Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes

I won this book during the Debut Authors blog hop from Sandy at Magical Manuscripts.  I finally got around to it this past month.  This is a very interesting dystopian story.  And one of the big selling points is that it has an autistic main character.  I also like that it uses a service dog that she has to help her with dealing with things that normally overwhelm or upset an autistic person.  It was neat to be reading about it as the local news was running a story about service dogs and autism.

The main character is Clover.  She lives in a world that has been devastated by a virus.  It was sweeping through the population when Clover was born.  Fortunately the Company found a vaccine, in the future.  But now they control everything.  The whole country is split up into walled cities to protect the citizens.  Inside the walls they get their vaccines every day.  And their allowed to get the food and other supplies they need based on a lottery type system.  One that even includes a bit of gambling to try to increase the worth of the wages they get.  Clover's mother died when she was a baby, her father killed her to try to save her from the virus, all this before the vaccine became available.  When it did, his whole family was saved.  But then he went and worked for the executioners, the people who kill those that information from the future shows they will commit a crime.  In that part it reminds me of Minority Report.  Since he's away, has to stay in the military/Company barracks, Clover and her brother West are watched over by a neighbor.  One who now is getting elderly, and West and Clover kind of look after her as well.  When West finished school, he went to work on the Farms. But what he hopes to do, now that Clover is almost done with school, and should be accepted into the Waverly-Stead Academy where she'll stay in a dorm, he hopes to go work for the Company.  But all of that becomes a lost cause when Clover is refused admittance to the Academy, supposedly because of her service dog.

It seems handy that the person in charge of the school just happens to have a letter recommending her for a job at the Company.  Working with the Time Mariners, the team that travels to the future.  She finds out on one of her missions that her brother's name is going to come up as a killer.  And when she gets back, she goes to try to figure out how to save West.  In doing this, they end up contacting one of the men who started the Company, the man who first went to the future and found the vaccine.  And they find allies in other kids that came from the Foster City.  They soon realize that they must be a part of the rebellion, to find out just what the vaccine actually does, and what the Company really wants from the people like Clover that seem to be hired often for the Time Mariners.

A different type of dystopian in a way, but still has a lot of the same details and storylines.  The time travel methodology is an interesting one.  Especially that they can only travel exactly 2 years into the future at any time.  And even with what we do learn, there is still much more to know, due to a surprising death or two at the end of the book, and some plot twists.  I'll keep my eyes out for the 2nd one to find out more.  And I'll be donating my copy to the high school library where I work in order to get the kids interested as well!

While you're here, don't forget to go enter my 1900 follower giveaway for up to $19 worth of books from the book depository or an Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC for that amount.  It ends tomorrow at midnight!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.  This week I've chosen a book that I first learned about through other blogs' WOW posts.  And then about a week ago I learned that I might get to be a moderator at a discussion with this author, along with three other authors, and now I'm even more eager to read this book.  Here is the blurb from  

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!

Sounds pretty interesting to me!  Especially if like me, you grew up watching The Wizard of Oz every spring when they broadcast it on network tv.  

While you're here, make sure you enter my 1900 Follower Giveaway for a book of your choice up to $19 value!  It ends on Friday! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Okay, I may be jumping on the Rainbow Rowell fan train after this book.  I had downloaded Eleanor and Park for my Nook when it was available for like $1.99, but just haven't been able to make myself read it.  So this one I checked out from the library to make sure I liked it.  This one actually sounded more like my type of book.  I'm really a fan of books that tell the story through texts or emails or something similar.  And this tells about half of the story that way.

The main character is Lincoln, who has just started a job as an IT security guy, in order to help a newspaper get ready for Y2K.  So you know the book takes place in 1999.  Really all he has to do is check emails that get flagged for inappropriateness and then send warnings out if it is needed.  However there are these personal emails between Jennifer and Beth that seemed to get flagged a lot.  Although really, the only problem is that they are personal, there is not really anything bad in them. Except the email where they list every word they think might get their email flagged.  The conversations between the two women are pretty entertaining to Lincoln, as they were to me as a reader.  And for some reason he doesn't bother to send them a warning.  Probably because they're really  not doing anything wrong.  He kind of develops a crush on Beth.  But she has a boyfriend, who is in a band.  He wants to go introduce himself, but how can he, because at some point he'd have to admit that he'd been reading her private emails.  And that's kinda creepy.  Meanwhile he is living at his mom's house. Which isn't horrible, I mean he gets wonderful meals.  But, his sister really thinks he needs to move out.  And he hates his job, he's basically sitting there every night bored.  One nice thing that happens, he meets an older lady named Doris on his breaks.  And at least makes a friend.  He feels sorry for her because she brings just a turkey sandwich for her break, and so he shares his feasts his mother sends with him.  And then soon, an email comes through the flagged file that Beth has seen him, and is calling him the "cute guy".  And now he's ecstatic, trying to find ways to be able to tell her he likes her too.  But still, a boyfriend is there.  So he goes on with his life.  Even hanging out with other people from the paper, as well as his old friends.

