Monday, August 30, 2010

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Book: Shade
Release date: May 4th, 2010
Source: Author
My Summary:
When Aura’s boyfriend Logan dies after what should have been the best night of his life, she’s left feeling a bit guilty over the circumstances, not to mention heartbroken at losing him. But Logan isn’t completely gone, he’s still hanging around as a ghost. Aura can see him because she’s one of the lucky (yeah, right) people to have been born after the Shift. 

Then Zachary transfers in, and he’s like a kindred spirit. He gets her, he listens, and a killer accent doesn’t hurt either. He's there -- alive -- but Logan's still there too, and Aura isn't quite ready to give up on him yet. 

To top it all off, Aura has other things to deal with: the mystery of who her dad is, secrets about her mom's past, and even the Shift itself. 
Review: A unique ghost story filled with realistic characters and environments, Shade is astounding.

Aura is one of the more realistic characters I've come across in the past year, to the point where I can even see a few of the people I know actually sharing a lot of her qualities. She's easy to relate with, and she has an amusing sense of humor (a bit more on the passive, sarcastic side). The love interests (Zachary and Logan) are both great in different ways, but by the end I preferred one over the other. 

Shade is one of those novels where I think I know exactly what will happen, but then I find myself surprised halfway through. I think a lot of readers can find something to enjoy in Shade. 

Highlights: The best compliment I could pay this novel and it's author is the realism. Aura is very realistic, she could have been someone I knew back in high school. Not only that, but I can honestly see her way of life (with ghosts) being completely normal. The ending was incredible, and not what I was expecting. The sequel, Shift, is bound to be just as amazing. 

Lowlights: There were a few moments that seemed a bit slow, but I still thoroughly enjoyed this novel. 



Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Bunch of Winners!!!

Winner of a Minder T-Shirt:

Louder Than Words Giveaway:
Winner of Rae: BIANCA 
Winner of Hannah: BRANDILEIGH2003
Winner of Alexis: LAUREN
Winner of all three books: MELISSA

Winner of Tweet Heart/This Gorgeous Game + Swag:

Winner of some swag:

Winner CSN $60 Giveaway:

Emails have already been sent, but be sure to respond back by the date I gave you all or else I'll have to re-draw for another winner!

CONGRATS to everyone! :)

In My Mailbox 34

IMM is hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie

For review:
When I Was Joe by Keren David

Pre-ordered back in March:
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins 
(I think I'm still in shock about how it ended)

Borrowed from a friend:
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Swag from Denise Jaden

Thanks to Jessica (and Keren for contacting me), Theresa, and Denise! =)

What did you guys get this week? 


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Private by Kate Brian Review

Book: Private
Author: Kate Brian (a pen name of Kieran Scott's)
Source: my bookshelf
My Summary: 
Reed may be fifteen, but she's ambitious. She wants more for her life than what she was given, so she's taking the chance at Easton to become a better, more successful version of herself. Not to mention, she can finally leave behind the mess of a family that awaits back home on Croton, Pennsylvania.

Only problem is that her straight-A's seem to have been left behind when she moved, her roommate drives her crazy, not to mention the other girls in her dorm. Only highlights? Thomas Pearson, the older and more influential boy at school who becomes enamored with Reed, she still kicks butt at soccer, and then there's the Billings Girls.

Noelle (the bitchy leader), Ariana (the soulful, motherly one), Kiran (the model), and Taylor (the smartest girl at school with a bubbly personality). The rightful quartet that lead the Billings Girls, these girls are everything Reed wants to be, and she'll do anything to be one of them...
Review: Addictive with every word, Private is just like chocolate, a guilty pleasure that you can't get enough of.

Narrated in first person, we get to know Reed from the first page. She's one of those girls that's seeking better things, a better life, and Easton Academy is her answer. It's easy to relate with Reed, from her embarassing moments to her more confident ones. She is flawed, constantly seeking the acceptance of four girls who do, in a sense, everything they can to belittle her. She makes mistakes, but it's easy to want her to pull through in the end. 

The other characters, like the leading ladies of Billings, are very intriguing as well. Brian manages to make them seem even a bit likable, despite the cruel measures they (at times) resort to. 

Highlights: Private is a great start to the series, and Brian takes her time making her characters as real as possible. Plus, her writing is just addictive, and she's wonderful at creating suspense. 

Lowlights: Maybe Reed's desperation...but I still love the suspense, romance, and mystery of this book and this series. 


Reviews of other books in this series:
Invitation Only (book #2 - to come)
Untouchable (book #3 - to come)
Confessions (book #4 - to come)
Suspicion (book #10)
Scandal (book #11)


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (times two!)

