Friday, March 29, 2013

Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons

Series: Article 5 (bk. 2)

Genera: Sci-fi Dystopian

Subjects: resistance to government, fugitives, orphans

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 398 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: TorTeen

Summary/ product description: “The second installment in Kristen Simmons's fast-paced, gripping YA dystopian series.
After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.

Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….
Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself.
Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways.
With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back?”

My Rating: êêê1/2

My Review: I don’t know why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as Article 5. Probably because I was in the wrong mood for dystopian, or stressed about school work. It’s just hard to get into a book when there’s so much on your mind. I finished it anyways. It’s kind of hard to review a book when you can’t remember everything that happen or how it felt, but I’ll try.

It was well written, and has great characters. The second half of the book was more exciting. And they go to Chicago! So, maybe the sequel was not as good as the 1st book, but it’s probably pretty close. There’s no love triangle and Chase is awesome as ever. Tucker’s back, and Ember hates him. He kind of grew on me though. He’s done bad things, but he deserves a chance to help.

So, Ember is being framed as the Sniper. She can’t really shoot a gun, so she clearly isn’t. She gets a disguise, though. Changes her hair, dresses up. It’s a smart idea. And Chase puts on the soldier uniform again. They go on a mission to pick up a “package” and don’t get recognized!  They’re in Knoxville, still. There’s a safe house in a motel. There’s some new and old characters. Cara’s there and she’s so funny and sassy. Something happens to the motel, and Chase, Ember and Sean go to Chicago to find Rebecca. The Chicago part was the most interesting because I actually am from Chicagoland.

So, even if the book seems to drag on in parts, there’s still a lot of action and romance. There’s some gruesome scenes too, and sad parts. I recommend this series if you like resistance and survival dystopias like Legend, Delirium, Divergent, Shatter Me, or Eve.

Cover Art Review: I love the illustrations that Nekro does! This cover it amazing. It took a lot of work to make the city look ruined and deserted. I’m pretty sure the city is supposed to be Chicago because all the sky-scrapers and that bridge looks vaguely familiar. (Does it go over the Chicago River, maybe?) And the back cover with the wanted poster is awesome.


~Haley G

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Series: Shades of London (bk. 2)

Genera: Paranormal

Subjects: Ghosts, murder, hauntings, supernatural, London, England, boarding schools

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 290 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Penguin

Summary/ product description: “After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance. But Rory's brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she's become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city's secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it's too late.
In this follow-up to the Edgar Award-nominated The Name of the Star, Maureen Johnson adds another layer of spectacularly gruesome details to the streets of London that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.”

My Rating: êêêêê

My Review: I love this series. This sequel was fun and awesome. I love how Maureen narrates the book in the voice of Rory. She’s very quirky and funny. Some of the things she think and says are a little strange, and possibly not appropriate in the TMI bathroom humor way. But Rory is very relatable, and I like her. I cracked up so hard so many times reading this book. Rory is so random sometimes.

And I like all the other characters too. They’re all so realistic and fun. Stephen acts so serious, but really, we know he’s a really awesome guy. Jerome was Rory’s kind of boyfriend, and I like him too. Boo and Callum, also part of Stephen’s team, are funny too. They are all very British, because this book is set in London and in a boarding school, which is awesome. Did I say how awesome this book is?

I mean, even though they don’t have any more of the devices they use to “kill” ghosts anymore, they still have Rory, and in case you didn’t already know, she’s  from Louisiana, USA. And she’s Southern. Maureen did a very good job making her seem like she’s from the USA. But I still think she may have use some more British words and phrases that Rory probably wouldn’t use. Good job, either way. I love them all! London sounds rainy and drab, but exciting and historical. This book makes me want to go there. Wish I could visit. In summer preferably.

There’re some new characters and surprises in the 2nd half. I was so worried for Rory and was hoping she wouldn’t do what she did. That ending has me worried for the 3rd book. Is this only a trilogy? Can’t wait to see what happens. I need more books like this series to read. It really cheered me up after having something really bad happen. I recommend this book if you like books with ghosts or boarding schools.  

Cover Art Review: Better than the 1st book’s hardcover version. I like the title treatment. Very wispy. And purple. I like the paper stock used. It’s pearly. And I love the pages that look ripped out.


~Haley G

Friday, March 15, 2013

In My Mailbox 3-15-2013

Today was a bad day. My budgie buddy of 8 and half years, Sky, died. She died in my hands. I feel devastated, and am crying my eyes out so much, but am still sharing with you this post.

