30 June 2012

Review: Unraveling - Elizabeth Norris

Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Hardcover: 445 Pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she’s opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, Janelle knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her reincarnation, and Ben’s possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI-agent father’s files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what’s right in front of her: Everything that’s happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben’s sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

Unraveling was yet another novel that completely surprised me! The plot is utterly enthralling, so much that I would read it while at school and my sleep was cut short to finish it. The facts are very expertly unraveled to peek our curiosity and the countdown in each chapter was a great idea!

The plot: As mentioned, I loved the countdown aspect of the chapters and the plot felt overall a bit like the TV series 24. I do have to admit that I wasn't expecting the kind-of futuristic aspect of the novel but it was a pleasant surprise (sorry guys, I know that is vague but I don't want to share too much in case you want to pick up this book!). There are many twists and turns which are prominent in mystery/detective novels.

The characters: Here is where things went a bit downhill for me. I didn't like the main character's actions, Tanelle, that much. She was just TOO independent; I know her family was a bit dysfunctional but you can't just take over a murder investigation! I get why she did it but it was a bit unrealistic for me, she is a teenager after all. But overall, she was a nice character. Ben, the love interest, was mysterious and sweet, that is right up my alley! The romance was also well-developed.

Unraveling was a great and enjoyable read. The ending was a enormous cliffhanger and Norris will certainly keep everyone hanging on the next installment. If you are into detective novels with a pinch of romance, Unraveling is a novel you should surely check out!

Elizabeth Norris briefly taught high school English and history before trading the southern California beaches and sunshine for Manhattan's recent snowpocalyptic winter. She harbors dangerous addictions to guacamole, red velvet cupcakes, sushi, and Argo Tea, fortunately not all together. Her first novel, UNRAVELING (Balzer+Bray, April 2012), is the story of one girl’s fight to save her family, her world, and the one boy she never saw coming. Website / Twitter

27 June 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (20)

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by breakingthespine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's most anticipated book is:
Author: Dawn Rae Miller
Release Date: September 25th

Depressed and confused after her rescue from Summer Hill, Lark Greene trusts no one—not even herself. Cut off from Beck, all she wants to do is fade away and forget everything, but her mother has other plans: she wants to teach Lark how to master her Dark magic and pair her off with a new mate.

Lark is desperate to keep herself from going completely Dark, while also keeping Beck safe, so she allows herself to be drawn deeper into the dangerous, yet glamorous, world of the State. But as the Splinter Group launches attacks to wrest governmental control from the Dark witches, Lark finds herself drawing on her Dark magic more and more.

As her magic spirals out of control, no one around Lark is safe.

Certainly not Beck.

And not even Lark herself.

I really loved the first in this series, Larkstorm! It was one of the best novels I read last year and I can't wait for the sequel to come out. By the way the cover was released today! SO BEAUTIFUL and it matches the cover for the first one. I'm dying to get my hands on this one!

Freedom To Read Giveaway Hop

It's time for a new giveaway! Here is another chance to win a book of your choice =D
The Freedom To Read Giveaway Hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and co-hosted by Mundie Moms, so be sure to check their blogs, too!

This giveaway hop will run from June 29th to July 5th and over 200 blogs are participating, so you will have many chances of winning something!

So what is up for giveaway on my blog?
You can win a book of choice from the Book Depository! I know it may sound a bit boring but I always prefer to give the winner a chance of choosing because maybe you want a book really bad and didn't have the chance of buying it yet or maybe you just won't like the book I'd choose! :) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Go by these blogs to have more chances to win something!

26 June 2012

(ARC) Review: Florence - Ciye Cho

Release Date: July 1st, 2012

Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and taken below the waves to the mer world of Niemela, she is the ultimate gift for merman Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of a dark ocean.
Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand--and find out where she belongs--Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart... and her very soul.

Florence was a wonderful read that will enchant most readers. The concept of mermaids was refreshing for me, since I haven't picked up any of recently-published novels about these creatures. I had a great time picturing all of the fish and mermaids mentioned in this novel because Cho's writing is very detailed and he makes use of many colors in his descriptions. It was also very easy to imagine such a different world.

The plot: The novel started off rather slow and I kept asking myself when something would finally happen. From the moment Florence was abducted, I couldn't put this book down anymore. It has some interesting aspects, for example: the color of the mer-people. I wasn't expecting orange or blue mermaids! I wondered many times why Florence could speak their language and why she had those special feelings before something bad came about; these questions were unfortunately never answered. But the plot was overall very entertaining. 

