Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book Review: Death Drop



Media Type: Ebook
Title: Death Drop (The D-Evolution #1)
Author: Sean Allen
Publisher: Vintage Six Media
Pages: Paperback; 560
Release Date: October 1, 2011
Source: Publisher
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Genre: Science Fiction

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Fans of epic Sci Fi adventures!


Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
In a time when a live Human specimen would fetch a king’s ransom on the black market, being a smuggler seemed like the perfect front to search for her people. But the cost of Dezmara Strykar’s operation has forced her to win each smuggling run she enters. Now every smuggler is gunning for her top position, and her rare black Zebulon star freighter makes her an easily recognizable target.

But dodging jealous smugglers, safeguarding her Human identity and solving the mystery surrounding who she is will become harder than she ever imagined. A mysterious creature in a black Zebulon star freighter has murdered a freedom fighter and has stolen the only weapon that can save countless worlds from an unspeakable evil. Dezmara’s next run will turn into much more than just cover to search for Humans. Dezmara Strykar just became the most wanted murder suspect in the universe. Now she is going to have to run for her life.

Can I just begin with wow? Seriously, it's been a long time since I've taken a dive into an epic science fiction adventure. Death Drop was definitely the perfect choice to get me back into the groove. Before I move on to anything else about this book I need to share one thing with you. These characters are amazing. Even if I wasn't able to see them in person on the D-Evolution website, I still would have been perfectly content. The way that Sean Allen builds his characters and brings them to life, causes you to have them living in your head for the entire book. It blew me away!

That being said, one of Death Drops definite strong points is the descriptive writing it contains. From the sweeping reaches of space, to the very well thought out and unique races of this world, everything is beautifully described. To become immersed in this novel is as easy as breathing. At page one the reader is treated to nothing but well-written prose and character build up. Space is a very large place my friends. Sean Allen reminds us of that in every chapter. The scope of this novel is amazing, and a great place to get lost in. Add in dynamic and believable dialogue, and you have me hooked.

At its heart, this book is pure science fiction. Everything revolves around the fact that humans are no longer the alpha dogs in the universe. Actually, no race stands a chance against the Durax. It is guaranteed that your favorite character will be in peril at some point in this story. This allows the book to develop an incredibly frantic pace! By the time I was a few chapters in, I was unable to stop reading. I felt for the plight of the motley crew of survivors. I rooted for Dezmara. I rooted for Dissension Army and their cause. I happily admit that this would make an amazing movie. It's like strapping yourself into a fast car. Death Drop goes from zero to sixty in a matter of chapters.

I wish I could share more specifics with you, but the point remains that this is a very very largely scoped book. The character and world descriptions are vast, but beautiful. I will warn you that it is not as easy to get into an epic science fiction book as some others, so if you are going to tackle this make sure you are prepared! However I assure you that if you are willing to get lost in a book, Death Drop is well worth your time.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading (Jan 30)

Special thanks to Book Journey for hosting! To join in, click the button!

This was a slow reading week. I finished what I set out to, nothing more and nothing less. I need to catch up on reviews too, but the one review that I did write was for a book that I loved! Please check it out :).


Finished Reading:
Illumine by Alvia Anders (4/5 Rating) - Review to come.
Death Drop by Sean Allen (5/5 Rating) - Review to come.
Everneath by Brodi Ashton (5/5 Rating and OMG READ THIS BOOK!) - Review


Currently Reading:
I am loving this book. It's so honest, and sweet, and just wonderful! It's what I needed to get out of the slight reading slump I was in for a bit. I recommend this!
Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He's out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy's stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they're suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes.



Also reading this week:
Slowly easing back into the Fantasy realm with this one. Looks good!
When shy and retiring Llandry Sanfaer discovers a mesmerising new gemstone, she suddenly becomes the most famous jeweller across the Seven Realms. Demand for the coveted stone escalates fast; when people begin dying for it, Llandry finds that she herself has become a target.

Lady Evastany Glostrum has her life in pristine order. Prestigious, powerful and wealthy, she is on the verge of crowning her successes with the perfect marriage. But when her closest friend is murdered for the jewellery she wears, Eva is drawn into the mystery surrounding the curious "istore" gem.
The emergence of the stone is causing chaos across the Seven. Gates between the worlds are opening at will, pulling hordes of creatures through from the shadowy Lower Realm and the glittering Uppers. As Eva works to discover the culprit behind the spreading disorder, Llandry must learn the truth about her precious istore stone — before she herself becomes a victim.


And that's it!
Keeping it light this week, in case I don't have much time to read. Plus Draykon might take me a little longer to read, since Fantasy tends to be pretty immersive :). If I get another book done, fabulous! If not, I'm still good.


Time to share! What are YOU reading this week?


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Extending sign ups for the Secret Cupid Swap!


If you haven't already had a chance to sign up, I'm extending the sign ups until January 31st! That way people still have plenty of time to shop and mail. If you want to join in, spread a smile, and get some goodies, sign up now!

Here's the original post:



Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Review: Everneath

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Everneath (Everneath #1)
Author: Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Harper Collins / Balzer + Bray
Pages: Hardcover; 370
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Source: Teen Book Scene / Publisher
--------------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Nothing of note
--------------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Everyone. Really.


Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...

How do I explain what made me love Everneath so very much? It wasn't just the characters, who are so realistic that you can feel their emotions emanating from the page. In fact it wasn't just even the amazing story line that had me reading voraciously. It was the two of these things blended together, my ability to get lost inside Nikki's story, that left me breathless at the end. Everneath is beautiful, plain and simple.

Every story has a heroine, and this one is no different. I fell in love with Nikki from the very beginning. Her emotions were so palpable and real. Even when she made decisions I didn't quite agree with, I saw her motivations behind. Everything about her was so selfless. Flanking her on either side are two very different boys with two very different motivations. I loved Jack. Can I say that again? I loved him. He is the epitome of what we all want in a relationship. Sweet, giving, unshakable in his loyalty. His story with Nikki blew me away. Then there is Cole who, even though he is technically the "villian", I just couldn't help but love. There is so much wrapped up in his character that despite how he acts sometimes he is just too broken to dislike.

These stunning characters are placed in an even more gorgeous story line, as Brodi Ashton whisks us away into the story of the Everneath. I'm not going to share any details that might be spoilers. I believe that this is the type of book you'll just have to experience for yourself. Still, I could not believe how perfectly Ashton blended myth with reality. Nikki's story mirrors a myth almost perfectly and, even when you know what's going to ultimately happen, she provides enough hope to keep you hanging on. Love plays a big part in this story. The link between two people who love each other so much that time, nor space, can separate them. It broke my heart with its beauty.

Reading Everneath was effortless, if that makes any sense. It was such a pleasure to turn every page that it was almost like I wasn't reading at all. What Brodi Ashton has created within this pages is absolutely wonderful. There is no way I can explain to you why this book touched me so much, only that it did. I ended the story with tears in my eyes and something beyond a need to find out what happens next. More of an ache.

I haven't been as in love as I am with these characters in a long, long time. That alone makes Everneath one of my top reads, not just of the year but of all time. If you are a hopeless romantic, if you are a fan of mythology, or if you just enjoy rooting for the good in the world, this is a book you'll enjoy. I recommend Everneath with all my heart.





FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beat those reading slumps!



Let's face it, we bibliophiles, we readers of mountainous piles of books, all of us at some point have hit a reading slump. You stare at your shelves upon shelves up books with love and adoration. You carefully skim over each one to see what you'll read. (Although not necessarily with an umbrella...)

Image credit to We Heart It!

You pick that faithful next book, you read it ravenously, you finish it with a huge smile, and then...a reading slump occurs.

NOTHING seems to take the place of that last book. You pick up and throw down 3 or 4 or even 5 different books before you finally decide that it's just not time to do anymore reading.

I've been there. I know you have too!

I actually had a friend of mine ask me what I do when I hit a reading slump, so I thought I'd share some tips that I use! These are just my own personal quirks, so if you have anything else to share please do! Lord knows I get into these fits of reading rage every so often. Well, without further ado, here are a few tips I use to get myself back in the green!


