Sunday, September 30, 2012

In My Mailbox #33



In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we spotlight the books that we've received for review, swapped, or purchased that week.



FOR REVIEW:

Poison Princess, by Kresley Cole (from Simon & Schuster)
Touch of Death, by Kelly Hashway x 2 (from Spencer Hill Press)
What We Saw At Night by Jacquelyn Mitchard (from Soho Press)


WON:

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (won from Think @ Think Books)


WHAT DID YOU GUYS GET THIS WEEK?
LINK ME UP!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Review: League of Strays

League of Strays
by L.B. Schulman
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 1, 2012
by Amulet

Goodreads / Amazon
This suspenseful debut follows a group of teenage misfits in their delicious quest for revenge on those who have wronged them at their high school. When a mysterious note appears in Charlotte’s mailbox inviting her to join the League of Strays, she’s hopeful it will lead to making friends. What she discovers is a motley crew of loners and an alluring, manipulative ringleader named Kade. Kade convinces the group that they need one another both for friendship and to get back at the classmates and teachers who have betrayed them. But Kade has a bigger agenda. In addition to vandalizing their school and causing fights between other students, Kade’s real intention is a dangerous plot that will threaten lives and force Charlotte to choose between her loyalty to the League and her own conscience.

*A copy was provided by Amulet for review purposes*

I think I can safely say that I have never read a book like this one. From the cover, I was thinking that this book was a paranormal, but it turns out it’s contemporary. I was surprised by this. But, other than the misleading cover, I though it was a pretty good book.

The idea, the writing, the story line, the staging, everything was there in this book. The idea is one of the most original ones I’ve read of in a long time, the writing was superb, flowing together perfectly, and the story line was really good too. The beginning was a bit iffy to me, but once I got farther into the story I started to enjoy it. I though the staging was really good too. Schulman did a really good job of dropping hints about the “bad guy” (I won’t say his name) and how Charlotte grew to realize the truth. I also love how there was a happy ending. Ok, so it’s not necessarily a happy ending, like when they kiss and ride of into the sunset, more like a satisfying one, because you wanted it to end that way.

This is seriously one of the best casts I’ve seen in a long time. I loved how they were each from different walks of life, each dealing with their own problems, but were still able to be friends.
I will say that from the minute he was introduced, I hated Kade. I just had a feeling. He seemed really dark and evil and just creepy.
Even though in the middle of the book I didn’t really like her, by the end I did enjoy reading about Charlotte. The whole book, when the League was doing horrible, wrong things, I was waiting for her to step in and stop them, and when she didn’t I started to get kind of annoyed, but by the end of the book I liked her again.
Two of the supporting cast-members I really liked: Zoe and Richie. I loved how Zoe went from creepy, scary, look-at-me-and-you-die to nice, pretty, and sociable. I also liked how Richie went from being kind of a door-mat when people made fun of him for being gay to standing up for himself and not taking it anymore.
The one supporting cast member that I don’t like is Nora. I liked her in the beginning, but by the middle of the book I hated her as much as Kade.

Before I sign off I have to go into detail about what I think of this cover. First off, if you hadn’t read this book or the summery and were only looking at the cover, would you say it was a paranormal or contemporary book? If you picked paranormal, that’s what I would pick too. It looks nothing like a contemporary book.
On the other hand, this cover is perfect for this book, because of the actual people getting photographed. The guy looks just like I imagined Kade, and the girl looks just like I imagined Charlotte, so this cover is good and bad at the same time.


3 pink flowers

Friday, September 28, 2012

Review: Through To You

Through To You
by Emily Hainsworth
Pages: 272
Release Date: October 2, 2012
by Balzer + Bray

Goodreads / Amazon
Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.

The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.

*Huge thank you to Montana @ The Book Belles for sending me an ARC of this book!*

Coming into this book, I was a little nervous. I’ve never read a contemporary book from a guy’s point of view, so I didn’t think I would like it very much. But I ended up enjoying it.

I’ve never read a book like this before, and it was a good introduction to the genre. It was kind of contemporary/sci-fi, and that’s an extremely imaginative idea, so I really appreciate that. The writing was really good, as was the story line. Several things that happened I didn’t see coming at all.
If you are looking for a light, fun read I wouldn’t recommend this one, because let me tell you, it’s sad. One problem that I had with this book is the world changing. It took me a while to understand which world Cam was in. It was also kind of slow-paced throughout, but other than that it was pretty good.

