Thursday, October 31, 2013

Best of the Bunch - October 2013


Best of the Bunch is a monthly blog hop at the end of each month hosted by Sally @ Always Lost in Stories, where you share which books you've read and reviewed in the month, decide on your personal favorite and give that book your Best of the Bunch award!


READ
Rump: The True Story of RumpelstiltskinRelicRed

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff
Relic by Renee Collins
Red by Alison Cherry
(I also read quite a lot of manga, but way too many to list/picture here.)



REVIEWED
Mila 2.0 (MILA 2.0, #1)These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2)

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza (Review) DNF
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (Review)
Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger (Review)



BEST IN THE BUNCH
Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin
Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin
This isn't saying much because it was a pretty bad reading month for me, but out of the three books I read this was the least torturous. It was a cute fairy-tale retelling, and for more see my review on Monday - which will include a giveaway of my ARC, so be watching for it!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Cruel Beauty

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:


Cruel Beauty

Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Summary (from Goodreads):

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Why I'm Looking Forward To It: Base a story on Beauty & the Beast, my favorite fairy tale, and it's a must-read book for me. While the character names are rather odd, this book has all the hallmarks of story I'll love - killer females, charming lords, and a castle of shifting magical rooms. Can't wait!


So what book are you waiting on?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: Curtsies & Conspiracies (Gail Carriger)

If you're a fan of Ms. Carriger, be sure not to miss the 
special announcements at the end of this review!

Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2)
Title: Curtsies & Conspiracies
Series: Finishing School, Book the Second
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Alternate Historical Paranormal Steampunk
Rating: Teen (some violence, scary situations, scandalous flirting, vampire feeding, character assassination, espionage)
Told: Third Person Singular (Sophronia), Past Tense
Format Read: ARC
Find It On: Goodreads

Summary:

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.


*          *          *

Three Words: Historically authentic fun.

Writing: Pure wit with an authentic historical voice.

Setting: We return to Ms. Carriger's alternate paranormal steampunk world with its vampires and werewolves living amongst the more common folk (and scheming scientists) of Victorian England. We spend most of our time on the floating school, but we stop off in London for some shopping, dancing, and infiltration.

Story: After only six months at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, Sophronia is excelling above all the other girls in her class. While this doesn't prove too good for her social life, it comes in handy in all other areas as she quickly embroils herself in quite the jar of pickled gherkins. It seems that everywhere she turns, mystery and danger lurk in the form of unusual visitors, peculiar mechanical objects, and a batch of heavily-guarded throw cushions. But Sophronia certainly doesn't let a little danger get in the way of her curiosity, and by the time she is done sorting it all out chaos quite literally ensues involving Picklemen, costumed excursions, young gentlemen of the evil genius variety, and more than a few vampires. All in all, Sophronia's training is put to the literal test - but it's all in a day's work for a lady in training. 

Characters: The magnificent cast is back and even better than before! Sophronia is at the top of her game, and considering she's only six months into her training I fear the unstoppable intelligencer she will be when fully finished. Highly resourceful and completely in her element, she rarely needs help from anyone to get the job done (especially anyone of the male persuasion). At times Sophronia performs a little too well, but she learns that this can make the consequences that much more momentous - for everyone involved. All in all, there is never a dull moment to be had with Sophronia. The usual suspects return as well, all in rare form and, in the case of Sophronia's friends, growing more skilled with each passing bit of espionage she wrangles them into. We are also introduced to a few new characters, one of which presents Sophronia with a few new feelings (and a new love interest).

Romantic Relationship: While there are some romantic overtures, they don't come close to any sort of "relationship." By the end of the book, however, she ends up with two romantic interests - and one of them gets a kiss.

Favorite Bit: Lord Akeldama makes a hackneyed cameo!!! And there are hints of more of him to come. As one of my favorite characters ever in literature, I swoon at the prospect.

Series: This is Book the Second in the Finishing School Series. While Curtsies & Conspiracies has a complete plot arc, I most definitely recommend reading Book the First, Etiquette & Espionage, before reading this one. My review of Book the First can be found here.

ConclusionIt was such fun to be back with Sophronia and her friends! Ms. Carriger's writing and storytelling only improve with each passing book, and this was a pure delight. I recommend this book (and the series) to anyone and everyone.


SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

Giveaway: To celebrate the release of Curtsies & Conspiracies, I will be holding a special Twitter giveaway in November! Check back next week for all the details on how you can win!

Fan Group: If you love Ms. Carriger's books as much as I do, be sure to join the Gail Carriger Fan Group on Goodreads here!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (10/26/13)


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.


WON:
  • Blindsided by Natalie Whipple (Pbk - Won) - Tweeted a pic of me in some pretty awesome shades and won one of the best prize packs ever from the author! I absolutely loved Transparent, so I am extremely excited to read this sequel!

OTHERS:
Bound Beauty, Volume 2Bound Beauty, Volume 3Clamp School Detectives, Vol. 03 (CLAMP School Detectives, #3)Midnight City (Conquered Earth, #1)Bellman & Black: A Ghost StoryThe Pearl Wars (Skyship Academy #1)
  • Bound Beauty Vols. 2 & 3 by MickTakeuchi (Pbk - Purchased Used) - These are out of print, so I was excited to find them at my used bookstore! Looking forward to seeing where the story goes.
  • CLAMP School Detectives Vol. 3 by CLAMP (Pbk - Purchased Used) - Finally, my set of this cute and fun series is complete!
  • Midnight City by J. Barton Mitchell (Pbk - Purchased Used) - Sounds interesting, and it was in stellar condition. 
  • Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield (Hbk - Publisher) - Received a hardcover from the publisher! One of the few adult books that looks interesting to me - looking forward to trying it.
  • The Pearl Wars (Skyship Academy #1) by Nick James (Pbk - Purchased Used) - I couldn't help myself, it looked interesting.

This Week on the Blog
So what books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Friday Reads Review (10/25/13)




Welcome to The Friday Reads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own Friday Reads Review on your blog, and then leave the link in the Comments below!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Red
Red by Alison Cherry (ARC)
A very simple story, but a light and quick read.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Fruits Basket, Volume 23
Fruits Basket Vol. 23 by Natsuki Takaya (Pbk)
And by finishing Volume 23, I finished re-reading the entire series! Such a sweet, funny and heart-wrenching story - series review to come.


>> READING NEXT <<
Blindsided (Transparent, #2)
Blindsided by Natalie Whipple (Pbk - releases 1/14)
This is the sequel to Transparent, which I adored, so I'm extremely excited to start this!


So what are you reading this week?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Solving for Ex

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:

Solving for Ex

Title: Solving for Ex
Author: LeighAnn Kopans
Release Date: February 11, 2014
Summary (from Goodreads):

Ashley Price doesn’t have much in life after being bullied so hard she had to leave her old school to live with her aunt and uncle in Pittsburgh. But the camera she borrowed from her best friend and secret crush Brendan, and her off the charts math abilities, make things a lot more bearable. Plus, since Brendan is the captain, making the school Mathletes team should be easy. 

But when gorgeous new girl Sofia rolls in and steals Brendan, Ashley's place on the team, and her fragile foothold on the Mansfield Park Prep social totem pole, it’s on. Sofia is everything Ashley left her old school to escape. The only thing Ashley didn’t count on is Sofia’s sexy twin brother Vincent.

Vincent is not only the hottest boy in school, he’s charming, sweet, and he’s got his eye on Ashley. He’s also not taking no for an answer. There's no real reason Ashley shouldn't like Vincent, but with the
battle lines being drawn between her and Sofia, Ashley’s not sure which side he’s on. Or which side she wants him to be on.

She does know Sofia is trouble with a capital T, and she’s determined to make Brendan see it.

SOLVING FOR EX is a YA contemporary romance that remixes Mansfield Park as Clueless meets Mean Girls in a crazy mix of high school society, mathletic competition, and teenage romance.

Why I'm Looking Forward To It: A remix of anything Jane Austen and I'm so there. I've heard nothing but amazing things about LeighAnn's books, so I'm looking forward to finally giving her a try with this one!


So what book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I Have Claimed Bloglovin'!

Well, I've claimed my blog on Bloglovin', anyway. You can now officially Follow me on Bloglovin', so go forth and do so, posthaste!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Review: These Broken Stars (Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner)

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)
Title: These Broken Stars
Series: Starbound, Book 1
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: December 10, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Told: First Person Duo (Tarver, Lilac), Present Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (sensuality/sexuality, tense and scary situations, survival situations)
Format Read: ARC (trade)
Find On: Goodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | TBD
Summary: 

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.



*          *          *

Three Words: Space. Survival. Magnificent.

Series: While this is the first book in a trilogy, it wraps up like a standalone. This left me with really no idea what the next books could be about, but I loved this book so much that I'm curious and excited to see where Amie & Meagan are going to take me next!

Writing: Simple yet lush. The description was vivid and clear - I could picture everything effortlessly (which is a very rare thing for me) and follow everything that happened.

Setting: The future in space, where other planets have been terraformed and inhabited by humans, and travel between them is via hyperspace. Most of the book takes place in only two locations: the luxury spaceliner Icarus, and the mysterious planet they crash on. Both were effortless to imagine - the spectacular spaceliner with its levels and luxury, and the wild paradise of the planet with its dangers and discoveries.

Story: After their escape pod crash-lands on a desolate but habitable planet, young soldier Tarver must march socialite Lilac across the wild and dangerous terrain to the downed Icarus in the hopes of rescue. But what they discover when they finally reach their destination is far from a rescue - and when tragedy strikes, both must rethink life as they've always known it.

The first half of the book was mainly a survival story, with a hint of the mysterious. We followed their trek as they crossed forests and plains, dealing with hunger and thirst and injury and lurking dangers. They argued, they fought, but they persevered until they reached their destination. The second half continued their survival story (because nothing is ever as easy as reaching your destination), but the survival took a backseat as they uncovered the planet's chilling origins and discovered that the hints of mysterious from the first half were much more than they could have ever imagined. All in all, the first half was relatively simple yet completely engrossing, and the second half was full of mystery and otherworldly intrigue.

Characters: Lilac was not your typical rich girl - yes, she was privileged and a bit spoiled, but she was strong and capable, even at her most vulnerable. She was more than just a pretty face, and possessed useful skills - and if she didn't know how to do something, she wasn't afraid to learn. I admired her passion and determination, and her stubbornness. Tarver was the epitome of a skilled soldier, but so much more than just the brawn and field skills needed to keep Lilac safe. He had actual depth and emotion, the likes of which I rarely see from a male character in this type of story. Even when he and Lilac were at each other's throats he looked after her and cared about her. He was good for her, and she for him. I adored them both and connected with both, even though I had almost nothing in common with either of them. I became completely invested in them - and still am (bring on Book 2!).

Romantic Relationship: Although they were immediately attracted to each other, it wasn't an insta-love kind of attraction. Instead of ignoring the reasons they couldn't be together (which were numerous) and just going with their hormones, they struggled against them (the reasons, and their hormones) for much of the book before finally giving in to love. It felt real, and it was refreshing.

Conclusion: While I'm usually All The Flails for favorite books, my love for These Broken Stars is quiet and reverent. This book left me rather in awe, it's so beautifully written. I connected to it on an emotional level (it almost made me cry at one point), and it's a rare moment for me to ever be emotionally involved in a story. This is a magnificent book, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Scribble Rating
5 of 5 Scribbles

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Sunday Post (10/20/13)


Enter to win an ARC of The Hypnotists here!


Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news - post a recap of the past week on your blog, share what's coming up on your blog for the week ahead, and showcase books and things you've received.




THIS WEEK ON THE BLOG

Monday   Review: These Broken Stars
Wednesday   Waiting On Wednesday: Solving for Ex by LeighAnn Kopans
Friday   The Friday Reads Review (10/21/13)


BOOKSHELF ADDITIONS

Blindsided (Transparent, #2)

Blindsided by Natalie Whipple (ARC) - Won from the author - can't wait to get started!


Friday, October 18, 2013

The Friday Reads Review (10/18/13)




Welcome to The Friday Reads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own Friday Reads Review on your blog, and then leave the link in the Comments below!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
RedFruits Basket, Volume 10

Red by Alison Cherry (ARC)
Only a chapter in, but it's fun and different. 

Fruits Basket Vol. 10 by Nasuki Takaya (Pbk)
Needed a proper manga fix, so decided to finally re-read this series. It can be heavy but it has its funny moments as well. Currently on volume 10 of 23, and discovering just how much I loved this series!


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Relic
Relic by Renee Collins (Pbk)
YA Western Fantasy. It wasn't amazing, but it was different. Review to come.


>> READING NEXT <<
Blindsided (Transparent, #2)
Blindsided by Natalie Whipple (ARC - releases 1/14)
Won a copy from the author! Cannot wait to for it to arrive so I can start reading!


So what are you reading this week?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fire & Flood: The Website


The Fire & Flood website is live! Find out more about the story, meet the main characters, read an excerpt - and don't forget to snag your invitation for the Brimstone Bleed. Just enter the password PANDORA when prompted to unlock the content. See you at the museum!



Want to become a V Mafia member and get a first peek at exclusive content from author Victoria Scott, like me? (C'mon, don't lie, you know you want to.) Find out how here!

Waiting On Wednesday: The Fill-In Boyfriend

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

My pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection this week won't release for quite a while (2015, to be exact), but it'll be worth the wait! 


Title: The Fill-In Boyfriend
Author: Kasie West
Release Date: 2015
Summary (from Goodreads)

From Publisher's Weekly:

The Fill-In Boyfriend is about a girl whose boyfriend dumps her in the parking lot on prom night, so she grabs a "fill-in" date in order to convince her friends her boyfriend is real. 

Why I'm Looking Forward To It: It's by Kasie West - do I need any more reason than that? Her writing and storytelling skills are top-notch, and if a book has her name on it, I will read it.

So what book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Giveaway: The Hypnotists

Since I missed posting a review this week, I'm offering a giveaway in penance - lucky you! ;)

So what is the prize? An ARC of The Hypnotists by Gordon Korman!

The Hypnotists (The Hypnotists, #1)

Enter to win by filling out the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

RULES:
  • Must be 13 years or older
  • US mailing only (apologies to my international Followers!)
  • Giveaway runs October 15th through the 22nd

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (10/12/13)


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.

EPIC LIBRARIAN HAUL:

(I have several of these titles already up for trade on the YA Exchange here!)

The titles I was immediately excited about were:
  • Altered by Gennifer Albin - After Crewel's rather explosive ending, I'm really interested to see where this series goes!
  • Pawn by Aimee Carter - I've been hearing good things, and it definitely looks interesting.
  • Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau - It's been a long and impatient wait, but I finally got my hands on a copy! 
  • The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeman - At first glance this wasn't a book for me, but the summary is definitely intriguing and creepy so I'll give it a try!

WON:

I won a 15-book giveaway from Krystal @ Live to Read! I had no idea what was coming, so I was really excited at some of these tieles! 
(She's holding a second 15-book giveaway right now - enter here to win!)

OTHERS:
Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2)
  • Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan (ARC - Arcycling) - My first snag from Arcycling. I had mixed feelings about Unspoken, but I hear this one is better. Here's hoping!

This Week on the Blog

Sunday The Sunday Post (10/6/13)
Monday DNF Book Review: Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza
Wednesday Waiting On Wednesday: Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Friday The Friday Review (10/11/13)

I started a Gail Carriger Fan Group on Goodreads - become a member here!


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

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Friday Reads Review (10/11/13)




Welcome to The Friday Reads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own Friday Reads Review on your blog, and then leave the link in the Comments below!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Relic
Relic by Renee Collins (Pbk)
YA Western Fantasy. Nothing spectacular, but definitely unique.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin
Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff (ARC)
Cute and fun fairytale retelling. Review to come.


>> READING NEXT <<
Altered (Crewel World, #2)
Altered by Gennifer Albin (ARC - releases 10/29/13)
I'm excited to see how the story continues, considering how Crewel ended!


So what are you reading this week?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Heartless

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

My pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection this week won't release for quite a while (2015, to be exact), but it'll be worth the wait! 


Title: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: 2015
Summary (from Goodreads)

A prequel to “Alice in Wonderland,” HEARTLESS will tell the tale of how a marquis’ teenage daughter became the infamous Queen of Hearts. It will be a story of whimsy and madness, passion and tragedy, ravens and writing desks. 


Why I'm Looking Forward To It: Last week at the Fierce Reads Fall 2013 Tour stop at Changing Hands, author Marissa Meyer mentioned a new book deal - a prequel to Alice in Wonderland about the Queen of Hearts! My ears perk to anything Alice, and since Marissa is one of my favorite authors I was over the moon! It'll be quite the wait, but luckily I'll have the last two books in the Lunar Chronicles to tide me over. ;)

So what book are you waiting on?