their miserable lives, and the only place left on this torn world for that is the Blue, only labeled a myth because it's a paradise where the sun shines bright. The journey to the Blue is treacherous, and Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston do a dazzling job at taking the reader on this wild ride to find the paradise. Everything about Frozen worked perfectly for me, and it has become one of my reads for the year. Frozen will melt any icy heart and give new light to the fantasy genre! A must-read, without a doubt!

Overall, Frozen is a fantastic beginning to the series and left me begging for more. Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston are a phenomenal and exceptional duo in YA. I want more of this world!

M Y    R A T I N G

Friday, September 13, 2013

Brad About Books: Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff

Read from August 31 to September 1, 2013
Expected Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin's Press)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 432 pages
Source: Publisher
Series: The Lotus War, #2

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

Kinslayer is a powerful, satisfying follow-up to one of the best fantasies I've ever read. Jay Kristoff's phenomenal series packs a punch and never lets up. A must-read for fantasy fanatics!

Let me explain this series in a nutshell: dystopian Japanese steampunk. A girl with a thunder tiger fighting against the government. Who in the world wouldn't want to be invested in that world?! And Jay Kristoff builds upon the already awesome world even more in this epic sequel. I always talk about the dreaded "Sequel Syndrome" - in which, a sequel falls flat compared to book one - but I am thrilled to report that it passed over Kinslayer's head! It packs a hard punch, and the action scenes are superb. With so much mysterious and tension, Kinslayer is impossible to put down. Jay Kristoff has done it again!

Let all us talk about the awesomeness that is the duo of Yukiko and Buruu. They have quickly become one of my favorite pairs in any book; they compliment and contrast each other so perfectly, and they work together so well. Their bonds are really tested in Kinslayer, but Kristoff does a phenomenal job at giving each character their own spotlight, then merging the epic duo together on the battlefield. They're honestly my favorite part about the Lotus War series; they're some of the best characters ever written. Absolutely phenomenal!

That ending. I can't even process it! If you thought the ending of Stormdancer was crazy, you haven't seen anything yet. When I said that this sequel packs a punch, I mean it so much. There are so many twists and turns you will never see coming in Kinslayer, and after I read the last chapter, my mouth was hanging open. It tormented me, fractured me, and completely shattered my reading world. Definitely one of the best endings I've ever read. More please!

Overall, Kinslayer is a revolutionizing story in the fantasy genre that will leave fans begging for more. Epic beyond belief! So amazing!

M Y    R A T I N G

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Brad About Books: Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts

Read on May 10, 2013
Expected Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: FSG (Macmillan)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 384 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

A novel about the end of days full of surprising beginnings 
The world is living in the shadow of oncoming disaster. An asteroid is set to strike the earth in just one week’s time; catastrophe is unavoidable. The question isn’t how to save the world—the question is, what to do with the time that's left? Against this stark backdrop, three island teens wrestle with intertwining stories of love, friendship and family—all with the ultimate stakes at hand. 
Alexandra Coutts's TUMBLE & FALL is a powerful story of courage, love, and hope at the end of the world.

The end of everything is filled with beginnings.

Tumble & Fall is an electric, dazzling read that shouldn't be missed. Not only is it one of the most original novels I've ever read, it's one of the most heartbreaking and tragically beautiful stories out there.   Stunning!

I'm sure we've all read at least one post-apocalyptic book. But have you ever read a pre-apocalyptic novel? Where the characters knew that the end of the world is coming to an end and only have one week left to live? And frankly, how do you live your last week on earth? That's definitely my favorite part about Tumble & Fall - how uniquely incredible it is. Also, you would totally expect the characters to be in a frenzy, rushing and panicking around and scared to death. While fear is there, the tagline shows the true beauty about Tumble & Fall: the end of everything is filled with beginnings. With one week left to live, our three protagonists are exploring everything - new and familiar - that they can. While it is a bit strange that everybody is relaxed about the world coming to its darkest finale, it worked perfectly for me in this case. Original and dreamy, Tumble & Fall shines!