In this book, Hainsworth kind of portrays Viv as not such a great person. I’m sure that in the real world Viv is really nice, but in the alternate universe she’s really mean. I can understand why Hainsworth makes her out to be like that, but I didn’t particularly like it.
Cam is a really good character, I think. I’m actually surprised how much I liked him as the main character. And seriously, I felt so bad for the guy.
I also really liked Nina. She’s my favorite character of the book, and with good cause. She’s smart, grounded, and a good person. Go Nina!

This book has an ending that can only be called a “Happily Ever After” ending, and I’m so glad. For a debut, Hainsworth did an excellent job.




3.5 pink flowers

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #42


This is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlites upcoming new releases that we're highly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Golden, by Jessi Kirby

Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost may be a distant relative of Robert Frost, but she has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a mystery in her lap—one that might be the key to uncovering the truth behind a town tragedy, she decides to take a chance.


WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR THIS WEEK?
LINK ME UP!!! :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stealing Breath Blog Tour Stop

Hello all!  Today I am participating in the Stealing Breath Blog Tour, hosted by Dark Mind Blog Tours.  Today I will be posting an awesome interview and excerpt, and a giveaway to finish it off!


Stealing Breath
by Joanne Brothwell
Series: Stealing Breath #1
Release Date: 258
by Crescent Moon Press

Add on Goodreads
Deep in the backwoods of North Dakota, twenty-one year old Sarah Ross is searching for a missing child when she is attacked by a glowing-eyed, transparent... creature. Sarah survives, destroying the monster by using mysterious abilities she didn't even know she had. Bloody and bruised, Sarah flees the scene and runs directly into Evan Valente, a handsome, charismatic stranger who helps her back to safety. But what is Evan doing out in the forest at five in the morning? Turning to a healer, Sarah is shocked to learn her eyes bear the mark of the Indigo Child-an evolved human with the ability to feel the emotions of others. But her indigo aura also makes her an easy target for those who wish to consume her powerful essence. Soon, Sarah is falling deeply in love with Evan and wants nothing more than to follow her heart and trust that he is the man he says he is. But she can't ignore the lingering feeling that Evan is hiding a terrible secret. The deeper she digs, the more danger she faces, leading her on a course that will force her to face the darkest, innermost parts of her soul.




AUTHOR INTERVIEW


1.       Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I live in the country with my husband, two kids, dog and cat. I work full-time as a Family Therapist and spend my evenings as a soccer mom. In my free time, I squeeze in writing!

2. Why did you decide to become a writer?

I suppose I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my dad’s memoire about ten years ago and then quit writing altogether while my kids were little. But then three years ago I had an idea for a story that simply wouldn’t go away. I had to write it down. Once I’d written the whole thing and it was the size of a novel, I realized this was it. I was officially a writer.

3. Who were your biggest influences?
Ann Rice and Cassandra Clare.

4. What is your favorite movie?
I don’t know if I really have a favorite. I’m quite fickle and my preferences change frequently. Right now, my favorite movie is The Hunger Games.

5. Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Vanilla with caramel sauce on top.

6. Chocolate or candy?
Chocolate.

7. Summer or winter?
Summer. I live on the Canadian prairie and it is freaking COLD here!

8. Cats or dogs?
Cats. I love how they’re so soft and cuddly and yet aloof and independent.

9. 
When and how did you get the idea for STEALING BREATH?

One of my friends, an Indigenous Canadian, told me a story of a time she was on a road trip in the US. It was the middle of the night and she was growing too tired to continue driving, so she pulled her car over to the side of the road, somewhere in Arizona near the “four corners” (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah). She planned to have a nap, but was startled awake when her car started rocking as if someone was jumping on her car, their mocking laughter outside sending shivers up her back. Quite abruptly it stopped, and when she spoke to some of her Navajo relatives later, they said these tricksters were Skinwalkers, people who practiced “Bad Medicine” and could perform astral-projection!

How does Skinwalkers tie in with Indigo Children? About four years ago I had this story idea of a spiritually evolved human, based on the New Age concept of the “Indigo Child”. This person would be spiritually closer to God, with psychic abilities and a purple/blue aura. This concept came long before the Skinwalker story. But after the Skinwalker story, I began to think— if Skinwalkers can walk outside of their skin, can they walk inside the skin of another? If yes, can they steal the souls of their victims? If they can steal souls, wouldn’t they want a special purple/blue one that’s closer to God?


10. 
Is there another book in the works?  If so, what can we expect?

Book two, Silencing Breath, is slated for publication early 2013. This is the blurb:

Just as Sarah is learning everything she can about her new abilities as an Indigo Child and settling into a normal life with her beloved Evan, her entire world shatters when Evan disappears without a trace. 

Desperate to find him, Sarah’s attempts to uncover clues to his whereabouts end up leading her to a sadistic serial killer who confirms her worst fears are true: Evan has been kidnapped, and he is once again in the clutches of the Malandanti, his abusive family of Necromancers.

Sarah’s search leads her not only to Evan’s evil past he tried so desperately to protect her from, but also to The Key of Solomon, an ancient text on Necromancy.

Knowing her abilities are limited in the face of this ancient power, Sarah is forced to face the Malandanti in order to save him. However, one question remains: once he is found, will Evan be the same man she fell in love with?



EXCERPT


“You saw that Evan guy again?” Amber asked. She sucked the last of her frothy pink drink through a straw. The mischievous look on her face was mirrored in the giddy emotions she gave off, emotions that were always especially loud when she was drinking. They resonated within me like a bouncy ball flying around in my stomach.
I downed another shot of “Sex on the Beach”, hoping it would finally be enough to filter out the emotions of everyone here. Smooth at first, then tart, the booze finally burned its way down the back of my throat. The buzz-on was almost immediate, and the effect was wonderful, the way it almost obliterated all of the sex-obsessed feelings that seemed to roll off of nearly ever patron at the bar like a hot blanket being wound around me. Sick.
We sat at a booth right next to the bar. Amber held her glass up, signaling to the bartender who nodded and began to pour. He bobbed his head to the blaring country music from the loudspeaker.
Tables ringed the bar, booths along the wall and stools on the other side. Every few feet a brightly lit neon beer sign provided a dash of garish d├ęcor. Right in the middle was the dance floor, a little postage-stamp sized circle of parquet flooring that reminded me of an interlocking puzzle. Alongside it was a raised section with a few pool tables.
“Yeah, I saw him.” I proceeded to explain his land development business to Amber and Kate, who listened with rapt expressions.
“That’s amazing. Nobody ever comes to Slave Lake. People only leave,” Amber said. Our waitress, dressed in skin-tight jeans and a too-tight tank-top, brought us another
round. Behind her, the giant flat screen on the wall lit up with random explosions of fuchsia, neon yellow and acid green, perfectly paced with the lyrics of the canned music.
Kate sat across from me on the bench seating, her copper hair shimmering pink from the neon “Budweiser” sign and the black light hanging on the wall behind her. Her teeth were glowing an unnatural white in the light, and every piece of lint on her black shirt stood out like a 3D movie.
“How interesting that you both were out in the bush that morning,” Kate said.
I nodded. “I know. Quite a coincidence.”
Amber sat beside Kate in the bench seat, facing the bar. She leaned forward in one fluid motion, her black hair sweeping the table. “Sarah. Look who just walked in.” I turned in my seat. “And he’s coming right over—”
“Mind if I join you?” asked a familiar voice, before I’d even had a chance to look.
I turned and smiled at Evan. “Sure.”
He pulled a stool up to our table, his arms rippling with the movement. His very presence seemed to heat the air around me, his cologne eclipsing the bar smell of dirty jeans, stale beer and desperation.
I glanced at Kate and Amber, who both stared at him, bright-eyed. His dark fitted jeans hugged his legs, the denim slung low across narrow hips. A black t-shirt made of a material I couldn’t identify hinted of the peaks and valleys of muscle beneath and a single silver chain with a dog-tag hung at his neck, a crest emblem engraved on it with the name Valente. This guy would look good in a burlap sack. Or nothing.
“You remember Kate and Amber from the campground?” I asked. They nodded in acknowledgement and exchanged niceties. Then Amber and Kate excused themselves and hit the dance floor. They’d been dancing together since we’d become bar age, both of them with the attitude that they weren’t about to wait around for a guy to ask.
Evan and I watched as they twirled each other around, the only people dancing in the whole bar. Then they attempted to two-step, each of them fighting to lead. Goofballs.
I turned back to Evan. “How are you?”
He flashed that thousand-watt smile. “I’m great. You?” He inched closer and the atmosphere around my head seemed charged, like a swelling electrical storm. A shiver traveled through my body.
“Fine, thanks.” I smiled.
“You look great.” He gestured to my outfit.
I looked down at my jeans and a loose white shirt and glanced back up at him, cocking my eyebrow. “Thanks?”
“What? Not used to compliments?”
“Not when I’m dressed like a slob, no, not really.”
He rolled his eyes. “You look awesome. Seriously. Want to dance?”
I stared at him, half-expecting he was kidding. But his face showed no trace of a joke. I glanced at the dance floor where Kate and Amber had begun to dance hip hop to the country beat.
I turned back to him. He held out his hand, across the table. Reluctantly, I took it and he led me to the dance floor where Amber and Kate made room for us, their expressions barely-muted surprise. People rarely danced in Slave Lake. Except for Amber and Kate, of course.
Evan placed his palm in my right hand and set his other hand on my waist. I glanced up at a set of smoldering eyes and immediately looked away, his gaze too intense. Unfortunately, by looking away, I realized that every single person in the bar was staring at us. Some people, who should have had their backs to us, had actually turned around on their stool to gawk. I felt like a fish in a fishbowl.
Evan leaned down, his breath caressing my cheek. I caught a silky coil of his scent, a rich, musky fragrance of expensive cologne, soap and his own unique smell. It was addictive. The hand on my waist snaked around to my back,pulling me closer. Heat radiated over my entire body as we began to move in slow, gentle circles. When the song came to an end, my arm fell from his shoulder. His hands didn’t move.