1) Read something short.
Sometimes I get into a reading slump after finishing a massive science fiction or fantasy book that was just so unbelievably amazing, nothing else even comes close. (Note: I'm a massive Sci Fi nerd.) So, I read something short! A short story collection, an MG novel, maybe even a book of poems. Something to slowly ease me back into the goodness that is enjoying longer books.

2) Read some "book candy"!
Definition of book candy? Something sinfully sweet, and possibly your guilty pleasure. Are you a fan of Gossip Girl novels but don't read them that often? Pick one up! Do you enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse series but you've put it aside repeatedly for other books? Go get the next one and dive in! My book candy? Paranormal Romances. YUM.

3) Change up the genre.
Maybe the book you just finished was an amazing contemp novel that had you bawling your eyes out. Now nothing comes close. Take a chance and try some chick lit, or maybe a historical romance! Breaking out of the box makes it easier for me to get back into what I love later, and often I find new books to love in the process!

4) Re-read an old favorite.
SO many times when I'm in a reading slump I go back to books that I've dog-eared and loved. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale is one of these for me. Also The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo fills this void. It's that comfortable feeling of diving back into a world you already know. It helps stave off the reading slump blues.

5) Share a book with someone else!
I didn't expect to write five of these! Sharing a book you completely loved with someone else, especially if it's the book that you just finished, does wonders! My reading slumps are often caused by the inability to share my fangirly love of all things related to that book with others. So do it! Spread the love!


So there you have it! Bibliophile Jessica's 5 tips to get you out of those pesky reading slumps. They might all work for you, they might not but either way I'm proud to share them with you! Oh, and if I can share a secret, this post is actually to get me out of a reading slump. So there you go. Sharing does wonders.

What books are your standby reading slump books? Are there any tried and true methods you have for getting out of a reading slump? Share away!


Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Review: The Butterfly Clues

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: The Butterfly Clues
Author: Kate Ellison
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pages: Hardcover; 336
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Source: NetGalley
---------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild language; Mild violence
--------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who want a thrilling mystery, but can also put up with the character's OCD tendencies.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad's consulting job means she's grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she's learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place--possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.

But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as "Sapphire"--a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can't get the murder out of her mind.

As she attempts to piece together the mysterious "butterfly clues," with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined--a world, she'll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother's tragic death.

How on earth do I explain to you how much I loved The Butterfly Clues? It seems like anything I say just won't be enough. There is a mystery at it's core, and one that is beautifully done. I had no idea the entire time where the story line was ultimately taking me. However it's so much more than that. Layered on top of it all is the story of a girl who is looking for redemption, the inability to let go of the past, and the deep want to face the future head on. This book is amazing.

Before I dive into the meat of why this story blew me away, I feel it only fair to tell you about our main character. Lo isn't your normal teenage protagonist. Her heart was broken by her brother's death and she's been struggling to pick up the pieces ever since. Even though Lo's heart is in the right place, her guilt has caused her to pick up OCD tendencies. These show a lot in the story line. I'm warning you because they can be very disconcerting and distracting. Following a character who is constantly muttering tap tap tap banana and counting random items can be difficult. However I will promise you that if you can overlook the little things, and focus on the person that Lo is under all of this, you'll fall in love.

Now for the good part. The mystery. Lo finds herself inexplicably drawn to certain items, and locations. It is this habit that lands her in the middle of a murder investigation. I won't go into too much detail because, despite how difficult this plot is to figure out early on, I dislike spoilers. What I will say is that Kate Ellison weaves a story that will pull you in deeply. The setting of Neverland is amazing. Kids go here to hide, to disappear, and for Lo that is the attraction. There she can be whatever she wants. It is the anonymity of it all that allows her dive deeper and deeper into the mystery, and ultimately into danger. As I said, this part is so well done! Once the story takes off there isn't a moment to breathe, and I loved every minute of it.