I won't go on.  It's kind of just that story. But so much better than I tell it of course.  And there is so much more to it as well.  I loved the story because it is the type of love I would be okay finding, in that exact way even.  I guess I even identify more with Lincoln because of several things he says/thinks.  One that caught me when I first start was on p. 21

"He could imagine himself a year in, at the comfortable place, the hand-at-the-small-of-the-back place.  But the meeting, the making a girl like him... He was useless at all that."

That's my problem.  I can imagine being with a guy that I like or think is cute.  But I just can't figure out how to go through the part of getting them to like me, the dating, etc.  And there were other really perfect quotes, I just wish I'd make a note of them.  I really need to start keeping track of the page numbers again when I read.  On my Nook I can make notes, but when it's an actual book I'll have to use a paper as a bookmark to do that on.

Love, love, LOVED the ending!  Was it happy?  Yeah, it'd have to be for this kind of book.  But it wasn't one of those that was just perfect, it all worked out with no discussion, kind of unbelievable endings.  It was realistic in my opinion.  I kind of want to even read it again it was so good.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Review (Sort of): The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow

First of all, thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for allowing me to read an e-galley of this title.  I loved the Transcend Time series by this author, and I got to meet her when I attended BEA two years ago.  So, even though I knew this wasn't really my normal type of book, I knew I liked her writing, so I requested it.  Unfortunately, it really isn't my type of book.  I'm not saying in any way, shape, or form that it isn't good, because it is a very good book for the type of book it is.  I think that anyone who enjoys books like Gossip Girl, or The Clique, or Pretty Little Liars series, will definitely enjoy it.  Another bit of proof about how good of a writer Michelle Madow is, this book is told from I believe four points of view.  The three sisters, and then one other girl that lives where the girls are moving to.  And I could tell which person I was reading their point of view very easily, and a lot of times with other books like this I have to go back and check the beginning of that section to remind myself who is narrating.

While I am not going to finish reading it, it is a book that I will definitely be buying and promoting in my high school library.  I am sure that many of my students will love the book.  I highly recommend it to any fans of the series that I mentioned at the beginning.  I personally just am not much of a contemporary type of story person.  I prefer some supernatural element, or dystopian, or something.  I congratulate the author on being a Harlequin Teen author, as I have followed her on Twitter and Facebook for a long time and think she definitely is an up and coming name in teen books.  Oh yeah, how awesome is the cover of this one!  I think it will be picked up by many readers just based on that alone!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Stacking the Shelves - February 23rd, 2014

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is a way for us to share the new books we have collected.  While I don't have much to share this week, one of the books is kind of a big thing for me.

Purchased at the $1 Store:

I have been a huge fan of Daniel Nayeri since I first read Another Faust.  Unfortunately, I wasn't blogging here yet, so I can't share my review of it.  But I had to look at the books at the $1 store, even though I didn't need any new ones.  And when I saw this, I know I probably gasped loudly.  I have had trouble getting ahold of this, at least trying to order at the bookstore where I worked, so I was very excited to find this, and at that awesome price!

My claim to fame!

Now you can tell this isn't a book I wrote, and it isn't about me, it is about one of my favorite authors.  So, why am I calling this my claim to fame?  Well, you might remember about a year and a half ago I mentioned getting an email from a publishing company wanting to use a picture from when I attended BEA.  I announced this last summer during an exciting week where I also finally got hired for a library job.  You can read the post HERE.   Well, above you see the book finally published that has my picture and gives me credit for the picture in it.  Here's the page with the picture:

Now while I am in the picture, meaning I obviously didn't take the picture, it was taken with my camera by the person in line behind me.  And below is the page with my name for them giving me credit for using the picture, the orange post-its pointing to my my name since it kind of ended one line and began the next.

Now, I know at BEA we're not really allowed to bring other books to get signed by the authors, but this one will be in my book to at least show Maggie Stiefvater if she is there this summer.  Which I'm hoping she will be, along with ARCs of the third book in the Raven Boys series.

So, not a lot for me this week, only 2 books.  But still, pretty exciting ones for me!  What did you add to your shelves this week?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Review: Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott

First thanks to Scholastic and Netgalley for allowing me to read an e-galley of this, even though I didn't get to it until the last minute.  I loved The Collector by Victoria Scott, so I was very excited to read this. And I was not disappointed at all.  In fact, when I picked it up, I could have probably finished it in just one day, if I'd had more time.  I only had time to read about a third of it on Thursday, but then yesterday I couldn't put it down.  Even as tired as I was before bed time, I couldn't go to bed until I finished it, it was that good.  There was no nodding off and forgetting what I'd read like happens when I'm usually that tired.