“One more?” he asked as the music transitioned to a faster song, modern country with a dance beat. Kate and Amber were already dancing to it in a way that looked more fitting for a city club, Amber’s arms reaching up and over her head, hips swinging. Kate had her own little groove going alongside her.
“Sure,” I said.
He smiled and set his hand back on my waist, and suddenly we were in the fastest two-step I’d ever danced in my life. We moved around the dance floor at a dizzying pace, spinning circles around Kate and Amber who were laughing out loud watching us.
He twirled me several times, only to end up back in that break-neck, two-stepping pace once again. Now I was giggling to the point of breathlessness, my head spinning from the four shots I’d just downed and my racing pulse. He spun me three more times, and when the song ended, he lowered me into a long dip.
With his arm around my back, I was gently pulled up, our bodies touching from torso all the way down, so that even the tips of our shoes connected. I looked into his face, expecting to see a grin, but was met with a burning look that made my heart stutter and my breath catch. The whiskey on his breath was all I could think of, the heat of his mouth, so close to mine.
Then a sensation folded over me. A soft lethargy, like I was levitating, weightless. My eyes closed, and explosions of purple and blue light flashed behind my eyelids. I relaxed into the feeling.
“Are you okay?” Evan asked. I opened my eyes. He peered down at me, forehead wrinkled with concern. His skin was flushed bright pink.
My lungs began to re-inflate as my entire body tingled like I’d just had the best orgasm of my life.
Had he even kissed me? I licked my lips, but there was no taste of whiskey, no evidence of his mouth on mine. Obviously I’d had one too many shots. And yet, I felt perfectly lucid, his gorgeous face crystal clear before me.
“Uh…I’m fine,” I said, my voice breathy. There had to be an explanation. Like maybe I was losing my mind. Or maybe my fainting spells were starting to happen again, ever since the stressful Skinwalker incident. Whatever it was, right now I had to make sure this perfect specimen of a man in front of me did not think I was a raving lunatic. I forced myself to speak, my mind scrambling for small-talk. “I…I had no idea you could dance like that.”
The concerned look faded, and he flashed his perfect teeth. “Thanks. You’re not too bad, yourself.”
I dropped my hand from around his shoulder and backed up. He let go of me slowly, as if with reluctance.
“Come on. I need a drink,” I said, motioning back to the bar where Amber and Kate had just sat down. We veered toward them.
Evan made eye contact with the bartender who nodded at both of us. “Scotch, on the rocks, please. What are you drinking?”
“I’ll have a Long Island Iced T—”
“Who’s he?” A guy’s voice said, close enough that I cringed from the volume. I whipped around.
Jeff Hansen. Town drunk that never seemed to do much of anything, other than sit in the bar, hit on locals and look pissed off. And boy, did he look pissed off. Emotions rolled off him like jagged pieces of glass, hurt and anger all twisted up into one gigantic ball of irritation.
“He’s cool, Jeff. He’s with me,” I said. My heart started to pound as I remembered the last time Jeff had picked a fight. He’d bitten a guy’s ear and torn part of it right off.
Jeff stared at Evan, his teeth exposed like he was snarling.
“Is he treating you right, Sarah?”
“It’s all good, Jeff,” I said.
“You think you’re pretty tough?” Jeff said through gritted teeth. He stepped forward and poked Evan in the chest. Evan was pushed slightly off-balance, and he took a step backward.
My stomach clenched. “Jeff, I said it’s cool.”
Evan straightened up. He had at least four inches on Jeff and well over thirty pounds. Jeff stepped back, and the sickly-sweet smell of weed came wafting off of his ratty jean jacket.
Evan looked down his nose at Jeff. “Back off, man.” His jaw muscles popped in and out, and his hands balled up at his sides. The only thing Jeff had going for him was a bad attitude and liquid courage.
“Shut up, asshole!” Jeff slurred, a fine mist of spittle burst from his mouth and rained all over us. Jeff turned his head and flashed a snide grin, probably to impress his buddies who watched the spectacle along the sidelines of the bar.
“Jeff, stop it!” I said. Jeff ignored me completely, staring at Evan. I reached for Evan’s hand, wound my fingers through his and tugged. “Come on. Let’s get out of here.”
Evan nodded, and we strode toward the exterior door. I glanced back to see Jeff running. He ran straight into Evan, knocking him forward.
Evan hit the crash bar of the metal door, his body weight forcing it wide open so that it squeaked when the hinges were pushed to their limit. My heart jumped into my throat as he stumbled and fell onto the cement outside. Immediately, he righted himself and jumped back to his feet.
Jeff smiled, eyes flashing. “I bet that hurt, didn’t it, tough guy?”
I ran toward Jeff. “Stop it! Just leave him alone!”
Jeff smiled at me. “Aww, you’re getting your little bi-otch to fight for you.” Then he turned back to Evan. “Tell you’re ho to shut her pie-hole, or I’ll shut it for her.”
“You’re going to wish you’d never said that,” Evan said, his voice a low, warning growl.
Jeff snorted. “You’re in my town. You’re gonna regret having a mouth.” His arms rose above his head in some kind of attempt to look intimidating, but to me he looked like a bird about to take flight.
“Stop it, Jeff.”
Stepping forward, Jeff hurtled his fist toward Evan’s face but Evan snatched his clenched fist mid-air. I lunged toward them, placing one hand on Evan and the other hand on Jeff’s jacket.
Instantly, the atmosphere around my head changed, filling with static.
The lights above the entryway flickered, humming like dying bees before building into a sizzling pulse. With a bang, the lights exploded in a rainfall of glass shards. I ducked to shield my face.
I opened my eyes and gasped. Jeff lay crumpled on the ground, his torso folded inward, his limbs pulled into a fetal position, moaning as he clutched his stomach. Then his face went slack, and his eyes rolled back into his head. Why was he on the ground? And why did he look like he’d been knocked out cold?
I glanced around, but all I could hear was the retreating sound of footsteps running outside, the parking lot no longer lit up by the overhead light.
“Evan?” I called out.
Silence.