I'm a huge fan of the post-apocalyptic genre, so reading a book about the coming of disaster was quite the read. Plus, Coutts's writing style was exceptional - each character had a fantastic vibe and tone, and I loved following every single character along through this journey of exploration. The characters unite together to stand with each other during their final week, and I loved the way Coutts demonstrated not only the blooming romance, but also the ever-growing friendship that has arose. The characters is what makes Tumble & Fall such a diverse and phenomenal book that radiates away from other books. Tumble & Fall is a must-read for lovers of catastrophe!

Another great thing about Tumble & Fall is how it's not always climatic. There's not always a crazy action scene or time of panic; again, it's all about living your last moments so preciously. Each character is after something to accomplish, and I fell for this book so hard. Alexandra Coutts is a very promising author to watch; with this marvelous debut, Coutts has quickly become one of my favorite debut authors of this year.

Overall, Tumble & Fall is a fresh take on catastrophe, dimming the effects of panic, and shining bright lights upon love and unity. Readers will devour it.

M Y    R A T I N G

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Brad About Books: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Read on May 16, 2013
Expected Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: FSG (Macmillan)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 288 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

“Sometimes people think they know you. They know a few facts about you, and they piece you together in a way that makes sense to them. And if you don’t know yourself very well, you might even believe that they are right. But the truth is, that isn’t you. That isn’t you at all.” -from This Song Will Save Your Life

This Song Will Save Your Life is a stunning and marvelous masterpiece that made me smile, made me think, and made me reevaluate the effects that actions can have on people. I can't stress how important this novel - this beautiful, heartwrenching novel - truly is. Absolutely one of a kind.

Bullying and suicide has became a major epidemic in our world, and Leila Sales plays upon that topic in This Song Will Save Your Life in such a fresh, original way. Our main character, Elise, is contemplating ending her life, but finds relief and emotion in something she has a burning passion for: music. The music makes her take her mind off of the social and emotional problems she's having, and Sales brings light upon one of the darkest, yet most important, topics in our society. I truly appreciated how Sales handled the situation and how it was flawlessly executed. Rarely ever does a contemporary grab me like This Song Will Save Your Life did. This Song Will Save Your Life is a must-read! 

I love music, and I loved seeing music interwoven throughout the book! Not only do we have lyrics at the top of each chapter (which pertains to the chapter's situation in some way; so cool), but we have music references, Elise is a DJ, and the music in This Song Will Save Your Life has a deeper message far beyond what meets the eye. Plus, bullying and friendship tie in together as a huge factor. Elise has been betrayed and hurt, redeemed and love, and Leila Sales definitely wasn't afraid to tackle her character development head on. This Song Will Save Your Life is a powerful, incredible novel that moved me and shook me - and I loved every moment of it.

And the writing style - don't even get me started! Lyrical like a favorite and familiar song, and ground shaking like an earthquake, Sales is a phenomenal and brilliant voice in realistic fiction. It flowed off the page and played like a melody. Short and sweet, everything about This Song Will Save Your Life is utterly beautiful. One of my favorite books of the year, no doubt.

Overall, This Song Will Save Your Life is an incredibly fantastic and absorbing novel that shines out in the YA market. Groundbreaking and riveting!

M Y    R A T I N G

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Brad About Books: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Read on September 2, 2013
Expected Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 333 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Series: Goddess War, #1

The Goddess War begins in Antigoddess, the first installment of the new series by acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake.
Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god. 

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning. 

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out. 

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.

Antigoddess is an action-packed, sizzling, and explosive whirlwind that completely captivated me and never let me go. Kendare Blake's Antigoddess is absolutely epic and impossible to put down. One of the best books I've read in a long time.