This is the gist of the story.  The main character's name is Tella.  Her brother is sick.  Her family has moved out to the country, because her mom believes the fresh air might help him get better, or at least to be more comfortable.  Tella is bored to death, as her mother has even outlawed all technology, so she can't even get on the internet.  One day Tella finds a gift wrapped box just sitting on her bed, and though it doesn't say who it is from, she opens it, assuming it is a gift from her parents to make up for her having to go live out in the boonies.  Inside is a little ear piece thing.  She thinks maybe it is like an iPod.  When she puts it on, it is a women's voice telling her that she can enter a race called the Brimstone Bleed, and the winner of the race wins the cure to save someone they love.  Like her brother.  When she goes to thank her parents for it, her dad takes it away and won't let her have it back.  Her mom and brother seem to have an idea about what it is, but no one will tell her anything.  When she sees her father burning it late that night, she sneaks out to the fire after he goes back in the house.  What she sees is that the fire hasn't damaged the little earpiece at all.  So, she goes into her room, packs her things, and follows the instructions to where this race will start.  The recording told her once she got to the location, she would need to pick out her "Pandora" which was something that would help her through the race.  The room where she goes has a bunch of what look like eggs sitting all around.  Different sizes, colors, etc.  And soon a bunch of people run into the room and begin grabbing the eggs.  Tella is able to finally get hers with the help of a very attractive, yet very mean looking boy a few years older than her it seems.

So once she gets to the start line, they know there are four parts to the race.  They will go through the jungle, the desert, the ocean, and the mountains.  The whole race will have a time limit of 3 months.  The first part is the jungle.  Where the eggs/Pandoras hatch.  And these Pandoras are really incredible.  They are animals, not what you'd necessarily think of hatching from eggs exactly, but they have extra powers or abilities.  The cute/scary guy has a lion that can light fires with his eyes.  Tella's Pandora is a cute little fox-like animal that seems to have no abilities.  And also seems to not be able to understand when Tella asks it to do something, like all the other ones seem to be able to do.  She meets up in the jungle with some of the other contenders, including the cute/scary boy, named Guy, a girl named Harper, and a woman named Caroline with a young boy named Dink.  Though they are all there to try to win to save someone they love, they figure until it gets closer to the end, they can work together, and also protect each other from the not so cooperative or nice contenders.  Like Titus.  Who seems to have not only a bit of a crush on Tella, but is really a jerk.  It seems he even is mean to his Pandora, possibly whipping it.

So, those are your main characters.  Lots of them have different reasons for being there.  And while Tella has no idea where or when this race started, some of the other contenders know more, and she tries to find out what she can from them.  What she learns, is a whole great background story that makes the race even more crazy.

My only negative, and it's not a negative to me, but I can see some people pointing it out and saying it, is that the idea of a race/contest like this is "just like the Hunger Games".  Yes, there is something similar.  But, even before Hunger Games there was Battle Royale, or before that there were the Stephen King stories, The Long Walk, or the one that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie made from it, The Running Man.  So, get over that point, and move on to the differences, and the good parts of the story.  I loved how the race worked.  It reminded me more of a Survivor tv show type race, again having to be able to survive in different elements, in this book, jungle and desert.  And making alliances is like that too.  And the Pandoras!  I loved them!  I want Tella's Pandora, she named it Madox, although the other contenders just called their Pandora by the scientific name, like G-6 or RX-13.  I also loved the characters, Tella won me over right away.  Victoria Scott's writing style is so easy to read, and fun to read as well.  I can't believe I'm done with it, and now have to wait at least a year probably for book 2!!!  No fair!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Cover Characteristics - February 21st, 2014

Cover Characteristics is hosted at  Sugar and Snark.  Here are the guidelines for how it works if you want to join in:

Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite covers with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the weeks particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL in Linky (so we can visit).
You don’t even need to participate, just stopping by and saying hi would be great! Don’t forget to stop by the other participants!

This week's characteristic is:  Fruit

So this was a no-brainer for me to do this week, and when I get to my #1 cover, I'll explain why.  Although other than my #1, it took a bit of research to pick the other 4.  Although going through all 80-some pages in my Goodreads list of books I've read, I found only5 exactly.  Perfect.





1.  And my favorite fruit cover of all (probably because I have it tattooed on my back) is:

Can you come up with some other covers with fruit?  That was all I could find in the books I'd already read on Goodreads.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba Bray

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting. This week I'm choosing a sequel to a book I got two years ago at BEA, but never got around to reading it until the end of last year.  It's also one that I'm really hoping I will get a copy of when I go to BEA this summer.  You can read my review of the first book in the series here:  The Diviners.  And here is the blurb of the upcoming sequel from

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O'Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to "read" objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, "America's Sweetheart Seer." But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners' abilities...

Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

So that's my choice for the week, what book are you eagerly awaiting this week?

And while you're here, make sure to go enter my 1900 Follower Giveaway

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Well, I had to go ahead and check this out from the library after reading the first one.  Mainly because as I read a sample of the first chapter of this one, I thought it would help me to understand the main character Travis Maddox, and might help me to not feel so guilty about reading it.  Why did I feel guilty?  I'm not going to spell it all out again, you can go read my reasoning at my review of the first book, Beautiful Disaster.

I would definitely say that reading from Travis's viewpoint did help to make it a little less bad.  And as I read it from his side, I could see that one thing the other main character, Abby, says is true.  They are both so dysfunctional together, but it is right.  While in the first book you only saw it from her side, and all you saw was how crazy Travis got, here you could see what was going through his brain, as well as how he really was trying to do better for her.

This isn't going to be a long review, because really most of the story is the same as I would have told you in the review of the first book.  Now, this book, I noticed some spelling/grammar errors that weren't caught by an editor.  Another difference in this book is that you get to see more of Shepley, Travis's cousin, Abby's friend America's boyfriend.  Because he lives with Travis.  So we get to know him better.  And I loved at the end, the little bonus bit that talks about Travis and Abby and their life further down the road.  They've been married for awhile and have kids.  It's great to hear about what kind of job Travis has. Although, I don't know.  I guess just the dysfunctional codependency I saw in Travis makes me a bit hesitant to believe that was the type of job he went into.  But what do I know?

A good, quick read.  I will definitely be reading the book that got me to read this, Red Hill, when I get a chance.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Insanity by Susan Vaught

First, thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury USA Children's Books for allowing me to read an e-galley of this.  As you have to notice from just one look, the cover is what first drew me in to see what the book was about. When I read the synopsis, it sounded even better. While I've given it a rating of 3 stars on Goodreads, I actually would do more of a 3.5.  I almost gave it a 4, but had some issues that I just had to back myself down a bit.  But even with the issues I had, it is still a very scary book, and one I will definitely look into purchasing for the high school library where I work.  I will also highly recommend it to people who enjoy a good ghost story. 

As I read one person's short review of the book on Goodreads, they mentioned about how it had multiple person point of view for the story.  And it does.  This reader had to set it aside on the 3rd person that it went to.  I can see how that could be a problem, although honestly, the characters did pretty much sound different as we read from their point of view.  And actually, we get the story from 4 different characters' points of view, going back to one of the first ones at the very end actually.

It starts with Levi.  Levi is out walking on a kind of scary night, and the bells of the local psychiatric hospital begin ringing.  According to his grandmother, you should never be outside on a night when the bells ring, because that means death is nearby.  And it is true, as Levi even runs into the killer that night after meeting a stray dog that he sees out following him.

The second point of view is Forest, a girl who has just reached the age where she is no longer being a foster child. She has just started a job at the Lincoln Psychiatric Hospital that we learned about in the Levi's part.  While she is there, she does get a bit spooked as she sees some pretty scary things.  In fact at one point, she learns she can help people passing on to the other side, quite helpful in the elderly portion of the hospital.  And when she goes to help a spirit, she ends up going to the other side herself.  And when she comes back, she finds that a lot of time has passed. So much that the woman who had really helped her at the hospital when she first started is now an elderly woman living in the hospital.  And so Forest is able to help her over.  She has met Levi now, and they are an interesting couple.  You see his grandmother that he mentioned in his part is a woman named Imogene who has been at the hospital for a long time, helping out with spirits, both good ones crossing over, and trying to keep the bad ones from coming out. 

The third point of view is a boy named Darius.  Darius has just lost his 2nd grandmother, both of them had died at the hospital.  And as this last one passes away, she tells him something that will lead to some scary things happening as he starts his job at Lincoln.  She tells him that she tried to stop him, but he is still hungry and Darius will need to finish it.  Darius soon learns that his grandfather was a serial killer, killing little kids.  And his grandmother had killed him, or so she thought.  It seems his grandfather has somehow broken through and with the help of an evil spirit is trying to begin his work again.  Darius meets Forest and Levi, and they help him to try to finish his grandfather off for good.  Now here is what helped me keep going with all of the different points of view, all of these people were really connected more than any obvious way of being around or working at the hospital. One of Darius' grandmothers was Forest's friend that she'd helped pass on to the other side.  So now we see the connection.  We also meet Trina, Darius' girlfriend during his portion of the story.