About Joanne Brothwell = = = Goodreads | Blog | Twitter | Facebook 
Joanne Brothwell lives in the country on the Canadian prairie where her stories are inspired by the dead things that appear at her doorstep on a daily basis.





GIVEAWAY


Joanne Brothwell is offering up 2 ebook editions of Stealing Breath.  Check out below for full details!


The Rules:
~There will be two winners.
~Giveaway ends on October 7, 2012 @ 12:01 AM
~This giveaway is INT
~Must be 13 years or older.
~Fill out the Rafflecopter


a Rafflecopter giveaway


THANKS FOR ENTERING

Monday, September 24, 2012

One Year Blogoversary!

Hello everyone!  So, from the title, I'm pretty sure you guys can figure out that today is my one year blogoversary.  What that means is that on this day, one year ago, I published my first post on Emily's Crammed Bookshelf.  I've come so far and learned so much since then, and this post is to celebrate all that has happened, and I'm going to celebrate it with all of you guys; my amazing followers.

I actually have no idea how to structure this post because, needless to say, I haven't done one of these before.  But, I will try my best.  Today I will be:

~Posting random facts and stats
~OMGing about the fact that it's been a year
~Fangirling over some awesome authors and publishing companies
~Going on and on about all the awesome bloggers out there
~Hosting a awesome, fantastic, out-of-this-world GIVEAWAY!