The characters: Florence was a nice character. I had a hard time connecting to her at the beginning because she was rather reserved and afraid. While leaving with the mer-people she came out of her shell and became a character I enjoyed. Both princes were very different and because of it, really interesting. (SPOILER!) Kiren was obviously the bad guy, even though the author did a great job trying to confuse us. Rolan was a big of an enigma. She was also rather quiet and sometimes even aggressive towards Florence. Little by little he opens himself to Florence but admittedly I already liked him from the beginning.

Florence was a great and light read. For me even refreshing, though for those of you who have read mermaid-themed novels, this one may not be as refreshing. But there is really something special and different about Cho's novel and is up to you to find out what. I recommend Florence to all fans of paranormal!

A huge thanks to Ciye Cho for providing me with a copy for review!

Ciye Cho lives in Australia and works as a graphic designer. He writes YA novels in his free time--and his head is often lost in the clouds or some place far from reality... Website

Stacking the Shelves (2)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted By Tynga's Reviews. This meme is about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be hard-back, paperback or ebook.

For review: 

The Spindlers
by Lauren Oliver

I'm a huge Lauren Oliver fan so when I saw this on Edelweiss, I just had to request it! This will be my first middle grade novel for review on this blog! A huge thanks to HarperCollins!
by Jessica Khoury

I'm so excited for this one! An enormous thanks to Penguin!
by J. Meyers

This one sounds really interesting, can't wait to dive in! Huge thanks to J. Meyers!

Grasping At Eternity
Karen Amanda Hooper

I was super excited to read this one and I'm so thankful that Karen Amanda Hooper sent me a copy for review!

Someone Else's Fairytale
E.M. Tippetts

A huge thanks to Emily Tippets for sending this one to me for review!!

WOW! I can't believe that this haul is mine! So happy to start all of these books! What have you got this week? Link me up :)

24 June 2012

(ARC) Review: One Moment - Kristina McBride

Release Date: June 26th, 2012
Hardcover: 272 Pages
Publisher: Egmont USA

"This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie's life. Now it's the one she'd do anything to forget."
Maggie remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party. She remembers climbing the trail with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can't she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below-dead?
As Maggie's memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding? 

One Moment was an incredible novel. Despite being a contemporary novel, I enjoyed every second of of it. Even though the story was a bit predictable (not that much though), the characters were anything but. McBride does an amazing job in describing things in a way that you can almost imagine you being in there with them, furthermore she shows us that one single moment, can really change everything

The plot: I can't say that One Moment wasn't predictable but some things did take me by surprise. But I do have to mention that the author mentions one character's actions a lot and then it was almost obvious that she had more to do with the story. But I thought that the story itself was beautiful and more importantly, beautifully written. It shows us the different stages and different reactions of grief. One Moment would really suit people going through someone's loss.

The characters: The characters were obviously flawed and yet likeable. But what I enjoyed most about the characters was that they were all really realistic. Maggie was a great main character. And McBride really has a way of showing us what she is feeling, so that we can relate to it.

One Moment may be one of the most heart-wrenching novels I have ever read. But it teaches us so many things about life and loss. Sad novels aren't mostly my thing but I couldn't not have enjoyed this one. I recommend McBride's novel to anyone who is going through something similar and all contemporary fans out there will certainly love this book!

Thanks to Netgalley and Egmont USA for giving me this review copy in exchange of an honest review. 

Kristina McBride, a former English teacher and yearbook advisor, dreamed of being a published author since she was a child and lived across the street from a library. Kristina has published two novels for young adults - The Tension of Opposites (May 2010) and One Moment (June 2012). She lives in Ohio with her husband and two young children. Website / Twitter

21 June 2012

Review: Slated - Teri Terry

Release Date: May 3rd, 2012
Paperback: 448 Pages
Publisher: Orchard Books

Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.
She’s been Slated.
The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance - as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?

Slated was unexpectedly amazing! Admittedly I was expecting something completely different. After reading the synopsis I thought the story would be more centered around Kyla recovering her memories and fighting the system but actually I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't like most dystopian novels nowadays.

