Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bleeding Hearts by Alyxandra Harvey

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Series: The Drake Chronicles

Genera: Paranormal Romance

Subjects: vampires, royalty, princes and princesses, supernatural, love

Length: 289 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

Summary/ product description: “As vampires from all over the world descend on the Drake farm for the Blood Moon gathering, security is ramped up. Lucy has been temporarily banned, for her own safety—and to allow Solange some time to adjust to her new existence. But their enemies realize how much Lucy means to the family, and plan to abduct her to use her for leverage against the new royal family. Instead, Lucy’s cousin Christabel is kidnapped by mistake—and Connor Drake immediately heads off in pursuit, but isn’t in time to prevent Christabel’s infection by the Hel Blar. He can’t save her human life, but he can still try to save her new vampire life, and is willing to put his own life on the line for the girl he has grown to care so much about. Can he save Christabel, the Blood Moon, and his mother’s newly forged Vampire Alliance?”

My Rating: ê ê ê ê

My Review: Still the funnest and funniest vampire book series I’ve ever read, the fourth book did not disappoint. I am so glad that the author brought Lucy’s perspective back. Lucy is probably the most interesting, funny, strong female character in the series. She’s also human, but she’s no Bella. The author introduces her cousin, who’s just as feisty, but into historical literature and poetry. I was surprised that it wasn’t Hunter’s friend Chloe who Conner fell in love with. Also, that Conner wasn’t Christabel’s type, so it wasn’t an instant romance.

Another big part of the book is the kidnapping. In Christabel’s words, weirdest kidnapping ever. He kidnappers were just way to nice to her, but that’s okay. She becomes a political hostage, and Conner shows up and becomes a hostage too. The out come is either surprising or predictable depending on what you were thinking. (No spoiling).

Also, Solange is acting very odd. I’m kind of hoping the next book will be from Solange and Kieren’s perspectives, but I don’t think it will happen. But Duncan seems too old for a YA book…really. Conner has became one of my favorite Drake brothers.

I recommend this book and the series to people who like vampire books.

Cover Art Review: I liked the other book’s cover better. The ones where the people on it resembled actual characters. They could’ve had Christabel and Conner on it, but no…just a random romance photo. Bleh.

~Haley G

This is my 150th book of the year! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Frost by Wendy Delsol

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Series: Stork (bk. 2)

Genera: Paranormal Romance/fantasy

Subjects: Mythology, Iceland, the Snow Queen, Magic

Length: 376 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

Summary/ product description: “After the drama of discovering that she’s a member of the Storks, a mystical order of women endowed with powerful abilities, Katla Leblanc is finally settling into her life in chilly Minnesota. In fact, the ex-California girl even hopes for a white Christmas. So when the snow starts to fall on a romantic sleigh ride with her boyfriend, Jack, it seems like the perfect present. However, before she knows it, Katla's wintry wish spirals out of control, turning into the snowstorm of the century.
The unusual weather draws unexpected attention. Environmental scientist Brigid Fonnkona is runway gorgeous, utterly charming, and far too interested in Jack for Katla's comfort, especially after Jack is singled out to help with Brigid's research. Between Stork duties, rehearsals for the school production of The Snow Queen, and checking off items on her bedridden, pregnant mother's to-do lists, Katla has zero time to investigate, even as she notices Jack's long hours in the lab and the growing tension between the two of them. Then Brigid selects Jack to accompany her on a research expedition to Greenland, and Jack's cold good-bye leaves Katla wondering where they stand, but when Jack goes missing above the Arctic Circle, Katla knows she's the only one who can find him.
In this sequel to Stork, Wendy Delsol take readers back to Norse Falls and beyond, as Katla finds the grit and spirit to rescue the boy she loves.”

My Rating: ê ê ê ê ê

My Review: This sequel has to be one of the best, most fulfilling sequels I have ever read. I wasn’t really disappointed about anything. It was a funny, exciting read, especially since it’s winter. So much happened in this book, that it took me a few days to read it because I had to soak it in. Most of the book is in Minnesota, but later it’s in Iceland and gets even more exciting and adventurous. You get to see even more of this mythological secret world that the author created. This book it less about the soul delivering and more about love’s trials and limits.

Kat is funny and quirky as ever. I had a laugh at least every page or so, sometime many times a page. These books remind me a bit of the Need series because Katla’s humor is similar to Zara’s (or the authors’).

Jack become infatuated with Brigit (but not “in love”) He’s obsessed with the climate work they’re doing, and he’s not around Katla a lot. I felt like they were gonna break up, but he’s probably just so memorized that he’s forgetting. I’m not gonna spoil it because some of it’s pretty obvious. It’s a great book, even better than the first.

Over all I recommend it because it surpassed the 1st book and it’s awesome to read during winter.

