Friday, May 31, 2013

The Friday Review (5/31/13)

Welcome to The Friday Review, a new weekly segment where I share what I've been reading!


I waited too long to review this book and therefore have to read the wonderfully light and fun book again. DARN.

Just Another Judgement Day (Nightside, # 9)

Had a bit of a book/review burnout, so it was time for a mindless read I wouldn't have to review. My go-to series is Nightside, and what a delightfully dark and delish go-to it is.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1)

I rarely know what I'll read next - it always depends on my mood. But after watching The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie for the umpteenth time this weekend, I'm starting to crave the books once more. Although I'll start with Book 1, it's Book 2, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, that's my favorite - sometimes I pull it down just to re-read the talking cow scene. ;)

So what are you reading this week?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Curtsies & Conspiracies

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2)

Title: Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2)
Author: Gail Carriger
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Summary (from Goodreads):

Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won't Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot--one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this sequel to bestselling author Gail Carriger's YA debut Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail's distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.

Why I'm Looking Forward To It: Another "what do you mean, I haven't featured this book yet?!" I absolutely adored Book the First, Etiquette & Espionage (you can find my gushing review here), and this sequel can't come quickly enough! 

So what book are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Author Interview: Joelle Charbonneau (and Giveaway!)

As promised at the end of my review of The Testing yesterday (which you can find here), the amazing Joelle Charbonneau has graced me with an interview! Read on to discover the spark that created The Testing, why Homeland Security may have her on their watch list,  the best piece of writing advice she's taken, and of course her Testing Love List!

Joelle CharbonneauTHE AUTHOR
Joelle Charbonneau

Ms. Charbonneau's Bio
Joelle Charbonneau began telling stories as an opera singer, but these days she finds her voice through writing. She lives near Chicago with her husband and son and when she isn't writing, works as an acting and vocal coach. The Testing, a debut novel in a trilogy, is her first book for young adults.

You can find her online at any of these locations:

Website   Twitter   Goodreads

The Testing (The Testing Series, Book 1)

The Testing (The Testing, #1)Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same? 

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career. 

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies--trust no one. 

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

Again, you can find my review of this book here
and links to purchase The Testing are below!

Barnes & Noble   Amazon   Changing Hands

And now...

1. What was the initial spark that created The Testing? (If you remember. :)

Funny, but I remember this moment really well.  I teach voice lessons.  A lot of my students are high school students who are hoping to continue studying musical theater or opera in college, so I work closely with them as they go through their college board tests, fill out their applications and get ready for their auditions.  Getting into the top colleges has gotten harder every year and two years ago, I remember telling a student that the process was more difficult than I'd ever seen it. She worried about how much worse it would get by the time the freshman she knew were seniors and I told her that I didn't believe it could get any worse.  That was the moment in which I wondered - what could be worse?  What could the tests our high school students take to get into college turn into if a society couldn't afford to pick the wrong leaders?  That's when I knew I had to write The Testing.

2. What were some of the subjects you researched for The Testing

OMG!  I'm hoping Homeland Security hasn't been monitoring my research or I'm on their watch list for sure.  Because my future world was shattered by chemical and biological warfare (not to mention massive natural disasters), my research made me delve into all the terrible poisons and chemicals that militaries around the world have developed into weapons.  I also did a lot of research into antidotes that could neutralize those poisons.  

3. If you were chosen for The Testing, what group would you be put in (star, heart, triangle, etc.) and why?

To be honest, I doubt I would be chosen for The Testing, but hey, stranger things have been known to happen.  As a former professional musical theater and opera performer I'm pretty sure I'd be a triangle, which is the group for the more artistic-minded people.  Which would be good because I'm not always the most mechanically inclined person around.

4. Be honest - how far do you think you'd get in The Testing? 

Um...well, I guess it depends on how they score the first round of tests.  If I did land in the triangle group, less emphasis would be given to my math and science scores.  Phew!  History, reading and writing would definitely be my strengths.  So, I'm feeling pretty confident on that curve grading scale I'd make it to round two.  That's where my confidence in my own skills end.  Especially if anything calculus-related appears.  Me and high school calculus did not get along at all!

