Thursday, March 28, 2013
Welcome to the Hoppy Easter Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer & Read Now Sleep Later. This hop runs from March 29 – April 5.
For this hop, I’m giving away a finished copy of The Temptation by Alisa Valdes. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and good luck! Wishing you and your loved ones a safe, happy and blessed Easter!
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Goodreads Summary: Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there.
What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors.
Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.
Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.
I love mythology and YA books with mythology are a special treat for me. When I read the summary for the Valkyrie Rising and saw the gorgeous cover (don’t you love the way the mountains looks like wings coming out of her back!), I knew I had to read it. This book had so much potential, sadly it falls so short of what I wanted it to be.
Valkyrie Rising incorporates Norse mythology which is awesome. Unfortunately, the mythology is explained but the book never plunges into it, just skims the surface. The Norwegian setting is good, Paulson does a fine job of describing the country and its beauty. The characters are just fine as well. I really liked Tuck but thought that Ellie found her powers a little too easily.
The thing that really frustrates me about the book was the plot. Ellie spends the majority of the book chasing supermodel like characters all over Norway. All the while, I wanted more background about Valkyries, Odin and Valhalla that never came. What should have been a really cool YA book on Norse mythology ended being just an OK one.
Valkyrie Rising is not a bad book and if you are not really into mythology, you will probably like it more than I did. This is a decent debut novel and while I would read other books from this author, I probably won’t be picking up another book in this series.
Content: Kissing and violence
My Rating: Just OK
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming novels we can't wait to read. This week’s choice is:
Goodreads Summary: It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.
Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.
Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?
Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.
I have been waiting on a cover for this forever and now that I see it, it is fabulous! Also, did this always have a December 2013 publishing date? I know I’ve been MIA recently (only because I’m a new mommy to one of the best babies ever) but I thought this was coming out sooner. Regardless of the publishing date, I am dying to read this book. What books are you waiting on?
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Welcome to the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Co-hosted by Books Complete Me & Author Cindy Thomas. This hop runs from March 15-22.
For this hop, I’m giving away a finished copy of Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and good luck! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
Goodreads Summary: This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
Splintered is the second Alice in Wonderland inspired book that I have recently, and it is by far the better one. As a matter of fact, this is one of the most entertaining books I have read in a while!
I love the characters in Splintered, especially Morpheus! He is not the book boy that I usually go for but the character is so well written, you can’t help but love him! I also liked Alyssa and Jeb a lot. Alyssa is not perfect, but she is smart and grows a lot throughout the story. Jeb is very cool but not the typical YA leading man, I think that’s why I liked him so much.
While the characters are great, the world building and plot of this book are amazing! The story completely immerses you in Wonderland and let me tell you, it’s not all pretty and fairytale like. It’s dark, crazy, twisted and absolutely perfect, exactly what Wonderland should be! The plot is also really well done and kept me reading well into the night. I love how this story parallels Alice but still stays completely original.
Splintered is a great debut and an awesome novel. A.G. Howard has my full attention and I am excited to read whatever else she writes.
Content: Kissing, some violence
Rating: The Best!
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Title: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 404 pages
Release Date: Sept. 25, 2012
Goodreads Summary: She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.
Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.
Her father was right. The monsters are real….
To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….
I haven’t read any of Gena Showalter’s adult books but since I read rave reviews about her writing, I was really looking forward to Alice in Zombieland. The idea behind the book is brilliant but the execution was just so so.
The easiest way for me to review Alice in Zombieland is to let you what I liked about the book and what I did not.
What I Liked
Spirituality: Alice In Zombieland is spiritually deeper that most YA novels out there. I would not go as far as calling it a Christian novel, but kudos to Gena Showalter for including some depth in this book.
Original and cool concept: The book is not a retelling of Alice in Wonderland but more about a girl who finds herself in strange version of reality where zombies are real and she was born to fight them. The concept is original and Showalter’s zombies are much different than the usual.
Characters: Ali’s pain over her loss is very well told and I liked her as a character. Cole has really mature moments and when he did, I liked him a lot. In those shining moments, he reads more like a guy in his 20’s than an 18 year old and I was OK with that.
What I Did Not Like
Cole: Yes, I loved how mature he was at times but hated how possessive he was of Ali at other times. Cole gets insanely jealous when other boys even look at Ali and would want to fight them. It did not make him sexy, just a bully. The only reason that I am not flaming Cole’s jealous behavior is because Ali’s character did not play into it and was independent regardless of how Cole was acting.
The big showdown at the end of the book: This is not a spoiler, there’s always a big showdown at the end. This one was rushed and I really feel like Showalter was tired and just wanted to hurry up and end the book. It was a let down.
Characters instantly and supernaturally drawn to each other: Immediate attraction is fine but the instant supernatural connection between two characters is getting old. Enough already.
Sex: There is no sex in the story but the characters talk about it quite a bit. Honestly, I was more interested in the supernatural aspects of the story than with the main characters making out and deciding if they would or would not have sex.
Overall, Alice in Zombieland isn’t bad, it’s just not as good as I think it should have been. I am, however, curious to see where Showalter takes the story and may just pick up the sequel to see what happens.
Content: Kissing, discussions about sex and some profanity.
My Rating: Just OK
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Title: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 509 pages
Release Date: Aug. 17, 2004
Genre: Science Fiction
Goodreads Summary: A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified “dinery server” on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilization—the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.
In his captivating third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity’s dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.
Cloud Atlas is not type of book that I’m usually interested in reading. However, the movie trailer looked really interesting so when I was offered the opportunity to review the book professionally, I jumped at the chance to see what it was all about. Sadly, it was not the book for me.
Cloud Atlas is a set of six short stories that are interconnected. The stories span several centuries, beginning in the nineteenth century and going to a post apocalyptic future. The stories are told in a non-linear fashion (with the exception of the story in the middle), each stopping at a critical point only to be concluded later in the novel.
Without a doubt, Mitchell is a talented writer. His ability to give the main characters in six separate stories a unique voice while tying them all together is awesome. I found the middle story to be very difficult to read (the characters use a lot of slang) but I understand why Mitchell wrote it the way he did.
As creative as the writing is however, there is a reason that I usually stick to YA novels. I found a few things in the book extremely disturbing such as *spoiler alert, please highlight to read* a young boy being gang raped by adult men, a teenage boy committing suicide because he was continuously raped by men he worked for and humans being slaughtered and their body parts used for food. No way could I have finished this book if I were reading it recreationally.
Also, this book is extremely long and with my issues of deciphering the slang in some of the stories, I felt like this book took me forever to read.
I have not seen the movie version of Cloud Atlas and I’m not sure if I want to. Parts of this book made me feel ill and while I doubt the movie would depict such graphic scenes, I just want to forget the whole thing. Have you read Cloud Atlas or did you see the movie? What are your thoughts on either? Let me know in the comments!
My Rating: Disappointing
Content: Kissing, heavy violence, heavy gore, heavy profanity, sex, child rape.