Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lucy by Laurence Gonzales

Primatologist Jenny Lowe is studying bonobo chimpanzees deep in the Congo when she is caught in a deadly civil war that leaves a fellow researcher dead and his daughter, Lucy, orphaned. Realizing that the child has no living relatives, Jenny begins to care for Lucy as her own. But as she reads the late scientist’s notebooks, she discovers that Lucy is the result of a shocking experiment, and that the adorable, magical, wonderful girl she has come to love is an entirely new hybrid species—half human, half bonobo. (from GoodReads)

Review:I've had this book on my shelf for several years now and I finally got around to reading it. Luckily for me it was pretty entertaining novel.

Before reading Lucy, I was expecting something along the lines of the movie Splice where Lucy was more bonobo than human. However, to the naked eye it's almost impossible to tell that this teenage girl isn't fully human. She acts a little odd sometimes, but that can be easily explained away by the fact that she spent her whole life living in the African jungle. However, Lucy did have the super strength, speed, and senses of a bonobo, making her different from the people around her.

Lucy was a pretty easy read and I was able to speed through the pages. The book wasn't exactly thrilling, but the author still kept me engaged because I wanted to know what would happen to Lucy. As you can probably tell, other people do discover her secret and I thought Gonzales did a good job of describing the different reactions. Though it may be cynical, I do think there would be individuals and groups protesting her as an abomination, making it dangerous for her to live.

The book is written in third person and as the reader I felt a little detached from the emotional component. There are some sad parts and I wish the author delved further into those feelings. Lucy does end on a cliffhanger and I would love to know what happens next. I don't know if the author plans on continuing the story but I think I would read the next book if there is one.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: received from publisher.

2010/Vintage/320 pages.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - 179

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be released soon.

Rebel by Amy Tintera

15769788The sequel to the action-packed Reboot is a can't-miss thrill ride, perfect for fans of James Patterson, Veronica Roth, and Marie Lu.

After coming back from death as Reboots and being trained by HARC as soldiers, Wren and Callum have finally escaped north, where they hope to find a life of freedom. But when they arrive at the Reboot Reservation, it isn't what they expected. Under the rule of a bloodthirsty leader, Micah, the Reboots are about to wage an all-out war on the humans. Although Wren's instincts are telling her to set off into the wilderness on their own and leave the battle far behind, Callum is unwilling to let his human family be murdered. When Micah commits the ultimate betrayal, the choice is made for them. But Micah has also made a fatal mistake . . . he's underestimated Wren and Callum.

The explosive finale to the Reboot duology is full of riveting action and steamy love scenes as Wren and Callum become rebels against their own kind. (from GoodReads)

Hmm, I've never heard of a two book series being referred to as a "duology." At least we know the author won't be dragging out this series! Rebel will be released May 14, 2014.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - 125

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Items on My Bookish Bucket List

1. Attend a Book Conference - Going to something like BEA would be such an amazing experience. I hope one day I can attend!

2. Buy More Books! I utilize my public library a lot but sometimes it's nice to have my own copy of the books I love. And I would like to be able to support authors more by buying their books.

3. Keep the Books I Own - Like most book bloggers, I have a ton of books. Maybe even too many. When I eventually move out I want to keep most of them and not get rid of them. Especially since I'd love for any kids I have to read them too.

4. Read More Classics - I read so much YA that I would like to expand my horizons. There are so many literary masterpieces that I should definitely read.

5. Go to Another Author Signing - I've been to a few but the last one I've attended was in 2010 I think. So I would love to go meet more authors!

5. Not be Afraid to Put Down Bad Books - Life is too short to force myself to read books I'm not enjoying. Sometimes I feel obligated to read books that are sent to me but if it's not good I'm not going to read it.

6. Read 100 books a year! This is my GoodReads goal. Last year I didn't achieve it so this year I'm going to try really hard!

7. Regularly donate to my library. I sent my library a small donation because I use it so much and it's such a great resource for the community. I would love to do that annually.

8. Teach my kids to be readers. If I have any kids I hope they love reading just as much as I do!

What things are on your bookish bucket list?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes

Love, power, and magic collide with war in the second book of the Falling Kingdoms series

Auranos has fallen and the three kingdoms—Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia—are now united as one country called Mytica. But still, magic beckons, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the world...

When the evil King Gaius announces that a road is to be built into the Forbidden Mountains, formally linking all of Mytica together, he sets off a chain of events that will forever change the face of this land, forcing Cleo the dethroned princess, Magnus the reluctant heir, Lucia the haunted sorceress, and Jonas the desperate rebel to take steps they never could have imagined. (from GoodReads)

I not a huge fan of high fantasy but Morgan Rhodes does such a great job world-building. Her story and writing is similar to that of G.R.R. Martin, though not quite as grand. I thought I would have trouble getting back into the plot because it's been a year since I was last in Mytica but it's very easy to get sucked back into these books.

I don't remember everything that happened in Falling Kingdoms but I know enough to enjoy the story. Morgan Rhodes employs the method of using different point-of-views which gives the reader a ton of information. There's a lot going on but it all connects back together which is nice.