So let's get started!!!!



SOME FIRSTS AND STATS

First Meme Post: Top Ten Tuesday (#1)
First Cover Reveal Post: Black Dawn & The Savage Grace
First IMM Post: IMM #1
First ARC: Destined by Jessi Harrell
First Blog Tour: Embrace Blog Tour
First Interview: Jessica Shervington
First Finished Copy for Review: Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Total Coments: 1473
Total Followers: 695
Total Pageviews: 47,356
Total Posts: 317
Total Reviews: 90


ABOUT THE BLOG AND ME

I had gotten a Goodreads account in April 2011, and it was because of Goodreads that I started a blog.  I had no idea that review blogs even existed.  Once I started making friends on Goodreads, I noticed that some people had websites.  I clicked on the links and saw there blogs.  I though, "Wow, that is so cool.  I would like to do that."  I asked my mom, and she said no.  So I went about life the same way, only now I had that little thing in the back of my mind that kept on saying, "I want a blog, I want a blog."  My mom had said no.  But I did it anyway.  I can't keep secrets from my parents, but I convinced myself I could keep this secret.  I would switch pages every time she walked by, or pretend I wasn't interested in the screen.  It worked for a while...and then she busted me.  But instead of being mad, she was ok with it.  I think she actually forgot that I had asked her before, and she had said no, and, of course, I wasn't about to remind her.
When I started this blog, I had no idea what I was getting in to.  I didn't know anything about blogging: how to post, how to get followers, how to upload pictures, how to host giveaways, get ARCs and copies for review...nothing.  I had to learn fast. 
In the beginning the only thing I used this blog for was to get extra entries in giveaways other bloggers were hosting.  That's why my first ever post is a giveaway.  Yes, I know that is totally pathetic.  But then I realized...this is a review blog, not an extra entries blog.  So I turned it around, started reviewing, and voila, here I am today.

ARCS AND REVIEW COPIES


I've always had a love of books, but I never though I could actually benefit from it.
I learned about ARCs and Review Books only a few months ago.  I started off by timedly asking authors if they had any copies on Goodreads.  Then I went to not-so-timedly asking for copies on Goodreads.  Then I started stalking them on their websites and emailing them.  Then, finally, once I had gotten a few review copies, it finally to occured to me to email the publishers and publicists.  There are still some companies that don't send me books, but most are very nice and send me tons.


BLOGGING FRIENDS


I've interacted with so many awesome authors and publishers and bloggers in the past year, so this section is a little tribute to them.  

BLOGGERS:

~Giselle @ .Xpresso Reads
~Mimi @ Mimi Valentine
~Haley @ YA-Aholic
~Wendy @ A Cupcake and a Latte

Mimi was the first ever blog that I followed, and it was awesome, so I wanted my blog to be just like hers.  She was so nice and funny and everyone loved her, and she really helped me, even though she didn't know it.
Lea REALLY helped me.  She tolerated me bombarding her with questions, helped me make my first ever blog button, and showed me how to get the background behind the summeries of the books I review.
Jen, Haley, Mackenzie and Fauzen all helped me in their special way.  Jen and Mackenzie were so nice and commented and made me fell good.  Haley started me off with looking for ARCs with her header on her blog featuring upcoming releases.  And Fauzen is awesome.  Great reviews, great features, and awesome cover reveals!
Wendy is no longer blogging, but she really inspired me.

PUBLISHERS:

~Random House and its imprints
~Bloomsbury and its imprints
~Scholasic and its imprints

Random House if my favortie publisher.  Awesome books, very, very nice, and they send me books.
Bloomsbury and Scholastic are tied for second.  They send me books :P

Authors:

~Maria V. Snyder
~Sara Walsh

These are two of the best authors ever, and the funny thing is their books are both similar.  Maria sent me my first finished copy for review.  And Sara was so nice in a recent blog tour I participated in :)


GIVEAWAY


Today I have a giveaway of epic-ness for you all today.  It's going to rock your face off!!

The Rules:
~There will be two winners.
~Giveaway ends on October 25, 2012 @ 12:01 AM
~This giveaway is INT
~Must be a GFC follower
~Must be 13 years or older.
~Fill out the Rafflecopter
 

The Prizes:

THE FIRST WINNER WILL WIN ARCS OF:


THE SECOND WINNER WILL WIN ARCS OF:



Fill out the form:


a Rafflecopter giveaway



THANK YOU EVERYONE!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

In My Mailbox: (#32)



In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we spotlight the books that we've received for review, swapped, or purchased that week.



