Book Blogger Hop: Dec 19-25

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer

This week’s question is:

Do you write a review for every book you read or only review copies from publishers?

Most of my reading these days is review copies, and so I write a review for almost every book I read. Even if it is not a review copy, I review it. It’s only the novellas or graphic novels/manga that I don’t review usually until I really feel like it.

Breaking Sky: Read the first 12 chapters!

Breaking Sky

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

ISBN 9781492601418

Releases in March 2015

In this high-flying, adrenaline-fueled thriller, America’s best hope is the elite teen fighter pilots of the United Star Academy.

“The author’s storytelling is incredibly cinematic, equally adept at capturing extended flight sequences and Chase’s interpersonal struggles. Emotions run high toward the novel’s end, and the author isn’t afraid to play a bit rough, making this feel less like a novel capitalizing on current trends and more like a great story being told in a very cool way. Smart, exciting, confident—and quite possibly the next Big Thing.” – Kirkus Reviews

Fly to the last drop of fuel. Fight to the last drop of blood.

Showoff. Reckless. Maverick. Chase Harcourt, call sign “Nyx”, isn’t one to play it safe. In the year 2048, America is locked in a cold war – and the country’s best hope is the elite teen fighter pilots of the United Star Academy. Chase is one of only two daredevil pilots chosen to fly an experimental “Streaker” jet. But few know the pain and loneliness of her past. All anyone cares about is that Chase aces the upcoming Streaker trials, proving the prototype jet can knock the enemy out of the sky.

But as the world tilts toward war, Chase cracks open a military secret. There’s a third Streaker, whose young hotshot pilot, Tristan, can match her on the ground and in the clouds. And Chase doesn’t play well with others. But to save her country, she may just have to put her life in the hands of the competition.

Cori McCarthy’s taut, romantic, action adventure will shoot your pulse straight into overdrive with her brilliantly imagined and frighteningly possible future.

Interested? You can get the first 12 chapters here! -> Bookshout

ARC Review: When

When
When by Victoria Laurie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release date: January 13, 2015

Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.

Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client’s young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.

Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie’s whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it’s too late?

When has quite an interesting concept – Maddie can see when a person is going to die, kinda like the Shinigami (reapers) in Death Note. So, when a young person whose death she predicts turns up murdered, she gets into trouble with the police, since she looks like the suspect. More than the paranormal aspect of it, the mystery is emphasized, leading to an interesting hunt for the perpetrator. The plot doesn’t go the usual teen detective route either, rather focusing on the implications such an accusation has on her and her best friend’s life. She is bullied, and stalked, and constantly underestimated. The authorities are skeptical of her abilities, and she is out to prove her innocence as well as her friend’s.

Overall, the plot and subject matter was handled very well; innovative in execution, in fact. Maddie gets through it all with the resilience of a strong YA heroine, and also saves the day. Her situation with her mother is also kind of rough, and she has learnt to take care of herself for quite some time. The mystery, well, was out of left field and left me surprised, which is a good sign. I would really love to read more of this world, and what the last line of the book meant for the future. Also, some insight into how she has this power would be quite good, although that is not really the main focus of this novel. It is more of a mystery with a paranormal twist, which reminds me of The Body Finder series. Recommended read!

Received an ARC from Disney Book Group via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

ARC Review: Love and Other Theories

Love and Other Theories
Love and Other Theories by Alexis Bass

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release date: December 31, 2015

Aubrey and her best friends made a pact to play by the guys’ rules when it comes to dating. They’re hoping the rules will keep them from experiencing high school heartbreak–they don’t realize that these rules could just as easily keep them from opening their hearts and minds. And when new boy Nathan Diggs moves to town, Aubrey starts to think that some rules are meant to be broken.

Aubrey is a senior and for her last semester, she decides to let go of stress and be the daredevil that her friends are. She and her three friends – Shelby, Danica and Melissa came up with their theories a year ago – rules by which they live and date, in a way that they can guard their heart from unnecessary pain. They consider themselves ‘evolved’ because they don’t need a guy, and having guys no strings attached comes with it’s own sort of freedom. No labels means no expectations and no conflicts. Everyone is fair game and they can’t hurt each other that way. Aubrey thinks it all to be easy-peasy and so would a reader. How hard can it be to suppress your emotions, after all? Aubrey finds this out the hard way.

When Nathan rolls into town, she gets dibs on him. He is charming and sweet and totally unaware of the pact these girls made. She has him all to herself for a while but when he starts mingling with the group, he also adopts their no-label philosophy, albeit with some amount of initial confusion. The fact that they think there is no drama this way, actually leads to plenty of drama. There is a lot of slut-shaming from the girls side too, even though they think themselves ‘evolved’. As things progress, Aubrey realizes the flaws in their theories, and even though she admits the theories are better than the original ‘girl code’, she also realizes that she is depriving herself of feeling things. Expressing any sort of attachment is forbidden and when she starts to feel more for Nathan, she is conflicted. She wants to be the evolved girl, but doesn’t want to lose him either. Realization comes in the form of her friend going for the kill, because everyone is fair game. And that is when Aubrey breaks down and realizes the biggest error in their theory – they made their own lives painful when they decided to suppress their feelings.

Though such a topic would probably seem teen drama-like, the author handles it in a very mature way. I found the writing rendered the concept beautifully, delving into the Aubrey’s thinking and bringing out her insecurities and fears in a way that you empathize with her. She is a gray-area person, full of faults and virtues, and so are the other girls. They may act mean, but they also care about each other. In fact, the characters are fleshed out so well, that it does not seem just like drama – it is a beautiful progression of each character’s journey. The ending was on an open note, but quite satisfactory and I appreciate the reality it presents rather than just giving a happily ever after.

Received an ARC from Harper Teen via Edelweiss. Receiving this copy does not, in any way, affect my opinions or the review.

View all my reviews

Review: The Infinite Sea

The Infinite Sea
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For Cassie Sullivan and the rest of Earth’s remaining human survivors, the situation was already desperate when the 5th Wave hit. It’s about to get worse.

No one yet knows the depths to which Earth’s conquerors—the Others—will sink in order to rid the Earth of the human infestation, nor have they guessed the heights to which the human spirit can reach. Characters introduced in Book One will come to the fore—and others will face the ultimate test.

This book was painful. It would have less painful if Rick Yancey just plucked my heart out of my chest and stomped on it. It was painful – the good kind of painful. I thought The 5th Wave was horrific enough, but this one took the cake in the feels department. By the end of the book, I was ready to cry on the floor but only refrained from doing so because I was in a train and didn’t want to subject my co-passengers to the sight of a book nerd in pain.

The story begins with a horrific event – the kind that gives you chills and makes you wonder what kind of new heartbreak is going to ensue. If turning kids into soldiers wasn’t enough, now we have kids being used in the 5th wave to annihilate the rest of the survivors. The gang is holed up in an abandoned hotel near the camp, and told from alternating views of Ringer (so badass!) and Cassie (badassier!), we see the group being split and return of Evan (I never had a doubt that he was dead, anyway). Ben aka Zombie is being repeatedly pushed to his limits by the alien assault tactics, but a kid being used – he breaks. Ringer is trying to solve the puzzle of Evan and Silencers like him – and she has to learn what is worth fighting for. I won’t give away the details but the Silencers and Others are pretty much the major arc of the story, and Ringer gets front rows seats to the reveal.

A new character, Razor, appears, and since the moment he is described, you know he is potential love interest. Ringer is saved by him and they form a bond, and ultimately he does the heroic thing. As much heartbreaking that was, other things in the book are much more shocking. There is another silencer, who is kinda like Evan’s ex, who comes into the picture, and let’s just say she is insane. The book repeatedly challenges every notion and canon truth that existed during the first one, and Ringer is the POV through which much of the story comes out in it’s gory details. I need not go into the technicalities of writing and characterization and plot lines, whatever, because this book was simply awesome in all aspects. I only got confused in one place – as to where the Silencers gained their upgrade. Did they like have a Silencer boot camp or something? Overall, an amazing sci-fi book, so realistic and so immersive, that it is highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Earlier books in series

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)

Read my review of The 5th wave

Book Blogger Hop: Dec 12-18

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer

This week’s question is:

How many books do you read in a week? How many hours do you spend reading a day?

I used to read almost daily, but now I read 2-3 books a week. In a day, I could read for an hour or read a complete book in 4-5 hours, depending on the day and mood. If I am traveling, I read for the entire transit time.

Review: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless

Top Ten Clues You're Clueless
Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day

5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market

4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi

3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm

2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)

1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees—of stealing upwards of $10,000

Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments.

Top Ten Clues you’re clueless was a breath of fresh air for me, considering I was about to go into a reading slump. A quick and speedy read, it is a contemporary YA seemingly of the cute-sy genre, that subtly includes various issues without being preachy. The story chronicles the minor-aged staff of GoodFoods market, when they are accused of a theft on Christmas Eve and kept in work jail. Told from the perspective of Chloe, a normal geeky girl, who is shy around others, the book has an interesting mystery plot-line but more importantly it is focused on the characters. During the hours they are kept there, they learn more about each other and bond – this happens amid some awkward and humorous events. Finally, it is Chloe’s presence of mind that saves the day, but I did feel the who-done-it was pretty conveniently found. Even so, I loved the novel as it is – for being a contemporary YA that touches upon bullying, prejudices, racism and slut-shaming. The other characters are fleshed out, even though they sometimes turn out to be slightly cliched. The writing was hilarious, and Chloe makes a very good narrator. I particularly loved the lists – it was so fun to read through them! Overall, one of the best realistic fiction I’ve read this year – there aren’t many but this one definitely comes in the Top Ten. ;)

Received an ARC from Harper Teen via Edelweiss. This in no way affects my opinions or review.

