Sunday, August 31, 2014

July/August Prequel and Sequel Challenge Wrap-Up

Once again I'm doing two months together.  Just seems to work out best for me to do it that way.

  1. Paranoia (Night Walkers #2) by JR Johansson - 2 points
  2. The White Glove War (Magnolia League #2) by Katy Crouch and Grady Hendrix - 2 points
  3. The Burnouts (Quarantine #3) by Lex Thomas - 12 points (final book in series) Book 1, Book 2
  4. City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare - 12 points (final book in a series) Books 1-3, Book 4, Book 5
  5. Flawed (Perfection #2) by JL Spelbring - 2 points, Book 1

  1. Astray (Gated #2) by Amy Christine Parker - 2 points, Book 1
  2. Undead with Benefits (Eat, Brains, Love #2) by Jeff Hart - 2 points, Book 1
  3. Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman - 2 points, Book 1

Not so great the last two months.  But with my September is for Sequels Reading Challenge coming up, I should be getting a ton more points!  The trend also continued with my 2nd month being less than the first.   I had made it to 100 points back in June.  Now I'm adding 36, so 136 points now. Which makes me a Veteran, the top of the challenge!  Yay!  But I'm not done!  And if you want to join into my September reading challenge, it's simple and there will be a giveaway for those who participate, just click on the button below!

Review: Blackbird by Anna Carey

First, thanks to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for allowing me to read an e-galley of this title.  For a little while today I was afraid I wouldn't get to finish the e-galley.  I set my Nook down to take my dogs outside. When I came back in and picked my Nook back up, the file was gone from my Bluefire Reader App.  But, eventually I figured it had to still be on my Nook somewhere, even if it was expired.  So I typed into the search bar and found it.  And opened it and got right back into reading it.  I only had about 60 pages left, less by the time I finished and the last 5 or so pages were acknowledgements, etc. 

The story is about a girl, we don't know her name, but she decides to tell a boy who asks that her name is Sunny.  So that is what she goes by.  The boy is Ben and she meets him in a grocery store, right after she first wakes up in the subway station.  She wakes up on the tracks, her feet tangled up in a backpack, very weak and not able to move easily.  The train does go over her, even as it is stopping, but she is able to stay low enough to the ground to not really be hurt.  She doesn't know who she is, and she finds a note in her backpack that says not to talk to the police, and gives her a phone number to call.  So she takes off.  It is on the run that she meets Ben, who offers to help her.  But she doesn't know him, and knows that she must stay off the radar.  The phone number leads her to a place that has just been robbed.  And now she is wanted for that.  She soon figures out there is a tracker in her backpack and she leaves it in a park in the exact same spot for two days, trying to draw in and trap whoever is tracking her.  It works, but the man who says his name is Ivan isn't really the bad guy she thought he was.  He had saved her earlier from a woman who had been going to shoot her.  And he ends up getting taken by two other mysterious guys, and now Sunny is worried for his safety.  As she tries to figure out who she is, while keeping two steps ahead of the cops and the others looking for her, she begins to have memories.  Of a funeral, of a boy, in a forest, of being chased.  She soon realizes, with Ben's help, that she is being hunted as part of a game.  Where people hunt other people.  And she learns something about an island that she must have begun being hunted on.  She seems to have a friend in Ben, but she doesn't want him to get hurt along the way.  Also, a girl staying next door to Ben is Izzy, and they kind of become friends, even though Sunny can't tell her anything.

Of course it all is part of an adventure, and knowing this will have a second part, of course there were also many things left hanging. While we've learned basically what is going on with Sunny, and who these people chasing her are, we don't know exactly "who" she really is.  There are things about Ben that we still need to know, and who the boy from the island really is.  Also, what funeral was she at? And will she be able to escape with her life and bring this human hunting ring down? 

This was definitely a good story, and it was getting really good when I had the scare of possibly the file being gone.  But I'm not sure how I feel about the story being told in 2nd person.  All of Sunny's parts are told in 2nd person.  It feels a bit like reading one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books.  Definitely a new way to read, or unusual if not new I guess.  And once I got into it, the "you" bit didn't trip me up as much as it did at first.  Actually I think this is a great book, one that English teachers could totally use to show examples of what 2nd person means.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Stacking the Shelves August 30th, 2014

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It is a way for us to share the new books we have collected.  I didn't get my post up last weekend, so this post will include two weeks worth of books.

Trades from YA Book Exchange:

So it was a good couple of weeks, for the most part, with trades from the YA Book Exchange. There are some awesome traders out there.  And as for any other issues, we'll not discuss them, as I've had a 99.9% great experience with the website.   Very excited about two of the books as they were ones I'd hoped to get when I went to BEA but wasn't able to.

Free e-books from Amazon:

Quite a few this time! These lists people share are dangerous!  But I guess I'll never run out of things to read.  As if that was ever going to be a problem.  

99 cent book from Amazon:

And that's about it for me!  But September will be a big month!  My September is for Sequels Challenge will start this week, and you can go sign up by clicking on the link below. Also, today is the last day to enter my 5 year Blogoversary giveaway, and there are some great prizes, so click on the cupcake button below!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

I honestly am mad at myself for letting this sit on my small TBR shelf in my living room under my tv for as long as it has.  I won it in a giveaway a while back, it was a book I was really interested in.  I only picked it up in a hurry because I saw an e-galley of a sequel/companion novel Tear You Apart.  So I figured I should hurry and read Kill Me Softly so that I could read the 2nd one as part of my September is for Sequels Challenge.  And I picked this up and it was a huge attention grabber!  I am a fan of the tv show Once Upon a Time and this book reminded me of it so much!  Not in a copycat way, but a good way.  It was so hard to put down, and I wanted so bad last night to finish it, but even with only like 10 pages left I was falling asleep, so tired from the last two busy nights, so I had to wait to finish until breakfast this morning. 

As you may have guessed from my description, it is basically a fairy tale retelling.  And not just one, a lot of different fairy tales.  And while it talks a little about the Disney versions, this is really a tale about the original Grimm fairy tales.  In the Grimm version of Cinderella, the two wicked stepsisters don't just try on the slipper and it doesn't fit, one cuts her big toe off in order to fit in the shoe, and the other cuts her heel off!  Much more gruesome than what Disney shows. 

The main character in this book is Mirabelle.  Her parents died when she was really young, and her two godmothers took her away from Beau Rivage, their hometown, to keep her safe.  Or to keep her from being sad supposedly.  She has no idea what kind of town this is, or that fairy tales might possibly be true.  Before her sixteenth birthday she decides that she needs to finally visit her parents' graves to be closer to them. So she sets up an elaborate plan about an online boyfriend that she is going to run away to meet.  This is to leave misleading clues for her godmothers to go on a wild goose chase trying to find her, hopefully giving her time to get to Beau Rivage and find what she needs there.  Well, once she gets there, she finds things are a little strange.  First she meets two brothers, Felix and Blue.  They are as different from each other as could be.  Felix is very straight-laced, even runs the fancy hotel and casino Mira ends up trying to hide out in for the night, Dream Casino.  But first she meets Blue.  And as his name sounds, he's a little different.  He's got all kinds of piercings and his clothes are all ripped up and written all over.  And the kicker, his spiky hair, and even his eyebrows, are blue, a bright candy colored blue.  Now Blue isn't such a nice guy it seems at first.  He's kind of rude, obnoxious, sarcastic.  And his main goal seems to be to make Mira go away, get out of town. He definitely doesn't want her to meet his brother.  Once she does meet him though, she is charmed by Felix, who is quite the romantic. 

The longer she is there, the more Mira sees strange things, and begins to learn even stranger things about herself.  The fist-sized, wheel-shaped mark on her back that she'd always thought was a birthmark, and been ashamed of, her new friends had them too. Blue, and Freddie, all of them.  While Blue's was more of a heart looking shape, Freddie's looks exactly like Mira's.  And soon she learns about curses, and fairy tales, and how Disney got things wrong.  She also learns that her parents may not have died in a fire as she's been told all her life.  And that she may have her own curse to deal with.  Falling in love with Felix, while he is charming and romantic, may not be the most healthy thing for her.  And what is it about Blue?  Will Mira have to be a part of the curse that is shown on her back?  Or can she beat it and go with what she wants?

This story is so much about choosing to make your life the way you want it, even with fate.  I love the fairy tales somewhat re-imagined.  And I love the love-hate relationship between Blue and Mira.  I am now going to be such a promoter of this book.  I will be donating my copy to the high school library where I work as well!  Not until after I loan it to my sister and another friend first though.  If you haven't read this yet, you need to get it on your TBR list. 

While you're here, there's only 1 day left to enter my awesome 5th Blogoversary giveaway by clicking on the button below!

Or you can still sign up to take part in my September is for Sequels Challenge on the button below. There will be prizes possible for participants as well!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Review: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

First I must say thank you to Harper Collins and Balzer and Bray for allowing me to read an e-galley of this from Edelweiss.  Gretchen McNeil is an author that I heard lots of buzz about with her book Ten, before I even read any of her books.  So far 3:59 is my favorite of her books, but Get Even is a close 2nd!  At first as I was reading I though, oh, it's going to be a contemporary romance type of book.  But of course, it was more, and boy did it even get to be more than I'd expected. 

There are four main characters:  Kitty, Olivia, Bree, and Margot.  They aren't friends in "real" life, no one has ever really seen them together.  But ever since a project their 9th grade year, they decided to form a group called DGM for short, or Don't Get Mad.  All of them have dealt with bullying in some way in their past.  Margot used to be overweight, and was bullied, so badly that she tried to kill herself.  Kitty knew about it from a friend who got kicked off their volleyball team.  Olivia is one of the popular girls, and so is around friends who do it all the time.  And Bree's best friend is a boy named John, who gets teased a lot, because his last name could rhyme with a bad term for gay people.  They all go to a Catholic school where the bullying seems to be rampant, to the point that the adults often ignore name calling and even somewhat support the bullies at times.  DGM has a goal to stop the bullying.  They don't make stuff up, they only take what is already out there about these bullies and make it clear to everyone else.  The other students for the most part are fans of the DGM.   But not the administrator, Father Uberti, or F.U. as the girls call him snidely.  And also not one of the teachers, Coach Creed, who is really a big bully himself.

Something has changed now, someone is sending the four girls manila envelopes with pictures and other clues in them.  They are being led to a military school where the Coach used to be. And then one of their new students, a douche-bag type of guy named Ronny dies.  Right after DGM gets things to try to humiliate him for what he's done.  Some of the clues paint their fellow DGM members in a suspicious light, taking away what trust they have for each other.  Secrets start being kept from each other, while other secrets from the past start to get revealed.  The girls of DGM must decide if they can still trust each other to do what is right, the mission of DGM, or if the person behind all the secretive notes is one of them. 

Let me just say this ended on such a HUGE cliffhanger!  I had to go to the author's Facebook page and tell her that there was no way I'd be able to wait a whole year to know what happens next.  She said next summer is when the next book comes out, and that ARCs could be out as soon as December.  Believe you me, I'll be keeping my eyes wide open for it on both Netgalley and Edelweiss, as well as possibly researching to see who the publicity person is that I might be able to talk to so that I can make sure to get this read as soon as possible.  What a great mystery that totally kept me guessing, and with that ending, left me guessing still!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - Infected by Sophie Littlefield

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.  I've chosen a book this week that is by an author that I've enjoyed other books by, Sophie Littlefield.  She had a zombie series that I liked, Aftertime, and from the title of this book, I assumed it might be set in the same world, which now that I read the description below, I'm not sure that it is.  I did get to meet the author at BEA this year, unfortunately the book that I got at the time was not my type of book, but I passed it on to someone who I think would enjoy it.

The race-against-the-clock feel of TV’s popular show 24 meets the action-packed romance of the film Run Lola Run. This high-concept teen thriller sends readers on the race of their lives.

Carina’s senior year is spiraling downward. Fast. Both her mother and her uncle, the only two family members she’s ever known, are dead. Their deaths were accidents, unfortunate results of the highly confidential research they performed for a national security organization. Or so she’s been told.

She’s not buying it.

After finding a unique code hidden beneath the stone in a ring her mother left to her, Carina goes straight to the only family she has left: her boyfriend, Tanner.

The people Carina loved kept dangerous secrets. Secrets that make her question the life she’s been living up to now. Her life is on the line, but more importantly, so is Tanner’s. And if she fails? He dies.

Here I am with the author at BEA:
Sophie Littlefield and me

 While you're here, there's still time to enter my 5th Blogoversary Giveaway by clicking on the button below:

And you can clear your shelves of those sequels you've been sitting on by signing up for my September is for Sequels Challenge, which will also have prizes for those who participate.  Just click on the button below to go sign up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cover Characteristics - August 26, 2014 - Bare Feet

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!

I always try to pick books I've already read,  plus, since it is Tuesday, instead of 5 covers, I'm going to do a top 10, in no particular order.

This week's characteristic:  Bare Feet











 While you're here, don't forget to enter my 5th Blogoversary Giveaway, just click on the picture below.
5th Blogoversary Giveaway

And I also have a sign up for a Blog Hop which closes today, and my September is for Sequels Challenge which closes September 15th, for you to sign up for with the buttons below.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: Made for Two by Karen Lenfestey

This is an e-novella that I was alerted to for 99 cents on Amazon and it sounded pretty good.  It was about a teacher, who went back home after an issue she had at the inner city school in Chicago where she taught.  She tried to reconnect with her old love while she was there.  They had broken up when she moved to Chicago to teach, because he didn't want to leave.  He wanted to stay and run the family bakery.  Well, she had also been best friends with his sister.  And when Diane goes to the bakery to see Tim, his sister is very hateful and doesn't want her to even talk to him.  It seems that Tim has been in a pretty big almost depression since Diane left.  And he kind of hides out in the back of the bakery.  Diane also is home with her mother, who has been alone since her dad died.  And she finds out that her mom isn't really leaving the house much, even to the point of having her groceries delivered.  So Diane sets out to find the love that her mother lost before her dad, and reconnect them, even as she tries to get Tim back.  All while trying to get her teaching job in Chicago back, even if it might cause problems for her and Tim.

A quick read.  Not bad.  A pretty predictable story, other than one thing that had happened to Tim was not really what I'd expected exactly, but it definitely gave the story its little bit of uniqueness I guess.

While you're here, don't forget to enter my 5th Blogoversary Giveaway, just click on the picture below.
5th Blogoversary Giveaway

The September Sequels Giveaway Blog Hop is open for sign ups for one more day by clicking the left button below, and my September is for Sequels Challenge you still have until September 15th to get signed up for with the button on the right.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon #TackleTBR

This is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and I heard about it from her when she signed up for my 3rd Annual September is for Sequels Challenge.  And really, the two go together perfectly!  The sequels I plan to read will be partly from my TBR shelf, so during the dates of the challenge, September 8th - 20th, I will do my best to read the sequels that are from my TBR shelf as opposed to the ones I got from the library.  Here are the rules:

The Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon begins Monday, September 8th and ends Saturday, September 20th. You do not have to be a blogger to sign up. Just use your Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Tumblr instead (the place you're going to post updates on). You just need to be able to leave a link. For signing up, you should create a sign-up post and use that as your link (the URL field) you'll use in the linky below.

Please sign up by using the linky at the end of the this post. You MUST be signed up in the linky to enter any related giveaways and participate in the challenges. You are required to post a sign-up post (with or without goals, we will be posting goals too, but that isn't required as a separate post) and a wrap-up post (at the end of the read-a-thon) to be eligible for the giveaway. Everything else and how you participate is up to you.

You can sign up through September 17th.

You're welcome to participate as much or as little as you'd like. The read-a-thon is to encourage us all to read so that we can tackle those tbr piles, not to cause extra stress. ;) You will see requests for updates, but there are no requirements that you leave an update every day. Daily updates are great, though, to help us all stay motivated and cheer each other on. If you do want to post a daily update, here is a simple template (omit or add things as you like):

(Day of the week)
What I read today:
Today's finished books:
Total number of finished books:
Titles of finished books:

We will be using hashtag #TackleTBR on Twitter for updates and tweets. I'd love for you to include me in your tweets too @TresSherm. This is also a great way to find others participating and give some encouragement.

There will be a giveaway that I will host for all read-a-thon participants. I haven't completely decided on what all will be on there, but I'll know by the time this begins. A little mystery is always good, right? :) You should know that it will at least include a $15 Amazon gift card.

Here are the books I think I am going to read during that time:
  • Asunder by Jodi Meadows
  • The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore
  • Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  • Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
These are all somewhat thick books, so with only 12 days for this challenge, picking four books is one every three days.  I  think that is probably fair.  

Now if this read-a-thon sounds like something you'd like to join into, you can click the picture at the top and it will take you back to the sign up page.  And if you want, you can click on my link above to go to my September is for Sequels Challenge and sign up for that too.  I'm also co-hosting a Giveaway Hop with I Am a Reader that signs up close this week, click on the button below to go sign up.

And there's one more week to enter the huge giveaway I have for my 5th Blogoversary earlier this month.  Click on the button below for that:

Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

I had seen this book all over other blogs this past year.  And how beautiful is that cover?  So I was very excited to see that the author was going to be at BEA this past summer.  I was lucky enough to get in line and meet her, as well as get an autographed ARC.  I do mean lucky, because really I loved this book.  It is a dystopian novel, and yes, there are many similarities to others already out there, but there are also some very unique bits in it.

The main character is Violet, or at least that is her name until the day of the Auction, when she will be 197 out of 200 girls, with 200 being the best.  And after she is bought, she will no longer have any name, she will just be a surrogate.  In Violet's case, she will be the Surrogate of the House of the Lake.  The House of the Lake is one of the four original founding families of The Jewel.  The Jewel is the center of an island, the wealthiest, most important people live here.  Surrounding them is the Bank, a ring around the Bank is the Smoke where all the factories are.  Around the Smoke is the Farm, well, you can guess that one, and the very outer ring is the Marsh, where Violet comes from.  Surrounding the Marsh is a giant wall that keeps the ocean from coming in and ruining everyone's life.  In this future world the people of the Jewel have become unable to have babies.  And so they search through the lower rings for girls who still are able to do this, as well as ones that have kind of psychic powers, called Auguries. These powers have to do with being able to change the color of things, the shape of things, the size of things.  As well as the final one, which has to do with creating life.  Violet has earned some of the highest scores on these powers.  That is one reason she has such a high number for the auction.  She has been at a type of school before being sent on to the auction.  So should mostly know what to expect.

But once she is purchased, she finds that the woman who she is now a surrogate for, the Duchess of the House of the Lake, does not seem like a very pleasant woman.  Why?  Well, one of the first things she does to Violet is slap her.  The Duchess reasons that if she does that to start with, then hopefully the surrogate will not want a repeat and so will be obedient and not have to deal with that again.  When Violet does things that please the Duchess, she is rewarded.  First with a cello, an instrument that Violet loves to play.  Later it is more freedom to even wander around the house, including the outside, but only with her lady's maid, a mute girl named Annabelle.  She finds Annabelle to become mostly a friend, although there are times Annabelle also is scared of attracting the wrath of the Duchess, and does things that are not so great.  She is unable to even talk to her former friends who are surrogates for other wealthy women, that is forbidden.  She soon learns there is lots of animosity between all the women, all of them are hoping to have a daughter that will be betrothed to the ruler, the Exetor's son, and become the highest link for their family.

Along the way she will learn how to use her powers to communicate secretly with one of her friends.  She will find her first love, in a boy who isn't a possibility, as she has to bear the Duchess's child.  But he does understand her, as he also comes from one of the outside rings, and has come to do what he now does only to save his youngest sister from dying from Black Lung.  She will find an ally in someone else, even though their motives may not be clear at first.  The ending was a total cliffhanger, and I really can't wait to find out what happens next.  As there is a surprise in who she hears the voice of at the end.

A really good story.  Yes, a lot of it is the same in a way as other dystopians, but there is so much that is unique in it that it worked.  Her one ally does remind me a bit of Cinna in The Hunger Games, although I liked Cinna, and I'm not quite sure how much I liked or trusted the one in The Jewel.  I highly recommend this to dystopian lovers like myself.  Great read.  I was able to read all 350-some pages in really about a day and a half, that includes working my high school library job, as well as my part time job at Barnes and Noble.  And on another note, here I am with the author at BEA this past summer:
Amy Ewing and I

While you're here, don't forget to enter my 5th Blogoversary Giveaway, just click on the picture below.
5th Blogoversary Giveaway

And I also have a sign up for a Blog Hop and my September is for Sequels Challenge for you to sign up for with the buttons below.