The fourth point of view is Trina.  Yeah, obvious connection as the girlfriend, who also gets sucked in when Darius is trying to send his grandfather back to hell or wherever.  But, there is another connection even farther back, to the other two in the story, or at least back to Levi.  There is a connection between Trina's father, who is a pastor, and Levi.  A connection I'll let you read the book and find out for yourself.  And once again there is something going on in the hospital. Something even more ancient than what has been going on in the past parts of the story.

This book has so much action, so many good ghosts and back stories.  I loved how all the people ended up being connected in some way to each other, and even to the town and hospital itself.  Very creative and I'm sure took lots of figuring and planning on the author's part.  Now the issues I had, while there were so many back stories that ended up being connected in really great ways, there was something about having Madoc blood.  And I don't know if I missed that part in my reading, or just don't remember it, but while I knew it was something important, it was stressed throughout the story, I'm not sure exactly what it means.  Okay maybe that's my only issue, and actually, it could be my own fault that maybe I skipped over that part or just don't remember it, so I may have to go back to Goodreads and go ahead and bump my review up to 4 stars.  Don't you love how I talked myself into that through writing the review?

Again, great story, the cover is perfect and totally sets the mood of the book.  Yes, it is a scary haunted metal hospital, but it is more than that.  A unique storyline about witches and people who just have some sort of abilities to help the dead cross over, or try to stop the dead that have bad intentions when possible. I could totally see this as a tv series actually.  Someone call the SyFy channel and let them know!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Post #5 and Stacking the Shelves - February 16th, 2014

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

Last week on my blog:

So while I only had 4 posts this week, instead of 5, or even 6, I definitely made my goal of 2 reviews this week by having 3!  I also had a giveaway as I reached 1900 followers on GFC.  If you haven't entered yet, click on the link above, you have until the end of February to enter!  I had some book issues this week.  I was reading The Blood Gospel by James Rollins.  I had picked up a stripped cover copy at the bookstore where I work.  However I didn't take into account how weird it was to already see a stripped cover of such a recent paperback.  And when I got to chapter 31, the next page was upside down, and there was a section of the last couple chapters I'd just read all upside down in the middle of the book.  Then, when it got back to being right-side up, it was chapter 35.  So several chapters missing. So I had to put that book down and wait until I get a copy that's not missing those pages.  Then, I was contacted by the woman who started the Move Books publishing, who I had worked with a few years ago, to read another manuscript, so I fit that into my schedule instead.  Unfortunately I can't review that just yet.

Also, the winner of my Romance is in the Air Giveaway is Krista, and I've contacted her, and she has chosen her book.  

This week on my blog:
  • Review:  Insanity by Susan Vaught
  • Review:  Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire
  • Review:  The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Cover Characteristics (or other Friday meme)
  • Stacking the Shelves
One review is already scheduled. The second one I am reading now, so I know it will get posted, the 3rd one will also probably get read this week and posted.  There may be one more, as I have 2 other e-galleys besides The Secret Diamond Sisters that are going to expire next Tuesday, the 25th, I believe the day they are published.  So this will probably have to be a week dedicated to lots of reading, as they are all books I really want to read!  Thank goodness for a day off with President's Day tomorrow!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is a way for us to share the new books we have collected.  A kind of slow week to be sure.


 (from Edelweiss)
(from Netgalley) 

So what are you planning for the upcoming week?  Did you add anything to your shelves this week?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Review: Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington

Thanks to Edelweiss and Soho Teen for allowing me to read an e-galley of this back in November.  I must say I really enjoyed this book!  Such a great ghost story, with a mystery to be solved.  And really, the romance between Malcolm and Liv carried over into my dreams the night I finished the book, leading to a wonderful dream!
Liv Bloom is the main character.  She is an adopted child who has gained entry into a very exclusive private school, Wickham, one she wants to attend for the awesome art program.  She has never felt she fit in, while she lucked out with her adopted parents, she never felt that they really got her.  Before she was adopted her time in the foster homes also led her to feel that way.  And right away at the new school she is even made to feel that way by the girl who is kind of the resident advisor of the hall where Liv will be staying.  But, the first night there, while she ends up sitting with the school's reject boy, Gabe, who is also a scholarship student, she also gets singled out to dance with a guy who is probably one of the most popular in the school, Malcolm Astor.  Yes, those Astors, if you know that name.  Gabe and Liv work together writing down all the names on the memorial bricks in the spooky area of the school.  A place that Gabe sees ghosts. At first Liv doesn't believe him, until she starts seeing some interesting things herself.  And when Liv goes to her art studio, each student has their own!  Her teacher is wonderful, and finally she feels at home.  And it turns out that Malcolm is also an artist.  And they even get a chance to spend more time together, dates actually.  Even though Gabe warns her it can only lead to bad things to get involved with him, because Malcolm is involved with the secret society, the Victors.  And they have all these rituals and secrets.  I wouldn't normally give this part away, but since it is part of the blurb on Goodreads, I will tell you that Liv dies.  In a similar way to the little short chapters we get that are from the viewpoints of other girls that died at Wickham.  Now that she's dead, she must convince Gabe to help her figure out who killed her.  Malcolm seems to be very upset by Liv's death.  But the more you learn about the other girls' deaths, as well as the Victors, it makes you wonder how much he really might be behind it.
Let me say I was definitely on the edge when it looked as if Malcolm could be a part of Liv's death.  I just loved their relationship and I didn't want it to happen.  This was a true love between the guy with a lot to the girl who comes with nothing.  They even drew on each other using their artistic ability, and because Malcolm knew after the first real date he wouldn't be able to see her for awhile, but having her drawing on his body would keep them close.  Something she would keep on her after she died as well.  It was so hard for her to work to solve the mystery.  She had Gabe, who went to Malcolm to try to get his help, but Malcolm was unable to hear or see Liv, so it took a bit of proof to get him to help.
A really good story.  I had a lot of trouble putting it down to do anything.  I wanted to just do nothing but read once I started it, and had to find out if Malcolm was really this great guy that had invaded my dreams. I loved the secret society and learning about the past and how the school had changed from even the founders' ideals.  And really, the founders had the same kind of love as Malcolm and Liv, the really rich guy in love with the girl who came from nothing. Probably the only thing I didn't like was the cover of the book.  But, hey don't judge a book by its cover and all that, right?  This is the author's first novel, although I believe she is a screen-writer in LA, so it's not like she has no experience. But she brought that experience into a YA story perfectly.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Booking Through Thursday - February 13th, 2014 AND GIVEAWAY!!!!

Since I got a review in yesterday instead of doing a WOW, and I'm not quite done with my current book due to several different reasons, I will join into this meme again, for the first time this year.  Not only that, but since I have passed the 1900 GFC follower mark for my blog, I will also have a giveaway at the end of this post.  Here is the question this week for Booking Through Thursday:

How do you like to spend your snow days? Feel free to gloss over the obligatory parts like shoveling unless you LIKE it. We’re talking ideal, best way to spend a snow day kind of thoughts, here.
For those of you who live in places where snow days simply don’t happen? Feel free to substitute “snow” with “rain” and think about the kind of days when you just want to cuddle up inside where it’s warm and dry.

Now where I live, we actually had 3 snow days last week.  So I only had to go to work at my school on Monday and Tuesday, which was kind of nice.  One thing I love to do is sleep in.  No alarm clock.  I even really enjoy getting up around the normal time, but then taking my pillow downstairs to the couch, and going back to sleep on the couch until I am ready to wake up naturally.  I love to watch the daytime tv that I don't get to see during the school year, Live with Kelly and Michael and The Talk are my 2 favorites, other than my soap, The Young and the Restless, which I record and pretty much watch year round though.  Lots of reading, lots of playing around on the computer.  And I usually get a lot of stuff done for my blog on those days.  The only bad thing about all the snow we got is that I have two little dogs, see the header at the top, and so I have to have a shoveled spot for them to go do their business outside.  And one day last week, I had to shovel every hour because it was snowing so much.  What's great is when the school district goes ahead and cancels school the night before, because then I can stay up in my bed reading that night and not have to feel guilty or wake up too tired. (Maybe next snow day I'll get around to making a new button for this meme when I do it, as the one I have from the website is so small)

Now, on to the giveaway, since I have 1900 followers, I'll be giving away a $19 gift card to Barnes and Noble or Amazon, your choice.  For my international followers, if you don't want the gift card, I will purchase a book for you up to the price of $19 from The Book Depository, as long as they deliver to you.  I'm going to make entering simple.  You just have to be a follower in some way, it doesn't have to be GFC, even though that's where my 1900 is at.  And then I'd love to have you comment on any book review on my blog that you'd like.  In fact I'll let you get more entries by coming back each day and commenting on a different review.  I'll run this giveaway until the end of February, 2 weeks basically.  And when you're done entering this one, don't forget to go enter my giveaway as part of the Romance is in the Air Blog Hop, which is over tomorrow!  