The plot: It developed quite nicely. For my taste even a bit too slow for the action to start but when the suspense really kicked in, this novel was simply unputdownable! The mystery behind the slating just kept me hooked and I'm still asking myself where the missing people were taken. Furthermore Terry really did a wonderful job in those flashbacks about Kyla's previous life.

The characters: Kyla was nice main character but I wasn't specially fond of her, even though she was a fascinating character. Yet her relationship with Ben was nicely written. It wasn't the usual insta-love. They got to know each other, became friends and over time, it became something more. Ben was also an interesting character, actually he is quite naive but in the end he gets the more and more fascinating.

Slated is an original dystopia, which despite not being action-packed, is utterly enthralling. The whole Slating is just an intriguing concept that I can't wait to read more about in the next installment! I recommend this one to all dystopian fans and, overall, young adult readers. I'm certain you won't be disappointed!

Teri has lived in France, Canada, Australia and England at more addresses than she can count, acquiring three degrees, a selection of passports and a silly name along the way. Past careers have included scientist, lawyer, optometrist, and, in England, various jobs in schools, libraries and an audiobook charity. The footpaths and canal ways of the Buckinghamshire Chilterns where she now lives inspired much of the setting of Slated. She hates broccoli, likes cats, and has finally worked out what she wants to do when she grows up. Website

20 June 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (19)

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by breakingthespine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's most anticipated book is:
The Raven Boys

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

I'm so excited for The Raven Boys! It sounds so original and, of course, utterly amazing! 
What are you waiting on this Wednesday? 

19 June 2012

(ARC) Review: Seraphina - Rachel Hartman

Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Hardcover: 464 Pages
Publisher: Random House Children's Books

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

Seraphina is a masterpiece, no other word can be used to describe Hartman's debut novel. Nowadays it's such a rarity to find novels in the young adult genre that are just original and beautiful in their own way. Hartman doesn't try to beautify anything; her dragons are ugly and cold and yet the author still dazzles us with the fascinating story of a special girl named Seraphina.

I really can't say in which page my love for this novel started. It may be that I was captivated from page one. Hartman has a beautiful writing and even though the story builds up slowly, I was never, not even once, bored. Actually I read the 464 pages in one sitting. I felt like the story progressed naturally and that everything happened at the suitable time. And for the romance, I have no words. Maybe, just plain wonderful yet heart-wrenching would describe it well. But the best part for me in this novel were the dragons. They were so different than how most novels depict them. Hartman's dragons can transform themselves into humans and they are as expected: insensitive, intelligent and just plain peculiar.

Seraphina was an incredible main character. I liked her from the start and I loved her throughout the novel. She was strong, intelligent and, overall, just a remarkable character. Prince Kiggs doesn't disappoint, either. A chivalrous and sweet hero that made me want to be Seraphina. I may say that Hartman's characters are actually really realistic and each very special in their own rights. Even Glisselda and Seraphina's uncle Orma had a place in my heart. Mostly I loved Orma and Seraphina's interactions, since they were really awkward but also really sweet.

I loved how Hartman's world is written in such intricate detail. Many may say that the story lacks action and is just slow but I'm not a big fan of such novels and Seraphina is in my opinion one of the best (or at least most special) books this year. If you liked Christopher Paolini's Eragon series, you will probably enjoy this one. But I recommend this one to everyone, mostly fantasy fanatics.

Thank you to Random House Children's Books for providing me with this novel in exchange of an honest review. 

Rachel was born in Kentucky, but has lived a variety of places including Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, England, and Japan. She has a BA in Comparative Literature, although she insists it should have been a BS because her undergraduate thesis was called “Paradox and Parody in Don Quixote and the satires of Lucian.” She eschewed graduate school in favour of drawing comic books. She now lives in Vancouver, BC, with her family, their whippet, and a talking frog and salamander (who fight zombies)(really. There are a lot of zombies in the Pacific Northwest). Website

17 June 2012

Review: Underworld - Meg Cabot

Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Hardcover: 318 Pages
Publisher: Point

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn't dead.
Not this time.
But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.
Her captor, John Hayden, claims it's for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they've come back as Furies, intent on vengeance... on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.
But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there... and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.
And unless Pierce is careful, this time there'll be no escape.

I have been reading Meg Cabot novels ever since I started reading books, and I'm a huge fan of hers. When I found out that she was writing a Greek mythology-themed series, I was really excited to read the whole trilogy. Abandon was amazing but somehow the sequel didn't live up to my expectations.

