Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: STARRY NIGHTS by Daisy Whitney

Author: Daisy Whitney
Published: September 2013
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury
POV: 1st person
Pages: 280
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley
Rating: The Great Hall
Seventeen-year-old Julien is a romantic—he loves spending his free time at the museum poring over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, a peach falls out of a Cezanne, Degas ballerinas dance across the floor, and Julien is not hallucinating.

The art is reacting to a curse that trapped a beautiful girl, Clio, in a painting forever. Julien has a chance to free Clio and he can't help but fall in love with her. But love is a curse in its own right. And soon paintings begin to bleed and disappear. Together Julien and Clio must save the world's greatest art . . . at the expense of the greatest love they've ever known.

Like a master painter herself, Daisy Whitney brings inordinate talent and ingenuity to this romantic, suspenseful, and sophisticated new novel. A beautifully decorated package makes it a must-own in print.

For Julian, art comes to life. As in, art actually comes to life. Once night falls, the artwork hanging in the museum leave their frames and step into real life. But while dancing Degas ballerinas are fun to watch, there's only one painting that Julian wants to see come to life: The Girl in the Garden. Thought to be long lost but recently found, there's something about her that captures Julian's attention. Add in a personality-filled Bonheur (and his awesome sister Sophie), a little magic dust, and an old enemy who is bent on claiming The Girl in The Garden, and you're in for an interesting story.

STARRY NIGHTS features fantastic characters and an even more intriguing concept. Yet, for all the fun that Julian & Co. provide, I was left wishing for more meaning and originality to the story. Whitney tugged at my emotions with her debut, THE MOCKINGBIRDS, so I was very surprised by how little I felt while reading this story. Simply put, STARRY NIGHTS is a cute and light read that will undeniably entertain readers in the mood for such a story, but it does not come close the excellency of Whitney's other works. If you're looking for a quick and fun library check-out, this book is for you. 

Highlights: Paintings come to life1. I really liked Julian, Bonheur, Sophie, Emilie and other characters. I loved learning who Clio really was, especially since her true identity was an interesting twist. The art aspect was fantastic, though I wish we could have seen some of it in the story (if only pictures of the artwork could have been included, that would have been amazing).

Lowlights: The romance was unbelievable. As a crush? Sure. As love? No way. So when the l-word was introduced, I stopped believing in the romance. Also, for a Parisian boy, Julian sounds an awful lot like an American teenager. It's been my experience that people from anywhere tend to have their own local/cultural slang that comes with the territory of growing up in a certain area. If I hadn't been told that this story was set in Paris, I would have assumed it was meant to be Anywhere, USA.

Rating: The Great Hall (high 3 out of 5). This book was very likable, enough that I want a copy in the palace even if it doesn't earn a spot in the royal library. STARRY NIGHTS is a likable and entertaining novel, but there are a few issues. 

1 I took a few Art History classes early in college, and they were outstanding. So, it was very cool read about artwork I've studied before, especially in a story where they come to life. Although I'm not going to lie, the Mona Lisa's secret was slightly underwhelming.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

by Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham
March 25th, 2014
The first book in an original mystery series featuring twenty-eight-year-old Veronica Mars, back in action after the events of Veronica Mars: The Movie. With the help of old friends—Logan Echolls, Mac Mackenzie, Wallace Fennel, and even Dick Casablancas—Veronica is ready to take on Neptune’s darkest cases with her trademark sass and smarts.
I'm a huge fan of the Veronica Mars TV show (and was a Kickstarter backer for the upcoming movie), so I'm definitely excited for a book series! More Veronica Mars? YES please! 

by AS King

Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities—but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way...until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions—and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying.

A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do everything in her power to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.

I'm still new to AS King's writing (loved EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS, and am starting THE DUST OF 100 DOGS), but I'm enjoying her work so far, so I'm curious about her next novel. 

What are you waiting on?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: CRESS by Marissa Meyer

Title: CRESS
Author: Marissa Meyer
Published: February 4th, 2014
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Genre: YA Sci-fi / Fantasy
Pages: 560
POV: 3rd, multiple alternating
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: Printed ARC
Source: Publicist
Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

I liked CINDER, loved SCARLET, and adored Meyer's latest installment in the Lunar Chronicles, CRESS. With each novel, Meyer's writing grows more captivating, entertaining, and surprising as she takes each major and minor storyline in intriguing directions. CRESS picks up where SCARLET left off, and the excitement level kicks up a few notches right from the very beginning. Prepare yourself for journeys across deserts, adventures in space, fight scenes, and plenty of Carswell Thorne being as fabulous as Carswell Thorne can possibly be. I had high hopes for this novel, and Meyer succeeded in creating a wonderfully entertaining novel from start to the finish.