FOR REVIEW:

Skinny, by Donna Cooner (finished copy from Scholastic)
Mystic City, by Theo Lawrence (ARC from Delacorte Press)
The Opposite of Hallelujah, by Anna Jarzab (ARC from Delacorte Press)


Hello all!  I apologize that I'm not featuring actual pictures of the books.  I'm having some problems with my computor.  I also just noticed that last week I forgot to add links to the books, so I've done that this week!  Let me know what you guys have gotten!!


WHAT DID YOU GUYS GET THIS WEEK?
LINK ME UP!!! :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Review: Perfect Chemistry

Perfect Chemistry
by Simone Elkeles
Series: Perfect Chemistry #1
Release Date (First published): December 23, 2008
by Walker Books for Young Readers

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A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created 'perfect' life is about to unravel before her eyes. She's forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for: her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.


*A copy was provided by Walker for review purposes*

After hearing so many awesome things about this book, I decided that I wanted to give it a try. The summery sounded amazing, and the cover is really pretty, so I picked it up… and was pretty much blown away.

This book is unlike any I’ve read before. It kind of reminds me of The Outsiders because of the gang aspect thrown in. Plus, I really enjoyed The Outsiders. There were a few things that were kind of off though. One was the fact that in the beginning, when Brittany is paired with Alex, Elkeles spends like twenty pages making Brittany complain about it. It was kind of annoying and drawn out. Also, over the course of the book, once the romance started heating up, there was no mention of chemistry class, school, or how much time had passed. And one last thing, the important scenes weren’t really described very well. Like the fight scene, or romance scene. But those are kind of just minor mistakes.
Other than that, this book was perfect. I loved the writing and staging. I haven’t laughed when reading a book in a while, but this one had me cracking up almost the entire way through. The idea is really great too, and the story line led up to a superb ending. This ending gives a new meaning to “Happily Ever After.”

I have to say, I freaking LOVE these characters.
Alex cracks me up. He doesn’t know when to shut up, is cheeky, funny, and totally cute and sexy. I would totally date him, if he wasn’t messed up with a gang. I’m sorry, but I don’t care how cute or nice a guy is, if he’s in a gang, smokes, has tattoos, and does drugs, I will run screaming in the other direction. But, other than that, LOVED ALEX!
I also really liked Brittany. Kind of. She had a lot of things going on, but in the beginning she did come across as kind of a bitch. I didn’t like the way she treated Alex at all, but I’m glad she shaped up in the end. So I ended up liking her pretty well.
This is such a great cast, so I can’t finish without mentioning Paco. He’s not a major character in this book, but he was so freaking funny, I just have to mention him.

I’ve heard that this is a series, but I honestly don’t see how Elkeles can build off of this book without making the whole series seem like reading the same book over and over, but I will definitely read the next books.



5 PINK FLOWERS

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

Wings of the Wicked
by Courtney Allison Moulton
Series: Angelfire #2
Release Date: February 23, 2012
by Katherine Tegen Books

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Life as the Preliator is harder than Ellie ever imagined.
Balancing real life with the responsibility of being Heaven’s warrior is a challenge for Ellie. Her relationship with Will has become all business, though they both long for each other. And now that the secret of who she really is has come out, so have Hell’s strongest reapers. Grown bold and more vicious, the demonic threaten her in the light of day and stalk her in the night.

She’s been warned.
Cadan, a demonic reaper, comes to her with information about Bastian’s new plan to destroy Ellie’s soul and use an ancient relic to wake all the souls of the damned and unleash them upon humanity. As she fights to stay ahead of Bastian’s schemes , the revelations about those closest to her awaken a dark power within Ellie that threatens to destroy everything—including herself.

She’ll be betrayed.
Treachery comes even from those whom she loves, and Ellie is broken by the deaths of those who stood beside her in this Heavenly war. Still, she must find a way to save the world, herself, and her love for Will. If she fails, there will be hell to pay.


After reading and loving Angelfire about a year ago, I was super-excited to read this one.  It started off kind of iffy, and I wasn’t sure if I would like it.  Then Moulton kicked it into high gear and wrote like I knew she could, and it was amazing.