1. Books I won. a autographed copy of Hold Me Closer Necromancer. ARCs of Unnatural Creatures and Loki's Wolves.
2. Order from B& They arrived today.
3. Books I bought recently: Mila 2.0, Spellcast, which I got signed by Claudia Gray. Last Secret Circle book.
4. More library books.
~Haley G

Revel by Maurissa Guibord


Genera: Paranormal Romance

Subjects: Supernatural, Greek Mythology, Maine, islands, mystery, mermaids

Age/Grade Level:

Length: 339 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $16.99

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Summary/ product description: “There’s an island off the coast of Maine that’s not on any modern map.
Shrouded in mist and protected by a deadly reef, Trespass Island is home to a community of people who guard the island and its secrets from outsiders. Seventeen-year-old Delia grew up in Kansas, but has come here in search of her family and answers to her questions: Why didn’t her mother ever talk about Trespass Island? Why did she fear the open water? But Delia’s not welcome and soon finds herself enmeshed in a frightening and supernatural world where ancient Greek symbols adorn the buildings and secret ceremonies take place on the beach at night.
Sean Gunn, a handsome young lobsterman, befriends Delia and seems willing to risk his life to protect her. But it’s Jax, the coldly elusive young man she meets at the water’s edge, who finally makes Delia understand the real dangers of life on the island. Delia is going to have to fight to survive. Because there are monsters here. And no one ever leaves Trespass alive.”

My Rating: êêêê1/2

My Review: I enjoyed reading this book so much! It was creepy, funny, interesting and unique. A lot of work went into the characters and the island and the creatures. I’m sad this is only a standalone.  One book doesn’t seem like enough, but the ending was pretty satisfying. There’s a little bit of a love triangle, and even a few little cliché thing, but really, this was an awesome book.

Trespass Island, which is a made up island off the coast of Maine, seems like a beautiful place. How the author describes it in so much detail made it easy to imagine it. Its climate is more tropical somehow, possibly by magic, or by volcanic vents and air currents. It’s kind of like a Hawaiian island, but in Maine, so really on the very beginning of the book is set in Portland, Maine. This place would be an amazing vacation spot if it weren’t for the sea monsters and the reef surrounding it. It almost had a dystopian feeling to it because it’s so isolated.

Characters were well developed. I loved the narration and the main character. Delia is hilarious and fun, and a strong character. I knew what she was when those strange things started happening to her. I wasn’t sure I liked Jax. He seemed nice enough, but kind of a creepy fish-guy/merman. I glad Delia can love him. I was Team Sean most of the way. Sean may have not had the greatest sense of humor, but he was nice. And he has a big dog. Guys with dogs. Love that. Zuzu and Reilly were awesome side characters and wish they were in the book more often. Delia’s grandma is a very tough lady. She can survive anything! Go Gran!

As for the creatures and mythology, it’s kind of Greek mythology, but not really. Jax is a demi-god descended from Poseidon, as are all the 1st ones. And they have these monsters they use to guard the island from other bad creatures. And there’s a celebration called Revel, which the First Ones and the humans participate in. That’s not too spoilery I hope. Either way, it’s unique.

I hope you enjoy this book. It’s very different from other mermaid books, but I’d recommend it to fans of Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, Siren by Tricia Rayburn, and Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs.

Cover Art Review: Cool photo. Was it taken from above or below the surface of the water? I see kerning issues with the title.


~Haley G

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Series: The Memory Chronicles (bk. 1)

Genera: Sci-fi dystopian/Paranormal

Subjects: afterlife, death, love, supernatural, ghosts, angels, travel

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 281 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Summary/ product description: “Three levels. Two loves. One choice. Debut novelist, Lenore Appelhans has written a thrilling otherworldly young adult novel about a place that exists between our world (Level 1) and what comes after life (Level 2).
I pause to look around the hive - all the podlike chambers are lit up as the drones shoot up on memories ... I've wanted to get out of here before, but now the tight quarters start to choke me. There has to be more to death than this.
Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in a stark white afterlife limbo, she spends endless days replaying memories, of her family, friends, boyfriend ... and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her.
Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between heaven and earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives and two loves.”

My Rating: êêêê

My Review: This book had the most unique sci-fi-ish afterlife as its setting. And some angels, but nothing like the other angel-books I’ve read. This was kind of like the Matrix in some ways. There are these chambers that let you relive your memories or other people’s memories. Memories are currency in a way. There were some weird and confusing things, like I had a really had time picturing the hives and chambers. I just pictured a white, blank, uniform world. Like the weirdest dystopia ever. The story was still pretty good.  We learned a lot about Felicia by her reliving her memories. There’re two guys she’s kissed, Julian and Neil. Julian just so happens to be in the hives too.

Felicia has done a lot of traveling in her life. Her mom’s job with the government, an international relations diplomat (I’m not sure what the actual title was) has brought her to places like Germany, Kenya, and South America. Her dad’s a pianist and likes to travel and find inspiration in other countries. I’ve never been out of the US, so I found this interesting. And she has a friend named Autumn, who wants to be published and is making Felicia help write the book.