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review - The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff

This review is a long time coming.  I received an ARC of this book back at BEA in the summer of 2012.  I kept it somewhere that whenever I had just a bit of time to read, I could pick it up and read.  Which makes sense as it is a collection of short stories.   These are three authors that are kind of favorites of mine.  Maggie Stiefvater I knew from reading her book Shiver for one of the Missouri state book awards, and then loving the whole series.  When she visited Kansas City, the first time I saw her, the other two, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff both just happened to be at the signing as well.  I had read an ARC of Brenna Yovanoff's first book, The Replacement, and really enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, not knowing she would be there, I didn't bring it to get it signed.  I hadn't heard of Tessa Gratton until then, but as she lives in Kansas, right by Missouri where I live, she was there, and they had her book, Blood Magic, for sale, so I bought it and got it signed.  Of course I got my picture taken with all of them at that time, I believe that was fall of 2011.  Then they were all three signing this book at BEA the next summer.  So once again, I got all their signatures, and pictures with them.  The even cooler thing about the picture below?  Well, I was contacted and paid to let a publishing company use this photo in a biography for Maggie Stiefvater.  I'm still on the lookout to find a copy of it.

So, my review.  Well, these stories really made me wish that I could be a part of a writing group like this.  It seems like such a great way to pull out your creative side and just write.  And what was even more fun was all the little doodles and extra writing on each page by both the author of that story, as well as the other two often adding their own thoughts.  And some of the stories either went on to be full length books, or more likely were kind of inspiration for a future novel by one of the three.  The stories were definitely a great way to kind of get a good feel for each of the authors' writing style or voice.  I'm going to pick one favorite story from each author to tell a little bit about.

1st is the story by Tessa Gratton that led to The Lost Sun, the United States of Asgard series she is now in the midst of.  The title of this short story is:  Berserk, which of course has to do with Viking warriors.  The story tells the tale of a young girl who watches as her family is killed by trolls.  A berserker comes along and finds her burning the house, as well as her family, as the culture does with their dead.  And while he wants to take her to safety, she tricks him into following the trolls and helping her to get her revenge.  One of my other favorite stories of the book is also by Ms. Gratton, Date with a Dragon Slayer.  And in a way is a bit similar in the Norse types of themes.

Okay, I think my favorite by Maggie Stiefvater is The Deadlier of the Species, a zombie story.  It's a bit unique for a zombie story, which only makes sense for this author.  The cause of the zombies is a little parasite that must be in water or it will die when not in the host, or zombie it seems.  I love the way Ms. Stiefvater writes her characters, the banter, and even the horror of this story doesn't keep her from doing that.

Finally, my favorite story by Brenna Yovanoff in the collection is titled Neighbors.  This is a story about a ghost.  The ghost of a child.  And they don't necessarily understand that they are a ghost.  It's a short quick way, maybe not quite so shocking and scary though, of telling a story similar to the movie The Sixth Sense.  You may or may not see the end coming.  But it's still a good telling.  Ms. Yovanoff is pretty good with ghost stories.

Those are just a few of the stories, and there are others that I really liked just as well, but I didn't want to tell about all of them.  I actually feel as I looked back through to pick which ones to talk about, that I may have enjoyed many of Tessa Gratton's stories the most.

P.S. - Check back this week, as I've now passed 1900 followers on GFC, so I see another giveaway in the future!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review: Resistance (Replica Trilogy #2) by Jenna Black

Of course I have to thank Tor Teen again, as well as Edelweiss for allowing me to read an e-galley of this in November.  And as I mentioned on, this is one of those few times that I like the sequel better than the first book.  And I really liked the first book, you can read my review of Replica, HERE.  Okay, so if you haven't read the first one, there may be some, probably will be some spoilers here.
At the end of the last book, Nadia and Nate had stopped the Chairman, Nate's father, from continuing his evil testing of the people from The Basement, in other words, the poor people.  But in order to stop him, they'd had to hide away a recording of him giving away his plans.  Nadia had her sister Gerri hide it, but told her not to ever listen to it.  Nadia got arrested, and now is an embarrassment to her Executive family, so they send her to an Executive retreat to get her out of the press's eyes.  Unfortunately while she is there, the Chairman has a new plan, one that will insure that Nadia will probably be sent away forever by her parents.  He decides that he needs to boost the economy by making a match with another Chairman's heir.  Knowing that doing this will completely disgrace Nadia, no longer meant to be the wife of the future Chairman.  Nate tries to fight it, while also taking his anger out on the girl he is now meant to marry, Agnes.  Agnes is a plain girl, and very socially awkward.  Even when Nate tries to get her to say she won't marry him, she explains that while she may not be happy about the match either, she knows it is best for her father and her country.  About this same time, Nate's mother, who has been in a more private retreat for executives, passes away.  Nadia has been all by herself, her only communication has been Dante.  Who gets a secure phone to her so that Nate can make sure to let her know if she is in trouble.  But it becomes more than that.  He begins visiting her every night, seeing how lonely and stressed she is.  Things of course go from bad to worse, but I like that unlike many 2nd books in a trilogy, there is still a big face off at the end.  I will say that I kind of guessed who a certain person we meet when Nate's mother dies really is.  I was glad to see that I was correct!  I won't give any more of the story away.
Again, the love story isn't just Nadia and Dante, it is also Nate and Kurt.  I have tried reading another book with a gay main character, and it was harder to read.  This is just so normal, and really what seems to be a realistic relationship, that it is not something I even notice really as I read.  So great to be getting more stories like this out for teens.  Now this isn't a future where that is okay, in fact this whole relationship between Nate and Kurt is what started the whole series from the very first book.  I will definitely be getting these books for my school library.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Stacking the Shelves - February 9th, 2014

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is a way for us to share the new books we have collected.  This week I visited Half Price Books for the first time, as well as finally getting the books I was waiting on for the library, so I have some physical books to share for a change.

E-galleys from Edelweiss:

So the first one is a sequel to Dualed, a book I wasn't quite sure about, but do want to see what will happen next, and the 2nd one just sounds pretty interesting.

Borrowed from the Library:

Both books I had been on the waiting list forever.  One I was supposedly next on the list to get it, but it came after the other one, within a day.  So I got them the same time.  I think I'll spend my Valentine's Day reading the 2nd one as I know it will be a quick read.

Purchased at Half Price Books:

Both of these are a little bit older, but ones I still have wanted to read.  I must say I was a little disappointed in Half Price books.  Some books for sale, not half price.  Then, I brought over 20 books in to trade, and only got $6 for the.  I know they have to make money, but since I didn't see a single book for less than $1, I would think giving me at least 50 cents per book would have been fair.  Oh well.  They were books I either wasn't ever going to read, or ever read again, so $6 is better than nothing.  I put it towards these two books, but still had to cough up $9 of my own money.  Also, I found an ARC on one of the shelves.  I brought it up to them, and all they would say is that sometimes they missed them.  Um, how?  You look through the books before you buy them, and it says it right on the cover.  I'm sure they put it right back on the shelf after I left.

Enough about that, I'd say it was a pretty good week for me.  How about you?  What books did you add to your shelves this week?

And don't forget to enter my Romance is in the Air Giveaway HERE.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Review (sort of): White Space (Dark Passages #1) by Ilsa J. Bick

First, thanks to Edelweiss and Egmont USA Publishing for allowing me to read an e-galley of this.  Second, the reason I am calling this "sort of" a review is because I haven't actually finished the book yet.  I've only made it a little over halfway through the 560 pages.  The problem is I was having so much trouble reading the format of the e-galley that I decided to just review how I liked the book so far, and wait to finish it with an actual copy of the book when I could really get into it.  The print in the e-galley was so small, and the only way to make it bigger was to use my hand and kind of swipe it bigger.  But then when I went to turn the page, it went back to the small size again, and I would have to re-enlarge it.  And, if I didn't make it smaller before I turned the page, then it took a long time to go to the next page as well as being smaller.  So I kept being interrupted every time I tried to go on to the next page, and there were some really intense moments that I didn't want to be interrupted as I needed to know what was happening next, and quickly!

I would compare this story to what I imagine H.P. Lovecraft stories are like.  I've not read any, I don't think, but it seems like the monsters remind me of the images you see of "Lovecraftian" monsters.  And it definitely reminds me of a Stephen King novel, one of his really dark ones, like It, one of my favorites.  I do really prefer to kind of know sometimes ahead of times what is going on, and in a way, you're kind of finding your way along the story with the characters, but it is done in a really good way.  It is a totally different kind of story than the author's first series, The Ashes Trilogy, but I loved that, and so far I'm pretty intrigued by this story as well.

The characters are all flawed it seems, they have something to hide, something about them that could change the way the people they are meeting would feel about being around them.  And while we kind of know with some of them, you slowly learn more as the story goes on. There are two characters, soldiers, that I kind of figured out a little of their back story before it really began to unfold, but I'm not saying that in a bad way, I was just thinking it was what it was going to be, and then it was!

I definitely recommend this book, but as it is over 500 pages, same as the first trilogy, you have to be ready to pick it up and just get sucked in, and just go with it.  I can't wait till it comes out, probably enough that I will have to go ahead and buy it right away so that I can finish reading it.  But we'll see how broke I am this week.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Giveaway: Romance is in the Air Blog Hop 2014

I decided to participate in this hop again this year. It is sponsored by Kathy at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer, and also Rachel at Keeping it Clean.  This Hop will feature Young Adult and Clean Adult Romance.  I have several titles, they are ones that I found the romance to be very good in.  But you don't have to pick one of them, you can pick any book that has YA or clean adult romance as long as it is under $12 at the Book Depository.  And since I am shipping from there, this contest will be international for anyone that TBD ships to.  And after you've filled out the Rafflecopter below, make sure to hop along to all the other great blogs taking part in this giveaway in the Linky at the bottom.

I do check all entries, so make sure you give me the exact name that you follow under, because if I can't find your name, you can't win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway