Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stacking The Shelves: September 30th

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews telling people what new books we've gotten over the week.

Downloaded to Kindle:

Nikki Heat series Book 3: Heat Rises by Richard Castle-Because it was a Kindle Daily Deal this week and I love Castle and I get a kick out of the Nikki Heat books.

Sweet Venom by Tara Lynn Childs-Currently free on Kindle. Hopefully I'll like this better then her mermaid series.

Library Haul:

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson-About Tiger Lily obviously. I've always been more interested in her then in Wendy. Can't wait to read. YA Debut.

The Demon Catchers of Milan book 1 by Kat Beyer.-YA debut with a gorgeous cover. I'm not really expecting much from it, but perhaps it'll surprise me. Should be good reading for Halloween season at least.

So Close to You Book 1 by Rachel Carter-YA debut I've heard little about but has a potentially awesome sounding premise.

Something Strange and Deadly book 1 by Susan Dennard-This book had me at zombies and that gorgeous cover.

Magic Under Glass Book 2: Magic Under Stone by Jaclyn Dolamore-Sequel to the imaginative Magic Under Glass. Already finished. Didn't enjoy as much as the first but still as creative as ever.

Team Human by Justine Larbelestier and Sarah Rees Brennan-Fun looking concept. While I'm not crazy about the one book I've read by Larbelestier I adore Brennan's books and this looks right up my ally.

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund-Basically Persuasion in space written by the author of the fabulous Killer Unicorns series. It's not the Killer Unicorn book 3 that I wanted but I'll take what I can get.

The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent-My steampunk addiction strikes, YA debut.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ditched Books for September

Only ditched two this month! I did good!

TITLE: The Last Princess
AUTHOR: Galaxy Craze (yes, really)
GENRE: Dystopian
PREMISE: In a dystopian world the world's last princess escapes as her kingdom is taken over by a ruthless invader.
WHY I DITCHED IT: I honestly just wasn't feeling it. The world building was extremely confusing and not well explained and the main character was flat.

TITLE: The Peculiars
AUTHOR: Maureen Doyle McQueery
GENRE: Steampunk, Urban fantasy
PREMISE: Lena goes off into the forbidden world of the faerie.
WHY I DITCHED IT: The writing style was annoying. The main character was whiny and weepy and annoying. I also felt extreme deja vu while reading it because I've read several books like it but those took the same idea and actually made it interesting (such as Iron Codex or heck even Dust Girl). This was just boring with characters that I didn't care for.

Book Review: The Girl is Trouble

TITLE: The Girl is Trouble
Book 2 in the Girl is Murder series
AUTHOR: Kathryn Miller Haines
GENRE: Mystery, historical fiction
PREMISE: Iris starts her training for detective work and immediately discovers secrets behind her mothers death.
MY REVIEW: So I just recently (as in like last month) read The Girl is Murder and while I thought it was well written...I felt it dragged and that the mystery was rather lack luster. Luckily this second has much better mysteries and twists to it.
I will say I still sort of find Iris a little irritating. However she has grown on me and there seems to be some character growth going on for her so I'm not completely writing her character off. But the biggest draw for me in this series is the fabulous writing and how much the mysteries actually work even if they aren't the best. Look, sometimes historical mysteries are eyebrow raising. But these, I get. Also I have to once again pat Miller on the back for not glamourizing the 1940s like I've seen so many movies/books do. This talks about the racism that went down in this era, especially towards Jews. Nowadays all the history teachers like to act as though the hatred of the Jewish people was strictly a German thing back then. Yeah, no. It took place in this country too (and still takes place in some cases). I also advise you to read up on what happened to Japanese Americans during world war II. It was not pretty and amazingly almost never covered in classrooms (at least not in my bible belt state). Gee, I wonder why?
So I have to say this book is a definite step up from book 1. I'm not sure if there'll be any more books in this series as this one felt rather final to me. If there are I certainly won't complain.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read The Girl is Murder, Historical fiction fans, mystery fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five gumshoes

Book Review: Out of Sight, Out of Time

TITLE: Out of Sight, Out of Time
Book 5 in the Gallagher Girls series
AUTHOR: Ally Carter
GENRE: Mystery, adventure
PREMISE: Camie wakes up to discover she can't remember her whole summer and everyone thought she was dead.
MY REVIEW: It is a truth, universeally acknowledged among readers that making a book series interesting and as entertaining as it was past the fourth book is very very hard. There's a reason trilogies are more popular then long running series or that long running series are taking the spin-off route (Percy Jackson for example) instead of just being long. I am proud to say Gallagher Girls avoids the long series curse.
Part of it is because Carter is very smart in how she writes this series. She brings in plot twists gradually, she has her characters change but still retain all that we love about them, and her books are frankly entertaining as hell. Somehow she takes the silly idea of a spy school and makes it work in a smart way. See? Silly ideas don't HAVE to be dumb (yes, I'm looking at you Stephanie Meyer. Twilight could have been SO much better then it was had you thought outside the romance cliche box). In this one, the twist was that Camie lost her memory so we are just as in the dark about what went down during the summer as she is and it makes for great reading because it's clear Cammie changed and discovered things over that summer but we don't know WHAT and HOW. It's a brillaint move really because it keeps the books interesting because now we get to see the changes that happened while she was gone.
So in short this book is just as entertaining as the rest of the series. Ally Carter continues to be a fun author whose books I look forward to each year. I can't wait to read Heist Society 3 and the next book in this series. Can we please get these series made into a movie? Mostly because I want Gallagher merchandise but also because the movies would be fabulous and I think would be a nice change of pace in terms of role models for girls. We need more Cammies and less Bella Swans.
WHO SHOULD READ: Heist Society fans, those that have read books 1-4, adventure fans, James Bond fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five gallagher girls patches

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Series I haven't finished yet

This is a weekly meme hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Series I Haven't Finished

1) House of Night series by P. C. and Kristin Cast-I probably never will because I got so disgusted with it and its nonsensical plot (if one can call that a plot), horrible characters, stereotypes galore, slut shaming, hypocritical main character, and even mild racism (at one point Zoey calls her Cherokee heritage barbaric. Seriously.). I just am fed up with it and with the immature authors who don't take criticism well. I'm probably never touching this series again.

2) The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine-Honestly I just got bored with this one. Maybe I'll pick them up again whenever the author decides to finish it sometime this century.

3) The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin-I'm working on it! I just finished book 3 and book 4 is waiting on my shelf but I have several books to read before I get there so likely I won't finish it until next year.

4) The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan-About two books behind. I'm working on it, I swear. In my defense I only read Percy Jackson last year when Heroes of Olympus started.

5) Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer-Hated the first book so I'm pretty much never touching the rest.

6) Tiger series by Colleen Houck-Again, hated the first book so never bothering with the rest.

7) Star Trek books by random authors-Because there are so damn many.

8) Star Wars books by random authors-See above, though I'm proud to say I've read all the Jedi Apprentice books and the Young Jedi series so I guess that's something?

9) Midnight for Charlie Bone series-Didn't like the first book.

10) The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket-This one's embarressing. I read the first few books way back when but then I got distracted and sort of forgot about the series. Next thing I knew, it had finished. Maybe one of my goals next year will be to read the whole series.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Book Review: Code Name Verity

TITLE: Code Name Verity
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Wein
GENRE: Historical Fiction
PREMISE: A female spy in world war II is captured and forced to give secrets.
MY REVIEW: Unless another better book comes along in the next three months I think this may be the best YA debuts I read this year. As I've said, I've had a hard time finding a debut this year that I've just utterly loved and was well written at the same time. Finally I have a book that is both.
I will say, there is a lot of dark stuff in this. It deals with capturing of spies after all and the author does not shy away from the horrific things that people did to war prisoners during war time in order to get information. But if you can take it, this story will reward you with some fabulous storytelling. Seriously Hollywood, this book is calling your name. If you get this made and stick to the book, I bet you would have a Oscar winner on your hands. Or not as the Oscars have pretty much become a joke as of late but you have money maker for sure.
This book is well written, has interesting characters, opens up tons of discussion, and is a great look at World War II from the European side of things for a change. I think sometimes authors here forget that World War II mostly effected Europe. Yes, we had Pearl Harbor and people going to war but the actual war was fought overseas. Honestly the only issue I can really come up with in this book is that the second half drags a bit. Other then that minor issue. This was a fabulous well written debut. I hope we see more from Elizabeth Wein.
WHO SHOULD READ: Historical Fiction fans, anyone inclined to pick it up.
MY RATING: Five out of Five ropes

Friday, September 21, 2012

Book Review: Ship Breaker

TITLE: Ship Breaker
Book 1 in a series
AUTHOR: Paolo Bacigalupi
GENRE: Dystopian, adventure
PREMISE: A boy who strips ships for parts finds a girl on a abandoned ship and has to make a decision about whether to help her in a harsh world.
MY REVIEW: Ship Breaker is one of those books that I wanted to love more then I did. For sure, this is wonderfully written. It's diverse, the imagination is fabulous, and there's constant adventure. I honestly can't rec this enough for boys.
I just didn't connect with it very much. Part of it is being adventure focused, the characters don't get developed much. There's so much happening that I think the author forgot to make us care. I just didn't get stuff or where these characters were coming from. I also wish the world had been developed a bit more. I mean I love setting of it....but there's no real explanation for how it developed and why it is as harsh as it is. Also, while I have no problems with violence (I read Game of Thrones for crying out loud) even I sort of felt like some of the violence here was rather over the top. I felt the author tried too hard in that aspect of it.
But I think most of my disconnect was just me. I'm pretty sure I'm not the target audience for this book. I definitely give the author several points though because again, this was wonderfully written and while I didn't get the world, it was imaginative. I'm hoping the next book develops characters more though.
WHO SHOULD READ: boys, fans of the Knife of Never Letting Go, Hunger Games fans, fans that don't mind violence
MY RATING: Four out of Five oil tankers

