Friday, October 24, 2014

Chills and Thrills Readthon Sign up and TBR!

Happy Almost Halloween! I have been so in the mood to read some Halloween books this month. I was brainstorming on what books to read the other day when I came across the Chills and Thrills Readathon! It takes place from October 24th-31st. You can read any creepy and spooky books for the readathon. They are also hosting daily fun Halloween themed challenges and you can tweet along using #ReadingCram. I know you all are planning to read some scary books this Halloween. I have been seeing everyone talking about their October/Halloween TBR piles so why don't you make it even more fun and read it along with a bunch of book bloggers! You can sign up right here!
I have put a lot of time into my readathon TBR and this is what I am planning on trying to read in the next week. I picked a lot so lets see if I can actually read a majority of them this week!
MARY: The Summoning (Bloody Mary, #1)Welcome to the Dark House (Dark House, #1)The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)GrimHexed (The Witch Hunter, #1)Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1)Midnight Alley (The Morganville Vampires, #3)The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1)Torment (Fallen, #2)
What are you all planning to read for Halloween? Planning on joining the readathon? Then comment or tweet me so we can give each other some encouragement and talk about our spooky books!

Review: Winterspell

Title: Winterspell 
Author: Claire Legrand
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 464
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: September 30th 2014
Synopsis via Goodreads:
The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.
When I heard this book was described as a dark retelling of the nutcracker I knew I had to get my hands on it. After finishing the book I am very glad to say that this book did not disappoint. I loved everything about this book. First shall we start off with how absolutely gorgeous that book cover is! But do not worry that gorgeousness does not go away once you flip open the book. The plot was intriguing, the characters were outstanding, and the setting was to die for.
My most favorite aspect of this book had to be the setting. It was spellbinding, magical, beautiful, and haunting. I am not a winter person and this setting made me want to go live in a world that snows year round, that is how good it is. I got so caught up in the land of Cane, once I opened a door and entered it I never wanted to step outside of the wonderfully shivering and mystical world. I also loved the back drop of 1899 New York City too. It always seemed as if NYC had a magical element to it as well.
Legrand also did a fantastic job with her characters. They are very complex and show great growth throughout the length of the story. The protagonist, Clara, is a strong but vulnerable badass who is a great role model for young girls. It always makes me so happy to see girls in YA being portrayed as strong individuals. Nicholas is not your average prince and that made him even better of a character. He is bound by a curse yet determined but just like the rest of the characters he is somewhat vulnerable. He and Clara complimented each other very well. Legrand mastered her characters so well that you even get caught up in the villainous queen, Anise. You can't help but be enthralled by Anise. Her character has such fascinating human behavior. Legrand made her characters so 3 dimensional that I am still thinking about them today,
The plot was fast moving, intriguing, and even surprising. I expected the story to be about a girl from an outside world helping a broken king take back his kingdom. Technically, yes, this is what the plot is about but there is so much more. I honestly saw this book to be Clara's story about her redemption and her version of Cane instead of Nicholas'. This is very much Clara's dark fairy tale.
If you love a good fantasy, are a Nutcracker fan, or are just looking for a wintery book to pick up this holiday season put Winterspell at the top of your TBR pile. This is a magical haunting tale of one girl's journey of self discovery in an unknown land.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Kiss Kill Vanish

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, where we get to showcase the upcoming releases were are eagerly anticipating on!
This week I am waiting on:
Kiss Kill Vanish
Author: Jessica Martinez
Pages: 432
Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Synopsis via Goodreads:
 Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.
What are you all waiting on this week?
Tell me in the comments!

Review: Made For You

Made for You
Title: Made For You
Author: Melissa Marr
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Thriller
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: September 16th 2014
Synopsis via Goodreads: 
When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.
For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.

The one thing lacking in young adult literature today is a strong thriller/mystery genre. Now thanks to Melissa Marr we FINALLY have a new much needed, fast paced, creepy, intriguing thriller to add to this genre. Melissa Marr's new southern gothic thriller is a chilling read that any mystery fan will love and I definitely suggest that Marr should write another thriller and soon!
The content of the book was twisted and spine tingling and that was one of the reasons it worked. Marr did not hold back and that is what really helped classify this book as a successful thriller. The book left you feeling a little nervous and on the edge at times just like a thriller is supposed to do. I never found the book bland or boring there was always some new twist or intrigue to pull you in more.
The way Marr wrote the story was a brilliant idea of how to write a thriller. She writes the book from three different points of view, Eva the protagonist, Grace the best friend, and the murderer. This really helped build the story and made it feel complete because you get to see the mystery unfold from the main character who is having these horrific things happen to her, a bystander who gets to watch the mystery happen to her friends, and the murderer who creates the horror. I loved that we got to see the murderers point of view. You do not get to see that a lot in books today and I think it should happen more often. Since we got to see the murderers point of view we get to learn about their background and their reasoning for the murders and I think that added so much more to the story itself. A quick warning for some who are a little nervous and queasy going into thrillers, since you read part of the story from the murderers perspective you do get to experience him murdering some of the victims. I also loved Marr's writing and pacing of the novel. I found it very fast paced but it didn't leave me frazzled and confused, it fully pulled me a long with the story.
The content of the book also made the book more complex and satisfying. Besides the mystery part you to experience power struggle and social class in a small elite southern town which is very caught up in family appearance. I thought this added great background to the story and helped bring up some interesting themes. I also liked how Marr had a full explanation for why the murderer started killing, what it meant, and what their goal was. The problem with some young adult thrillers today is that they come off as very one dimensional but with Marr's sub-plots, fully planned out storylines and justifications this a thriller that had no chance of falling flat.
I do have one critique though. In the story when Eva survives her attempted murder she develops this power to see ones death when she touches them. I personally thought this was unneeded in the story and didn't help the plot at all. If Marr had taken this detail out the thriller would have worked out just as perfectly. It seemed like something that was just thrown in to add something more to the book. And since the book is most importantly a true thriller the development of this new "power" was left behind in the development of the plot and was never truly explained.
Melissa Marr has done us all a favor by creating this chilling thriller which is sure to quench the thirst of any young adult thriller fan out there. If you love a good southern gothic thriller or want to try one out for the first time I highly recommend going and grabbing yourself of copy of Made For You.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Exquisite Captive