I'm going to keep quiet about specific plot points, since Meyer's books are better experienced without knowing too many details. With CRESS, readers gain the opportunity to see a bit more of the Lunars. We only receive glimpses into Lunar life, along with the small tidbits of knowledge Cress shares (since she is a Lunar shell, but this skilled hacker hasn't had the easiest life because of her shell status), but it's enough to make me very curious about the next novel. Fortunately, there is still plenty more to enjoy in this novel. This story is filled with action, secrets, adorable budding romances, humor, and so much more. If you are not reading this series, I'd highly recommend you start these novels soon, because you are in a for a delightful and surprising twist on some of your favorite classic fairytales.

Highlights: Meyer excels at balancing a large cast and doing each character justice when it comes to the different perspectives, not to the mention the multiple storylines. Cress is a fabulous addition to the cast since her timid strength and dreamy, hopeful nature created a nice contrast to Scarlet's toughness and Cinder's more serious nature. Even Captain Thorne managed to surprise me, because under his humorous and slightly selfish personality, there really is a guy with a heart of (mostly) gold. Also, Iko is a definite highlight1.

Lowlights: It ended? I wanted a bit more with the Lunars. The wait for WINTER (Snow White retelling, set on the moon - yes, the moon) is going to be a nightmare, because I need that book now.

Rating: The Royal Library, Top ShelfCRESS is a wonderful sci-fi / fantasy twist on familiar fairytales, with quite a few surprises in store for readers. If you're looking for a fun, exciting series to start reading, I'd highly suggest checking out the Lunar Chronicles.

1 No surprise there. Iko rocks. 


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Study Session: The Matched Trilogy Covers

Study Session is where I share my notes on classic works of literature, young adult novels, and any other type of literature that captures my interest. I will feature summaries, analysis, and other musings on various works of literature. Each post is written fairly quickly, based on my private notes or spur-of-the-moment thoughts, so please forgive any factual or grammatical errors. 

I am a fan of book covers. When a novel is fortunate enough to have an excellent cover designer, it shows. After all, a good cover captures the story and subtly hints at what you will find inside. 

Ally Condie's Matched trilogy is one of those trilogies that features eye-catching covers that also happen to embody many themes, symbols, and ideas of the novel. 

In the cover for Matched, a young woman (I will refer to her as Cassia, the main character) is trapped in a bubble. The bubble represents the Society - it is thinly made, delicate, and even beautiful as it reflects rainbows in the light. Cassia is lightly pressing against the bubble's edges, noticing the limitations of her life but not entirely afraid of this confinement.Though Cassia is pressing against the edges of her limits, she has yet to take a strong stance. Instead, she is sitting and lightly touching her boundaries.

She wears a dress, giving her the appearance of innocence, youth, and decadence. The color green symbolizes one of three pills every member of the Society must keep with them at all times (the green tablet reduces anxiety, which further explains Cassia's mostly relaxed posture, despite the confinement). Yet, green may also represent jealousy (for the world outside?). All in all, this image evokes an overwhelming sense of curiosity and an eagerness to discover. 

In the cover for Crossed, Cassia is breaking through the Society’s perfect structure. The bubble no longer appears thin and harmless, but features jagged edges and sharp pieces flying around in the air. Her clothing is more active, revealing that the heroine has been through (and will continue to go through) quite a bit of growth and that she will face physical challenges.

Instead of wearing a beautiful dress, Cassia is prepared to take a stand and to fight in her active clothing.  But, she's also barefoot, exposed to the elements. Her body - though it is forcing through the bubble - has not entirely escaped. Though she is on her way to asserting herself, Cassia is still caught in the Society she seeks to escape. The blue coloring is a nod to the blue tablet (which I will not explain, to avoid spoilers). 

In the cover for Reached, Cassia has left the mindset the Society encourages and has broken entirely free. The broken, extremely thick, jagged edges of the bubble hint at the Society’s malevolent side, and a nod to its possible downfall / fracturing. Her red gown is more mature than her girlish green dress from the first cover, showing she has grown into a woman.