Cover Art Review: Sparkly plastic paper. The icicles are gorgeous in purple, and that lady looks just like they described Bridget aka the Snow Queen. The actual hard cover is so pretty if you have it in real life, not just a photo.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

~Haley G

Monday, December 26, 2011

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: January 3rd

Publisher: Macmillan: Feiwel and Friends

Series: The Lunar Chronicles bk. 1

Genera: Sci-fi dystopian

Subjects: cyborgs, royalty, princes and princesses, emperors

Length: 387 pgs. (ARC) 400 pgs. (Finished)

HC/PB: Hardcover

Summary/ product description: “Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.”

My Rating: ê ê ê ê ê

My Review: Before I begin, I want to say that as I read in the acknowledgements, the author is a fan of Sailor Moon and it really shows in her story. It’s cyborg Cinderella the mechanic with a side of Princess Serenity aka Sailor Moon. The Lunars are people who’ve lived on the moon and have there own country there. It reminds me of how in the future Sailor Moon is the Queen of the Moon and has her mini moon daughter (Rini in the American version).

This book was so awesome. Especially since I won it (an ARC copy) as well as won it. It as in my prediction game. I’m an amazing guesser…or maybe the book was predictable, but I like to believe I’m psychic so I’ll go with that and not spoil anything to those who haven’t read it yet. The plot was great. Really different from Cinderella, but with some similarities.

The characters were all very interesting. Cinder was definitely a strong character and Kai was very prince like (and I’d like to compare him to Darien/Tuxedo Mask, butcan I really?) and hot. Cinder’s stepsisters were opposites. Peony was nice and Pearl was a mean girl. And Adri, her stepmother/legal guardian was horrible. She and Pearl treated Cinder like she was cyborg trash. And Cinder is an amazing mechanic, so they only liked her for fixing stuff.

I’m so glad I got to read this. I didn’t expect much, but I got a lot. I highly recommend this. It’s a very creative dystopian book. If you read a Long Long Sleep, another Dystopian Fairy Tale Retelling (that one based off Sleeping Beauty), then you’ll like this, and find it even better.

Cover Art Review: I have to say that the finished copy’s cover looks way better than the ARC’s cover. The cyborg leg and the shoe all look well manipulated. The shoe looks like a red glass stiletto. It really says “sci-fi fairy tale.”

~Haley G

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Hey everyone who actually reads my blog! (I feel so unpopular! lol)

When it comes to books, do you ever fall in love with the setting? Or possibly the time of year the setting is in?
I have a few awesome recommendations for books to read this season. There are some book full of wintery awesomeness and I think you should go look up and check out before the winter's over:
The Need series by Carrie Jones (Evil pixies in Maine and a hot werewolf guy)
1. Need
2. Captivate
3. Entice
4. Endure (not yet released)

Fury by Elizabeth Miles. This book is set in Maine, also. In the dead of winter/winter break.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (Awesome werewolf book that will having you shivering and lingering for more. Set in Minnesota)

Once in a full moon by Ellen Schrieber (Werewolf guy, set in winter in the Midwest somewhere.)

Stork by Wendy Delsol and the sequel, Frost (also set in Minnesota. The sequel has Christmas stuff in it and the snow queen, and Iceland)

I myself am reading Frost for Christmas. It's great to read a book based around the time of the year. It's great so far. An awesome sequel! Very funny.

Other good books for winter:

(these are angel related books)
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies (Set in Colorado during winter)
Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick (another series set in Maine)
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (Set in Wyoming, and goes throughout the year)
Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton (Michigan, somewhat winter...)

Twilight saga...because it has the kinda wintery mood
Siren by Tricia Rayburn (Maine again, but in summer....yet it seems to feel wintery somehow)

Really great states for winter settings:  Maine, Minnesota, Washington, Colorado, Wyoming, any place North or with  mountains.

Hope I helped you choose a great book! Have fun and happy holidays. Because here in Chicagoland, we are having a green-brown Christmas. No snow. And not cold as it could be. It's a safe Christmas, but not the white one we had hoped for.

~Haley G

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Variant by Robison Wells

Publisher: HarperTeen

Series: Variant (bk. 1)

Genera: Sci-fi thriller mystery

Subjects: Boarding schools, androids, mystery

Length: 373 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

Summary/ product description: “Benson Fisher thought a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.”

My Rating: ê ê ê ê 1/4

My Review: This book was very different and so much better than I expected. It was about the most twisted, crazy boarding school ever. The students were very odd and the whole gang thing was just plain weird. The author did an awesome job of throwing all these elements together and creating a fast paced story that kept me wondering what was going on. Sure, I already knew that there was something about robots in it, but that just intrigued me more. Oh, and there’s a lot of paintball in here. I’m sure that some guys will love this book. Especially if you like the Maze Runner series. This book is almost dystopian. It’s just a very different kind of dystopian, one that’s in the present and set in an experimental environment. The students have to work together to survive. There’s a system based off of points and punishments. The punishments are sometimes extreme. And detention here could possibly mean death.

I highly recommend this. It’s fresh and exciting. I so happy I gave it a chance. I wish there were more different and unique sci-fi books out there like this one.

Cover Art Review: It’s rainbow shiny! Very cool, mysterious cover.

~Haley G

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Always War by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Genera: dystopian sci-fi

Subjects: war, futuristic, post-apocalyptic, computers

Length: 197 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

Summary/ product description: “For as long as Tessa can remember, her country has been at war. When local golden boy Gideon Thrall is awarded a medal for courage, it’s a rare bright spot for everyone in Tessa’s town—until Gideon refuses the award, claims he was a coward, and runs away. Tessa is bewildered, and can’t help but follow Gideon to find out the truth. But Tessa is in for more than she bargained for. Before she knows it, she has stowed away on a rogue airplane and is headed for enemy territory. But all that pales when she discovers a shocking truth that rocks the foundation of everything she’s ever believed—a truth that will change the world. But is Tessa strong enough to bring it into the light?”

My Rating: ê ê ê 1/2

My Review: The begging didn’t interest me, but later on the story really got going. Like other books by this author, there’s tons of twists and mystery to what’s really going on. I’m not going to spoil it, but just know that it’s pretty surprising what the whole war is about. It’s a very original dystopian bases, I think. It’s conspiracy, almost. I love it. The book is short and fast. Doesn’t take long to read. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Oh, and I think it’s cool how the changed the names of places in the book. Shargo is Chicago, aka the enemy’s biggest city. Lake Mish is Lake Michigan. There’s other names for the great lakes too. I’m not spoiling anything, just clarifying the setting. There a part where they are at what used to be O’Hare airport.

I’d like a sequel, but think book could probably be a stand alone. Recommended to all dystopian fans.

Cover Art Review: It’s very cool how the title is integrated into the night time city aerial photo.

~Haley G

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

Publisher: Scholastic

Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: Survival, viruses, futuristic

Length: 278 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

Summary/ product description: “With its crumbling Starbucks and rusting theme parks, The Eleventh Plague hits disturbingly close to home, vividly depicting a world that has nose-dived into a futuristic nightmare. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn struggles to define his rules of survival in Jeff Hirsch’s excellent, taut debut novel.” — Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games
In an America devastated by war and plague, the only way to survive is to keep moving. In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade for food and other items essential for survival. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true, where there are real houses, barbecues, a school, and even baseball games. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing forever.”

My Rating: ê ê ê 1/2

My Review: The beginning of this book was very good. It pulled me in right away, despite the san-serif type face that usually annoys me in books. This book was an easy read. The characters were well done and interesting. There was humor. The descriptions of places and surroundings were interesting. The only problem was that I was a bit disappointed about the whole small town thing. I think it would have been more interesting if the was more mystery and a sinister feeling to the town. The town was just too normal. It was almost like how a town would have been a hundred years ago, with a one room school house and farming. I always want more, but really, this book was good. It’s just that the insides did not match the cover after part 1. The character that had the best personality was Jenny. She was crazy outgoing and a bit of a pyro. A very strong female character. Oh, and she’s Chinese. Apparently the U.S. went to war with China, and China created the 11th plague, or super flu.

So, if there is a sequel, I will read it. I recommend this book to people who like dystopian books.

Cover Art Review: I love the photography/photo manipulation one this cover. It’s so “life after people.” Barren, scary, yet cool. And it’s metallic on top of all the awesomeness! I wonder if they had to set all the rusted car and the stones up to take the photo, or if the photo manipulated (photo shopped) them together. It’s very convincing. (but the Ferris wheel appears to be going under ground. Bad placement possibly?)

~Haley G

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dark Eden by Patrick Carman

Publisher: HarperTeen: Katherine Tegan

Series: Darke Eden (bk. 1)

Genera: Psychological Thriller/Sci-fi/Mystery

Subjects: Phobias, fear, metal illness, psychotherapy, relationships, suspense, supernatural

Length: 316 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

Summary/ product description:

My Rating: ê ê ê

My Review: The beginning of the book was pretty confusing, so I was pretty lost for a while. I didn’t really understand what was going on. Was I confused because the author wanted it that way? Maybe. I don’t like being confused. Anyway, there were some interesting mysterious parts that made this book fast-paced, but I ended up skimming most of the time. Will is clearly crazy, and he’s weird and confusing. I didn’t really care for any of the characters. What was interesting was how their phobias were shown. I also liked the illustrations in the book, but I wish it was laid out differently. I prefer shorter chapters. Near the end, it feels like Shutter Island where you discover something totally unexpected, and then even more after that. Let’s just say that this book is actually less realistic that you think. (Supernatural elements later on and in book 2). The cure is not what you think (it’s worse).

