Friday, September 28, 2012

Audiobook Review: The Selection

theselectionTitle: The Selection by Kiera Cass
Publisher: Harper Audio
Narrator: Amy Rubinate
Duration: 8 hours, 7 mins
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy

Goodreads Summary: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

I know there has been crazy drama on Goodreads about this book/the author/her agent BUT I was intrigued by the summary and still wanted to read it. It reminded me of a cross between The Bachelor (a TV show I dislike) and the biblical story of Esther (a story I absolutely adore) so I figured I would either love it or hate it. Turns out my feelings are in the middle: this is an OK book for me.  

Even though The Selection is billed as dystopia, I would consider it more of fantasy novel. It’s set in a future where the US has been through several wars, has been renamed Illea and the people are subjected to a caste system. America Singer (ridiculous name, by the way), our main character, is in love with Aspen but his lower caste prevents them from being together.  

As far as characters go, America really annoyed me. She was whiny, selfish and complained her way through the book. I was never very invested in the relationship between her and Aspen (which was already established when the story started) so it didn’t bother me when he broke up with her. If he had manned up and joined the resistance to fight the repulsive caste system that kept him and his family down for generations, maybe then I could get on board with him as a swoony love interest but The Selection is not that kind of story.

On the other hand, I loved Prince Maxon and all the effort he made to really build a relationship with America. Maxon was sweet and such a gentleman. The choice between Maxon and Aspen seems obvious but America annoyingly vacillates between them both. I’m not always a fan of love triangles and did not like this one at all.

The plot of the story is all fluff, which is not a bad thing because sometimes you need fluff books in your life. There is a secondary plot involving rebels trying to overthrow the government and I found myself very interested in it but it was not extensively explored but hopefully it will be in the next book.

Cass’s writing is just OK, she does a lot of telling rather than showing and reuses certain phases a bit too much. I didn’t need to hear about Aspen smelling like his mom’s homemade soap over and over again. 

Since I listened to The Selection as an audiobook, I will take a minute to talk about that aspect of it. Amy Rubinate’s narration was decent but since the last audio I listened to was Clockwork Prince (which was EPIC!), her reading had a lot to live up to. I thought the narration started out a bit monotone but got better as the story went on.

I heard that The Selection was being made into a TV series on the CW and I think this story would make a really cool TV show. I think America would make a better TV character than book character. Like I said before, it’s fluff so if you want something more profound, this may not be the book for you. Personally, I’m OK with a book about princes and pretty dresses every once in a while.

Content: Kissing and teenage girls drinking wine.

My Rating: Just Fine

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Multi-Cultural Book Challenge - Guest Post and Giveaway

Our current Multi-Cultural Book Challenge guest post and giveaway is being hosted by KM at One Page At A Time. Click on over there to read the awesome guest post by Cindy Pon, author of Silver Phoenix and Fury of The Phoenix, and enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of Silver Phoenix!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book Review: Spark

sparkTitle: Spark by Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: KTeen/Kensington
Pages: 432
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Genre: Paranormal
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary: Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally. Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Like the fire that killed his parents.
Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it.

More than Gabriel’s pride is at stake -- this could cost him his family, maybe his life. And no one seems to hear him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own.

Gabriel can’t let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that’s right at his heels. But there are some risks he can’t help taking.

The fuse is lit…

A few months ago, I raved about Brigid Kemmerer’s debut novel, Storm. I loved the characters and the cool Outsiders vibe I got from this book and have been really looking forward to the second book in the Elemental series, Spark. Guess what guys, Spark is even better than Storm!

I am a very character driven reader and the characters in Spark are fantastic. The plot centers around the four brothers who can control the elements: fire, air, water and earth, and a fifth boy who controls all four elements plus spirit. I love how Kemmerer keeps the focus on the boys’ family dynamics and their friendships. Some of my favorite parts of this book were Gabriel’s interactions with his brothers.