Book Review: A Storm of Swords

TITLE: A Storm of Swords
Book 3 in The Song of Ice and Fire series
AUTHOR: George R. R. Martin
GENRE: Fantasy, drama
PREMISE: The consequences in book 2 take root in Kings Landing, Arya gains an unexpected travel companion, Brienne and Jaime travel together unwillingly, Dany travels to the west by boat, and many battles come to a head with surprising consequences.
MY REVIEW: So you all are probably tired of this but once again: I am going to give a gushing review to this series. Martin is one of those who manages to keep surprises coming and keeps you entertained while also giving sharp commentary on humanity and developing his characters in brillaint ways. Like Millaneum Trilogy, this series is just a great character study.
In terms of the series this one is a major game changer. There were things in here I didn't see coming at all (and some of which will make you quite happy if you hate Joffrey as much as I did which I'm sure basically everyone does).
Basically: I am still in utter love with this series. If you haven't read these yet and think you can handle things like sex, incest, war, bloody scenes, and morally gray characters then I urge you to pick them up.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read Books 1 and 2, fans of the tv show, anyone inclined
MY RATING: Five out of Five shields

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Review: The White Glove War

TITLE: The White Glove War
Book 2 in The Magnolia League series
AUTHOR: Katie Crouch and Grady Hendrix
GENRE: Witches, southern, urban fantasy, drama
PREMISE: Alex and her sisters get deeper into the drama surrounding the Magnolia League and a old feud passes on to the new generation...
MY REVIEW: Magnolia League was one of my top guilty pleasures last year. Heaven knows, this series has its flaws. Cliches, stereotypes, yada yada. Every complaint you've heard probably has a bit of truth to it. But for me, this series is like the TV show Revenge on ABC which I'm also addicted too despite its flaws (Season 2 is back in a week and a half guys!): it's just FUN. It works because it doesn't take itself seriously.
Plus, I like the characters (Madison is my favorite). They're relateable, they're interesting in their own way, and they're also flawed. One of the best thing about this series is the complicated group dynamics of the Magnolias which is the heart of most of the drama surrounding the girls. It comments on female friendship and all its pitfalls as well as all the good things about it without preaching to you about how you should behave. Plus, the plot itself is vaguely interesting and anyone who says the League meetings aren't entertaining is totally lying to themselves.
This series may not be the best, but it most definitely is entertaining. It's an example of how to do guilty pleasures well without insulting your readers.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that liked Magnolia League, Revenge fans, PLL fans, southern book fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five party dresses designed by Madison

Book Review: Dark Companion

TITLE: Dark Companion
AUTHOR: Marta Acosta
GENRE: Retelling, drama, paranormalish, mystery
PREMISE: A girl goes to a boarding school and tries to solve a mystery.
MY REVIEW: You ever read a book and feel like the author was just way too impressed with themselves? Like they thought their book was oh so totally unique and a surefire classic that people would praise off the bat? Sometimes it's in the condescending tone of the book or the MC but I don't know about you, for me this is a turn off. Author, I'm sorry, this wasn't a literary masterpiece: it was average at best.
Basically this is a modern retelling of Jane Eyre set in a boarding school. Because heaven knows we don't have enough classic retellings out there and I certainly didn't read a retelling of this same book last year which was also modern day nor have I ever read a ton of fanfic like it. On the bright side, Acosta does have really nice prose and she's great at setting up atmosphere and all those things that should make up a great novel. She just didn't think outside the box very much so the book wound up being very yawn worthy. Didn't help that I found the main character extremely boring (I don't even remember her name, she's that dull and I read this last week).
I suppose as far as first books go, this could be worse. Like I said, the writing is great. It's just really dull. Also authors, a PSA: basing your book on a classic piece of literature does not automatically mean your book is literary and going to be a classic. Also if you are going to do quotes at the begining of each chapter, please have them have something to do with the chapter in question. Or at least with the book itself. Otherwise, it's just dumb and makes you look slightly pompous even if this was not your intention. Also kind of tacky: having discussion questions at the end of your book when it first comes out. It makes it look like you and your publisher seriously think your book is important enough to teach and it sort of implies your readers aren't smart enough to pick up these ideas on their own. Put the questions up on your book's website if you must, but otherwise, leave it.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Jane Eyre
MY RATING: Three out of Five yawns

Book Review: The Changeling

TITLE: The Changeling
Book 1 in the Order of Darkness series
AUTHOR: Philippa Gregory
GENRE: Historical fiction/fantasyish
PREMISE: A boy and a girl go on a quest basically.
MY REVIEW: So this is my first Philippa Gregory book. I know, you all are going "wow, really? I thought you loved historical fiction?" and I do. I know it's ridiculous that I haven't picked up her books until now. It's just that a) I've heard way too many mixed reviews about her ranging from "she's a fantastic writer" to "she's horrible and is innacurate" and b) she writes about the tudors and I'm sorry...I have no interest in the tudors. Unheard of, I know, but so many people focus on that part of England's history that I sort of feel it's kind of overdone in historical fiction. I get it's a important part of history but at the same time...can we do something new? Like say, how about some stuff from World War I? Or the Vietnam war? Hey remember the war of 1812? Or the Great Depression? Heck, I'd even take the American Revolution at this point. I know enough about the Tudors to make my ears bleed. Seriously historical fiction authors, pick a new topic. Not everything is about the Tudors, you know. Where was I? Oh yes, review.
So my first Gregory book and...I have a feeling it may be my last, unless I manage to convince myself to give The Other Boleyn Girl a shot as it's one of "those books" that everyone looks at you like you're extremely out of touch when you say you've never read it (nor have you seen the movie despite loving Natelie Portman). Honestly though I probably won't bother because I had such a hard time getting into this book. Gregory's prose are really bad and her dialogue is godawful. That would be fine except her story is dead boring and not really worth the time it takes to make it through the bad prose. I mean, as a concept, I suppose this was okay. But really from a author who has at least ten or so books under her belt I expect much more then...this. I honestly felt like I was reading a first novel from a brand new author and that's...kind of bad when one considers how long Gregory has been around.
The book isn't horrible or's just not very great either. And call me nuts but I expect a author who has sold as many books as Gregory has to get what entertainment is. Some writers don't crossover well, and I'm sorry to say I don't think Gregory is really meant to write YA.
WHO SHOULD READ: Philippa Gregory fans, historical fiction fans, readers with lots of patience.
MY RATING: Three out of Five drooping eyelids

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: Sep 16th

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews which tells people what new books we've gotten over the week.

Usual Library Haul:

The Legacy of Tril: Soulbound by Heather Brewer-Dystopian series that looks promising. Plus, Brewer is from my neck of the woods so I have to at least give a shout out to her as she's a local.

Gallagher Girls Book 5: Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter-One of my favorite series. I'm reading it right now and it's fabulous as usual.

The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze-2012 debut that looks like it could be awesome even though the author name is extremely eyebrow raising.

Girl is Murder Book 2: The Girl is Trouble by Kathryn Haines-Historical mystery series that I'm hoping gets better with the second book. The first was fun but sort of dragging. I'm hoping this one ramps it up.

Hereafter Book 2: Arise by Tara Hudson-I was not terribly impressed with Hereafter but it was good enough for me to give this series a second shot.

Ghost and the Goth Book 3: Body and Soul by Stacey Kade-Another installment in another favorite series that doesn't get enough recognition.

The Peculiars by Maureen McQuerry-2012 steampunk debut because my steampunk addiction got me again.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein-2012 debut that I've already finished and think is pretty awesome.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Book Review: Of Poseidon

TITLE: Of Poseidon
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Anna Banks
GENRE: Mermaids, romance
PREMISE: A girl finds out she's a mermaid basically.
MY REVIEW: I can literally sum this book up in three words to give you an idea of what it is about: Twilight with mermaids. I swear, that's literally all this book is and I had such high hopes for it but no, it's typical YA clicheness with little to no original thought going on. Which I could maybe forgive if it wasn't sexist on top of that.
For the record, I can understand why people like it. Like Twilight, it's very readable. There's no brain power involved, it's easy to understand, there are even a few lulzy scenes in it. I may not like the book but the author's sense of humor is good. It's entertaining. Unfortunately for the author I'm a feminist who notices stuff like how you have one token black character who is the typical black stereotype and is killed off in the first three chapters in order to give the main character angst and make her vulnerable. Or how the one slightly decent female character (Reyna) is demonized for speaking her mind and not wanting to live with her "soulmate" even though she's never given a choice in the matter so it's understandable but no...she's a horrible being because she won't return his advances. Also can we talk about how messed up the whole bond thing in this is? Basically it's like the wolf bond thing in Twilight where mates are chosen through "mystical magic" and the females naturally get no choice in the matter. But apparently being upset about this fact makes you dumb. Really? Honestly authors, do you seriously READ what you've written after you finish and check the messages you're sending to your younger readers? Considering some of the stuff I've read lately, obviously not. Don't get me started on Galen and his douchebag sexist ways. He was basically Edward Cullen with the ability to breathe underwater.
I'm sorry but I just can't deal with these mermaid books anymore. I'm done you all. Unless a mermaid book comes along that sounds REALLY good. I'm not touching this genre anymore. Clearly it's not for me.
WHO SHOULD READ: Twilight fans, mermaid book fans
MY RATING: Two and a half out of five douchebag boyfriends

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Book Review: Dust Girl

TITLE: Dust Girl
Book 1 in the American Fairy Trilogy
AUTHOR: Sarah Zettel
GENRE: Faeries, historical fiction, adventure
PREMISE: Callie lives with her mother in Kansas during the great Dust Bowl. Her desperate mother tries to get help from her father when she is kidnapped and Callie learns that she is not quite human...
MY REVIEW: So this book was quite a bit of a high for me. It had everything I loved so I admit, this review is biased. I will say that perhaps the main character could be more developed and the ending is rather abrupt. But other then minor issues I loved the hell out of this book. It probably helped the author immensely that I read this after Hemlock which was so dull and unimaginative that this was like eating a gourmet meal after eating fast food constantly. So yeah, there are flaws but still, what a wonderfully imaginative book.
There's a lot in here that reminds me of Studio Ghibli movies as well as The Gemma Doyle Trilogy. While Callie may have been slightly underdeveloped she was developed enough that I got where she was coming from and she was actually likeable. You rooted for her and for Jack (who for once was a fun likeable male lead). But the real winner in this is just this great world that Zettel created. It may not be totally original but it's still darn fun and you want to spend time in it. Also can we appreciate how much diversity the author put in here despite it being the thirties? As well as the fact that the author did not glamourize the thirties for a change. One of the things that kind of makes it hard for me to enjoy the Flappers series or that Divas series is that they are so focused on the glamour of the flappers that there's barely a mention of how hard the Depression hit everyone including the flappers as they were the younger generation. They don't even touch on the deep racism and hatred of the poor that went on in that era. This books actually talks about it and doesn't sugarcoat the thirties.
If you want something different that's fun, I highly recomend this YA debut. I can't wait to read the rest of it. I think this may wind up rivaling Cinder for my favorite debut of the year.
WHO SHOULD READ: Historical fantasy fans, Gemma Doyle fans, Faerie fans, Iron Fey fans, Miyazaki fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five faerie courts

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Books That Make You Think

This is a weekly meme hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic: Books That Make You Think.

Well, this is a fairly subjective topic because everyone has different ideas about what applies as thinking during reading/books that make you think. I'll be interested to see what other books pop up on other people's list. Me, I think any book that makes you think about life, how we as people work, religion, gender topics, even things like bullying can count as a book that makes you think. So you'll probably see some very random books on here.

1) A Handmaiden's Tale by Margeret Atwood-If ever a person needs to realize why the stuff surrounding women nowadays (birth control, abortion, civil liberties, equal pay etc.) is very important and why some of the rhetoric coming out of certain camps (yes, Rush Limbaugh, I'm looking at YOU) is dangerous give them this book. It shows exactly why one should not be putting up with this crap that has been aimed at women not just lately but for hundreds of years.

2) Harry Potter series by JK Rowling-I know what you're thinking: HP, really? Pop culture, it may be, one of the many reasons I love Harry Potter is the many discussions that it can open up: it brings up bullying, racism, classism, the use of propaganda, the role media has to play in wars, war itself and how devasting it can be, how sometimes authority is not always right, friendship, loyalty, the list is endless. It is proof that entertainment does not have to be dumb.

3) Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher-While I don't think this book is the best book ever, I do appreciate the frank discussions of bullying and how our actions and how we treat people absolutely effects others. This should be like required reading for middle-schoolers where some of the worst bullying can take place.

4) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee-Forget The Help, THIS is a book that is good for talking about racism. If I hear one more person try to say The Help is the new To Kill a Mockingbird I will smack something. The only thing The Help may be good for is to talk about white priviledge and how Skeeter is a perfect example of it (so is the author in question as Skeeter is basically a self insert character).

5) His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillup Pullman-First rule about this trilogy: go into it with a open mind and don't be afraid of it. Yes, this book heavily criticizes Christianity. But you know what? That's not always a bad thing. Consider it a new way of looking at your faith and why you believe the things you do. Heck, it may make your beliefs stronger! While I don't agree with everything in this trilogy (and I think Pullman himself is kind of a arrogant jerk), I think it's definitely one of those that makes you think about some of the slightly funky things about the Christian religion.