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Breaking the Spine ,where we get to share our most anticipated upcoming book releases!
This week I am eagerly waiting on.....
Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)
Author: Heather Demetrios
Pages: 480
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Synopsis via Goodreads:
Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.
What are you all waiting for this week?
Tell me in the comments below!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted every week by The Broke and Bookish.
These are the top ten books I am most eager to read this fall!
Martina Boone
Coming October 28th
Kimberly Griffiths Little
Coming November 4th
Glory O'Brien's History of the Future
A.S. King
Coming October 14th
Scott Westerfeld
Anatomy of a Misfit
Andrea Portes
Kiss Kill Vanish
Jessica Martinez
Coming October 7th
Trust Me, I'm Lying
Mary Elizabeth Summer
Coming October 14th
Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)
Heather Demetrios
Coming October 7th
Kiss of Broken Glass
Madeleine Kuderick
Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy, #3)
Sarah Rees Brennan
What are you all planning to read this fall?
Tell me in the comments below!

Review: What I Thought Was True

What I Thought Was True
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick 
Pages: 422
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publication Date: April 15th 2014

Synopsis via Goodreads: 
From the acclaimed author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions.

Gwen Castle has never so badly wanted to say good-bye to her island home till now: the summer her Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, takes a job there as the local yard boy. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.

I was a little bit hesitant going into this because there has been so much high praise around Huntley Fitzpatrick. More specifically she is often compared to Sarah Dessen (my all time favorite author). Whenever people are compared to Sarah Dessen I have too many high expectations and the book ends up falling flat for me. BUT this was not the case for What I Thought Was True! Huntley Fitzpatrick is definitely one of the next star contemporary YA authors!
What I Thought Was True exceeded my expectations. One of my problems in contemporary today is that the storylines are becoming too dramatic and not realistic. Fitzpatrick does a fantastic job creating a story that can happen in any high school. The main plotline and the sub plots were all realistic, relatable, and fully scripted. I love this type of book because I can see the story happening in my town and to me and my friends but I also know that this same plot is unraveling for a girl in a town half way across the country from me. Things like money troubles, betrayal, confusing romance, complicated family and friendships are what every girl can experience in high school. I know readers will be able to connect with these plot lines and characters.
The Characters were phenomenal. The protagonist, Gwen, was very teen authentic in the way she thinks, acts, and handles herself. Gwen will be able to speak to all high school girls out there. You will be able to see a part of yourself in Gwen and that is one of the reasons I liked her. I feel like there is a part of her in every teenage girl. The supporting characters were all very well planned out and created too. Cass, Gwen's love interest, is extremely likable. He is down to earth, persistent, confident but shy, and trying to figure out his place in the world. He was very believable and the perfect match for Gwen. I also loved the supporting characters, of Gwen's family and friends. They each had their own background making the story feel complete and real.
Gwen and Cass' romance was no doubt rocky. They had their ups and downs. It was a roller-coaster and had a lot of back and forth. But that was why it was perfect. There was no insta-love. You got to see them learn about each other, accept themselves, and learn to build a stable relationship. They were nowhere near perfect at the beginning and I loved that. They are both dealing with things in their own lives and they end up hurting and pushing each other away. But they both grow up throughout the summer and you get to watch them find themselves and find each other.
I also really enjoyed the pacing of the book. It was a little bit slower but this is the kind of read where I always think that's supposed to happen. You get to see people grow and evolve over the summer. You fully see the storylines happen form start to finish. And of course you get to watch Cass and Gwen fall in love under the summer sun.
One thing I do think is important in contemporary today and that Fitzpatrick executed wonderfully, is a balance between romance/relationships and independently finding yourself. A majority of the book is the love story of Gwen and Cass but you do also get to see Gwen struggle in her responsibilities and things at home. You get to see her fix things on her own and see her grown into a young woman.
What I Thought Was True is a breath of fresh air in YA contemporary today. If you are looking for a book to send you back into the love filled summer atmosphere as these cold months approach do pick up this book.