View all my reviews

Review: The Token: A Breed Apart

The Token: A Breed Apart
The Token: A Breed Apart by Natasha Rogue
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Callie Michaels isn’t pretty or popular, but her singing more than makes up for all she lacks. And as long as she focuses on what’s really important, she can survive high school. But how can she focus with all the drama? Between her best friend’s odd issues and a daily dose of weirdness from the social elite, she’s starting to wonder if she’s the only normal one around.

Just as her life begins spiraling out of control, the answer comes to her in a dream. In exchange for a token of blood, a demon will give her everything she desires. She says “yes.” From that point on, she finds herself changing, becoming something far from normal. Something dangerous.

No one is what they seem—least of all her. While the supernatural creatures around her struggle to maintain their humanity, Callie slowly loses hers. She doesn’t even know what’s important anymore. Friendship, the future, love? And is there anyone who can make her care?

At first I thought, demon in the book along with other supernatural stuff – yay! But when I started the book, two things became apparent – one, Callie is unreliable as a narrator because she has no idea what’s going on around her and two, this book would have been much better with a dual POV, preferably in James’ or Ethan’s. As far as heroines go, Callie is pretty passive. She is a plaything between the Hale siblings (hey, Tammy was stupid to keep things from her) and a source of conflict between James and his family. It seemed to me like she was the entire reason for almost all the problems in the book and boy, she did absolutely nothing to solve it. I thought maybe her shining moment will come in the ending at the very least, but nope – someone else saves the day.

First half of the book – I was as confused as Callie as to what was going on. As I said, she is not a good narrator and half of the time she was either unconscious or being told to go away so the others can have a secret chat. Which means basically no clue as to what was going on. Maybe it was to give it an air of mystery but it supremely failed there and only served to confuse the poor reader, that is, moi. If not for the fact that I already knew James and his family were shifters (thanks to the blitz excerpt), I probably would have thought them to be misogynistic idiots too. I had enough of the alpha dominance thing in this book, by the way. The males asserting their territory over and over, even in case of females was annoying, to say the least. I wanted to even smack Amy up her head for being stupid, and creating unnecessary girl drama for the first half.

Second half was focused on Callie being taken over by the demon to such extent that her panther-in-shining-armor James has to come to the rescue. Ethan becomes less of an asshole, and people are unreliable and suspicious all around. Who exactly wanted to hurt her – we do not know because the ending basically negates everything that happened. I did not forgive Nick, though – any guy influencing a girl to date him via shitty means is a douche – no question. Callie – I don’t even know why she was stupid enough to make a deal with the demon. There was no clear motivation as to why she did so.

Coming down to the technicalities, the writing was good. The scenes were well-written and eloquent, but the plot was just pulling the book down. Secondly, character construction was poor, and most times their emotions or reactions were unclear. And let’s not even begin with world-building. I was excited over the blend of supernatural elements, but because Callie does not know anything, we also don’t get to know much. I had a lot of questions by the end of the book – and none were explained. If we at least had a second POV, it would make things clearer. Hell, I would have even not minded Nick’s POV. So, in the end, though the story had potential and good writing, it was shadowed by the lack of clear characterization and direction. I do not even know if there will be a sequel, so I just feel this book was inadequate and not satisfying.

Received an ARC from Fido Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Book Blitz: The Token: A Breed Apart

 

TokenBlitzBanner

I’m happy to announce that I am partipating in the book blitz for The Token. I am currently also reading the book, so expect a review in a day or so. Curious what it’s about? Here’s the synopsis:

Token

Callie Michaels isn’t pretty or popular, but her singing more than makes up for all she lacks. And as long as she focuses on what’s really important, she can survive high school. But how can she focus with all the drama? Between her best friend’s odd issues and a daily dose of weirdness from the social elite, she’s starting to wonder if she’s the only normal one around. Just as her life begins spiraling out of control, the answer comes to her in a dream. In exchange for a token of blood, a demon will give her everything she desires. She says “yes.” From that point on, she finds herself changing, becoming something far from normal. Something dangerous.