5. What is the best piece of writing advice you've taken? 

Hmmm...I think the best writing advice I ever received was from Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  (She is an amazing lady and her comedic romances are incredibly entertaining! If you haven't read them, you should.  And if you like football you REALLY should.)  Susan told me to join Romance Writers of America...more specifically the local chapter near where I lived to which she also belonged.  I don't write romance, but joining that group was the best thing I could have ever done.  They meet twice a month and at every meeting at least one author reads 20 pages of their work aloud and is then critiqued by the attending members.  It is amazing what you can learn about your own writing from studying other people's work.  I could spot mistakes that I was making by seeing them in other stories.  Good storytelling transcends genre and I am certain I would never have gotten published had it not been for the lessons I learned from the amazing writers I was fortunate enough to associate with.

6. Joelle Charbonneau's The Testing Love List: 
  • The new potato Zeen created
  • Corn cakes (Creepy, I know.  But I can't help it.)
  • The Transit Communicator
  • Tomas's dimple  (Who doesn't love dimples?)
  • The countdown clock
  • "They didn't wish us luck"
  • The University (which is actually based on Wichita State University)
  • Stacia - who is named after my literary agent (True can see her name in the dedication of the book.  She is awesome.)
  • Cia's birthday present - I'll leave it to you to decide what I mean by that.

And there you have it! I want to thank Ms. Charbonneau for doing this interview for me - she took time out of her horribly busy schedule to answer my questions, and I greatly appreciate it!


I was lucky to get an extra ARC of The Testing, along with some awesome swag! Enter the Rafflecopter form below for the chance to win the ARC, a bracelet, and two temporary tattoos. Good luck!

(Apologies to my international Followers, but this giveaway is U.S. only.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: The Testing (Joelle Charbonneau)

(Be sure not to miss the special announcement at the end of this review!)

The Testing (The Testing, #1)Title: The Testing
Series: The Testing, Book 1
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Rating: Older Teen (violence throughout, kissing, minor gore, tense situations, survival situations)
Told: First Person (Cia), Present Tense
Format: ARC (publisher)
Find It On: Goodreads

Summary: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same?

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies--trust no one.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

*          *          *

Cover: There have been several covers for this, including at least two different ARC covers (blue and black). But I think this final one is a good fit - very bold yet simple, with the definite feel of a dystopian series.

Writing: Clear and concise. It didn't feel like a quick read, but I never got lost, bored, or left behind. The plot was based on a structured timeline, which made it easy to follow.

Setting: The U.S. after a horrific Seven Stages War. The land is hard and unforgiving, the water contaminated and poisoned, and major cities lie in waste after bombings. A new government oversees scattered colonies and cities as the inhabitants struggle to adapt to the new, harsher environment. The scenario could be a possible one, and dread the thought.

Story: Cia is chosen for The Testing, a series of exams and evaluations that, if passed, earn her admission to University, and a proper education. But the tests turn out to be highly sinister as the stress, exams, and fellow candidates begin whittling down the competition. Considering how easy it is to get a "proper education" nowadays in the real world (maybe not so easy at an ivy league university, but there's always community college), it's hard to imagine anyone going to such brutal lengths just to attend college. But in such a world as theirs, and in the situations The Testing puts them in, it makes me wonder just how far I would go. (Who am I kidding, I would be totally dead by the end of Part Two.)

Characters: Cia was strong and smart and best of all practical. She watched and adapted and calculated to survive, and made sure to go with her gut. She wasn't a know-it-all, but a rational thinker who worked with what she had in both supplies and smarts. Tomas - friend, ally and love interest - was rather the same, except with a pinch of arrogance and cockiness and a jealous streak when it came to anyone getting between him and Cia. It's unusual to have a similar male lead to the female lead, but it worked well since they had to work together so much - and there was no question they would make a good match. It does make me wonder if he'll prove her "one" at the end of the series, though.

Relationships: There wasn't much to Cia and Tomas's relationship, simply because they were really too busy to find the time for it to grow. But I was okay with this - it proved they actually had some brains in their heads. And/or they were just too tired. ;)

The Hunger Games Comparisons: Many are saying The Testing is a little too similar to The Hunger Games. I will admit this was true for certain broader aspects here and there, but overall I felt the concept for The Testing was original and well done. I say don't penalize Testing for its Hunger Games similarities - embrace them and discover a new series to fill your Hunger Games void.

Conclusion: A well-written and thoroughly engaging book that I highly recommend. Can't wait to see what happens next in Book 2, Independent Study!

Scribble Rating
4 1/2 out of 5 Scribbles

Special Announcement: Come back tomorrow for an interview of the author, which will include a giveaway of an ARC and swag of The Testing!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (5/25/13)

Time for another Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews, where I share the books that I've added to my shelves this week.