I'll quit rambling and get straight to the point. Lo's story is fascinating. I know that some readers might be put off by her OCD tendencies but I'll tell you honestly, it wouldn't be the same story without them. Imagine being unable to run away from danger because you had to your count steps. Or being so filled with the need to take something, or go somewhere, that you put your well being at stake for it. Lo is special, and it is her overall character that really makes this book. Even if it doesn't sound like something you'd normally read, give The Butterfly Clues a chance. I loved it! I hope you will too.





FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Book Review: Fracture

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Fracture
Author: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Walker & Company
Pages: Hardcover; 264
Release Date: January 27, 2012
Source: NetGalley
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Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Language
------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who are looking for something a bit different.


Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine

—despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

What impressed me most about Fracture, right off the bat, was the attention to detail. The way that Megan Miranda portrays Delaney's struggle to fit back into her old existence is done beautifully. I didn't expect Delaney to be able to just merrily skip back into her own life, and I was happy to see that wasn't the case. She is hurting, she is lost, and she feels the difference in the way people treat her now that she is a "miracle". For Delaney, it isn't just the unknown of the ability that she's been given. It's much more than that. All she wants is normalcy. The life that she once had. In Delaney's case, she now knows that ignorance is in fact bliss.

The story takes off at a speedy pace from the time Delaney awakens, and the reader is treated to some very interesting character interactions. Delaney has to put her life back together with Decker, her best friend. She has to figure out how to fit back into her life with her parents who treat her like something breakable. Worse yet, this new ability has attracted a dark and sinister boy named Troy. Watching her navigate the twists and turns that this new lifestyle throws at her made Fracture a lot of fun to read. Questions about euthanasia, and life choices also show up here and really make you think.

As much as I loved the writing though, what fell short for me was Delaney's character. I didn't love her, or hate her, but rather felt kind of blandly about her whole persona. There were times in the story where she was extremely over dramatic. Then others where it almost felt like she was bordering on manic. Let's be honest, Delaney has been through one hell of an experience. I can give her a lot of wiggle room mentally for that. Even still, her personality bordered on whiny and hypocritical a lot, which was tough for me to read. I loved her story, I just didn't particularly love her.

I can honestly say that, as a whole, Fracture is a very well written and intriguing story. I know without a doubt that there are tons of readers out there who will wholeheartedly love Delaney's character, and that is why I still 100% recommend this book! I am but one reader in a sea of many. If you read Fracture for no other reason, read it for the fact that it blends two very different story types into one amazing book. Delaney's story isn't the happiest one, but it is well worth your time.





FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A call for recommendations!



Since you are some of the most bookish people I know dear readers, I come to you with a call for help!

I work in an after school program with kindergartners. Our library of books for them is sadly lacking, since this is the first year we've had a kindergarten program. It's so sad! Oh to be surrounded by wonderful books.

Anyhow I'm looking for book recommendations for two things:

1) Books that have repetition, so I can read them with the kids and then they can read them themselves later on during Independent Reading Time.

2) Fabulous picture books that have minimal writing.

Do you know of any? Shout them out in the comments! Our local library is fabulous and I know I'll be able to find them, I'm just kind of stumped on what to look for :).

THANK YOU!


Monday, January 23, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Jan 23)

A huge thank you to Book Journey for hosting! Click the button to join in!

This post recaps two weeks instead of one! Last weekend I was so busy being the center of engagement party attention, that I didn't even think of doing one of these :). So bear with me. I got to read and review quite a few awesome books these past two weeks!


Finished Reading: 
Blood and Bullets by James R. Tuck (3/5 Rating) - Review
International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams (3/5 Rating) - Review to come (WIN THIS!)
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe (4/5 Rating) - Review (WIN THIS!)
Fracture by Megan Miranda (4/5 Rating) - Review to come
How to Make a Golem and Terrify People (4/5 Rating) - Review
The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison (5/5 Rating) - Review to come


Currently Reading:
I'm not yet sure how I feel about this one. It's kind of slow.
Lexi Blane has it all. Other than the unexplained fainting spells and a lot of creepy nightmares, her destiny is exactly as she planned - damned near perfect. But an unexpected twist of fate sends William Bradford, the richest, hottest, most popular guy on campus, to fall in love with her to the point of infatuation. Now, it's perfect. Life is good.