And speaking of characters, I love Gabriel! True to his fire element, Gabriel is a sarcastic hot head with major issues but Kemmerer makes it work so well. Gabriel is officially one of my favorite book boys for the year! There is romance in Spark and it is sweet, perfect and like everything else about this book, very well developed. While I thought Becca was a decent female lead in Storm, I love Layne in Spark!

Spark is fast paced and with a different enough focus from Storm to make it fresh even though it is the second book in the series. If you are looking for a paranormal novel that’s fresh, funny, fun, well written with awesome character development and a great plot, Spark (and the Elemental series) is for you.

I cannot wait to read Spirit, the next book in the series which comes out in May 2013, and pretty much anything else Brigid Kemmerer writes!

Content: Heavy profanity, underage drinking, bullying, sexual assault, kissing and violence. More appropriate for older/more mature teens and adults.

My Rating: The Best!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stuck In A Good Book Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Stuck in Books. This hop runs from September 20-25.

For this hop, I’m giving away a finished copy of Drain You by M. Beth Bloom. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!


Congrats to Nikki Marie, the winner of the Books to Movies Giveaway Hop! The winner was chosen by and has been contacted. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Waiting on Wednesday: Solstice

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:

solsticeTitle: Solstice by P.J. Hoover
Publisher: Tor Teen/MacMillan
Publish Date: June 21, 2013
Genre: Mythology, Dystopia

Goodreads Summary: Piper's world is dying. Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.

Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.

An imaginative melding of mythology and dystopia, Solstice is the first YA novel by talented newcomer P. J. Hoover.

Why am I waiting on Solstice? It combines two of my favorite genres: Greek mythology and dystopia, plus I love the cover! I believe this book was self published last year and is now being traditionally published by Tor Teen. Current reviews for it are very good and I can’t wait to read it. What books are you waiting on?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dystopia on TV

revolution-nbc-poster-season-1-32If you happen to watch NBC during prime time over the last few weeks, you undoubtedly noticed the previews for a new show show Revolution. I am super excited about this for several reasons. First it’s dystopian/post apocalyptic (one of my favorite genres of literature) and it’s from J.J. Abram’s production company!

In case you are not a rabid fan like myself, J.J. Abrams co-created Lost, one of the best shows ever and one that I was totally addicted to a few years ago when it was on. See the promo poster on the left? Yep, that’s Billy Burke (from the Twilight movies) on the left, Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost alum), Giancarlo Esposito (fresh from one of my husband’s favorite shows, Breaking Bad) and Tracy Spiridakos (Being Human).

Here is how NBC describes Revolution:

What would you do without it all? In this epic adventure from J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions and "Supernatural's" Eric Kripke, a family struggles to reunite in an American landscape where every single piece of technology - computers, planes, cars, phones, even lights - has mysteriously blacked out forever. A drama with sweeping scope and intimate focus, "Revolution" is also about family - both the family you're born into and the family you choose. This is a swashbuckling journey of hope and rebirth seen through the eyes of one strong-willed young woman, Charlie Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos, "Being Human"), and her brother Danny (Graham Rogers, "Memphis Beat"). When Danny is kidnapped by militia leaders for a darker purpose, Charlie must reconnect with her estranged uncle Miles (Billy Burke, "The Twilight Saga"), a former U.S. Marine living a reclusive life. Together, with a rogue band of survivors, they set out to rescue Danny, overthrow the militia and ultimately re-establish the United States of America. All the while, they explore the enduring mystery of why the power failed, and if - or how - it will ever return.

While I don’t have time to watch a lot of TV, I will be watching this. It totally sounds like the plot to a book that I would read!  Revolution premiers on Monday, Sept. 17 on NBC. Will you be watching Revolution? What other shows are you looking forward to this fall? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Books to Movies Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the Books to Movies Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Sweeping the USA. This hop runs from September 11-17.

For this hop, I’m giving away a finished copy of Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. This book is currently being made into a movie which will be out early next year. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!


Congrats to Pixie Sprinkle, the winner of the Back to the Books Giveaway Hop! The winner was chosen by and has been contacted. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Multi-Cultural Book Challenge - Guest Post and Giveaway

Our current Multi-Cultural Book Challenge guest post and giveaway is being hosted by KM at One Page At A Time. Click on over there to read the awesome guest post by Diana Renn, author of Tokyo Heist, and enter the giveaway to win a copy of this cool and exciting book!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Chantress

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:

chantressTitle: Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publish Date: May 7, 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Goodreads Summary: Sing and the darkness will find you.

Shipwrecked on an island seven years ago, Lucy has been warned she must never sing, or disaster will strike. But on All Hallows Eve, Lucy hears tantalizing music in the air. When she sings it, she unlocks a terrible secret: She is a Chantress, a spell-singer, brought to the island not by shipwreck but by a desperate enchantment gone wrong.

Her song lands her back in England — and in mortal peril, for the kingdom lies in the cruel grasp of a powerful Lord Protector and his mind-reading hunters, the Shadowgrims. The Protector has killed all Chantresses, for they alone can destroy the Shadowgrims. Only Lucy has survived.

In terrible danger, Lucy takes shelter with Nat, a spy who turns her heart upside-down. Nat has been working with his fellow scholars of the Invisible College to overthrow the Lord Protector, and they have long hoped to find a living Chantress to help them. But Lucy is completely untrained, and Nat deeply distrusts her magic. If Lucy cannot master the songspells, how long can she even stay alive?

Why am I waiting on Chantress? This book sounds so good! Plus, this combination of historical fiction and fantasy wrapped up in this pretty cover is hard for me to resist. What books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Audiobook Review: Clockwork Angel

clockworkangelTitle: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Narrator: Jennifer Ehle
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Release Date: August 31, 2012
Duration: 15 hours, 30 mins
Genre: Steampunk, Paranormal

Goodreads Summary: Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa.

As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

I’ve seen tons of readers praise both Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series, but since I’m not really into angel/demon books, I’ve always passed on them. More recently, however, I’ve gotten recommendations from some bloggy friends that the angel mythology is these books is a little bit different and encourage me to try them, specifically Clockwork Angel. I am so glad I did!

This first book in the Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Angel, is wonderfully written, has well rounded characters and is filled with action, betrayal, cool paranormal creatures, mystery and a beginnings of a love triangle that I think I will be OK with. The plotting is tightly done and the pacing is perfect. The main thing that stands out for me, however, is Clare’s excellent world building. The world of the Shadowhunters with its Victorian London setting is so well developed, I slipped right into it. The steampunk elements are awesome and I will admit that Clockwork Angel has me a little bit obsessed with steampunk books right now.

Tessa is a great character. She is strong and brave without being some ridiculous kick-butt character and I can tell that her relationships with both Will and Jem will get really interesting in upcoming books. And speaking of boys, I love Jem! He is so swoony and gentlemanly. He is the ‘good’ boy of the two and so I don’t hold out much hope of him being victorious in this love triangle, but you never know.

I listened to Clockwork Angel as an audiobook, so I must take some time to tell you about Jennifer Ehle as a narrator: she is absolutely fantastic! There are several characters in this book and Ehle voices them all pitch perfectly. She switches easily between American and British accents, never skipping a beat. While I’m sort of new at audiobooks, Clockwork Angel is the best one I’ve listened to and has set a new standard for all other audios. Yep, it’s that good. 

I loved this book and while I recommend it for a great read, I HIGHLY recommend that you listen to it on audiobook! I own a printed copy of the next book in the series, Clockwork Prince, so I’m a little sad that I will be reading it instead of listening to it but I’m sure that Clare’s awesome writing will be more than enough to make me love the second book as well.

Content: Kissing and violence.

My Rating: The Best!


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