Cassia's back is to the viewer, and her overall stance is more assertive, strong, and curious to explore what lies outside. She is no longer being veiled by the Society bubble, and is free to make her own choices and decisions. The red hue connects with the red table (which, again, I will not discuss to avoid spoilers), but this color also makes one think of both war (red, the color of blood) and love (red is overwhelmingly associated with love, from Valentine's Day hearts to bright red roses). In all, this cover evokes freedom.


In the end, I love these covers because of the stories they tell. Even without reading the the novels, you can see the stories written in these images.

What are your thoughts on these covers? 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Highlights / Lowlights: IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS by Cat Winters

Author: Cat Winters
Published: April 2013
Series: N/A
Genre: YA historical / paranormal
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 387
POV: 1st person, past tense
Format: Kindle Book
Source: Purchased
Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf
In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

Highlights: Mary Shelley Black1 is smart, sharp-witted, independent, and completely fabulous as a narrator. She's not some weak-willed girl, and I adored her for that aspect of her personality. The conclusion was mostly a surprise, and even though I did guess a few small aspects, Winters threw a few more twists my way. The importance of family was wonderful, especially Aunt Eva's presence throughout the story. Even the very bittersweet romance was nicely portrayed. The ghost aspect was entirely different than what I assumed it would be, which caused this novel to become a very refreshing story. All in all, IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS is likely incredibly different from what you may expect, and completely worth your time. 

Lowlights: I set it aside for a few weeks after reading a couple chapters. While there were many interesting moments, I was never 100% compelled to read straight-through. But, I was probably in a book slump at that time. 

Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf. A wonderfully descriptive historical novel featuring a fabulous main character, IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS is worth checking out. 

1 My gosh, her name is a mouthful (but still a very awesome literary name and a nice nod to Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein).

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Covers + Redesigns!

I love the change! 

The black-white and yellow color scheme looks great. 

I like everything but the partial face.

Very fresh / light. I like it!


I like the new one slightly more. 

I love the original more - it's simpler and not as busy-looking. 

I like the font more in the new cover, but otherwise, I'm undecided. 

The new cover is fantastic. 

They capture different elements of the novel, but I think both are too lighthearted.

I prefer the original. It's classic, clean, and creative. The new version looks so average. 

As with SHIVER, I prefer the original. 


This is a very subtle, nice change. 

I liked the original and it's subtlety, but the new one is eerily eye-catching. 


I spotted the new image on Amazon, and I really hope that it is not the new cover. The first cover is fantastic and fits the story very well, so it would be a shame if they changed it. 

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (129): COMPLICIT

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

COMPLICIT by Stephanie Kuehn
June 24th, 2014 from St. Martin's Griffin
Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor's fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else.

But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie.

Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know this one simple truth: she’s not the crazy one and never has been.

He is.
Sounds intriguing. I wish the release date was closer! 

What are you waiting on? 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Top Ten 2014 Debuts I'm Excited For

TTT is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

1.  THE MURDER COMPLEX by Lindsay Cummings
2.  MIDNIGHT THIEF by Livia Blackburne
3.  EXTRACTION by Stephanie Diaz
4.  SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY by Julie Murphy
5.  SNOW LIKE ASHES by Sara Raasch
6.  THE ART OF LAINEY by Paula Stokes
7.  LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD by Ava Dellaira
8.  A MAD, WICKED FOLLY by Sharon Biggs Waller
9.  HALF BAD by Sally Green
10.  FATES by Lainie Bross

What debuts are you looking forward to reading this year? 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Review: THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING by Robyn Schneider

Author: Robyn Schneider
Released: August 2013
Series: N/A
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 335
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Format: ARC
Source: Vine Program
Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf
Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Ezra Faulkner used to be the guy who had everything going for him until a car accident shattered his knee, and subsequently, his future career as a stellar tennis player. On his first of day back to school after the accident, Ezra finds himself reconnecting with an old friend, Toby, along with a few new ones, disrupting his usual social hierarchy by taking a few steps (or leaps) down in social status. But his new friends make life interesting - especially the enigmatic Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is undeniably the one who fascinates him the most, with her unique, worldly, intelligent, witty, and magnetic personality that is as entrancing as it is mysterious. A coming of age story about discovering who you are going to be once your original plans fade away, THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING excels with healthy doses of humor and realism.