And just like that - her world crumbles to pieces.

She doesn't remember the horrible accident and no one alive remembers William. As she tries to decipher what is real and what her genius mind created, she learns that nothing is ever what it seems and her friends know a lot more than they say.



Also reading this week: 
Started this, and so far it's great!   I'm anxious to see where  it goes.
For the past five months Essallie Hanley has been trying to forget about the frightening murder of her boyfriend. Haunted by vivid nightmares and hallucinations of the event she does anything she can to pretend she's like every other normal girl in High School.

Only Essallie is far from normal. Able to conjure blue fire and a shimmering silhouette of wings from her body, she seeks the only known solace left to her name; her first home in Belfast, Maine.

But she soon realizes that her return home is only the beginning of a long and twisted road taking her as far from her humanity as possible, with Kayden, the demon originally summoned to slaughter her, leading the way. Unable to touch her but oddly curious, he joins Essallie in her search to find out just what she is. But neither of them were prepared for the secrets they've begun to unravel, secrets that will change Essallie and everyone around her forever.

I am in LOVE with this cover. So excited to read this!
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...


So that's it for me this week! Lots of reading goodness :).
What are YOU reading this week? Shout it out in the comments or share your post, and thanks for stopping by my reading friend!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Book Review: How to Make a Golem and Terrify People


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: How to Make a Golem and Terrify People
Author: Alette Willis
Publisher: Floris Books
Pages: Paperback; 224
Release Date: November 17, 2011
Source: NetGalley
---------------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Middle Grade
Content Screening: Nothing of note
---------------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Middle grade readers who love adventures, and older readers who love a good story.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / Librarything
"You think you're a fairy godmother or something?" I asked. 
"Or something," Michael agreed. 

Edda is tired of her nickname, 'Mouse', and wants to be braver. But when her house is burgled on her twelfth birthday, Edda is more afraid than ever. That is until new boy Michael Scot starts school. There's something peculiar -- and very annoying -- about know-it-all Michael. He claims to be a great alchemist who can help Edda overcome her fears by teaching her to build a golem. But surely they can't bring a giant mud monster to life? Can they?

How to Make a Golem and Terrify People made me smile a lot. That's saying something, since right before reading this I was in a bit of a reading slump. I just don't know how you can feel down when adorable Scottish children are romping about on the pages of a book, getting into all sorts of mischief and mayhem. Add in a little bit of alchemy and a few life lessons, and you have a story that is a great read.

Edda was such a sweet young protagonist. Although her character wasn't quite as vivid as I would have liked her to be, she definitely held her own. For Edda life is about familiarity. She's comfortable with her warm, loving home and her best friend. Then, on her twelfth birthday, Edda's life is turned upside down when a her home is burgled. It was easy for me to see how violated and scared she felt. From this point on the reader is treated to a view of Edda's transformation from "mouse" to "Edda the Brave".

The story line is simple enough in this middle grade adventure. All that Edda wants is to be braver. What she soon learns is that being braver simply means learning to believe in yourself. With the help of her friends, one old and one new, she faces her fears and learns to tame them. My one gripe was simply that, as adorable as they were, the characters weren't as fleshed out as they could have been. I had to remind myself multiple times that this is a middle grade book, and it's all about the journey. Honestly I anticipate young readers delightedly accompanying Edda on her spooky (but not too spooky) golem related adventures.

My final verdict on How to Make a Golem and Terrify People is that it is good, clean and fun reading! By the end I was wishing there was more, but then again I'm a sucker for cute protagonists. If you have a younger reader at home who enjoys an adventure, this is for them! A little bit of alchemy and a lot of friendship come together in perfect harmony to create a story that is a sweet and enjoyable read.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

On writing reviews.





(Sometimes that evil blinking cursor just mocks me.)

Lately I've been pondering the best way to write reviews. Any of you who also write a book blog probably have gone through this same thing. You give your opinion, you read it over, and then you second guess yourself. Is your review too short? Too long? Are there spoilers? Will people understand what you are talking about?

Or maybe it's just me and I'm over thinking it.

Anyway I've finally decided that, for me, the best way to write reviews is just to write! I just sit down and type out the first things that pop into my head. Then I check for errors, and viola I have a review. It's been working out for me in 2012. Now I ask you this:

What do you think of the reviews here on Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile?


I'm hoping that those of you who follow me do so because you like what I write :). I don't tempt you with copious amounts of giveaways or anything like that, and I know I ramble a lot, so I adore you for putting up with me. That being said, I always want to know what you think. I had a comment today that made me curious, and now I want to see what the general consensus is.

So, if you like the way things are written around here, shout out in the comments! If you have some not so nice things to say that are still constructive, you can comment also. Or you can shoot me an email at that pretty little envelope icon over to the right. Either way. I am all for constructive criticism.

Am I building your excitement for books, even if they weren't my favorite? Because that's my aim. You tell me.


Book Review: Blood and Bullets

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Blood and Bullets
Author: James R. Tuck
Publisher: Kensington
Pages: Paperback; 352
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Source: Author
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Intended Reading Group: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
-------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Urban Fantasy lovers, as well as those with the ability to accept copious amounts of good old fashioned violence and cussing.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
He lives to kill monsters. He keeps his city safe. And his silver hollow-points and back-from-the-dead abilities help him take out any kind of supernatural threat. But now an immortal evil has this bad-ass bounty hunter dead in its sights…

Ever since a monster murdered his family, Deacon Chalk hunts any creature that preys on the innocent. So when a pretty vampire girl “hires” him to eliminate a fellow slayer, Deacon goes to warn him—and barely escapes a vampire ambush. Now he’s got a way-inexperienced newbie hunter to protect and everything from bloodsuckers to cursed immortals on his trail. There’s also a malevolent force controlling the living and the undead, hellbent on turning Deacon’s greatest loss into the one weapon that could destroy him…

Let's get one thing straight, right off the bat. I am not a girlish person. I love bad-ass heroes and heroines who risk their necks to save the day. Blood and gore don't phase me in the slightest. In fact, if a vicious baddie happens to die in a particularly gruesome way, I might actually applaud! That is the type of reader I am. I appreciate it all, especially if it's telling me one hell of a story.

That being said, Blood and Bullets definitely sated my need for a good, old fashioned, violent romp through some baddies. Deacon Chalk is the type of character who kicks butt now, and asks questions later. Much later. James R. Tuck weaves a story that pits Deacon against vampires of all shapes and sizes. I absolutely loved the twist that he put on the final villain. Bullets fly, blood is spilled, redemption is had. This is a book that unabashedly grabs you by the shoulders, straps you into a chair, and keeps you there until the final page is read. It's fast. It's furious. It's pretty damn awesome.

However my gripe over everything else? Deacon himself. The story line was fantastic, and ran at a breakneck pace. It kept me reading. Still I would have liked it so much more if it wasn't for Deacon's character. I'd describe him as a man's man. Again I state I'm not against men like this normally, but Deacon is a bit over the top. He fights to the death, he cusses up a storm, he loves his guns like they were his children. On top of all of that he is extremely vain at times, and manages to be so repetitive in certain areas that it drove me mad. Overall? He broke the book for me.

As a reader who is very big on character development, I just felt like there wasn't any saving grace to Deacon's character. I saw that James R. Tuck tried to give him a family background and make me, as the reader, empathize with him. I appreciated that but it didn't help my relationship with him. It's probably just my opinion and I admit that! In fact, I gave this book to a male friend of mine who is devouring it as we speak and loving each and every minute of it. Hey, Deacon is a man's man! I don't doubt there are plenty of people out there who will love him.

At the end of the day, Blood and Bullets is an entertaining read with some fantastic twists and turns. I see that James R. Tuck is an amazing writer and I look forward to more books by him. I'm just not sure I'll be visiting Deacon's world again. Still, give this a shot! It's a great example of what good Urban Fantasy really is. Prepare yourself, you're in for a ride.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A look at books past, with Aya Tsintziras

On the blog today I have Aya Tsintziras, author of Pretty Bones. I reviewed her book a week or so ago, and now she is back to share with us some books from her past!