School Spirits (School Spirits, #1)Wild Awake
  • School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins (ARC - Traded) - I enjoyed the first series in this world, so I look forward to exploring it some more with this new set of characters. And it's been getting excellent reviews as well.
  • Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith (HBK - Won) - It's supposed to be a really acquired taste...but some people loved it.
So what books did you add to your shelves this week?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Alienated (Melissa Landers)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Alienated (Alienated, #1)

Title: Alienated (Alienated #1)
Author: Melissa Landers
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Summary (from Goodreads):

Interplanetary relations have never been more exciting! The first in a funny, romantic YA sci-fi series.

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. 

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. 

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

Why I'm Looking Forward To It: It had me at "alien exchange student." YES, PLEASE.

So what book are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Since I was unable to post an early review (I did read it early, but it was so good I devoured it too quickly to retain info for a review and will have to read it again - darn), I hereby join the release day celebration to inform you that:



Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.


With its easy writing and lovable characters, Transparent is a quick, engaging read I highly recommend - especially for summer (it's a paperback release)! So run to your nearest bookshop or log onto your favorite interweb store and snag yourself a copy!

So what are you waiting for??
Get Transparent today!!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: Through the Ever Night (Veronica Rossi)

Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky, #2)
Title: Through the Ever Night
Series: Under the Never Sky, Book 2
Author: Veronica Rossi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Content Rating: Older Teen (violence, sensuality, peril)
Told: Third Person (Aria & Perry), Past Tense
Format Read: Hardback (library)
Find On: Goodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository

It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder: Can their love survive through the ever night?

*          *          *

Cover: Love the color scheme, although the inaccurate Perry is a little annoying. At least photoshop some scars onto him, people!

Series: This is Book 2 in the Under the Never Sky trilogy. You can check out my review of Book 1, Under the Never Sky, here.

Writing: Easy, effortless; a quick read.

Setting: A dystopian future where the world has been devastated by electrical ("aether") storms. Some escaped into domed pods and live out their lives in virtual worlds, while outside the "savages" (some with heightened senses) struggle to survive in the ravaged wild. In this book, the storms are growing stronger and more frequent, threatening the existence of everyone, including the pods.

Story: A typical trilogy middle book, picking up several months after where the first left off and setting up for the grand finish in the third. The story was fast-paced and well-crafted though, and held my interest where most middle books don't. Aria and Perry's stories diverge as Aria sets off to find the Still Blue and Perry struggles to keep his tribe together and safe. Needless to say, neither proves an easy task.

Characters: Aria is an impressive female character - she started out weak in the first book but slowly and surely built herself into a strong woman capable of taking care of herself. And it wasn't in a "I don't need a man to protect me, I can kill everyone myself" kind of way. She accepts and welcomes help, but when it comes down to it she can make her own decisions and fight her own fights if need be. As a female role model, I definitely approve. Perry was more grounded in this book, probably because he was literally "grounded" for most of the story. His struggles and emotions felt raw and real - he made his decisions despite the friction around him and stuck with what he believed was best, and I admired his strength and resolve. Roar, as before, was a welcome addition to lighten the general mood of the book, even when all was lost. Lastly, I will say the whole Soren angle threw me for a loop - no spoilers, but I am both intrigued and wary of what he will become in the final book.

Relationships: Aria and Perry's relationship continued to grow, but also stabilize. After you read the book you may think "stability" is an odd word for it, given what happens over the entire course of the story, but where some YA sees the couple at it more than ever despite the world burning to the ground around them, Aria and Perry allow their relationship to take a back seat in the face of saving the people in their care - including each other. This felt realistic and genuine to me, and made the few moments they did manage to steal even sweeter (never fear, there are still a few steamy scenes! ;).

Conclusion: While I didn't feel there was anything particularly special about this book, the writing was solid and story held my interest. If you enjoyed Book 1 (Under the Never Sky), you should like this sequel. I look forward to the final installment, Into the Still Blue, to see how it all ends.

Scribble Rating
3 of 5 Scribbles

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (5/18/13)

Time for another Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews, where I share the books that I've added to my shelves this week. Doing things a little different this time (the other format was so awkward).

Fairy Godmothers, Inc.The Rules (Project Paper Doll, #1)The Wells Bequest (The Grimm Legacy, #2)The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2)Reboot (Reboot, #1)Shutdown (Glitch, #3)Coda (Coda #1)Period 8
  • Fairy Godmothers Inc. by Jennifer Wardell (ARC - Traded) - Looked cute, and I need more light & fluffy in my reading right now.
  • The Rules by Stacey Kade (ARC - Traded) - Has gotten great reviews, so I'm hoping it'll turn out a lot better than I originally thought.
  • Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman (ARC - Traded) - While the first book wasn't spectacular, I remember the world was quite fun and decided it was worth another jaunt. I mean really, how am I supposed to resist a magical library?
  • The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa (ARC - Library ARC) - People swear this series is one of the best for vampire series ever, and although I am so over vampire stories I'm going to get my hands on Book 1 and give it a try. 
  • Reboot by Amy Tintera (ARC - Library ARC) - I have been looking forward to this book FOREVER. Can't wait to finally read it! Top of my TBR pile.
  • Shutdown by Heather Anastasiu (ARC - Library ARC) - Series looks interesting, so I'll give it a try.
  • CODA by Emma Trevayne (PBK, signed - Won from Adam Silvera) - Really excited about this one! Looks highly original and extremely interesting - can't wait to get started.
  • Period 8 by Chris Crutcher (HBK - Won from HarperCollins) - Have absolutely no recollection entering a contest for this book, yet a shiny new hardcover arrived on my doorstep.
So what books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, May 17, 2013


It's time for another entry in my "Currently..." segment, in which I let you know what I'm currently up to on a number of highly important topics.


Insomnia (The Night Walkers, #1)Indelible (The Twixt, #1)Reboot (Reboot, #1)

Currently reading: Indelible by Dawn Metcalf. While the voice is a little too "unique" for my usual tastes, the story is highly original and the world extremely engrossing, so I'm devouring it and mourn when I cannot be reading.
Just finished: Insomnia by J.R. Johansson. Another highly engrossing and chilling story that I definitely recommend. I will be part of the blog tour for it, so be sure to watch for my post in early June! (here will be a giveaway. :)
Reading next: I normally don't know what I'll be reading next, but this time I do - Reboot by Amy Tintera! I've been dying to read this book. If Indelible wasn't so good, I would've stopped to read Reboot.

Manga: I actually haven't been reading much manga - I know, who am I and what have I done with Skye. I think I've discovered that I read manga when I'm sick, and as my health seems to have improved quite a bit as of late I'm not reading it as much. Actual books seem to take more brain power for me, whereas manga is more of a brainless activity. Still, I did hit a reading slump last week and re-read the Nightschool: The Weirn Books series. Svetlana is a genius - highly recommended.


TV: Recently discovered the Australian Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries series! OMG I have fallen in love with it - it's classic PI stories but with a wildly independent and playful female detective and her lovable cast of assistants. If you adore classic PI stories and the roaring 20s, this is definitely worth trying. I'm also revisiting Batman Beyond, probably my favorite cartoon from when I used to spend every Saturday morning in front of the television. Took a little doing but I got my hands on Seasons 2 & 3 and now I seriously can't get enough.
Movies: I've been re-watching a lot of favorite movies in lieu of nothing better. In Time was my last one - such an interesting concept and so very well done.


Project P: Since my health has been better I've been doing more around the house and neglecting my writing. I know, bad Skye - believe me, I beat myself up about it every single day. But I do try to work on it when I can, and it is slowly but surely coming along.


Life: As mentioned above, for some unknown reason I have been having some really good weeks health-wise (could I be recovering...? Nah), so I'm being sure to not waste them! I've been spring cleaning my bedroom like crazy, spending time with newish friends (and authors - love you Katie West! ;) and I'm even volunteering at a school library next week! It'll be fun working in a library again. So for once in a long while, I'm keeping myself busy - and quite enjoying it.

Blogging: To fill the Friday void I have right now, I'm going to be starting up a regular Friday Review segment, where I go over what I'm reading and what happened on the blog that week. Keep an eye out for it!

Bookshelf: Of course I have added quite a bit, but I am also proud to announce that I got rid of a whole bag last weekend! My shelves were literally overflowing, so it was nice to make a little room for the new ones coming in. I've had a really good past few weeks though, so that extra space is all but gone now. ;}

That's it for me! What are you "currently" up to?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

RTW #180: The One That Got Away

I haven't done a Road Trip Wednesday in forever, but when this week's topic came up I thought I'd participate. Road Trip Wednesday is a weekly blog carnival hosted by YA Highway. Today's question:

What book is your "one that got away"?
(What book have you always been dying to read but still haven't yet?)