WOW is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine

Book: Nightshade
Author: Andrea Cremer
Release: October 19th, 2010
While other teenage girls daydream about boys, Calla Tor imagines ripping out her enemies’ throats. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. Calla was born a warrior and on her eighteenth-birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves. But Calla’s predestined path veers off course the moment she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a boy her own age. This human boy’s secret will turn the young pack's world upside down and forever alter the outcome of the centuries-old Witches' War that surrounds them all.

Okay, so I already read Nigthshade, but I'm still really looking forward to the release because this book is AWESOME!

Book: Last Sacrifice (VA #6)
Author: Richelle Mead
Release: December 7th, 2010
Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice. Now, with Rose on trial for her life and Lissa first in line for the Royal Throne, nothing will ever be the same between them.

Okay, so that's a very, very tiny summary, but whatever. I'm still so excited for this one to come out, the anticipation is killing me. 

Oh, how I wish it was December 7th....


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Book: Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Release: September 2009 (hardcover)
Source: previously bought
My Summary (SPOILER FOR 1st BOOK!):
After surviving the Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta both try to live their lives as normally as they can. Only problem is that everyone is supposed to believe they're in love, some Districts are starting to unsettle and rebel, and it all just might be Katniss's fault.

Katniss struggles with her feelings before she's off for the victory tour, unable to truly love Peeta, but things with Gale aren't going well either. Yet she has more important things to worry about, like just what does President Snow plan to do if she fails to help smother the unrest in the districts?
Review: More shocking than a bolt of lightning, Catching Fire lives up to it's predecessor.

With a slow-moving beginning, we find Katniss and Peeta both living in ease after surviving the Hunger Games. Yet, Katniss isn't happy. She's got a lot to deal with in this story. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is expecting something from her, and she just doesn't know if she has what they want and what it takes. The stakes, the risks, and consequences are so much higher in Catching Fire.

What I noticed the most was how Collins managed to make me really care about each character. I was on the edge of my seat, literally worrying about some of them, and whether or not they would be okay. I could connect better with them this time around. 

The pacing does pick up, and once it does, it's a non-stop thrill to read. I still cannot believe where this story went, I'm still stunned even months after reading it. I dare you to read Catching Fire, and to put it down halfway through (because it really just isn't possible without curiosity getting the better of you).

Highlights: The twists! The turns! The "Oh my gosh, did that really just happen" moments! Collins far exceeded my expectations of this story, and it's very obvious that she really does think about everything and plots it smartly. I can't wait to see where Mockingjay goes when I get it! :)

Lowlights: The beginning fails to really get going, as I said earlier. It was slow to spark my attention. Yet, I think the halfway point through the ending really made up for it. 


Reviews of other books in this trilogy:


Monday, August 23, 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Book: The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy #1)
Release: now in paperback (July 3rd)
Source: Bought
My Summary:
In a futuristic society, the United States is no more. In it's place is Panem, and only twelve of the original thirteen districts remain.

Katniss Everdeen, a resident of the coal-producing District Twelve, prepares for The Reaping by making sure that her little sister Prim has as few entries as possible. Yet, against the odds, Prim is picked and Katniss volunteer's in her place to be a tribute for the yearly Hunger Games.

She knows the odds aren't good. 24 tributes in all, and only one can survive. It will be a fight to the death, against people she cares about, and only the strong and smart can survive...
Review: Action-filled, surprising moments, smartly plotted and equally smart characters...can this book get any better?

The Hunger Games is one of those series that is addictive, smart, and very well plotted. She uses the skills her father taught her about hunting in order to help her family survive (which is illegal). She hunts with her best friend Gale, to keep both their families alive and well. However, once Katniss becomes a tribute, she has to focus on one thing only: survival. Staying true to her character, Katniss doesn't become some bloodthirsty beast, she gets smart, uses her wits and skills in the arena, as well as forms alliances...but only one person can survive in the end.

Each character is well developed, with their own personalities. I didn't like every character, but that's what made them all more real to me, because you can't like everyone (although, I loved Haymitch! So funny!). 

The description flows perfectly, the surprises don't fail to shock, and the end gives you both fulfillment (there's nothing too cliffhangerish) and curiosity for the next installment, Catching Fire.

This trilogy is perfect for anyone who enjoys a good dystopia novel, with action, adventure, a dash of romance, and plenty of moments where you will be unable to tear yourself away from the book.

Highlights: In a game of survival, I didn't know what to expect next. I love how smart Katniss is, and she uses everything she has. The girl is smart, and focused, which is wonderful to read about. I enjoyed Collins' writing as well, it's very easy to fall into and get caught up in the story.

Lowlights: I'm not really a fan of the name "Katniss", but it's grown on me through the years. And really, it's kind of a petty thing to consider a "lowlight". 


Reviews of other books in this trilogy:
Catching Fire (to come soon)
Mockingjay (to come once I get it and read it!)