The plot was a bit messy. Everything was happening so fast in the beginning and I had a hard time trying to remember everything that went down in Abandon (maybe that was my mistake, I should have reread it, so I really recommend it rereading Abandon!). But I enjoyed the chapters that took place in the Underworld and all scenes that had John in it (obviously!).

Pierce was so annoying! She never knew what she wanted: stay in the Underworld or go back to her ordinary life. Which, of course, resulted in many fights with her boyfriend. John was by far the best character. He is different than most love interests. He is tough yet sweet and sometimes he could be a bit mean to Pierce (which I thoroughly enjoyed!). The new characters gave Underworld a new side and I loved them! It made the novel a lot more enjoyable.

Certainly Cabot could have done a better job with this novel but I really can't say that I didn't enjoy it. I am a sucker for Greek mythology and the Persephone myth is a favorite of mine. One thing that I really can say about this novel though, is that it isn't in any way boring. It was an enjoyable read and I loved the ending. After reading the synopsis for the next one, I'm really looking forward to the third installment!

She is now the author of nearly fifty books for both adults and teens, selling fifteen million copies worldwide, many of which have been #1 New York Times bestsellers, most notably The Princess Diaries series, which is currently being published in over 38 countries, and was made into two hit movies by Disney. Meg currently divides her time between Key West, Indiana, and New York City with a primary cat (one-eyed Henrietta), various back-up cats, and her husband, who doesn't know he married a fire horse. Please don't tell him.

Stacking the Shelves (1)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted By Tynga's Reviews. This meme is about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be hard-back, paperback or ebook.

For review: 

The Assassin's Curse
by Cassandra Rose Clarke


(I did the happy dance when I got this in my mail! :D)

Something Strange and Deadly
by Susan Dennard

Thank you so much HarperTeen!

by C.J. Redwine

Thank you so much HarperTeen!!!

(I'm so eager to start this one! And the main character is called Rachel ;))


by Tara Hudson

Shadow and Bone
by Leigh Bardugo

What did you guys get this week? If I can say so myself, my mailbox this week is AMAZING! Can't wait to dive in :D
Link me up!

14 June 2012

Review: The Selection - Kiera Cass

Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Hardcover: 327 Pages
Publisher: HarperTeen

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

An enjoyable read with many faults that couldn't be ignored and yet I couldn't not finish to read The Selection. The Selection, besides having many aspects from The Bachelor, really is like a reality show because even though you don't enjoy it that much, you can't stop watching it. 

The plot is actually really simple: a prince must choose one in thirty-five girls to be his future wife. For many of them to be chosen to participate is like a dream come true but for America that's far from it. The idea is actually pretty good but I didn't like how it was developped. I mean, American didn't want to participate but her secret boyfriend convinced to try to be someobody else's wife?! I understand the why but somehow it sounded a bit unbelievable. Furthermore I can't believe that Maxon would wait around for her when he has other 20 girls to be his wife, who would be for the best interest of the country.

The characters were actually pretty ok. America was a bit confusing because she never knew who she wanted. Her relationship with Aspen almost certainly didn't have a future and still she chose to trick herself into believing that everything was perfect. Maxon was a great character and I was rooting for them to be together but the love triangle was inevitable. Nevertheless I really liked how Maxon and America's relationship developped from dislike to friends and maybe even more. 

The Selection was a light, funny and sometimes unbelievable read. The cliffhanger wasn't in any way horrible and yet I can't wait for the next one. It really is true that such reality shows (and now novel) are an addiction!
If you enjoy shows like The Bachelor and romance novels with love triangles, this one is a novel you just can't miss.

Kiera Cass is a graduate of Radford University and currently lives in Blacksburg, Virginia, with her family. Her fantasy novel the siren was self-published in 2009. Kiera has kissed approximately fourteen boys in her life. None of them were princes. Website / Twitter

13 June 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (18)

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by breakingthespine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's most anticipated book is:
Every Day 

Author: David Levithan
Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.

I really can't wait to get my hands on this one! It sounds so original and romantic!

What are you guys waiting on this week?

Hot off the Press!

Guys! The trailer for Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys is out! I JUST CAN'T WAIT TO GET MY HANDS ON THIS ONE! And I think you will all be crazy about it too after watching this great trailer :) (And in case you are wondering, The Raven Boys will be published September 18th, 2012!)