No one is what they seem—least of all her. While the supernatural creatures around her struggle to maintain their humanity, Callie slowly loses hers. She doesn’t even know what’s important anymore. Friendship, the future, love? And is there anyone who can make her care? Callie Michaels isn’t pretty or popular, but her singing more than makes up for all she lacks. And as long as she focuses on what’s really important, she can survive high school. But how can she focus with all the drama? Between her best friend’s odd issues and a daily dose of weirdness from the social elite, she’s starting to wonder if she’s the only normal one around. Just as her life begins spiraling out of control, the answer comes to her in a dream. In exchange for a token of blood, a demon will give her everything she desires. She says “yes.” From that point on, she finds herself changing, becoming something far from normal. Something dangerous.

No one is what they seem—least of all her. While the supernatural creatures around her struggle to maintain their humanity, Callie slowly loses hers. She doesn’t even know what’s important anymore. Friendship, the future, love? And is there anyone who can make her care?

The Token: A Breed Apart
Purchase:
AUTHOR BIO
Natasha Rogue is a Canadian author who’s been writing for most of her life. After penning novels behind math textbooks all through high school, she attended Dawson College in Creative Arts with dreams of becoming a screenwriter. The best teacher she ever had took her aside and told her to go back where she belonged. To her roots with the books she loved to write.

Eternal Neverland (Steps Before the Fall) was one of her first complete novels. There are seven books in draft form completed in the series, but they gathered dust until experience and contacts with the right editors and crit partners gave them what they needed to be shared. However, A Breed Apart: The Token, was released through a small press in 2012. The book will be rereleased shortly.

You may find Natasha at several signings throughout the year as she writes multiple genres. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite. But she will happily chat with you about the hotties who do. And shamelessly admit to liking Charlie way more than she should.

Author links:

Excerpt

A long soak in a bubble bath, hot enough to give me a head rush when I first submerged my whole body under the steaming water, did wonders for stiff muscles and stiffer resentment. James had been with me for days. He was entitled to a break. I was not going to be a pathetic, needy girlfriend. I was a strong, independent young woman, perfectly capable of fending for myself.

That conviction lasted the whole ten steps between the bathroom and my room. When I opened my bedroom door, I became someone who needed and was needed. And nothing could make that wrong.

A large, black cat stretched across my bed. James had come back at some point during my bath. While waiting, he’d fallen asleep. All I could do was stare. The beauty of him left me in awe.

Careful not to wake him I inched past the door, pulled it closed behind me, and turned the lock slowly to muffle the click. Every sound amplified in my ears as I tried to make my way across the room without waking him. My socks were like sandpaper on the carpet. My shallow breaths like heavy gasps. I heard it all, as I was sure he would. Humans were noisy things.

One black ear twitched, and I stopped and bit back a curse. The velvet of his fur glistened in the dim light as he stirred, but his eyes stayed closed. His huge form covered my bed, draped from one corner to the other, a piece of the exotic laid out in stark contrast to my very ordinary room. So alien to the surroundings, yet somehow so right.

I didn’t want to wake him up, but at the same time I couldn’t fight the need to get closer. Instinct flared up in warning, demanding I stay where I was. There was no denying the potential danger. Claws the size of my fingers peeked past his huge paws, little black daggers hooked into the delicate threads of my comforter. Without meaning to, he’d torn little holes in the cloth. Those claws would pass just as easily through flesh.

One step and then another, each one a struggle not to turn and run the other way. Again and again I reminded myself that this was James. He would never hurt me, not even in this form. He had control I couldn’t match, and truthfully, I was the more dangerous of the two of us. All his life his family had taught him how to deal with what he was. There was no one to teach me how to deal with what I’d become.

Not seeing myself as a frail, helpless thing got me past the last few steps. Careful to avoid his tail dangling over the side, I eased myself onto the bed and curled up beside him. The warmth of his big body seeped over me, his familiar presence stealing away the fear of having sharp fangs inches from my face. I laid my hand over one massive paw and placed my head on my arm so I was facing him. Lids still closed, James shifted his head and rested it over my hand. Enveloped in perfect comfort, I prepared to surrender to the night.

ButtonXBT

Cassandra Clare shares comic strip scene from ‘City of Heavenly Fire’

Originally posted on TMI Source:

We still have more than three weeks until Christmas, but Cassandra Clare is already spoiling her fans with City of Heavenly Fire goodies! (Thank you, Cassie!)

Cassie has very recently shared the uncut Clary and Jace cave scene and now she has posted a comic strip that was in the UK edition of City of Heavenly Fire. Said comic is actually from The Infernal Devices and it is called “The Wedding”.

London, 2009, so a year after the events of City of Heavenly Fire. There are some clues in here for Dark Artifices and even for Shadowhunter Academy, so if you hate spoilers, avoid!

Comic1Comic2Comic3Comic4Comic5Comic6

A lot of people have asked if Will is “really there” or is a ghost. I never thought of Will ever haunting the world after his death. He had a good life and a good death and has no reason to hang around. There’s an…

View original 102 more words

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,124 other followers

%d bloggers like this: