Monday, April 30, 2012

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules
Julie Kagawa
485 pages (hardcover)
Harlequin Teen
Source - Publicist/Netgalley
In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad. Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike. But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.
In a world where vampires rule, Allison Sekemoto tries scrape by without drawing any attention to herself. So, when she's faced with an unthinkable choice, she chooses to become a vampire. Suddenly, Allison finds herself trying to learn the rules of immortality while attempting to keep what little humanity she has left. Her stubborn yet dedicated and caring personality becomes more endearing with each page, and Allison eventually becomes a vampire heroine readers will root for.

The Immortal Rules is what a vampire novel should be - exciting, dangerous, and yet surprisingly relatable. Allison's actions in her human life proved she was brave, but Allison's actions in her vampire life brought out more facets to her personality. The more Allison struggled with her emotions and her Hunger for human blood, the more intriguing the story and her character became. Kagawa paints a bleak picture for the world Allison lives in and for the vampires who inhabit this society, and yet Allison's character makes readers question a human's negative view of vampires. Entertaining, frightening, thoughtful, and even amusing,  The Immortal Rules  is a definite hit.

Highlights: Kagawa's view on vampires and rabids was interesting, as was the history this vampire-ruled world. Everything in this novel was fully realized, from world building to character development. The dilemma between good and evil was fascinating. The surprises and twists kept this book exciting and difficult to set aside. Plus, Allison's katana sword was very, very cool.

Lowlights: While the beginning had some exciting moments, it did not grab me the way the latter half of the novel did. It was a struggle to get past those beginning 100 or so pages.



Image + Summary from Goodreads

Friday, April 27, 2012

Let's Talk: Underrated Books

What ONE underrated book do you want to share with the blogosphere - new or old? 

There are quite a few, but I think I'll pick:

Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue by Hugh Howey.

Growing up an orphan in the Milky Way hasn't been easy, especially as a teenage girl in the Naval Academy. Unfortunately for Molly Fyde, things are about to get worse. Just as she's finding her place amongst the boys, her unfair expulsion from the Academy takes away the only two things that truly matter: flying in space and her training partner, Cole. Sent off to a normal school, she feels destined for a dull, unspectacular future.

Then, a marvelous discovery changes everything: Her father's old starship, missing for a decade, turns up halfway across the galaxy. Its retrieval launches Molly and Cole on the adventure of a lifetime, one that will have lasting consequences for themselves and billions of others. What starts off as a simple quest to reconnect with her past, ends up forging a new future. And the forgotten family she hoped to uncover is replaced by a new one she never foresaw: a band of alien misfits and runaways... The crew of the starship Parsona.
I'll admit it - I initially judged this book by its cover. But, fortunately, the story inside truly surprised me in a good way. It's the first book in a quartet, and a truly great sci-fi adventure that has a wonderful protagonist and cast of equally memorable characters. Once you get a few chapters in, Howey's writing becomes addictive and difficult to set aside. The different worlds presented are easily visualized because of detailed descriptions. Action, adventure, twists (this series has great shocking twists), and even a little romance - this book deserves some more readers. I would definitely recommend this book for any sci-fi / adventure / mystery fan. 

Go to I Swim for Oceans to join in with your own choice!


"Let's Talk" image from I Swim For Oceans
Cover + Summary from Goodreads

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mini-Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

The Book of Blood and Shadow
Robin Wasserman
April 10th, 2012
448 pages (hardcover)
Publisher - Random House
Source - Netgalley
...When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.
The Book of Blood and Shadow rightly deserves to be referred to as The DaVinci Code for YA literature. It's smart, entertaining, and wonderfully written. Wasserman takes her time to build Nora's character (along with Adriane, Chris, Max, and eventually, Eli). When the story truly begins, you cannot help but to root for Nora and admire her tenacity as she delves deeper into the mystery at hand. Every letter leads to another exciting clue, as well as to more danger for the characters involved. If you love a good mystery with plenty of surprises, then definitely check this novel out. 

Highlights: The Book of Blood and Shadow captivated me from start to finish. Once the mysteries began, the intensity never let up. The best compliment I can pay this story is that everything felt real - the mystery and history, the clues, the emotions, the characters, and the settings. There's fun banter between characters. I enjoyed having a narrator with an exceptional vocabulary. Also, the surprises and twists! 

Lowlights: For the first half, this story feels like a very long book. I wish some parts had been shortened a bit. Also, the summary makes you think that Chris is dead when the book begins - but he's actually alive for quite some time, so I felt like that was misleading and frustrating (since I knew what was coming). 



Image + Summary from Goodreads

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (times two!) (74)

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Dark Star
Bethany Frenette
October 23rd, 2012
Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it’s hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she’s lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human—something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile. 

Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn’t fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers—livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin. 

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person’s memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers’ next move. But Leon, her mother’s bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won’t let Audrey out of his sight. 

When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything—and everyone—she loves.
This one seems like fun. I can't remember the last time I read a superhero the cityscape cover!

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #2)
Michelle Hodkin
October 23rd, 2012
Two days after Mara walks into a police station in Miami at the close of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, she is committed for psychiatric treatment for what her parents believe is a mental breakdown. But what seems like a hallucination to everyone else is a chilling reality for Mara. Someone from her past has discovered her strange, disturbing secret and that someone wants her to pay. But she's about to discover that the price is more than she can bear.

Dark and thrilling, suspenseful and passionate, The Evolution of Mara Dyer will have readers breathlessly turning pages to find out what will become of Mara Dyer next.
I recently read the first book - and loved it - so now I'm very excited for the sequel! I love how well this cover goes with the first book.

What are you waiting on this week?