And the cover for Kiersten White's Mind Games is also out! This one will be released February 19th, 2013 by HarperTeen! 

12 June 2012

Review: Darkness Before Dawn - J.A. London

Release Date: May 29th, 2012
Paperback: 342 Pages
Publisher: HarperTeen

This electrifying new trilogy blends the best of paranormal and dystopian storytelling in a world where the war is over. And the vampires won.

Humans huddle in their walled cities, supplying blood in exchange for safety. But not even that is guaranteed. Dawn has lost her entire family and now reluctantly serves as the delegate to Lord Valentine, the most powerful vampire for miles. It isn’t until she meets Victor, Valentine’s son, that she realizes not all vampires are monsters....

When I first heard about Darkness Before Dawn, I couldn't not become obsessed  with it. It blends dystopia with paranormal, which for me is just the perfect mix. Darkness Before Dawn didn't disappoint and left me even more eager to the next installment: Blood-Kissed Sky. 

The plot was extremely well-done. Everything fell in the right place and right time for me; yet the twists were still just as unexpected. I loved the dystopian aspects of the novel, since dystopia is my favorite genre. I still find that the authors (written by a mother and son team!) could have spent less time with Dawn's mixed feelings towards Michael and Victor and instead focused more on the fascinating aspects like on the relationship between the humans and vampires or even on Dawn's political life. Another thing that bothered me were the romantic scenes! They were sometimes TOO kitschy. I mean, the guy has lived for over hundreds of years and he has never seen someone as brave as Dawn?! She is not even that brave!

The characters were mostly amazing. Dawn was a determined and strong main character. Yet I didn't like that she couldn't be a bit more open to Victor's different life style; she was just too stubborn even though it was evident that he was a nice guy. I loved Victor; he was just plain swoon-material and I liked the different sides to his character; I can't wait to see how being in charge will change him in the next novel. The side characters didn't have such big roles but I liked all of them and hopefully we will still hear from them in the sequel.

Darkness Before Dawn was certainly a strong beginning to the trilogy. It surely had its faults but I wasn't that bothered by them. Some questions were left unanswered but this is a trilogy, so I will be expecting answers in the next two novels. I can only say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one and I hope you will all enjoy it too! 

                                           (4.75 stars?!)

J. A. London is the mother-son writing team of Jan and Alex Nowasky. As Rachel Hawthorne, Jan has written many novels for teens, including the popular Dark Guardian series. Alex, a recent graduate with a degree in Historical Studies, enjoys combining history and fiction to create unique worlds. Website

09 June 2012

Review: City of Lost Souls - Cassandra Clare

Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Hardcover: 534 Pages
Publisher: McElderry Books (impring of Simon & Schuster)

The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.
No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?
Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.
And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?
Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

What can I say? It seems to be impossible for Ms. Clare to write a bad novel. It's no surprise for me, since both of her series certainly are two of my favorite series ever. However I do have to say that City of Lost Souls wasn't by far the best in this series.

I can't say that I didn't enjoy the plot. It was full of twists and surprises that certainly left me begging for an instantly release of City of Heavenly Fire but it certainly wasn't as good as the first 3 novels since nothing REALLY bad and electrifying happened. But as usual, as I was completely enthralled while reading this one.

About the characters I have NO complaints. I love every single character and I really enjoyed that Clare gave other characters more attention in this one. We got to experience more of Magnus and Alec's & Isabelle and Simon's relationships and that was very pleasant and a nice change. Clary and Jace's relationship was as always its usual self: complicated!

Overall, City of Lost Souls was a wonderful read (as usual when it comes to Clare's novels). Certainly it wasn't her best work but I'm still amazed that after five books I'm still so hooked on this series. I'm sure that many of you won't enjoy this one as much as the others but I, for one, am satisfied and eagerly waiting the release of the last novel!

Cassandra Clare was born to American parents in Teheran, Iran and spent much of her childhood travelling the world with her family, including one trek through the Himalayas as a toddler where she spent a month living in her father’s backpack. She lived in France, England and Switzerland before she was ten years old. Website  / Twitter

06 June 2012

Review: Until I Die - Amy Plum

Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Hardcover: 357 Pages
Publisher: HarperTeen

Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

Is it possible to say that Amy Plum outdid herself in this novel? I really think Until I Die was better than Die For Me, or at least, as good as. And that is something not many authors can accomplish. Paris is still as dazzling and Vincent and Kate still dazzle us with one the best romance in the young adult genre.

