Friday, February 24, 2012

Final Transcend Time Novel Title Hunt!

Hello everyone! I am so pleased to be part of Michelle Madow's title reveal for the final novel in her Transcend Time trilogy! So without further ado...

Welcome to the Transcend Time Saga Title Hunt! The title hunt is the reveal of the title for the final novel in the Transcend Time Saga. Each of the bloggers participating in the hunt have been given a letter. Hop around to the blogs participating to hunt for the letters. (And remember that two of the letters are used twice, so the title is eight letters long.) 

Once you've unscrambled the title, go to Michelle Madow's blog and use the title name to enter the giveaway for a voucher for an advanced e-copy of the final Transcend Time novel! (She is giving away a voucher because the novel is planned to be released at the end of the year, and she hasn't finished writing it yet! This voucher will ensure that you will receive an advance e-copy once they are available). 

My letter is: L

I think Michelle's series is awesome, and am so happy to be supporting her in any way. If you haven't started the series yet, the first book, Remembrance, is available right now for only $0.99 through the end of Michelle's tour in April. SO WHY HAVEN'T YOU STARTED YET?

To continue finding letters (which I will also be doing, since I don't know the title yet either!!!), just visit the other blogs on the Linky and unscramble away!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Because I Love You and You Love Books Giveaway!

Happy Valentine's Day guys! And yes, I do realize Valentine's Day is over. Leave me alone. :) I haven't done a giveaway in quite a while, and what a better time to do one than Valentine's Day? You have all been great for the past 8 months, and I want to show you my LOVE! I know no better way to show my lovely followers how much I love you than to give you what you love: FREE BOOKS! :)

There will be two winners, and each winner gets to pick from a lovely little selection of books that I've loved this year or am freaking out waiting for. If it's not out yet, I will preorder it for you! Also, if it's a second book in a series and you have yet to read the first book you can pick the first book instead. Oh, and it is INTERNATIONAL! :) Here are your choices:

So that's all that! If you want to earn extra entries, I have a button you can use as well!

Rafflecopter has decided not to work for me, so I have to go old school. The form has all the ways you can earn entries!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In My Mailbox (11)

Howdy all! It's time for In My Mailbox! In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where bloggers get to share just what kind of lovely books and swag they got over the past week through purchasing, borrowing, gifting, etc. 

Hoo, boy. I had a wonderful time on Netgalley with week, all. Macmillan put up a billion books I've been dying to read, so I might've had a field day there... :) I also got an ebook for review that I'm crazy excited to read!!

For review through Netgalley:

Dead of Night by Lynn Viehl
The Raft by S.A. Bodeen
Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
A big thanks to Flux Books, Feiwel & Friends, Holt BYR, and FSG BYR!!

For review:

Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt
Big, big thanks to Entangled Publishing!

So that's it! As if my Nook wasn't full enough already. Hehehe. I'd love to see what you all got this week! So leave me links and I'll check them out! :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Release date: January 17, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 403
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
For months Clara Gardner trained to face the fire from her visions, but she wasn't prepared for the choice she had to make that day. And in the aftermath, she discovered that nothing about being part angel is as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her love for Tucker and her complicated feelings about the roles she and Christian seem destined to play in a world that is both dangerous and beautiful, Clara struggles with a shocking revelation: Someone she loves will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

So, um... I'm going to have to warn you guys. I have crazy emotions about this book, so... Should I have a spaz during this review, just disregard me. Hallowed made me swoon, cry, and blindingly happy all within a single page at times. I was scared that the second book couldn't live up to Unearthly, but as soon as reviews started to come in, all I could do was WAIT. IMPATIENTLY. Very impatiently.

I love that there is so much more going on here than just the actual plot. Deeper ideas are explored, and I love love love to think about a book. This is part of why the journey in reading it is so special and so emotional. Clara deals with so much more in Hallowed than in Unearthly. She is learning about herself and exploring whether or not the way she lives her life is her choice or if everything is laid out for her. She deals with loss and with heartbreak and everything in between with such poise and realness, which only makes me love her as a character more.

I know we've all been dreading the idea of a love triangle in this book. I was definitely a big part of that dread. I also felt like it was inevitable, though not in a gag-worthy way. I love Clara and Tucker, but the way her relationship with Christian is handled makes you realize what a good influence in her life he is. I could defend either choice, and that's not normally the case with me, even though it'd break my heart for her to turn down either one. Ho hum.

I also loved seeing more of the characters introduced in Unearthly. Jeffrey is still a bit of a mystery throughout the book, yet we still learn more about him as he deals with the events of the book. He puts on a brave face, but we definitely see him break. I also loved seeing Angela and her insecurities, making her a much more real character to me. She may be super sleuth, but she has real doubts and fears, and that always makes me feel for a character more. I think almost every character was brought close to their breaking point in Hallowed, and that's such an interesting position to explore in a character. You really see the depths of them.

Honestly, I can't say too much more about Hallowed. Most of what I say won't bring justice to what I felt while I read it. It's a beautiful story expertly crafted and expertly executed.

Risk a paper cut? Hoo boy, DO IT. I don't think I know a single person who disliked it, and I can honestly say you won't regret it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe

Release date: April 7, 2011
Format: Ebook
Pages: 175
Source: Provided for review by author
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
Ebook available from: Amazon
Seventeen-year-old Cameron Martin has a huge problem: he’s aging a whole year of his life with each passing day!

High school is hard enough; imagine rapidly aging from seventeen to seventy in a matter of weeks, with no logical explanation, and with prom, graduation, and the state championship basketball game all on the horizon. That’s what happens to Cameron, a popular pretty boy who's never had to face a day looking anything but perfect.

All Cameron wants to do is go back to normal, but no one, not even the best doctors, can diagnose his condition. When he finds love with a mysterious young woman, however, he realizes his only hope for survival might be with the one person who started his condition in the first place..

My first thought was probably a common one. I immediately thought Happy Birthday to Me sounded just like a hybrid between Beastly and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. One book I quite enjoyed and the other a movie I loved. (I just couldn't get into the Beastly movie like I could the book...) I thought, "What could go wrong?" Then I realized there were tons of things that could go wrong. Luckily, they didn't! (Muahahaha. I set that one up good.)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Happy Birthday to Me. I thought the premise was a good one. The plot ran at a good pace, and I really found we got a good look at Cameron and grew to care about him, though it certainly looked doubtful at the beginning. Cameron's character arc was definitely the best part of the book for me. Even when he was a jerk at the beginning, I could tell there was something redeeming within him, and that helped me stay invested even when I couldn't stand him. I wanted to know if he was going to tap his potential, so I just had to keep reading! And even while he does progress as a character, he's not perfect. He's not suddenly an unerring person, and that was realistic to me.

I also enjoyed his reactions to his aging, along with his classmates'. At first he's utterly dismayed, and yet slowly he comes to accept the aging process and the feelings that come with it. While I don't know how it feels to rapidly age, or to be older than I am now, I feel like that's kind of how it is. You turn thirty and you freak out, but by the time you're fifty, you realize that good things come with age, and I kind of thought that's how Cameron felt, though he obviously didn't want to die--though who really does?

My only real complaint came with the ending. We spent a long time experiencing Cameron's feelings at his situation, which I really enjoyed, but it ended so quickly. Though I was sure of Liesel's position in the book from the beginning, she wasn't explained until very close to the end and their relationship became something big rather quickly. I liked the development itself, but I didn't like how suddenly it happened.

All in all, Happy Birthday to Me was a very enjoyable and quick read. I found the characters to be engaging and real, and enjoyed the faint paranormal elements in it. I'm exciting to read the second one, Happy Birthday to Me Again!

Risk a paper cut? If you have any inclination towards a nice, easy, and quick read (and, really, who doesn't??) you'll be in for a treat. It's hard to go wrong with Happy Birthday to Me. Come on, give yourself an early birthday present! :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Follow Friday #21

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read each week and is a joint effort between all of us bloggers to find new blogs to read, love, and obsess over. Plus each week a different question is answered, so we can all learn a little bit more about the bloggers whose opinions matter to us. :) Tally ho!

Hoo! So I've been MIA on this one for a while guys! I seem to not have time on Thursday nights or Friday during the day recently, but I've found that I have the time tonight! Yay! :)

Q. Define what characteristics your favorite books share. Do they all have a kick ass heroine or is the love interest the hot Alpha Male?
ME. This is really a great question, and one I've never thought about. I definitely love strong heroines. I can't stand a girl who sits around whining about her circumstances and doesn't do anything about it, relying on someone else to save her. We're at a point in history where women and their excellence is actually recognized on a regular basis, so I don't care about a heroine who doesn't represent that. They an start off lame, but if they don't develop, I'm not going to like the book. Other than that, I do love books set in specific periods, since they're more immersive in my opinion. I find myself getting lost in another world, one unlike my own, which I LOVE.

So that's the fun! Please please please leave me links to your posts, and I'll definitely visit you guys! It may take me a day, but I will visit. :) Have a great weekend all! And, hey! It's Super Bowl weekend, so I'll be watching... For the commercials mostly. Hehehe.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Release date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 390
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Most fairy tale retellings that I've read have been just okay, though I still kind of love them. Cinder was in a different league from those. I LOVED IT. I read most of it in one sitting, and about cried when I realized the last page was just that. A cyborg Cinderella is crazy original and the world Marissa Meyer set her story in was fascinating to read about and explore. I honestly don't know how I'm possibly going to wait till next year for Scarlet!

First order of business, the world. I found it rather confusing at first, but I got my bearings rather quickly. Rather than giving us a big history lesson in one big dump, we got little bits of information at a time, accumulating quickly into a fully realized picture of the world. We quickly learn that cyborgs are sub-human, treated as property and live at the whim of whomever owned them, unless they were able to earn the money to live on their own. Meyer's vision of the world in the future isn't so much a dystopian one. We can see how the world is in a state of disorder, and the government doesn't hide this from the citizens. They're faced with the threat of attack from the gifted Lunars, beings who used to be human that have lived on the moon so long they've mutated into something else, and an incurable disease they don't know the cause of. A rather bleak picture for our fairy tale, but it sets a fascinating picture and creates a whole new set of problems for our characters past, "Will she get the prince?" and therefore a much better story.

I loved loved loved Cinder. She's had a hard life, and really wants to complain about it, but she squares her shoulders and does what has to be done. She doesn't dream big at first, but as she learns just how valuable she is--despite being a second class citizen--she really comes into her own, fighting for what she wants most of all, rather than believing she can't enact change. I loved how human she was, even though she can't remember being treated as one, and how much love is in her silicone heart. She fights for the ones she loves, even if they can't or won't love her back, even if she knows there's nothing she can do, even if she knows the truth will make them hate her. I also loved Kai. He was adorable, loving, strong, sweet, compassionate, and basically everything good. I couldn't get over his devotion to doing what was right for his people, even if it meant unhappiness for him. SWOON.

Really the only reason I didn't give this a big, glowing five stars is that I figured out the big twist way too early. By one hundred pages in, I had almost every detail figured out. I don't know if we were supposed to do this or not, but I like to take more time to figure things out, and I like to not be so sure. I love to question my conclusions over and over again until the big reveal, but once I had the idea, things kept compounding to make me surer and surer. Seriously, this is not a big detail, but it slightly detracted from my enjoyment. I'm silly.

Cinder is a practically perfectly executed fairy tale retelling. It brings the details and basic plot of the classic story of Cinderella while adding in new, unexpected ideas and creating a fresh spin. We get the best of both the classic story and a modern novel.

Risk a paper cut? If you've ever found yourself smiling at any Disney movie ever, READ IT. If you love robots and/or China, READ IT. If you like plagues, READ IT. Just find some excuse to buy it or borrow it. Make sure you get it into your grubby, grease-stained hands before I force it into them. :)