So there’s action, romance, a unique setting, lots of travel and 2 hot guys. And some world-building. It’s a pretty good book. I honestly did not know what to expect going in this. And I also don’t know what to expect with the sequel. I’m interested to know where Felicia ends up and more information on the angels and the afterlife. I really thought the materialization stuff was cool. It’s basically manifesting.

I recommend this book to people who enjoyed the Matrix, The Immortal Series & Riley Bloom series by Alyson Noel, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, and any YA book about the afterlife, and maybe some dystopias.

Cover Art Review: The cover almost hurts my eye to look at because of the neon red-orange and the whiteness. The girl on the cover isn’t bald like the people in the book. I just don’t like the cover, even if the design is kind of cool.


~Haley G

Monday, March 11, 2013

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Series: Delirium (bk. 3)

Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi/Romance

Subjects: Love, resistance to government, disease, friendship, marriage, Maine

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 391 pgs. Plus 27 pages for the Alex story.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $18.99

Publisher: Harper

Summary/ product description: “They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.
But we are still here.
And there are more of us every day.
Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.
After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.
Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.
Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.
But we have chosen a different road.
And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.
We are even free to choose the wrong thing.
Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.”

My Rating: êêêêê

My Review: OHMYGOD WHY DIDIT HAVE TO END!!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!! That’s it? Thank goodness there’s a TV show coming soon. And that Alex short story was awesome!!! I LOVE ALEX!!! TEAM ALEX!!! (Warning:  Pandemonium and (minor) Requiem spoilers ahead)

I only finished Pandemonium and little more than a week ago. I was glad I waited, and mad that Alex wasn’t in Pandemonium. And was relieved that he was in Requiem, but disappointed about him not being with Lena. I don’t care for Julian. He’s like a sad puppy, not a super-hot, sexy guy like Alex. In Delirium, I was so happy and excited. Alex was making me feel swoony.

What also made this book a million times better is the switching perspectives! I already know that Hana would be the other perspective when Lauren hinted at it only a few months after the release of Delirium at a book signing, and she had mentioned the titles too. Hana is awesome, even if she got cured. She’s pretty much a Sympathizer. And her soon-to-be-husband/mayor is a jerk.

Right now I’m kind of overwhelmed so I don’t know how to review this. I wished I knew how to get GIFs so I could use those. So I’ll just describe the book with a lot of adjectives and nouns: Action, adventure, some romance, a lot of feels, a few deaths, excitement, frustration, sadness, crying, deception, forgiveness, surprises and thrills, and chills, and few really disgusting parts. That about sums it up.

Also some new characters, and old one. And Raven, Tack, Lu, Hunter, Bram.


Cover Art Review: Not sure that I like this one as much as the Pandemonium cover. The girls face is too generic eve if it’s supposed to be Lena. The flowers are nice. I love the stock the jacket is printed on, though. It’s not linen, but it is opalescent.

~Haley G
The End Is Here for the Delirum Trilogy!!! Read the 1st 2 books and the 3 short novellas: Hana, Annabel and Raven

Thursday, March 7, 2013

City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster

Genera: Fantasy/Paranormal

Subjects: Orphans, Asian mythology, murder, shape-shifters, cats

Age/Grade Level: Teens 13+

Length: 359 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary/ product description: “An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure.
Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.
Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life”

My Rating: êêêê1/2

My Review: I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this. I’m not a fan of high fantasy, but I love unique fantasy stories that don’t use historical sounding dialogue, or have a dystopian feel to them. This book had similarities to: Soulbound by Heather Brewer, Shadows and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Incarnate by Jodi Meadows, Vampire Acamdemy by Richelle Mead, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and Prophecy by Ellen Oh.  City of a Thousand Dolls is an Asian Fantasy about a boarding school (They call it city, it’s more of a boarding school on an estate) for orphaned girls to train in certain areas. They’re training to be wives, mistresses, healers, and musicians. It all seems very sexist, and feels dystopian-ish. And it is kind of dystopian, because the empire has been magically cut off from the world for 500 year. I kept thinking that maybe outside the barrier that was mentioned there might be the modern world of India or China, or where ever they are. I kept making predictions with huge jumps. My only correct predictions were about certain characters.

About the characters: they’re fun, but not really deep. Nisha is kick-butt. She reminds me of Rose from Vampire Academy in some ways, by since this is written in 3rd person, there wasn’t any inner dialogue. I also like Jerrit. He’s a cool cat, but he’s more than that. He’s Nisha’s best  friends. To make the characters even more diverse, Nisha has a friend, Sashi, who’s a blind healer. The romance between Devin and Nisha did not play a big part in the book. I honestly think I like the cat characters the best. There were a lot of characters, but thankfully they weren’t hard to keep track off.