The story starts off already somewhat chaotic. After Kate beheaded the NUMA leader, Lucian, everything has been too calm. That's why we are introduced to some new characters, who are there to help our revenants in Paris deal with the situation. As usual, the plot is fast-paced and I was always completely captivated, meaning I couldn't put it down, literally. There are many ups and downs and Plum scatters funny dialogues through the whole novel, which just make me love her more! 

Kate has grown up a lot. I think she gets to experience what her fears and decisions will change not only her life but also Vincent's and many others'. She realizes that by preventing Vincent from dying to save a life will result in someone's death. She becomes a strong character that takes matters in her own hands; if you want something, you have to fight for it and she really wants a future with Vincent. Vincent is still the same swoon-worthy guy from Die For Me but, in my opinion, we get to see more sides to his character in this one. Not only Kate has grown a lot as a character, but their relationship did too. It's more mature and healthy which means more realistic in a way. 

Until I Die just proved to me once again why this series is one of my favorites, ever. I don't know if Amy's writing is just too beautiful, if the Parisian background is too alluring or if the story just completely draws me in, but one thing is fore sure: if you haven't read Die For Me yet, you are sure missing on something amazing.
To finish my review, I just have to say: HOW COULD AMY DO THIS TO ME? The cliffhanger is just to die for, now the title of the series "Die For Me" is literally making sense!

Amy Plum is the author of the International Bestseller DIE FOR ME, which is an Indie Next List pick, Romance Times top pick, and recipient of a starred review from School Library Journal. DIE FOR ME is the first novel in a YA trilogy set in Paris. Book 2 in the series, UNTIL I DIE, releases in May 2012.
Amy grew up in Birmingham, Alabama before venturing further afield to Chicago, Paris, London and New York. An art historian by training, she can be found on most days either daydreaming or writing (or both) in a Parisian cafĂ©.  Website / Twitter
(This picture is just TOO good, couldn't help it!)

Waiting on Wednesday (17)

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by breakingthespine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's most anticipated book is:
Valkyrie Rising

Author: Ingrid Paulson
Release Date: October 9th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen

Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there.

What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.

Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.

What are you guys waiting on this Wednesday? Link me up! :)

04 June 2012

Review: Sweet Evil - Wendy Higgins

Release Date: May 1st, 2012
Paperback: 454 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen

Embrace the Forbidden
What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels. Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but Anna, the ultimate good girl, has always had the advantage of her angel side to balance the darkness within. It isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.
Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

With an interesting new twist, Sweet Evil surprises even the biggest fans of paranormal novels. With an unpredictable plot and interesting characters, Higgins certainly keep us readers captivated. The slow beginning quickly turns surprisingly into a fast-paced novel which was almost too hard to put down!

The plot was refreshing, even though the theme is mostly overused in the YA genre, Sweet Evil certainly is full of new interesting twists. I loved the twist with the twelve dukes incorporating the seven sins and the mostly original twist: that the dukes' children must work for them promoting the sins. Yet I think Higgins' writing could use some improvemen, but I'm not saying it isn't enjoyable because it was.

The characters were good enough. I liked Kaidan as a love interest since he is such a bad boy and the relationship between him and Anna wasn't what I was expecting. But Anna was a character I just couldn't relate to. She is just TOO good and the problem is, she needs to be bad since her father is a duke. Furthermore most scenes, in which she acts as a duke's daughter should, seemed forced to me somehow. But hopefully she will develop a bit in the next novel (if there will be one).

Sweet Evil was a really enjoyable read that will please most everyone who loves paranormal romance. I had a great time reading it and I really hope that HarperTeen will pick this novel for a sequel! I can't cope with not knowing how Kaidan and Anna's relationship would develop and how she would learn to be a bad girl in the next novel!

After earning a bachelors in Creative Writing from George Mason University and a masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford, Wendy taught high school English until becoming a mommy. Writing Young Adult (YA) stories gives her the opportunity to delve into the ambiguities of those pivotal, daunting, and exciting years before adulthood. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, daughter, and son. Sweet Evil is her debut novel. Website / Twitter