Sunday, March 31, 2013

Stacking the Shelves {9}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

Hoo boy, AMAZING week for me! I bought a few things I just wanted, plus I visited Page & Palette, an amazing bookstore in Fairhope, Alabama, where they let me make off with a few of their ARCs because they're just that nice. :) Hehe. Also, I'll be back to posting regularly this week after a very successful spring break! Sorry about the slight glare; I couldn't get a clear picture without a little bit of glare.. Gah.

For review:

Zenn Scarlet by Christian Schoon (ARC), to be published May 7, 2013 by Strange Chemistry


Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga (ARC)
Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by R.L. LaFevers (ARC)
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (ARC)


In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters (ARC)


Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2) by Ally Carter

Whew! Needless to say, I'm ecstatic with all of this. I'm especially excited to read Zenn Scarlett soon, since I'm part of the blog tour! A big, big thanks for Strange Chemistry for letting me take part! Also, huge thanks to Amber at Me, My Shelf, and I for the ridiculously beautiful ARC of In the Shadow of Blackbirds! I had an egalley, but I can tell this is one that's better to read printed because of the photographs inside. :)

Books I read this week:
Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2) by Ally Carter
Looking for Alaska by John Green

I'm currently reading:
Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver

So that's been my week! It's sad that I get more reading done in a week when I'm in class most of the day every day than a week I'm completely off. Gah. Anyways, I'd love to see what y'all got so leave me links! I'll be visiting about in just a little while. :) Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Break!

Hi guys!

I'm just stopping by today to tell y'all I'm going to take a break this week. I'm on Spring Break and decided I wanted to spend my time just having fun, not attached to a computer. I'll be doing lots of reading, so I'll have plenty of reviews next week!

I'll be back on Sunday with Stacking the Shelves (I've gotten some pretty amazing stuff already this week! I can't wait to share!) Till then, happy reading! :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Stacking the Shelves {8}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

Not a busy week, book-wise, for me. I'm planning on buying a couple of things this week, since it's spring break and I feel like splurging. :) You shall see... Next week!

For review:

The Deepest Night (Sweetest Dark #2) by Shana Abe, to be released August 13, 2013 by Bantam

From the library: 

Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver


Remembrance (Transcend Time Saga #1) by Michelle Madow

See? I'm just so afraid to start Requiem, y'all. I haven't even read The Sweetest Dark yet, but I just had this feeling I'm going to love it, so I went ahead and requested the sequel while it was available on Netgalley. I'm devious, I know. And Remembrance was 99 cents! I've put off buying it when it was on sale before and then missed it, so I just went ahead and got it this week. I've wanted to read it for a long time!

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Monday - I reviewed Origin by Jessica Khoury.
Tuesday - I teased from The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe.
Wednesday - I talked about the young adult label as a stigma.
Friday - I reviewed Heist Society by Ally Carter.

Books I read this week:
Heist Society by Ally Carter
The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1) by Julie Kagawa
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I'm currently reading:
I actually haven't yet picked my next book. I'm emotionally drained after The Fault in Our Stars, so I don't know what I feel like reading quite yet.

So that's been my week! I'd love to see what y'all got so leave me links! I'll be visiting about in just a little while. :) Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Release date: February 9, 2010
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 287
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.
I think, on the inside, I'm a little bit cynical. I was totally convinced this was not a book for me, that I'd think it was dumb or derivative in some way. Instead, I found Heist Society to be a perfect kind of book. Quick and light, but so fun and thrilling!

Katarina Bishop has just settled into boarding school--a spot she stole--only to be framed for a crime she didn't commit and expelled. She just wants to be normal for once, rather than a member of "the family", but she's unwillingly thrown back into the only life she's truly known and desperately tried to escape, a life of high risk, high reward thievery. Her father has been accused of stealing five immensely valuable paintings from a very dangerous man and it's up to Kat and her team to execute the biggest heist they've ever undertaken to save him.

I'm pretty sure I didn't think I'd like Heist Society because heist movies really aren't my thing. I've never seen one I particularly liked. But this book worked, in a large part, because of its characters. I couldn't help but like Kat and her intelligence. I also liked that she went out on a limb to seize the life she wanted, even if it turned out to not be the best life for her, and that she worked so hard to save her father. (I can't dislike a daddy's girl! :) I'd be disliking myself otherwise.) And then there's the other characters! I'd heard quite a lot about this Hale character, and he most definitely didn't disappoint. But we've got Gabrielle, Simon, Hamish, and Angus, to boot. They make up for a truly entertaining time.

Honestly, there's nothing to dislike about this book. Even if you find it's just not for you, it's such a quick read you 2on't feel like you've wasted much of your time. Though, I doubt you'll think it's not for you by the end! Entertaining, intelligent, and all-around just charming.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Let's Talk About... "Young Adult" as a Stigma

So I want everyone to be honest. When you tell people you're a blogger, are you always a little afraid of their reaction to what you blog about (if you're a young adult blogger, at least)? When you're reading a YA novel in public, do you ever dread someone looking at the cover and scoffing at you? Do you cringe a little bit inside to tell even your friends what you've been reading all weekend? I am not ashamed to say that, at times, I answer yes to every one of these questions.

As an English major, I think people expect me to be reading Tolstoy all the time. Don't get me wrong, I ADORE Tolstoy. But I get worn out reading serious books all the time. When I read for fun, I actually want it to be fun! I want to relax, get lost in a new world, not worry if I'm really understanding the undertones of what the author is saying or doing research on the time period the book was written to better get the commentary. These are things I enjoy but they do, in fact, feel like work. Reading young adult, though, is just enjoyable. It makes me happy and it makes me a more relaxed person.

On the flip side, in most people's eyes, I am considered an adult. I'll turn 21 next month and, with that, I can pretty much do everything an adult can do--except rent a car, right? As an "adult", I think there's the idea that I should be reading "adult" books. But when I look at a lot of adult fiction, it doesn't deal with characters remotely close to my age or who are dealing with problems I can imagine or remember myself dealing with. That's not to say I can imagine being the leader of a revolution in a post-apocalyptic world, but I can remember the concurrent experiences of the character leading the revolution. I'm not saying I don't enjoy adult fiction. I do, but there's a certain limitation to what I enjoy. I imagine, as I get older I'll grow to appreciate more and more of it, but I don't think that will eliminate my love of young adult fiction, either.

I honestly believe that there is a stigma attached to young adult fiction. If you're not strictly a teenager, you shouldn't be reading it. There's the idea that the writing is juvenile and simplified or doesn't deal with complicated and social issues. All of that is wrong! First, I believe some of the best writers out there right now are writing young adult. Everyone can relate to being a teenager at some point. I know from firsthand knowledge how receptive the young adult reading community is, as well! As an author, I would much rather put my pain, sweat, and tears into a work that attracts a passionate audience. Authors are also exploring more interesting issues in young adult novels because the readers are less cynical and readier to accept a more far fetched premise. This means we're getting the best and most creative books out on the market.

Alethea at Read Now Sleep Later wrote an amazing post on this subject a few months ago when Isaac Marion, author of Warm Bodies (a book you should know by now that I am completely in love with) kind of put his foot in his mouth when he made a comment about his book being shelved as young adult in bookstores. (You can read the whole story of that in her post, linked above.) She perfectly summarizes my thoughts when she says, "...YA is intended to explore the challenges of changing from child to adult, that YA is inclusive of the interests of both children and adults, and that you shouldn't let a label prevent you from exposing yourself to great books". The problem lies with those who don't understand young adult; those who have never read it and therefore think it's an arbitrary delineation between books dealing with juvenile topics and books dealing with adult topics. Marion states he views young adult as a mark to warn people looking for complex and mature themes to stay away, because they won't find them there.

To me, young adult books are very much a reflection of the age they're generally geared towards. Your high school years are hard years. You're changing in so many ways and you really don't get what's going on. It's such a relief to get lost in a world where you don't have to deal with your own problems, yet you see a protagonist who's dealing with problems similar to your own, albeit in a heightened reality or fantasy. You see you're not the odd man out; everyone has trouble. Feeling awkward, alone, and out of your depth are natural for teenagers, but they're common all through life. Just because I'm not a teenager anymore doesn't mean I don't feel alone in the world at times. As a teenager, I needed characters I could relate to--ones I couldn't find in the adult or childrens sections. As an adult, I no longer need those characters, but that doesn't mean I can't relate to them and find comfort in reading about them.

With the popularity of so many young adult movie franchises and the reach of the genre growing, I can only hope that one day the general public will learn there's nothing to be ashamed of in reading young adult. One day they'll all realize what we've known along: Not only are young adult novels just as important as adult novels, they deal with complex and mature themes that not only entertain, but challenge, readers.