The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1)
Title: The Eyre Affair 
Series: Thursday Next #1
Author: Jasper Fforde
Summary (from Goodreads):

Welcome to a surreal version of Great Britain, circa 1985, where time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem, militant Baconians heckle performances of Hamlet, and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection, until someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature. When Jane Eyre is plucked from the pages of Brontë's novel, Thursday must track down the villain and enter the novel herself to avert a heinous act of literary homicide.

Why I Haven't Gotten To It Yet: I actually have started this book, several times, but have yet to finish it. It's exactly the kind of story I adore, but I struggled with the writing. For some reason, I have a hard time getting into Fforde's voice and style - and not just in this book, but in all his works. Still, I am collecting the series, and plan to tackle it one day. I will read it yet!

What is your "one that got away"?

Waiting On Wednesday: Relic

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Title: Relic
Author: Renee Collins
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Summary (from Goodreads):

After a raging fire consumes her town and kills her parents, Maggie Davis is on her own to protect her younger sister and survive best she can in the Colorado town of Burning Mesa. In Maggie’s world, the bones of long-extinct magical creatures such as dragons and sirens are mined and traded for their residual magical elements, and harnessing these relics’ powers allows the user to wield fire, turn invisible, or heal even the worst of injuries.

Working in a local saloon, Maggie befriends the spirited showgirl Adelaide and falls for the roguish cowboy Landon. But when she proves to have a particular skill at harnessing the relics’ powers, Maggie is whisked away to the glamorous hacienda of Álvar Castilla, the wealthy young relic baron who runs Burning Mesa. Though his intentions aren’t always clear, Álvar trains Maggie in the world of relic magic. But when the mysterious fires reappear in their neighboring towns, Maggie must discover who is channeling relic magic for evil before it’s too late.

Relic is a thrilling adventure set in a wholly unique world, and a spell-binding story of love, trust, and the power of good.

Why I'm Looking Forward To It: A Western Contemporary Fantasy? Talk about unique! I'm not usually one for westerns, but throw in magic and I'm willing to give most anything a try!

So what book are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Review: Night School (C.J. Daugherty)

Night School by C.J. Daugherty
Title: Night School
Series: Night School, Book 1
Author: C.J. Daugherty
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Suspense Mystery
Content Rating: Older Teen (language, sensuality, skinnydipping, scary situations, violence, minor gore)
Told: Third Person (Allie), Past Tense
Format Read: ARC (releases May 21, 2013)
Find OnGoodreads

Allie's world is falling apart...

She hates her school. Her brother has run away. And she's just been arrested.


Now her parents are sending her away to a boarding school where she doesn't know a soul.

But instead of hating her new school, Allie finds she's happy there. She's making friends. And then there's Sylvain, a suave French student who openly flirts with her. And Carter, the brooding loner who seems to have her back.

Soon, though, Allie discovers Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school. Nothing there is as it seems. And her new friends are hiding dangerous secrets.

*          *          *

Cover: Spooky; like the color scheme. And those flying things over the school look otherworldly to me...

Writing: Choppy and all over the place. Even though it was only from Allie's perspective, most of the time I didn't know who was saying or doing what - especially her. The action and dialogue tags were poorly done, and "he/she" was all too often where a name should've been instead, causing no end of confusion.

Setting: Mostly takes place in a large boarding school. I never quite got the feel for the layout and was constantly turned around, so eventually I just gave up and let it go. Overall the setting was realistic enough.

Story: Definitely a mystery, albeit an odd one. After getting into trouble one too many times, Allie is sent to a privileged boarding school where no one is quite what they seem - including her. She is awkward at first, but eventually fits in and comes to love it - only to have her new world rocked by chaos and tragedy from a mysterious figure. Despite the writing, the first half of the book was pretty quick, but once Allie hit her "happy place" it slowed to a rather torturous crawl that never sped back up, even when the happy place led to disaster. It did have some good chill factor moments, but when it wasn't giving me the tingles it was disappointing and at times a bit tedious.

Characters: Allie was your typical "girl with a troubled past (totally justified, of course)" who finds a place to belong where she least expects it. She has a few odd "ticks" that play into the plot a little, but we get no explanation for them in this book so they felt more like filler rather than important elements in the story. She was strong, for the most part, but when she was weak it felt a bit whiny. I liked Lucas - he seemed a little spastic at times, but for the most part he was pretty cool. Sylvain gave me the creeps at first (and with good reason), but of course by the end I was questioning who I was rooting for. Although I questioned everyone - and still do.