I could tell within the first few chapters that THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING was going to be a delightful story. It is humorous, but also features a few serious moments. Yet, it was the characters who won me over so quickly. Ezra's new crowd is full of oddballs who make each page worth reading (They host late night movie screenings in unexpected places - how cool is that?). While budding romance is a large part of the story, I found the budding friendships to be more captivating. If you're looking for a fun book to curl up with, I'd recommend this novel. THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING is funny, smart, and the cast of characters are utterly charming.

Highlights: Ezra, while a bit too concerned with what other's think of him (oh, the joys of high school insecurities), is endearing and realistic. His personality jumps off the page and his voice demands your attention. The supporting cast also shines, especially Toby (how do you not love that guy?). I love how the ending was not quite what you would expect. The ending is not a perfect, happily ever after, and I appreciate that it is a more messy, realistic conclusion.

Lowlights: I wish the parents had been in the story more. Also, that poor dog. That was the only moment where I felt a genuine pull at my emotions. Otherwise, while I enjoyed the story and adored the characters, I did not feel an emotional connection to any of the characters or to the writing.

Rating: The Royal Library, Middle ShelfTHE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING is a great story that will make you laugh and will keep you hooked until the end. There are a few small issues, but nothing that disrupted my overall enjoyment of this story. All in all, I'd recommend checking this book out! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

ROOMIES 'Win One for You and Your Reader Campaign' + My Roomie Story + ROOMIES Giveaway!

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers is hosting a wonderfully fun campaign where bloggers and readers share their roomie stories (and there's even a chance to win some fabulous prizes)! But first, let's check out some info on ROOMIES!

"It's time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer -- and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they've never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate."

Somehow, I've managed to only have one roomie story so far (since I'm staying at my parents place for free while in college, I missed out on the opportunity to have college roomies), and that is rooming with my big brother when we were kids. I cannot remember how old we were, but since he was the oldest, he always took charge of everything - the small TV we shared, the toys, or whatever else it could possibly be, he was in charge. He got the top of the bunk bed, I got the bottom (which might have been a good idea, because I did fall off the top one time). We would argue and fight, as little kids do.

But, for all of our little bickering moments, we also had a lot of fun together as roomies. Whenever we became extremely bored, we'd find all of the big blankets and create a massive, in-room fort that would include our tiny TV, a normal lamp, a lava lamp (because a lava lamp is a priority item, apparently), and whatever else we could fit inside. Our small shared bedroom would transform into another place, and our imaginations made it all the more exciting.

Eventually, we received our own rooms. I even somehow managed to get the bigger one (thank you bookshelf, for taking up so much space and making it a requirement that I get the bigger room). I doubt my brother and I would make decent roomies now, but we are good friends.

To kick off Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando’s tour for ROOMIES, we decided to ask some of our colleagues to share some of their roomie stories. The result: sweet, weird and kind of hilarious. Some of us, quite rightly, asked to be identified by their monikers.
Here’s how it went down with my freshman roommate. She went to bed before 10:00pm. I went to bed after midnight. She signed up for 8:00am classes. I slept until noon. She studied with the music on. I did not. She was neat. I was messy. She liked the Red Sox. I rooted for the Yankees. And now…we’re the best of friends!- Pam, Editorial
My freshman year roommate taught me how to eat a lobster and all the words to the Rent soundtrack. She’s one of my forever friends. - Julia, Marketing
I had a freshman roommate who would wag her finger while she talked and also was constantly saying “zip zip boom” while pulling her jacket zipper up and down.  She had her first boyfriend while we in college that year.  My boyfriend and I bought her a tent that looked like a car which she put up over her bed…. And kept up for the rest of the year.  It was weird.- Dawgs, Marketing
I had a college roommate who threw up on the floor of our room and didn’t clean it up for three weeks (and like, I wasn’t going to touch that… Ew). I think she thought it would evaporate or something. Actually, as far as I know, it’s still there, because when I moved out she still hadn’t cleaned it up.- Maggie, Design
My roommate and I are from opposite coasts (her: Seattle, me: NYC). We first met four years ago when decided to share a hotel room at Sirens, an annual conference on women in fantasy literature, budget-conscious college students that we were. Each year after that, I nagged at her to move to NYC and be my REAL roommate… and then she did! Now we have many long chats about books, marathon many BBC miniseries and throw many geeky parties.- Faye, Publicity / Marketing
I once had a roommate who confessed that she was a recovering kleptomaniac. Which explains why she stole my clothes.- Connie, Editorial
My freshman year roommate was a germophobe—amongst other “phobias.” When I came down with the flu that winter, I was lying in bed with my eyes closed. My roommate believed (I hope) that I was asleep and started to spray the room with Lysol spray…she then sprayed my bed—and me—with disinfectant spray. I didn’t have the energy to stop her.  - An editor who believes that germs are part of life
The summer after I graduated from high school I lived a block away from the beach with 2 other guys in a Victorian rooming house. We all worked together at an ice cream parlor and usually had later afternoon and night shifts. Since we were splitting the rent, our room was just big enough so that we were able to fit 3 beds in the room side by side with a mini fridge. There was literally no floor space in the room and the common bathroom was down the hall. We made sandwiches in bed, we ate cereal in bed and on rainy beach days we’d hold boxing matches… on our beds. One guy would be the referee and the other two would strap pillows to their chests with belts and we would punch each other until someone gave up. For some reason we felt boxing in our underwear most closely approximated professional boxing garb and our beds were transformed in our minds into a professional ring. In my defense, the internet hadn’t been invented yet, we didn’t have a TV, and we were really bored.  It was not exactly a straight path between those days and becoming a VP but I still think about it and laugh. - The Boxer, our illustrious VP of Sales
What’s your roomie story?

January 12, 2014 – New York, NY: McNally Jackson
January 15, 2014 – Salt Lake City, UT: The King's English
January 16, 2014 – Provo, UT: Provo Library
February 4, 2014 – San Francisco, CA: Books Inc, Opera Plaza
February 5, 2015 – Petaluma, CA: Copperfield's Books

I may be able to attend the last tour stop, but I'm not sure at the moment. *crosses fingers*


The Grand Prize: Little, Brown BYR will be giving away a Roomie survival kit/gift pack including earplugs, home spa essentials, a signed copy of the book, a special note from the authors, and other fun things—all packed in a shower caddy (this prize will go to a participating blogger and one of the blogger's readers). Winner announced on January 20th.

Win on YA Book Queen: Thanks to Little, Brown BYR, I am giving away a copy of ROOMIES (US street addresses only). Enter using the rafflecopter below! And trust me, you'll want this book - it's great!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (128): THE MURDER COMPLEX

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

THE MURDER COMPLEX by Lindsay Cummings
June 10th, 2014 from Greenwillow / HarperCollins
An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young's Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision. The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is-although he doesn't know it-one of the MC's programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family? Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.
I'm sold. This book sounds fantastic! I like the cover too, especially the tagline. 

What are you waiting on? 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mini-Review: UNDERCURRENT by Paul Blackwell

Author: Paul Blackwell
Published: July 2013
Series: N/A
Genre: YA 
Pages: 320
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: ARC
Source: Won from Epic Reads
Rating: The Dungeons
In this suspenseful teen thriller with a touch of the otherworldly, a boy goes over a waterfall and wakes up to find himself in a twisted version of the life he knew. Why did his best friend try to kill him? Why are his parents acting like he’s a sports star all of a sudden? Worst of all, what happened to his older brother? Filled with mind-bending suspense and unsettling thrills, Undercurrent is a grippingly paced teen debut that will pull you under and never let go.

UNDERCURRENT is a novel that had a lot of potential with such an intriguing, parallel-world concept, but it failed to hit the mark for me. From the beginning, it was shockingly easy to solve one of the larger mysteries of the novel, and Callum could have done so much more to figure out what was happening around him instead of acting like an idiot. The beginning is undeniably intense and intriguing, but the excitement quickly fades away as the predictability and the unimpressive writing style take control of the story. Secondary characters were not fleshed out or present enough, and I found Callum's narration / the writing style to be incredibly unimpressive. Yet, this is still a fast-paced story that I am sure some readers will find enjoyable.

I would give this story The Dungeons rating (2.5 out of 5).  UNDERCURRENT had potential, but it was not the story for me. I like elements of this story enough not to exile it from the Queendom, but I'm quite annoyed with it, too. So, this story will spend some time in the dungeons, but I'll release (donate) it after a few days. However, I would still recommend checking out UNDERCURRENT if it captures your interest. While this book was not my cup of tea, it may be the perfect story for you.