What's your opinion on the outside view of young adult? Are you an adult who reads YA? Why? Why is it important to you? Do you think it'll ever get the respect we crave?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: The Sweetest Dark {17}

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Title: The Sweetest Dark
Author: Shana Abe
Release date: April 2, 2013
Publisher: Bantam
Pages: 352
“With every fiber of my being, I yearned to be normal. To glide through my days at Iverson without incident. But I’d have to face the fact that my life was about to unfold in a very, very different way than I’d ever envisioned. Normal would become forever out of reach.”

Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Lora’s been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.

England, 1915. Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England’s southern coast. Iverson’s eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen. And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny.

Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper—a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is. Armand is a darkly handsome and arrogant aristocrat who harbors a few closely guarded secrets of his own. Both hold the answers to her past. One is the key to her future. And both will aim to win her heart. As danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she’s only just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves.
My teaser, at 38% in the egalley (Kindle won't show me pages!!):
There was only one person who could explain it all to me. I had to find Jesse again, had to find him right now--

Downstairs a door slammed, followed by startled laughter.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Origin by Jessica Khoury

Release date: September 4, 2012
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 394
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home--and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin--a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost.
I had low expectations for Origin. I have absolutely NO idea where those came from, since most of the reviews I've read in the past couple of days have been largely positive. I honestly think I just decided to have low expectations, though I don't know why. Luckily, my made-up expectations were exceeded, though I still had a number of complaints.

Now, to begin with I was SO BORED reading this book. I'm one of those people that doesn't like to stop reading a book once I've gotten 100 or so pages into it, so I powered through. It took almost 200 pages, though, for me to actually get curious to find out what happens next. There was too much day to day of what Pia's doing and some heavy editing would not have hurt it in the least. Once I finally trudged through the immense set up to the actual story, I got into the story.

Pia has lived in Little Cam the entirety of her almost seventeen years, and has only taken thirteen steps outside of the compound. But when a new scientist shows up and she sneaks through a hole in the fence and meets a boy from the village, everything changes. I thought Pia, while not an especially endearing character, was interesting. With no knowledge of the outside world or experience with people outside of the scientist's in the compound, she's lived the ultimate sheltered life and is told day in and day out that she's "perfect"; she's immortal, with enhanced senses, agility, reflexes, and endurance. I thought it mostly made sense that she'd not question her surroundings too much, since she's not known anything else. She has no awareness of how large the world outside the compound is, and because everyone she's ever known is with her, she doesn't have much desire to venture outside. She's been conditioned to think it's dangerous outside and that every person she'd meet would want to harm her. But with the addition of a new scientist, Harriet Fields, Pia becomes aware of how little she knows and sets out to fulfill her natural curiosity. Pia is not endearing because, largely, she's whiny, indecisive, and a bit narcissistic (though this one makes a bit of sense, it's still not an attractive quality). With the progression of the book she does seem to gain a handle on reality, and become less whiny and narcissistic, though still indecisive.

The highlight of Origin is its lush descriptions of the jungle. By far. Jessica Khoury has either firsthand knowledge or has done quite a lot of research. You definitely feel like you're in the jungle with Pia as she explores it for the first time, and it makes for a great reading experience. I know I definitely feel like taking a sojourn down to the rainforest for spring break this year to see it for myself.

Generally, once I got into the story, I enjoyed Origin. The pace picked up and I found myself devouring the book. I had a few complaints about characters (and relationships!) not being developed enough and the science, but those didn't particularly inhibit my enjoyment of the book. There was a lot of potential in the idea of the story that was lost in execution, which is regrettable. In all, I found it to be an enjoyable, if not especially polished, read.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Stacking the Shelves {7}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

Not a huge week, but a quality one! :) I got my two giveaway win packages, plus a book off Netgalley!

For review:

The Girl With the Iron Touch (Steampunk Chronicles #3) by Kady Cross, to be published May 28, 2013 by HarlequinTeen


Boundless (Unearthly #3) by Cynthia Hand (Signed)
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff (Signed)
Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu (Signed)

A big big thanks to HarlequinTeen for The Girl With the Iron Touch! I'm sad to see the series ending, since it's one of the first I started as a blogger (EEK!) But I'm pumped to see what happens as well. :) Thank you, thank you to Kelly at Ohdamnbooks for Boundless! I've been dying to read it, but have been so poooor. AND a million thanks to Jasprit and Rachel at The Reader's Den for Paper Valentine and Prodigy! Same story, I've been dying for them, but haven't gotten the chance to buy 'em. Plus, these are all signed! So pumped. :)

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Monday - I recommended a few of my favorite books.
Tuesday - I teased from Origin by Jessica Khoury.
Wednesday - I discussed worldbuilding.
Friday - I reviewed I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga.

Books I read this week:
Naturals (Lost Souls #2) by Tiffany Truitt
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Origin by Jessica Khoury

I'm currently reading:
Heist Society by Ally Carter (Though I'll probably have finished this by the time this post goes up... Hehe.)

See? Fantastic, though not large. :) I FINALLY got some decent reading done, so I have some reviewsto write now! How about you guys? I'm looking forward to see what pretties you all got this week! Have a fantastic St. Patrick's Day guys! :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Release date: April 3, 2012
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 361
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?

Jasper "Jazz" Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal's point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?
I don't know how well I've portrayed this, since I can't recall a time that I've talked about it on here or on Twitter or anything, but I have an unhealthy fascination with serial killers--the macabre in general, really. It's not that I'd ever even want to meet one, honestly, but the psyche is something I find compelling to read about. I even wrote a research paper on Jack the Ripper in high school. We can't understand just how these people do what they do, how they plan the deaths of numerous people with deep care, devoid of emotion. So going into I Hunt Killers, I was excited, to say the least. We don't think of the family of a killer, but only of the killer themselves. How does growing up under the tutelage of a master killer affect a child? That, in a large part, is what is explored in the book.

I Hunt Killers is definitely a scary read. I generally read at night before I go to sleep, and several nights I had to do something else before I could think of turning out the light because I was so freaked out by the book. The book begins immediately with a dead body and only picks up from there, with the deaths getting gorier and the descriptions getting more in depth. The freakiest parts, to me, lie in the narration from the killer's view and every bit with Billy. The calm calculation there calls to mind Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs. It's not for the faint of heart, but it is definitely compelling.

Aside from the gore and psychopaths, we are treated to some truly great relationships between Jasper and his best friend, Howie, and his girlfriend, Connie. Jazz works day in and day out to appear normal to everyone around him, everyone but these two. The love between him and Howie is really what grounds Jasper to me; if someone can love another person that deeply, they can't possibly be all that bad, even when Jazz thinks the opposite of himself. These relationships--along with the humorous parts of the narration from Jazz--are also what keep the book from getting too dark. Howie is just pure fun, comic relief and Connie is pragmatic and to the point.

It's easy to compare Jasper Dent to Dexter Morgan, and I believe a lot have. I thought the same thing as I was reading, but I've come to a different conclusion with more thought. Dexter is compelling because he's trying to fit in as a normal human being, even when he knows he's messed up and different from experience. He's charming and charismatic because he has to be in order to keep up the lifestyle he believes he needs. But Jasper is trying to fight what he desperately doesn't want to become. He's not accepting fate, instead he's doing the complete opposite. He's telling himself people are worthwhile and forming true bonds, all to become what he wants to be, not what he believes he's destined to be. And that is why he's a great, great character and why you should read I Hunt Killers.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Let's Talk About... Worldbuilding

Ah, worldbuilding... The difference between the best dystopians and the ones that should still be in the slush pile.

Worldbuilding can easily make or break a book for some people. I, personally, am not one of those people, though I can see why it bothers people. It is mostly a concern in dystopian and fantasy novels, both of which I love to read. A world that isn't fully realized by an author is a world that's difficult for a reader to imagine. We're left with more questions than answers and are so consumed by the questions that we can't see past them to the story and the characters.

Now, I may have an uncommon opinion on worldbuilding. Like I said, it's not going to ruin a book for me. It's not even really a concern when I'm reading. Seldom do I even think about worldbuilding when it's not brought up by someone else. Generally, dystopians seem to be narrated in first-person and the narrators are by no means experts on whatever science brought their world to its state or even the details of it. In first-person narration, the reader knows what the narrator knows. It doesn't bother me in the least to not know quite what's going on. As the protagonist learns about the world they live in, so does the reader. In the third-person, I do expect more details, but I still don't expect much unless you can tell the narrator is omniscient.

For example, in Wither by Lauren DeStefano, a large complaint from readers was the worldbuilding. They didn't find it believable because the economic, political, and/or scientific situations weren't viable to them. But the book is in first-person, narrated by Rhine, a sixteen year old who has been living in fear and a little wildly with her brother. So, like I was saying, Rhine isn't going to really know a whole lot of what's really going on in the first book. She's been protected for her entire life and knows only what she's been told. I don't find a huge problem with the world being a bit of a mystery for that very reason. Sure, I had other problems with the book, but worldbuilding was not a problem to me.

Another example of this is Defiance by C.J. Redwine, which also suffered from readers claims of a lack of worldbuilding. This is one example of when worldbuilding was subpar, even to me. It was immensely difficult to determine if the book was fantasy or post-apocalyptic. Basic, basic stuff, but it took quite a while to figure it out. Even I have standards that have to be met.

In general, I think there's a general amount of information about a world that should be presented to the reader so they can form an idea in their mind. At the same time, I, personally, don't need every small detail about a world, or even an explanation as to why it became like it is. As long as it's remotely plausible, the characters and story are engaging, and the writing is decent, I can be sold on a book. :)

What do you think of worldbuilding? Can a lack of it ruin a book for you? Why? Or maybe you're like me, is it mostly an afterthought?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Origin {16}

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Title: Origin
Author: Jessica Khoury
Release date: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 394
Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home--and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin--a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.
My teaser, from p. 189 in the hardcover:
Ami wades into the water to get a closer look.
Then I see it. "Ami, no! Get back!"
She disappears under the water. In mere seconds a snake as thick as my thigh is coiled four times around her little body, and before my horrified eyes, it begins to tighten.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Might You Like What I Like? A Couple of Recommendations

Since I started back blogging last month, I've been spectacularly good (for me) at keeping up with my reviews. I have reviewed every single book I've read (except for two, both of which don't release for another month or two). This is an accomplishment for me, but it also means I have absolutely no backlog of reviews to write. So on days like today, when I just finished a book that I'm not reviewing till April and haven't read anything else for the last four or five days, I have nothing to post. I'm working on another "Let's Talk About..." post, but it's not taking shape the way I like, so it's not ready for viewing. Instead of forgoing posting, which I hate to do, I'm going to leave you all with a few recommendations. Pretty much, these are my favorite books of all time. I hope you enjoy!

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
I find there are few books that have affected me the way this book did. I read it my junior year of high school after seeing the movie--which does the book almost no justice--and found myself questioning a lot of my priorities and decisions. It really brings to light the value of human relationship and the greatness of knowing oneself. I cannot recommend it enough.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
If you like dystopians, this is the ridiculously amazing adult novel for you. Clones are made of the poor and homeless, are raised and educated, and then used for organ harvesting for the rich. If you loved Unwind you'll definitely relate to the plight of Kathy and Tommy as they fight for love in a world where they were created to die.

Anything by Robin McKinley
I've talked about Robin McKinley almost ad nauseum at times, but I cannot talk about her enough! Her writing is beautiful and lyrical, her characters are realized and compelling, and her stories are fascinating and truthful. My favorites: The Hero and the Crown, Deerskin, Rose Daughter, and The Blue Sword.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Everybody loves Jane Austen, and I do too, but there's just something that draws me to the Brontës more. Jane is an amazing character. She loves so deeply, despite all the times she's been hurt by those who should love her, and she forgives without even being asked to. She is so strong and so determined in what she believes. I deeply admire her; there are days where I have to ask myself, "What would Jane do?" to get through the day. (It works!)

Are any of these your personal favorites? If not, what are? I always love recommendations! :)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Stacking the Shelves {6}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

This week wasn't quite as exciting as last week, but it was still great. I got one package from a giveaway win and a book on Netgalley. I'm home this weekend, and I expect I have two packages from giveaway wins waiting for me at my apartment, so next week will be a great one... :)

For review:

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters, to be published April 1, 2013 by Amulet


Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black (ARC)
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (ARC)

A big big thank you to Amulet and to Rachel at Fiktshun for the great books this week! I'm super excited about them. :)

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Monday - I reviewed The Elite (The Selection #2) Kiera Cass.
Tuesday - I teased from I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga.
Thursday - I reviewed Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt.
Friday - I promoted Moonset by Scott Tracey with a book blast and a giveaway.
Saturday - I reviewed Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren and Firelight by Kristen Callihan.

Books I read this week:
Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt
Richard II by William Shakespeare (for school)

I'm Currently Reading: 
Naturals (The Lost Souls #2) by Tiffany Truitt

This has been a good week for me! :) School's getting more intense right now--especially with my advanced comp class-so I'm not sure how much I'll be around this week. I should definitely still have my posts up, but I may take a little while longer responding to comments and tweets. Anyways, I hope everyone has a happy Sunday and a happy week! I look forward to checking out what you got this week! :)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mini Reviews: Waterfall & Firelight

I've seen quite a few other bloggers do mini reviews before, and I thought it was the best idea! The two books I'm featuring today are books I read during the time I was taking a break from blogging. I really enjoyed both, and didn't want to leave them unmentioned, so here we are! I'm not including the synopsis', but the title links go to each book's Goodreads page, and the synopsis is front and center there. :)

Title: Waterfall (River of Time #1)
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Release date: February 1, 2011
Publisher: David C. Cook
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository

I picked up Waterfall on a whim one day. I am so glad to say it was one of the best whim purchases I've made! I loved loved loved the setting--ancient Italy--since I'm an Italian minor and it doesn't seem like there's a whole ton of young adult fiction set in Italy. The story of Gabi and Lia's adventure is super fun and fast-paced. With handsome knights, sword fights, and an ancient feud, how can you go wrong? This is a book that immediately immerses you in the story and the world and just doesn't let go. Gabi is a compelling heroine and has a great voice; she is snarky and sarcastic and just fun to read. The romance between Gabi and Marcello is just the perfect amount of swoony. So, needless to say, Waterfall left me thirsty for more and I can't wait to read the sequel, Cascade!

Title: Firelight (Darkest London #1)
Author: Kristen Callihan
Release date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Forever
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Another book I picked up on a whim! Unlike Waterfall, though, Firelight is far from what I normally read. This is an adult paranormal romance. What sold me, though, was the idea of a story that included elements from Beauty and the Beast and Phantom of the Opera--my favorite Disney movie of all time and one of my favorite musicals of all time; there's very little I could do to resist reading this. Luckily, this whim purchase paid off as well! Miranda and Archer have great chemistry and it was so fun reading the evolution of their relationship as both learned to rely on and trust the other. The mystery is truly a mystery that one does not guess easily, and the plot was creative and original--definitely one I've not seen before. I am so glad I went out of my norm to read this book! (Note: Since I do review almost exclusively YA here, I have to point out that Firelight is an adult romance novel, and therefore much more explicit in content than young adult books.)

Friday, March 8, 2013

{Book Blast + Giveaway} Moonset by Scott Tracey

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With one month to go until MOONEST hits the shelves, we want to make sure you are all ready for it. Be sure to add MOONSET to your TBR piles, and don’t forget to check out the giveaway below for $25.00 gift cards to iTunes and B&N!

Legacy of Moonset #1 
Author: Scott Tracey
Release Date: April 8th 2013
Publisher: Flux
Justin Daggett, his trouble-making sister, and their three orphan-witch friends have gotten themselves kicked out of high school. Again. Now they’ve ended up in Carrow Mills, New York, the town where their parents—members of the terrorist witch organization known as Moonset—began their evil experiments with the dark arts one generation ago.

When the siblings are accused of unleashing black magic on the town, Justin fights to prove their innocence. But tracking down the true culprit leads him to a terrifying discovery about Moonset’s past . . . and its deadly future

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The Prizes! 1- $25.00 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
1- $25.00 iTunes Gift Card
Open Internationally
Gift Card to be delivered Electronically
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Scott Tracey is a YA author who lived on a Greyhound for a month, wrote his illustrated autobiography at the age of six, and barely survived Catholic school (and definitely not for the reasons you might think).

He is the author of WITCH EYES, chosen as one of Amazon’s Best LGBT Books of 2011, as well as an ALA Popular Paperback in the Forbidden Romance category.  The final book in the WITCH EYES trilogy, PHANTOM EYES, will be released in the fall of 2013.

He is also the author of MOONSET, a new series which will be released April 8, 2013, as well as a contributor to the SHADOWHUNTERS & DOWNWORLDERS anthology, edited by Cassandra Clare.

His career highlights include: accidentally tripping a panic alarm which led to nearly being shot by the police; attacked in a drive-thru window by a woman wielding a baked potato, and once moving cross country for a job only to quit on the second day.

His gifts can be used for good or evil, but rather than picking a side, he strives for BOTH (in alternating capacity) for his own amusement.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chosen Ones (The Lost Souls #1) by Tiffany Truitt

Release date: June 12, 2012
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Entangled
Pages: 400
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Life is bleak but uncomplicated for sixteen-year-old Tess, living in a not-too-distant future where the government, faced with humanity's extinction, created the Chosen Ones, artificial beings who are extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably strong, and unabashedly deadly.

When Tess begins work at Templeton, a Chosen Ones training facility, she meets James, and the attraction is immediate in its intensity, overwhelming in its danger. But there is more to Templeton than Tess ever knew. Can she stand against her oppressors, even if it means giving up the only happiness in her life?
I can't believe it took me so long to read this book!!! I've just put it off and put it off for other things, but I am so glad I finally took the time. Fantastic. I did find the relationship between James and Tess developed a teensy bit quickly for my taste, but I also liked the restraint in the beginning and middle of the relationship. It was interesting to see.

I think the most striking part of Chosen Ones for me was Tess. I don't know what I expected, but she certainly was nothing like what I anticipated. Tess starts off as cold and distant from those around her, and even, in a way, from the reader. She knows getting attached to anyone just leads to being hurt. At the start of the book, her sister--one of the few she's let through her shell--has just died. The reader gets to see Tess' transformation as she learns how love can change you. She never understood the things her sister did when it came to the man she married, Robert. But when she comes to know James, she begins to see. I loved Tess for how closed off she was. It was a rational way to cope, and I loved seeing her grow.

The other thing I loved about Tess was her self-preservation. For the most part, she's always looking out for herself. That's just not a common thing to see in dystopians. The heroine is generally only thinking of others in her actions, but I've never felt that to be especially accurate. It's just not human nature to sacrifice yourself for people you don't know. There are exceptions to that, obviously, but I liked seeing someone who is true to herself and true to life.

Chosen Ones has a plot that keeps you on your toes. You've just got your bearings on the world, and it just takes off. It makes for a fast and really entertaining read. This is definitely a dystopian a step above the rest. I can't wait to get into the second book, Naturals, and see where the journey takes Tess and James next!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: I Hunt Killers {15}

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Title: I Hunt Killers
Author: Barry Lyga
Release date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 361
What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?

Jasper "Jazz" Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal's point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?
My teaser, from p. 149 of the hardcover: 
"Helen, I have to be honest with you now. This is going to hurt. It's going to hurt a lot."

She went ahead and screamed. True to his word, he didn't care at all.
Hmmm... I haven't started this yet, but it's on the pile. I've been dying to read it since it came out last year, since serial killers are absurdly fascinating to me... :)

What are you teasing this week?

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass

Release date: April 23, 2013
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Trade
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.
For me, The Selection and The Elite are like the trashy tv of books. There's not a whole ton of quality, but you get sucked in and can't look away. You get a sick sense of satisfaction after reading it. You feel a little bit guilty after reading it, but you so enjoy it. I have no qualms about admitting how much I enjoy these books. They're dramatic and frothy and suck away hours of your life before you know it. There is little better than spending the night curled up reading a book like The Elite, in my opinion.

The Elite picks up very quickly after the end of The Selection. America is still vacillating between Maxon and Aspen, and for much of the book I was so frustrated with her, because I just KNEW exactly who she should pick. The great thing is, though, there are events in The Elite than make you question your opinion over and over again. One moment I was happy and the next I was angry. I honestly got as confused as American in who to pick.

At the same time, there's a raising of the stakes. No spoilers, but America is under pressure to make her decision for more than one reason. The rebels are getting restless, though no one can really tell why. There's still little plot, just the Selection going on with things happening all around. That being said, there's some game-changing events.

Without including spoilers, which I know you don't want if you want to read this book, it's hard to review in much detail. But I can say, I enjoyed The Elite quite a bit more than The Selection. There are some great twists and turns and you are kept on the edge of your seat throughout. If taken for the light fare it is, The Elite is great fun to read and if you loved the first book, you'll love The Elite even more!