6) The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins-Another series that is proof that entertainment doesn't have to be dumb. While I am endlessly bothered by how much the HG fandom is all about the love triangle (which isn't even important!) I love the commentary this series does on things like war, tyranny, classim, how apathetic we've all become to violence on TV, humanity's sheer lack of empathy sometimes, how we burden the younger generation with our problems etc.

7) Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin-Game of Thrones is another one of those that is just good for the endless amount of discussion it can bring up. It brings up how women operate in a patriarch world, it brings up politics and how it shapes our world, and is just good for the way it studies people and how our choices effect us and others and questions what makes a person good or bad. Because seriously there is not one person in this series who is totally good or bad except maybe Rickon, but he's hardly ever discussed so I don't think he can count. Oh and Joffrey. Joffrey is just a little ass who needs to die already (sorry, I've gotten to the part in Storm of Swords where he's gloating about giving Sansa her brother's head so my rage towards him is very fresh right now)

8) The Millaneum Trilogy by Stieg Larsson-This is one of those thrillers that makes you think about how corrupt our systems can be and how much people can fall through the cracks simply because the system just writes them off. Granted, this mostly deals with the Switz government which is very very corrupt but it also applies to our own system which can be just as problamatic. I also appreciate how it's not afraid to bring up the violence against women because not enough people talk about it how much it is still a problem that goes unreported. Plus, you have to use your brain to keep up with the mystery.

9) American Gods by Neil Gaiman-This talks about more generalized religion instead of just Christianity. Mostly it's concerned with Gods and their place in America and how religion is used now as well as many other topics that it brings up about humanity.

10) The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak-The Book Thief is really really hard to explain to people who have never tried to read it. But just know it mostly talks about things like death, grief, how WWII effected those in Germany, and just life in general.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Book Review: Hemlock

TITLE: Hemlock
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Katherine Peacock
GENRE: Werewolves, drama
PREMISE: Mac's friend Amy is killed by a werewolf and her death sparks a huge investigation in her small town.
MY REVIEW: Theoretically there isn't anything totally wrong with Hemlock. It's readable, it's probably relateable, and stuff does happen, and there's a clear plot. However, it's just so...uninspired. It's like the author literally had a checklist of every possible YA cliche/trope that is popular now.
Love triangle? It's there. Saw it coming in the third chapter. Angst? Loads of it. Most of it ridiculous. Token characters used to say "look how diverse I am!" but not used very much in favor of the white cast? Check. Plain Jane main character who is totally not shallow unlike popular girls of course. Check. Bitchy feminine character whois  demonized because she's feminine? Yup. Over-agressive males who fight over female lead for no real reason that is discernable? Check. Female lead who basically does nothing except maybe inquire about her friend's death? Check. "Twist" that is totally obvious? Yup. Literally NOTHING was new or that big of a surprise in this.
I'm sorry but I don't think it's over the top to ask for at least a little creativity. Cliche doesn't have to be boring. I mean Mortal Instruments is cliche as hell but it takes cliches and throws in new things and it manages to be entertaining while doing so. This? Is not entertaining. This was a big yawn and quite frankly a lazy first effort.
WHO SHOULD READ: Twilight fans, those who don't mind cliche after cliche
MY RATING: Two out of Five eye rolls 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Book Review: Social Suicide

TITLE: Social Suicide
Book 2 in the Hartley Featherstone series
AUTHOR: Gemma Halliday
GENRE: Mystery
PREMISE: Hartley gets caught up in another mystery when she finds the dead body of one of the most popular girls in school.
MY REVIEW: I enjoyed Deadly Cool a lot last year and this one is more of the same so I enjoyed it. Maybe I enjoyed it a little less then the first book but it's still a fun series and I'm looking forward to the next book.
I admit, Hartley can be a bit of a frustrating heroine sometimes. But at least she has some sort of brains (which is more then I can say for Halliday's adult heroine). Mostly I like the sly humor in this. It's very reminiscent of Meg Cabot (though not as good). The mystery isn't really hard to figure out and is about as plausible as most cozy mysterys go. But still, it's fun and you can do a lot worse then this.
Mostly I hope this paves the way for more YA contemporary mysteries. Because honestly other then this one, Sara Shepard's two series, and Nancy Drew there really isn't much in the way of pure YA mysteries out there. As a mystery junkie, this makes me sad.
WHO SHOULD READ: Mystery fans, Meg Cabot fans, fans of Deadly Cool
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five school papers

Friday, September 7, 2012

Book Review: Unraveling

TITLE: Unraveling
Book 1 in a series?
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Norris
GENRE: Science Fiction, adventure, mystery
PREMISE: When Janelle is run over by a car, she is sure she's dead...but then she comes back to life by a boy she's never had much to do with till now...
MY REVIEW: Admitedly I have to take a few points off for the romance. Cute as Janelle and Ben were, they were insta romance and are quite cliche. Honestly I felt that romance dragged down Janelle's otherwise rather awesome character. I also need to take off points for head scratching science that makes no sense (doesn't help that the author keeps trying to explain it and that furthers just how improbable it all is).
But other then those beefs, this was a rather strong debut. When Janelle wasn't melting into Ben's arms and gushing about how connected they were, she was pretty awesome. Norris is a great suspense writer who manages to keep you turning the pages. I really hope she decides to go into adult thrillers sometime soon because if she ever does, ho boy would that be awesome. There was a decent sense of humor to the book that I liked, there was fabulous dialogue, and there were fun side characters that I grew to adore and was then devastated when Norris did stuff to them (Alex...). Also I have to give props to the author for the ending. Although I'm fairly certain that Ben will be back as I'm fairly certain this will be made into a series/trilogy. It is YA after all. I would love if she left it here because as a ending, I like that one. But I know she won't. Contracts and everything.
So if you're looking for something on the bit of different side with your YA, this book may be what you're looking for. It's not wholly unique or anything but considering it's mostly dystopians nowadays, this feels fresh and new. I for one am looking forward to book two. If there is a book two.
WHO SHOULD READ: Sci-Fi fans, thriller fans, those that like action.
MY RATING: Four out of Five parallel universes

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Review: Insurgent

TITLE: Insurgent
Divergent series Book 2
AUTHOR: Veronica Roth
GENRE: Dystopian, adventure, romance
PREMISE: Tris and Tobias are on the run from the Eurodite faction after said faction has revealed they are after Divergents and has attacked Daughtless.
MY REVIEW: I'll be honest, I still sort of think this series isn't very original and I still don't understand at all how this world works or came to be. I also still find Tobias/Tris rather boring and predictable even though at least they are a healthy couple for a change. But that aside, one can not deny that this series is highly entertaining.
Roth's strong suit is that she knows how to keep you reading. Despite my issues, I like this series and am greatly looking forward to the next book. Especially after that evil evil EVIL cliff hanger. Also I really like Roth's writing. Despite the averageness of the story being told, her writing style is nice and simple without trying too hard. She knows how to write good action (which believe me, is hard to do) and again: she knows how to entertain. I am not bored with Divergent, despite how unoriginal it is because there's always something happening and she's not afraid to kill off people. Perhaps if Wither or Matched were as entertaining as this series is I wouldn't be annoyed by those books as much.
So I have my issues with this series but I get why it's popular. It's highly enjoyable, very readable, and very entertaining. If that movie ever gets made I'm so seeing it. In short, if you loved Divergent, you will probably like this just as much. There's no sophmore slump in this continuation. It's just as fast paced and as entertaining as the first one.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Divergent, Hunger Games fans, dystopian fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five fighting factions

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Sep 5th

TITLE: The Dead and Buried
AUTHOR: Kim Harrington
RELEASE DATE: January 1rst, 2013
GENRE: mystery, ghost story, paranormal
A haunted house, a buried mystery, and a very angry ghost make this one unforgettable thriller.

Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . .

But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things.

Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't.

Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house . . . is haunted.

Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school -- until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets.

But is one of them a murderer?
WHY I'M EAGER FOR IT: I love me my ghost stories. If it involves mysteries all the better. Plus, I love Harrington's Clarity series so chances are I'm going to like this one a lot.
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR List

This is a weekly meme hosted by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish .

This week's Topic: My Fall TBR List

Top Books between September 22nd and December 20th that I'm eager to read:

1) Daughter of Smoke and Bone Book 2: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor-This is probably on everyone's list and not terribly original. Don't care, Daughter of Smoke and Bone was fabulous and I can't wait to read the sequel.

2) The Bar Code series: The Bar Code Prophecy by Suzanne Weyn-The Bar Code books came out ages ago before dystopians were hot. It was actually one of the first few books I read for this blog. It's been some time since book 2 and book 3. I had honestly though Weyn was going to leave it there. But lo and behold, book 3.

3) Dustlands Book 2: Rebel Heart by Moira Young-I loved Dustlands last year even if the writing style drove me up the wall (honestly authors, quotations marks are HELPFUL. Why would you not use them?) so I'm really looking forward to book 2.

4) Beautiful Creatures Book 4: Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl-I'm still in love with this series and am really sad it's ending. But hey, Kami has a series coming out so more to look forward too, right?

5) Dark Star by Bethany Frenette-2012 Debut that looks awesome, involving superheroes.

6) The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress-Awesome looking steampunk debut.