It's always interesting to see how authors are influenced by the books they read when they were young. Let's take a look back with Aya and see what her favorites were at some key ages. You can click the book covers to visit their Goodreads pages as well!


Age 5

The Tree That Grew to the Moon by Eugenie Fernandes. I didn’t read this book until I was a bit older than five years old but I would have loved it at that age, too. It’s about a young girl who grows a tree in her bedroom, and it’s so magical that I still remember it fondly after all these years. My favourite part is when winter comes, it snows inside her bedroom, and she builds an igloo around the tree.

Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman. Again, a totally magical story about a little boy and his grandpa, and how his grandpa transforms his beloved blanket into different things over the years – a jacket, a button. This was a favourite in my family.




Age 11

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit, a magical story about a family who drank from a magic stream and never gets older. It’s really beautifully written but sad.

A Handful of Time by Kit Pearson.

The Daring Game by Kit Pearson.






Age 16

Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel, a brilliant memoir about the author’s struggle with depression. (Note: in high school I read a lot of what you could consider depressing memoirs!)

White Oleander by Janet Fitch, one of my all-time favourite books.

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen, one of my favourite authors. This is my favourite book of hers, about an abusive relationship. She has moments of humour, too, with vibrant next-door neighbor characters, and the book is poetic and smart.

Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn. I would recommend the whole series: Gingerbread, Shrimp and Cupcake.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. What an amazing book! I can’t even count the number of times I’ve read it.





Age 20

If I Stay by Gayle Forman. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I would also recommend its sequel, Where She Went, out last year.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Again, one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson (well, anything by her!). This book is about so much more than just the super important dance that seniors love to go to, and the author does such an amazing job writing about the topic. She’s one of my favourite YA authors, so I’d also recommend her books Twisted and Speak.



A huge thank you again to Aya Tsintziras for stopping by today! Be sure to check out the blurb for her book, Pretty Bones, below and add it to your reading list.

Raine has a family, good grades, best friends, and a boyfriend who loves her. But then anorexia takes over, and her life spirals out of control. Her efforts to hide her condition are finished when she collapses at a school dance. Although she's whisked away to treatment, Raine isn't ready to accept who she really is and get the help she desperately needs. For Raine, coming-of-age means coming closer to death.


This or That? with Brodi Ashton

I'm super pleased today to have Brodi Ashton, author of the stunning Everneath, here on the blog!

She's here today to share a little bit about herself in a game of This or That? I give her topics, and she chooses which one she likes better. My favorite part about this game is that it is a great way to get to know the inner workings of my favorite authors!

So without further ado, I'll let her take it away.

Hi Brodi! Out of the following pairs, please share with us what you'd choose!

Dogs or Cats? Dogs
Dancing or Singing? Dancing (while singing "Moves Like Jagger")
Movies or TV shows? TV shows
Beach or Mountains? Mountains
Walk or Run? Stroll
Live in the moment or plan for the future? In the moment
Read a book or listen to an audio book? Read a book
Cooking or Baking? Takeout
Shoes or Sandals? Sandals
Hiking or Biking? Hiking


For more on Everneath, check out the blurb below. Click on the book to add it to your Goodreads list as well!

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Way We Fall Giveaway!



In case you missed my raving today on Twitter, and my review earlier today, The Way We Fall has fast become a book I feel the need to share around!

It blew me away because of how different it is from a lot of other books I've read lately. In fact, I'm not even sure it's dystopian. It's more about survival, and living in the moment when it's all you have left. More about that below in the synopsis.


It starts with an itch you just can't shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you'll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.
And then you're dead.

When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.

Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn't?

Luckily I have the opportunity to share this book even more by giving two copies away! Big Honcho Media is allowing me to offer up two copies of The Way We Fall to two lucky winnners!

To enter, FILL OUT THIS FORM.
You must be in the U.S. or have a U.S. mailing address to enter.

Giveaway ends January 30, 2012.


Still not convinced? Here's some trailer goodness. Enter. You won't regret it.






Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book Review: The Way We Fall

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: The Way We Fall
Author: Megan Crewe
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: Hardcover; 304
Release Date: January 24, 2011
Source: Big Honcho Media
-----------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
-----------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy dystopian reads, but are looking for something a bit different.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
It starts with an itch you just can't shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you'll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you're dead.


When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.

Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn't?

First off a praise. Megan Crewe has created a virus that is unlike any I have ever read about before, and therefore a hundred times more terrifying. Thinking back, every virus I've ever read about has done ungodly things to people. Skin falling off, limbs atrophying, things that make people run away from you. Crewe's disease? It causes people to be...friendly, albeit overly so. I thought this was brilliant. What better way to spread a virus than through friendly human contact? For that matter, what scarier way?

Also brilliant in the Way We Fall is the way that the story is told, or so I thought. We see the outbreak through the eyes of Kaelyn, a young girl who lives on the island. However instead of her speaking to us as a reader, she is writing a journal to her friend who left the island to go to school. For me, this was a perfect way to see into the world that Kaelyn was living in. All her fears, all her worries, are penned into that journal beautifully. After all, who better to share the deepest parts of yourself with than a friend?

This book dives into the darkest part of human kind, and what happens when we have to fight to survive. Kaelyn learns early on that there are two types of people when the world fires back at you. There are those who band together, and those who take for themselves. Those who create, and those who destroy. Crewe offers us a look at what happens to a community when disaster hits and, while beautifully executed in the story line, it definitely isn't always an easy read.

Although The Way We Fall didn't grab my attention at page one, it was one of those books that was a slow burn for me. By the time that I was a few chapters in, I was scrambling to read more. What Megan Crewe has created here is a new type of dystopian terror. Isolation, greed, survival. It is all played out here in gritty harmony, and it makes The Way We Fall an overall fantastic read. In the world of dystopian fiction, this is something new. I honestly have to say that I loved it.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Book Review: Pure

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Pure (Pure #1)
Author: Julianna Baggott
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: Hardcover; 448
Release Date: February 8, 2012
Source: NetGalley
--------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Violence
--------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Lovers of Dystopian fiction


Add it on : Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Where do I even start in my love for this book? Seriously. I picked up Pure on a whim, on a hunch that the cover was holding something immensely interesting, and I was dead on. Julianna Baggott doesn't just rehash the same old dystopia that is thrown around so often in young adult fiction. Far from it. What you'll find here, hidden in the pages of Pure, is a romp into the gritty and very realistic lives of those who survived the Detonations. It isn't pretty my friends, but it's fascinating.

Pressia's dystopian home is imagined and described beautifully. Baggott lures the reader into a world that has been torn apart. Whole towns leveled to the ground. People who are fused to inanimate objects, or worse yet, their own loved ones. What really comes through more than anything else here is the haunted existence that these survivors live. They've come to terms with who they are now, but so many of them cling to their remembrances of the "the Before" to stay sane. Those who survived only did so because they gave up a part of themselves. The hurt, the anguish, the spark of survival, Baggott shares it all with us through this dark and desolate world she puts her characters into.

In terms of the characters, I really enjoyed them all. From the main character Pressia, all the way down to the normal townspeople, each character is built lovingly and realistically. Pressia is a character who is hard not to fall for. Despite her self acknowledged flaws, she won't give up on herself or her companions. When things get tough, we meet Bradwell and Partridge. Bradwell is the epitome of what a survivor is. Never getting too close to anyone else. Until, that is, he meets Pressia. Partridge is a gorgeous mirror to the ugliness that surrounds Pressia and Bradwell. With his perfect clothes and skin, his enhanced DNA, he becomes the odd man out. However it is only by working together that these three can ultimately save themselves, and those around them.

I'm rambling I know. That's how much I enjoyed Pure. So much that I can't quite put into words how much I loved it. The action in this book is copious, the world is beautifully built, the characters are strong and lovable. Everything about Pure is new, refreshing and amazing. I've read dystopian fiction. I love dystopian fiction. It is because of this that I can say that Pure far outshines everything else I've read in this genre so far. If you are okay with a bit of grit in your reading, pick up Julianna Baggott's new book and prepare to be sucked in.





FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

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