If you just can't stand the wait till The Elite, Kiera is releasing a novella set before The Selection tomorrow called The Prince!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Stacking the Shelves {5}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

This week was really a great one. I went on a teeny tiny spree on Netgalley... And when you see what I got you'll totally understand why! I also had a book from a trade come in, so I was pretty pumped. :)

For review:
The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2) by Julie Kagawa, to be released April 23, 2013 by Harlequin Teen
Of Triton (Of Poseidon #2) by Anna Banks, to be released May 28, 2013 by Feiwel and Friends
Siege & Storm (Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo, to be released June 4, 2013 by Henry Holt and Co.
Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2) by Emmy Laybourne, to be released May 28, 2013 by Feiwel and Friends
Naturals (The Lost Souls #2) by Tiffany Truitt, to be released April 2, 2013 by Entangled Teen

SEE? Pretty much the best book week ever. :) I don't even really need to talk about these books past that fact that I squealed when I got every single one of them. I have my fingers and toes crossed that the Fierce Reads tour comes close to me again this summer so I can get all of my sequels signed, since Anna Banks, Leigh Bardugo, and Emmy Laybourne are all going to be on it again! Also, Julie Kagawa does no wrong in my eyes. She's infallible, so I'm going to devour The Eternity Cure. And I'm super pumped to be part of the blog tour for Naturals in April, so I've got to get to reading that!

Through trade:
The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass

Thank you thank you to Aeicha at Word Spelunking for trading with me! You're the best! :)

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Monday - I reviewed The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse.
Tuesday - I teased from The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter.
Wednesday - I talked about the Teen Author Boot Camp happening this month.
Thursday - I reviewed The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke.
Saturday - I discussed (and ranted a little on) instalove.

Books I read this week:
The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass
Of Triton (Of Poseidon #2) by Anna Banks

I'm Currently Reading:
Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt

So it's been a good week here! Lots of good things to read for me. :) I couldn't help myself and read two of the books I got this week already, though I have lots of other things to read. But where's the fun in reading if you don't jump off the schedule every once in a while? Big, big thanks to Harlequin Teen, Feiwel and Friends, Henry Holt, Entangled Teen, and Aeicha for all of the great books this week! I want to drool over your mailboxes, too, so please leave me a link and I'll check them out! :) Have a happy Sunday and a great first week of March!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Let's Talk About... Instalove

Now, I know a lot of people have talked about this lovely phenomenon. I normally don't like to add my two cents into things that are so discussed, but I--for whatever reason--feel like I have something a little bit different to say.

I was thinking the other day that maybe this had become less of a trend in YA releases of the past year or so. Then I read The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse. Alenna was "inexplicably" drawn to Liam, who is a likable enough character, but she quickly progresses from being attracted to him to declaring her love for him. Sometimes a fast relationship makes sense, but in The Forsaken I think Alenna and Liam spend time together maybe three times before she's saying she loves him. Heightened situations = heightened emotions, I get it, but...Meh.

The biggest defense of instalove is that when you're a teenager things are magnified. You think every event in your life is the biggest thus far; you think that boyfriend you've been dating for two weeks is the love of your life. I get it! I can excuse it in some cases. All relationships need a foundation, though. You can be attracted to someone without being in love with them. You can be in love with the idea of someone. You can know you want to spend a lot of time with them. I just believe that in order to be "in love" with someone you have to know them. You don't have to know every detail of their life or their opinions on everything, but I think knowing someone's disposition and how they look at the world is vital.

I feel like this is making me sound cynical, but I'm really not! My parents met around Christmas one year, were engaged on Valentine's Day, and married in September. They had known each other less than a year and have been married for over 30 years now. My brother and his fiancee met in October 2011, were engaged in June 2012, and will be married this December. By the time they're married they'll have known each other just over two years. By some standards that is no time, and by others it's normal. I see love in my life, and know that when the right person comes, you can know very quickly. But knowing someone is the right person for you doesn't equate being in love with them. I knew almost immediately that my best friend would be my best friend when we met, but I didn't love her like I do now, after having been close for more than 7 years. It's not quite the same thing, but in a way it is.

I think that is my biggest problem when it comes to the relationships in a lot of young adult novels. A declaration of love or undying devotion is romantic, and maybe typical for a teenager, but I think it's representing a relationship ideal that just doesn't exist. Even I have to remind myself from time to time that that is not how mature relationships work and being truly in love with someone comes with time and familiarity.

What do you think of my opinion? Do you agree? Do you disagree? I'd love to know!