7) Croak Book 2: Scorch by Gina Damico-If you haven't read Scorch, picture Percy Jackson combined with Dead Like Me. It makes for a hilarious and charming combination. I can't wait to read book 2.

8) Iced: Dani O'Malley novel by Karen Marie Moning.-Yes my friends, Dani is getting her own book. Any of you who has read Fever knows why this is a awesome thing.

9) The Iron Fey series: The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa-Even if I sort of think The Iron Fey needs to end already, that's not going to stop me from reading this.

10) Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes-Epic Fantasy YA debut that looks awesome. I hope it's good because we need more epic fantasy in YA. Really, I can name like three series and maybe two books that are pure fantasy in YA and two of them (Circle of Magic, Tortall) are written by the same author and have been around for decades.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Book Review: Monument 14

TITLE: Monument 14
Book 1 in a series?
AUTHOR: Emmy Laybourne
GENRE: Dystopian, apocolyptic, survival
PREMISE: After a series of disasters devastates Earth, a group of students is left abandoned in a convenience store to survive until help arrives.
MY REVIEW: Well, I don't know about anyone else but while reading this I was strongly reminded of Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. This is not a bad thing. I really liked Life as We Knew It. It just means that I didn't get much originality from this.
It is definitely a well written book. Laybourne is a good writer and she's a decent story teller. I understood what was going on, I got where characters were coming from, there was dark stuff that made you think, and so on. It's just...I didn't really LIKE anyone and I found it hard to click with the characters. Plus I'm sorry, you're trapped in a superstore while Earth is going to hell and you have several kids to take care of, you're seriously going to have teen drama? NOW? Yeah, that was just a little much of a stretch to me and part of what tried my patience with these characters so much. Seriously, Earth is going to hell. WHO CARES who's dating who.
Other then the hard to like characters and annoying teen drama, this was good with everything else (even if the scenario I found...hard to believe). It's not the strongest debut I've read this year. But it's not the worst. If there is a book two I'll definitely look into it because of where the author left it.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Life as We Knew It, apocolyptic survival fans, dystopian fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five supermarkets

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: September 2nd

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews that tells people what new books we've gotten over the week.

Downloaded to Kindle:

Penryn and the End of Days series Book 1: Angelfall by Susan Ee-Was cheap and it's a new release. Maybe by some miracle it'll be a angel book I actually like.

Library Haul:

Dark Companion by Marta Acosta-2012 debut from this year that looks fun.

Of Poseidon Book 1 by Anna Banks-2012 debut. I'm wary of this because it's a mermaid book and mermaid books and I have a troubled history. But I've heard really good things so I'm giving it a shot.

The Magnolia League series Book 2: The White Glove War by Katie Crouch-Magnolia League was a cheesy but fun read for me last year so I'm continueing the series.

Order of Darkness Book 1: The Changeling by Philippa Gregory-I honestly have never read any of Gregory's adult books because of lack of interest and too many mixed reviews of her work. This one sounds interesting though so I'm giving her a shot.

Deadly Cool Book 2: Social Suicide by Gemma Halliday-Second book in a mystery series started last year that I enjoyed even though I'm not a particular fan of the author's adult books.

Unraveling Book 1 by Elizabeth Norris-2012 debut that so far is not half bad.

Hemlock Book 1 by Kathleen Peacock-2012 debut I hope is good.

Divergent series Book 2: Insurgent by Veronica Roth-Finally off of reserve from the library. Only took three months and three tries getting it.

The American Fairy Trilogy Book 1: Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel-another 2012 debut that sounds really awesome and that I hope is good.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Book Review: Timepiece

TITLE: Timepiece
Book 2 in the Hourglass series
AUTHOR: Myra McEntire
GENRE: Time Travel, Adventure
PREMISE: Kaleb and his friends continue their adventures as they search for Jack, the man who killed Kaleb's father.
MY REVIEW: All my issues still stand with this series (sloppy science makes no sense, kind of flat characters, YA stock cliches abound). But I've kind of learned to let it go. Once you let the rather clicheness of this go it's an enjoyable series. I definitely commend the author for deciding to ditch boring Emerson and go with the far more interesting Kaleb this time around.
Honestly, Kaleb is my favorite and this book reminded me of why. Though I have to say the way his friends treat him sometimes really irritated me and also reminded me of why I didn't care for Emerson or Michael in the last book that much. Kaleb and Lily are so much more fun for me and less "it's all about us!" like I feel Michael/Emerson can be. Plus, I actually get chemistry from these two.
Plot was pretty much more of the first with a few interesting revelations here and there. As a second book, this was not bad. I just still am not overwhelmed with this series. I like it just fine and will be reading book 3 though.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first book, time travel fans (who aren't interested in details)
MY RATING: Four out of Five time travelers