This book was rockin’.  Non-stop action, great plot, and yummy romance.  Moulton went right into it, starting off with a fight scene.  The only thing was, it wasn’t very well written.  She didn’t describe the scene very well, and it wasn’t just that singe scene, there were fight scenes throughout the book that were badly describe.  Another thing that really bothered me was when Ellie, Will, and their gang first found out that the bad guys were looking for something.  To be more precise, it was one of the things they needed to take over the world.  Now, if I was to ask you where you would hide the most important object in the world, you would probably say somewhere really safe, like, say…Fort Knox.  Well, guess where this all-important object was hidden.  An apartment.  With one guard.  Somehow I fail to agree with this.

Other than those two things, I really enjoyed this book.  The writing was really good, ok at times, but good.  The staging was awesome, and the story line twisted in ways I had no idea about.  I literally gasped out loud at some things, especially a certain sad event (don’t worry, it doesn’t have anything to do with Will, if that’s what you’re thinking).  And OMG, that ending.  Why do you do this to me Moulton?  Imagine the biggest cliffhanger ever, and multiply it by ten.  And let me tell you Moulton, it better all work out in the third book, because, I swear…anyway.  I won’t tell you guys any more, but people who have read the book understand what I’m talking about.

The characters in this book were a real problem for me.  I’m going to go through them, then discuss something that really bothered me.
You guys have heard me rant on and on about my all-time favorite guys (Duval, Dean, Sam, Valek).  Well, you guys are going to start hearing me rant about Will, because he is my new true love.  Seriously, this guy is perfect.  Kick-ass, super cute, sexy, yummy and…oh gosh.  Just dump Ellie and come with me, man! :P
And, while I’m on the subject of Ellie, I’m going to talk about her a bit.  She was super kick-butt, fierce, and a perfect lead female character.
Now comes the part where I talk about the problem I had, and the reason I’m mentioning it here is because it has to do with the characters and the romance.  What I just said about the characters was the positive.  Now comes the negative.  Ellie is, for lack of a better word, a bitch.  She treats Will like shit, and I hate it.  She hits him, shuns him, ignores him, and is an all-around beeotch to him.  What I don’t understand is, why doesn’t Will dump her ass?  Forgive the language, but I mean, seriously?!  No one deserves to be treated like Will, especially not nice, hot, sexy, smoking Will.   That just really, really bothered me.

All in all, this book was really good.  The romance was perfect when Ellie wasn’t being a brat and Will wasn’t being a doormat, so I really enjoyed that.  And seriously, if Moulton doesn’t start the third book like I want her to, I will throw a tantrum.  This book had the biggest cliffhanger of the century, and I swear, Moulton better make it work.


5 PINK FLOWERS

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Burn for Burn
by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Series: Burn for Burn #1
Release Date: September 18, 2012
by Simon & Schuster

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Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she's ready to make her pay.Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. And she's ready to prove it to him.Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they each had a taste.


*A copy was provided by Simon & Schuster for review purposes*

For some reason, I just am not a huge fan of this book.  When I first started it, I was like “Yeah!  This is going to be a really good contemporary read”, but I was kind of disappointed.  I don’t really like these kinds of books, when all they are about is revenge, so I guess that’s why I didn’t like it.  It was a good idea, just not one that I enjoy reading about.  I loved how Han and Vivian went right into the action, and how they switched between the past and present.  They did a great job of explaining the history as well, and the writing was superb.  The staging was really good as well, but the actual revenge ideas weren’t that good.  Actually, I take it back; one revenge idea wasn’t good (the Alex Revenge was super lame) but the other two were really good.  I also didn’t really like the little supernatural twist thrown in.  But the ending was really good.  Cliffhanger!!

It’s kind of hard to write about these characters.  On the one hand, I feel really bad for them and the things that happened to them.  On the other, I don’t like them because they are doing exactly the same thing as the people that hurt them.  But, I’ll give it a try.
I like all the main characters: Mary, Kat, and Lillia.  I like Mary because she went from being a timid little door-mat to standing up for herself.  I like Kat because she’s tough, defiant, and doesn’t take any crap.  And I like Lillia because she’s not a typical popular girl, but nice.
And I would really like to know which author wrote which character.  Does anyone know?

One last thing before I sign off: the cover.  I’m just guessing here, but, looking at the cover, I think that Kat is on the far left, Mary is in the middle, and Lillia is on the right.  And seriously, this cover is awesome.  The models look exactly like I image the characters…well, except for Kat.  But it’s still pretty close.


3 PINK FLOWERS
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