Paranormal Element: I went into this book thinking there was a paranormal element of some kind. This was an incorrect assumption. There are no paranormal elements whatsoever, which is why I was so very disappointed with this book. Any type of paranormal angle would've done wonders for the story, and without one there seemed no real reason for a "night school," in my opinion - why not simply have a special school all together and let these kids actually get some sleep?

But just because there wasn't a paranormal element in this book, I feel that doesn't mean there won't be in future books. Early on I saw some pretty strong foreshadowing for a paranormal element (which was why I felt so let down when nothing came of it), and since the "big" secrets were left unanswered, I suspect there may be something paranormal to the story after all.

If not, what a waste.

Conclusion: I'm really not much for mysteries (especially without a paranormal element), and the writing was too all over the place for me to get a good handle on the story. While I'm semi-interested to know where the story goes, I will find out from spoiler reviews and definitely not be reading any further in the series.

Scribble Rating
2 of 5 Scribbles

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (5/11/13)

Time for another Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews, where I share the books that I've added to my shelves this week:

The Testing (The Testing, #1)
  • The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (ARC) - Got the Black ARC this time (there are two - the Blue and the Black). Asked the author and she said the only difference is Blue has a preview of Book 2 (Independent Study) at the back. I've already read The Testing, and it's really good - highly recommend! 

The Kill Order (Maze Runner, #0.5)
  • Kill Order by James Dashner (ARC) - (Maze Runner 0.5) A gift from Brittany at The Book Addict's Guide! <3 I have yet to read this series but I have Book 1 so I'll have to get to it soon.

The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny (Nightside, #10)

So what books did you add to your shelves this week?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Independent Study (Joelle Charbonneau)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Independent Study (The Testing, #2)

Title: Independent Study (The Testing #2)
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher: HMH BYR
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Summary (from Goodreads):

In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.

Why I'm Looking Forward To It: I really enjoyed The Testing (review to come soon), so I'm excited to see how the story continues!

So what book are you waiting on?

Monday, May 6, 2013

DNF Review: Parallel (Lauren Miller)

Title: Parallel
Series: standalone
Author: Lauren Miller
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Science Fiction
Told: First Person (Abby), Present Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (up to Page 170: innuendo, underage drinking)
Format Read: ARC
Find On: Goodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository

Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it's as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.

*          *          *

I did not finish this book. I read up to Page 170 (over 1/3 through the book).

The premise for Parallel is simple: after their parallel worlds collide, 18 year-old Abby has her life altered daily by the choices of her 17 year-old parallel self. While it could get a little technical at times, it was definitely an interesting idea - but unfortunately the idea wasn't good enough to overcome the book's problems for me.

First of all, the chapters were insanely long. I can understand that the author wanted to use the breaks to show the switch between the 17 and 18 year-old Abbys, but it would've been okay to have several chapters in a row about one girl and then switch to the other without the reader getting confused - the chapters were clearly labeled. With the book already over 400 pages long, the extended chapters made the story drag something awful. And staying with one Abby for so long made me forget there was another one, so when the chapter did finally switch I had to reorient myself to exactly which Abby it was and what was going on.

And then there was the fact that I didn't connect with Abby at all. I believe this was because of the plain writing style, and the fact that Abby's life was in no way exciting or unique that would make it interesting, even with all the uncertainties and upheaval. (Except the movie-set life, but that lasted all of one chapter. If it had gone the other way around, from college to movie-set, now that would've been exciting and interesting!) Her life was, simply, ordinary. And considering I came into the book looking for extraordinary (I mean, c'mon, parallel worlds), I had no desire to spend 400+ pages reading about an ordinary life altering in ordinary ways. 

Not that her "ordinary" life was realistic. Parallel existed in "television reality," where sex is casual, underage teen drinking is commonplace and easy because no one gets carded, and the only way to party is hard. The excessive drinking was what really got to me - the highschoolers had no problem getting their hands on booze and hangovers did nothing to deter them, and there was no carding or restraint in the college kids at all. Even though Abby was supposed to be little miss "Plan," there was no conscious thought about getting in trouble until after the fact, and no real consequences for any trouble that did occur unless it was important to the story. I'm sorry, but this can't possibly be reality for most teens - and if it is, God help us all.

Conclusion: This was definitely an interesting idea, and I'm sure most will love it. But for me personally, the writing was too plain, the chapters were way too long, and the setting just wasn't realistic. I tried to stick with it, I really did, but eventually I just couldn't take any more.