I've wanted this book so badly ever since I first heard about it. So when I got my grabby hands on a copy, I dived in immediately. You know when you anticipate a book so hard, and then you're let down by it? That is totally not the case with Antigoddess. This book not only met my expectations, it blew it out of the water. Everything about this book - the characters, the writing, the pacing, the plot, the twists and turns, the development, the war - everything is phenomenal. Kendare Blake was quickly become one of my favorite authors. I was astonished by how truly amazing Antigoddess was. The pacing... oh boy, I couldn't put this book down. I was so wrapped up and absorbed in this world, I never wanted it to end. If you're needing some action-goodness and amazing plot-lines in your life, Antigoddess is the way to go.

The. Characters. Could they be any better? I have no clue. Athena was a phenomenal protagonist. Something is eating away at her life - literally - and she doesn't have much longer to survive. When you're on the run and in search for answers, it makes for such an awesome book: it did just that with Antigoddess. She's strong, fierce, loyal, and one of the best female leads I've read about. Hermes was also great! Sure, he may gossip quite a lot, but he sticks by Athena through thick and thin. And Cassandra! While I was a bit confused by her character in the beginning, she becomes such a vital and important piece to the Goddess War puzzle, and I can't wait to see where her character goes in the second book.

Speaking of the sequel... I want it so bad. That ending. I can't even. Talk about fast-paced! So much war and betrayal goes down in Antigoddess, and it's just one little piece in such a fantastic novel. I love last lines in books, and Antigoddess has one of my favorite last lines. It's such a cliffhanger and leaves you with your jaw dropped, begging for more - and that's exactly what I was like seconds after finishing this stunning beginning to a very promising series. I can't even explain to you how much I loved this book. Highly recommended!

Overall, Antigoddess is an incredible start that begins with a bang and never lets up. One of my new favorite books - Kendare Blake has created a masterpiece!

M Y   R A T I N G

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Brad About Books: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Read from August 30 to 31, 2013
Expected Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 433 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Fangirl is a beautiful, riveting story that can't be topped. A phenomenal gem that is so absorbing and one of a kind. Absolutely marvelous. 

I read Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park earlier this year and fell in love with it so hard. So obviously, I was very much excited about her newest novel, Fangirl - and it did not disappoint in any level! While it doesn't have the same emotional attachment that Eleanor & Park has, Fangirl is a beautiful, coming-of-age tale that gave true light to letting things consuming your life (some for the good, some for the not-so-good), and Rowell did a fantastic job at handling Cath's situation. I felt connected to Cath immediately. The way her twin sister, Wren, basically leaves her in the dust when they get to college really stuck with me, and I loved going on this exploration journey of love, bonding, and being a fanatic of things you love with her. Rainbow Rowell has easily become one of my favorite writers of all time. I'm such a fan for Fangirl!

I also love how Fangirl gives off the illusion of parallel worlds (not literally parallel worlds; multiple stories being intertwined with each other). We have the story of Cath discovering herself and true love at college; we have the story of Cath and her fanfiction addiction; and we also have the story of Simon Snow, the series that Cath is obsessed with. Each story plays a vital role to the overall picture, and Rainbow Rowell balanced all these stories within Fangirl so well. But be warned: Fangirl will tug at your heartstrings so hard. We all have experienced/know someone who has experienced bullying, and I personally feel like Fangirl touches on the subject of bullying amazingly. Cath was been left by her own family, the people she thought she could always count on. What do you do when you've been looked away from? Cath's story with traveling through a new, vibrant world alone was fantastic; absolutely loved this book!

This. Entire. Book. I can't even; I seriously can't even. Fangirl has become one of my favorite contemporaries... ever. It's so interesting, and I loved how it also deals with a current and modern topic. I, myself, have never wrote fanfiction, but reading it through the eyes of a fanatic and popular fanfiction-er was great; I can't express to you how much I loved this book. Fans of Rainbow Rowell, you will not be disappointed by Fangirl. Fans of contemporary, you are going to fall head over heels in love with Fangirl.

Overall, Fangirl is truly a masterpiece that tugged at my heartstrings and made me fall in love with the characters. One of the best books of the year.

M Y    R A T I N G