Cover + Summary from Goodreads

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top Ten Favorite YA Characters

TTT is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters In Books

1.  Fred and George Weasley (Harry Potter) - They are so awesome, it's almost not fair that they don't exist. I would definitely be best friends with these two.

2.  Karou + Brimstone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) - Both amazing and complex characters!

3.  Wes Baker (The Truth About Forever) - *swoons* (enough said)

4.  Susannah "Suze" Simon (Mediator) - Tough, sarcastic, relatable, and she can see (and beat up) ghosts. 

5.  Sirius Black (Harry Potter) - Without a doubt, my favorite character in the HP world. 

6.  Iko (Cinder) - Can I just say that I love and adore this little android? 

7.  Orion (Across the Universe) - Kind of a Spoiler: A villain, yes, but I still think he's very interesting as a character. I'm hoping he's in Shades of Earth more!

8.  Mara (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer) - She is seriously the most intriguing narrator I've come across lately. Sarcastic, possibly crazy, and continuously surprising.  

9.  Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter) - This post is getting to be very Harry Potterish, but how can I not include this kooky gal? She's pure awesome with her odd accessories and even odder statements. 

10.  Rose & Dimitri (Vampire Academy series) - Yeah, yeah, I'm cheating again by choosing a pair. But, Rose + Dimitri = epic. 

Who's in your top ten?


Monday, April 23, 2012

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

February 16th, 2012
307 pages (hardcover)
Publisher - Dutton
Source - Purchased
Colby & Bev have a long-standing pact: Graduate, hit the road with Bev's band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: She's abandoning their plans – and Colby – to go her own way in the fall.

But the show must go on, and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie Colby struggles to deal with Bev's already growing distance and the most important question of all: What's next?
"We all want to feel something..."*

Goodbye high school, hello road trip. Colby's excited about putting college on hold and going abroad for the year with his best friend, Bev. So, when Bev changes their plans with a surprising and blunt truth, Colby's stuck with three girls (one of which he is furious at), a VW bus named Melinda, and absolutely no clue where to go after the tour wraps up. Things are even more complicated, since Colby's torn between his anger and his deeper feelings for Bev. As the tensions rise and secrets spill, The Disenchantments takes the characters through the struggles that reside in friendship, individuality, and adulthood.

Nina LaCour's sophomore effort is excellent. Colby's voice strikes a note of authenticity and relatability from the beginning, and you can't help but to feel as angry as he is when Bev changes their plans with minimal notice. As for the Disenchantments, they may be a terrible band, but they're great characters - you've got Bev and her secrets, Meg and her positive attitude, and Alexa's utter sweetness. Colby's relaxed and giving personality melds perfectly with this trio, but it's his journey and his character growth that resonates the most in The Disenchantments.

Highlights: Not only is this story music-orientated, but it's deeper than the light, carefree cover suggests. There's a nice mix to the fun and the serious moments, and I loved every second it took reading this story. The art aspect to the story was great, and I love how the back jacket cover of the novel ties into some of that. Colby, a male main character, was a wonderful narrator1. Even side characters were pretty great, and each seem fully developed.

Lowlights: Maybe a bit more page-time with some side characters. 


* pg. 271
1 We definitely need more male MC's in YA lit


Image + Summary from Goodreads

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (75)

IMM is hosted by The Story Siren

(Last month or so of books)
 For Review (unsolicited)
Journey to the Fringe by Kelli Swofford Nielson
Eventide by Tracy and Laura Hickman

Purchased - Printed Books
(autographed & personalized to me) 
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Hold Still by Nina LaCour
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Purchased - Printed Books
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Purchased - Kindle
The Assassin and the Desert by Sarah J. Maas
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

Purchased - Audiobooks
Divergent by Veronica Roth
(narrated by Emma Galvin - and it's so, so good!)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
(narrated by Jim Dale)

What did you get?


Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Signing Recap + Giveaway

At the last moment, I dropped by the YA or Bust tour stop last night at Copperfield's Books (where Zoe of Zoe's Book Reviews was the very awesome question moderator). I failed at introducing myself properly1 due to all my hurrying, but I did manage to snag some goodies for a lucky reader. And, I learned quite a lot from these lovely authors!

Things I Learned From...

Nina LaCour
The Disenchantments was originally a terrible band made of four girls, instead of three. Hold Still had a somewhat difficult time finding the right title (I'm glad they picked HS!).

Gayle Forman
One of her favorite Where She Went scenes to write was the bridge scene, and she found Adam's voice fairly easy to write since she knew him so well from Mia's book.

Stephanie Perkins
There was something about learning how to hotwire a car for the original L&TBND ending....So yes, she's a criminal very cool person with an awesome hair color, too.

Jess Rothenberg 
The Catastrophic History of You and Me originally had some very angry letters from Brie to a possible man-stealing girl....Plus, her first chapter is very amusing :)

All in all, if you get the chance to meet these lovely ladies, take it. Check out Facebook for other YA or Bust tour stops.

Autographed ARC + SWAG!

US only. Ends May 3rd. Contest Policy

Extra 2 entries by answering the following question in the comments:

What author book signing do you wish you could attend?


1 Plus, I forgot my camera. Total book blogger fail, I know. 
2 Sorry I didn't get everything signed. I had an early morning class the next day, so I was rushing through the signing :(

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Blogging Break: Be Back Soon

Life has been extremely chaotic lately, but I should have the blog back on track in a week or so. However, I will have a giveaway for Julie Kagawa's The Immortal Rules posting sometime in the next few days (regardless of any blogging inactivity), so be sure to check back for that!

Hope you're all having a fantastic week,


Image from Free Use Photos, by IamOgi