I will definitely read the next book, and recommend this one if you want to read something totally different and unique.

Cover Art Review: I like the rainbow metallic paper, and the font that the title is in. There’s a creepiness to the image, so it works.

~Haley G

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Die For Me by Amy Plum

Publisher: HarperTeen

Series: Revenants (bk. 1, bk.2 is Until I Die)

Genera: Paranormal Romance

Subjects: supernatural, love, death, immortality, Revenants, ghosts, good vs. evil, heroes, Paris, France

Length: 341 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

Summary/ product description: “When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life - and memories - behind to live with her grandparents and older sister in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.”

My Rating: ê ê ê ê 1/2

My Review: I don’t care that people keep comparing this to Twilight, because I like Twilight, and this is very different from Twilight. Possibly better because instead of vamps, there are revenants. Though immortal, revenants are extremely different from vampires. Revenants age and don’t have any of the issues that vampires have. If you read the book, you will find out. It’s such a cool concept. Very original idea.

I really liked this book because it had a lot of humor, Vincent was hot and it’s set in modern day Paris. Sure, Kate’s not the most interesting main character (She‘s a boring Bella at times), but everything else in this book was awesome. I’m actually convinced that I should visit Paris someday. I’m into art, and this book really did talk a lot about the arts and culture of Paris. I actually meet the author, and she lives in Paris and talked about how she wanted her story to accurately describe the city. It’s cool because I don’t think I’ve read a YA book set in Paris ever. I’ve seen a lot of movies though. I’m sick of all the books set in London and New York (and also California, might I add). It’s nice for a change of scene.

I was surprised by how many funny quotes I found in this book. I thought the story was going to be dull and romantic, but it was pretty fun. The character Jules has quite the sense of humor. He likes Kate (but not as much as Vincent) and hit on her in ridiculous ways. Vincent and Ambrose are funny too. Really, everybody has more personality than Kate, but I think that as the book went on, Kate’s personality started to develop into a happier, less depressed/emo person. Away from being a boring Bella. Plus, Bella didn’t have a sister named Georgia or dead parents.

I recommend this to all the girls out there. (Especially if you’re a fan of The Immortals series) This book is your vacation to Paris! I weekend getaway, in book form.

Cover Art Review: Beautiful cover (so much better than the ARC cover). I love the designs and how they wrap around Kate and the dress she’s wearing. Though, she’s not going to be on the roof till book two, according to the author.

~Haley G

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Vigue

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Series: Wolf Spring Chronicles (bk. 1)

Genera: Paranormal Romance

Subjects: Werewolves, supernatural, orphans, Arkansas

Length: 383 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

Summary/ product description: “Katelyn McBride’s life changed in an instant when her mother died. Uprooted from her California home, Katelyn was shipped to the middle of nowhere, Arkansas, to her only living relative, her grandfather. And now she has to start over in Wolf Springs, a tiny village in the Ozark Mountains. Like any small town, Wolf Springs has secrets. But the secrets hidden here are more sinister than Katelyn could ever imagine. It’s a town with a history that reaches back centuries, spans continents, and conceals terrifying truths. And Katelyn McBride is about to change everything.

Broken families, ageless grudges, forced alliances, and love that blooms in the darkest night—welcome to Wolf Springs.”

My Rating: ê ê ê 1/2

My Review: I’d have to say that the best thing about this book is the character Trick. He’s the guy who likes Katelyn, and half of what comes out of his mouth is ridiculous. I love it. I love the conversations between Kat and Trick. He’s all-around funny. And just for this character alone I think this book is worth reading.

Most of the other stuff in the book is not very original. Except that it’s set in Arkansas. But we all know it’s a werewolf, so the story was very predictable. I don’t mind predictable. There’s not many things unpredictable to me when it comes to books (Maybe I’m psychic…lol). I’ve read the Possessions series by Nancy Holder, and that was pretty scary at times, and this book definitely had it’s scary parts. They didn’t scare me, but the could scare some people. The book’s easy to follow, easy to read though the chapters are really long and it’s in 3rd person. It is kind of like Twilight, but because these are just werewolves and not vamps, it is also very different.

You don’t get to see much werewolf stuff till near the end, but there’s a lot of folklore and mystery and suspense. The history project stuff about the mine is pretty interesting too. Sorry if I spoiled anything. Go ahead and read it anyways. It’s real funny.

Cover Art Review: I love the paper this is printed on. The sparkly plastically stuff that I’ve seen on a few books lately. And the cover itself. Love the title’s font. Overall good cover.

~Haley G