I loved the world building and the mythology in this book. The sune, who are shape-shifters, played a roll. If you know what a Kitsune is from watching anime, then good. There was a mix of Indian, Chinese and I think, Japanese, culture used in the book. The caste system and the asars are Indian. The fans, flower, and sune are Chinese and Japanese. On a side note, did I mention how awesome it is that Nisha can talk to cats? How cool. I wish I could talk to my bird. Wonder what she has to say.

The plot was actually good, no matter what other reviews say. The added murder mystery made the story more suspenseful. So not only do when have coming of age/finding out where you belong story, but we get a mystery! The plot was intricately woven and wonderful. I didn’t want to put the book down. I haven’t read many fantasy books this good! I’m praying that there will be a companion novel to this book. Just because Nisha’s story ended doesn’t mean that the story of this empire is over. I still have questions!

Cover Art Review: I love the use of color and the cat statues. The girl with the swords. The title’s pretty cool, and the house symbols at the bottom are a nice touch.

~Haley G

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ravage by Jeff Sampson

Series: Deviants (bk. 3)

Genera: Sci-fi/Paranormal

Subjects: werewolves, genetic engineering, parallel universes

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 392 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen: Balzer & Bray

Summary/ product description: “The war against BioZenith is on.
Since she first came into her mysterious new superpowers, Emily has watched one of her packmates disappear through an interdimensional portal; she’s been hunted by creepy, body-snatching Shadowmen; she’s managed to form an alliance with the same telekinetic cheerleaders who once tried to take her down; and she’s discovered that her believed-to-be-dead mother is one of the BioZenith scientists responsible for her strange abilities.
Now it’s up to the Deviants to put together the last pieces of the puzzle, which includes tracking down the final, mystery member of their kind and forcing their parents to reveal why they mutated their own children. Emily fears the answer is far more sinister than anyone ever thought: after all, why would a parent risk a child’s life unless the stakes were high…scary, world-ending high?
Tired of being at the mercy of adult conspiracies, Emily forms a plan with the other Deviants: Destroy BioZenith before anyone can use the knowledge within the facility to aid the Shadowmen. But that’s only if BioZenith—or something worse—doesn’t capture them first.”

My Rating: êêêêê

My Review: This series is amazing and has been kind of under the radar. Not many people know it’s out there. I was happy when I read Vesper. And now with this third and final book, I am sad to let it go, but happy that it ended well and epically. If you are a fan of series like Maximum Ride  by James Patterson or Darkest Power and Darkness Rising series by Kelly Armstrong. This series is sci-fi with a paranormal edge, or vice versa. And it even has a kick-butt girl main character that’s a bit of a pop culture geek

This book had laughs and fun dialogue. It also had some sad and freaky moments. And then some very mind blowing revelations that reminded me of Angel Burn, Fringe, The Host and Ancient Aliens. We already found out about the whole parallel world that the shadowmen come from in the last book, but what are they?

I love the characters of course. They’re funny and interesting. Emily is kind of like me. Spencer seems very lovable and cute, in a techie geek kind of way. Tracie is preppie and a type-A personality. And there’s the cheerleaders, Nikki and Delgado triplets. And a new character named Evan, who’s kind of funny.

The plot was interesting to say the least. It was engaging and exciting, thrilling and so on. It was so good that I don’t even know what I just read. It’s over and a loved it and now I want a spin-off series like Kelly Armstrong did for Darkest Power. A character whose a Deviant with different, psychic, abilities!!! I know, I keep on asking for spin-offs and novellas when reviewing conclusions…..

Cover Art Review: I love the silhouettes on the covers, and the title with the smoke behind it. I just wish it wasn’t just glossy. And this cover is mostly monochromatic. I liked the first book’s cover the best.


~Haley G

Friday, March 1, 2013

In My Mailbox 3-1-2013

 No free book since the last In My Mailbox. I did win a copy of Hold Me Closer Necromance but that still hasn't arrived.
1. I ordered Mind Games and Shards and Ashes. The covers are glossy. Mind Games has the title embossed and matte.
2. The inner cover for Mind Games
3. The inner cover for Shards and Ashes
4. 10 library books I checked out. Too many to read in a month. Ravage by Jeff Sampson, City of Thousand Dolls by Mirium Foster, Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans, Overide by Heather Anastaiu, Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons, The Gathering Dark by Christine Johnson, Revel by Maurissa Guibord, Quicksilver by R. J. Anderson, Doomed by Tracy Deebs.
5. The 11th library book, Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson. Love the pearly linen texture.
6. Requiem and Emblaze.
7. Requiem may not come out till Tuesday, March 4th, but I found it on a Meijer shelf.
8. This copy has the bonus story from Alex's perspective
9. See? ALEX!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!
~Haley G