I can tell that Morgan Rhodes is a fan of romance. Instead of focusing on the relationship between two characters as the primary romance, almost every character begins to have feelings for another person with whom they share page time. This is the worst with Cleo; almost every male character she encounters has some sort of romantic feelings for her (Theon in the last book and now Jonas, Magnus, Aron, and Nic). It's ridiculous! This prevents any of the relationships from developing meaningfully because there's several people waiting in the wings for their chance. That was the one flaw with this book.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the story and can't wait to see what happens in the rest of the series.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.

2013/Razorbill/416 pages.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Book vs. Movie: Divergent

So Divergent came out this weekend! I wasn't as excited for this movie as other, recent book to movie adaptations. I'm not quite as invested in this trilogy as ones like The Hunger Games especially since I haven't even read Allegiant yet. But I actually really liked Divergent the movie and thought the producers did a good job of translating the book to the screen.

First off, the screenplay was really well-done, because the movie hits all the major plot points of the novel at a really good pace. It's not rushed but it's not too slow either. Whoever wrote the script did a really good job of explaining everything and showing how the society works. I wasn't confused at all, which sometimes happens with science fiction adaptations.

I thought that all the actors did a wonderful job. I haven't always been the biggest fan of Shailene Woodley (I can't stand The Secret Life of the American Teenager) but she really brought the character of Tris to life. Theo James as Four was good as well. I loved seeing Miles Teller as Peter and he really pulls of the mean character well. The actor who played Eric was deliciously villainous and of course Kate Winslet was superb.

I honestly don't have many complaints about Divergent. There were minor changes obviously but nothing huge. It also helped that I haven't read the book in a few years so I don't remember everything that happens. If you're a fan of the book make sure you get out to the theater to check out this movie! I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Champion by Marie Lu

He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion. (from GoodReads)

After I read Legend I merely liked this series but then when I read Prodigy I was in love. I was curious to see how Champion turned out. Luckily for me I enjoyed it very much, though it wasn't my favorite of the trilogy.

Champion throws us into the action a couple of months after the events of Prodigy have unfolded. June and Day have gone their separate ways (which is a tragedy in it of itself). June is the princeps-elect, which means she works closely with the Republic's Elector. Day, on the other hand, has been seeking treatment for his illness, while also looking after his younger brother who has been sick as well. A lot of sick people in this book, folks. It was never fully explained why Day is having these severe headaches (unless I missed it) though it's alluded to some experimentation that he underwent previously. If you say so book. Luckily for the readers, Day and June are reunited pretty quickly.

Champion takes on a different tone than the previous novels, because this time it's not the Patriots against the Republic. There is a new enemy (the Colonies) which serves to unite the two feuding groups of Legend and Prodigy. This dynamic was certainly interesting and showed that people would rather fix their own broken government than be invaded by another foreign one.

Marie Lu certainly had her hands full because there is a lot going on this trilogy! Not only does she create two dystopian governments, but a third one is thrown in for good measure. June and Anden travel to Antarctica, where people get points for good deeds and lose points for bad behavior. The more points you have, the better paid you are and the better status you have in society. I think she should have saved that concept because you could write a whole book about it! This author has a wonderful imagination.

Champion was very fast-paced and action-packed. The romance between June and Day continues to flourish. I loved reading from June's perspective because she thinks like Sherlock Holmes. She can calculate the amount of steps it will take to get from A to B and the amount of force she should use to knock someone out. I love seeing her in the streets as a soldier, which is what she's suited to. The only thing I didn't really like about Champion was the ending. It's pretty cliché. I'm not going to say but you'll see when you read this novel. Overall though I really liked this trilogy and can't wait to see what Marie Lu writes next!

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.

2013/Putnam Juvenile/369 pages.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Reboot by Amy Tintera

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders. (from GoodReads)

I've been waiting to read Reboot for a long time and I'm so glad I finally got the chance to. I think the concept sounds fascinating and I wanted to see how this new dystopian world plays out. While I enjoyed Reboot for the most part, there were things I didn't like.

The beginning of Reboot is great: we're introduced to the HARC and Wren. She's such an interesting character because she's the deadliest Reboot around since she was dead the longest. That makes her a spectacular fighter but also makes her cold and detached. She is way less emotional than the other Reboots, but that changes when she meets Callum. Callum is probably the most human out of all the reboot since his number is a 22 and they complement each other very nicely. It was nice to see some character development out of Wren and see her become more human as she spends more time with Callum.

The part I didn't like is that I think that Callum's and Wren's relationship progressed too quickly. First Wren is cold and calculating and then her personality does a 180 and she becomes this giggly, in love girl. Their romance was almost too sweet, like if you eat too much candy you feel ill. At one point Wren is trying to fly a hovercraft to safety and yet her and Callum are exchanging kisses as they flee for their lives! I'm not a fan of this romance anyway but the fact that Wren starts as the distant Reboot and somehow ends up on the other end of the spectrum. I would have liked to see this development take longer and move a little slower, which probably would have been more realistic for the story.

Even so, I enjoyed the other plot points of Reboot though everything did seem to work out a little too easily. Authors need to get rid of these deus ex machinas that keep popping up. Reboot does end on a cliffhanger so I'm happy to see that a sequel will be released soon. I'll definitely pick it up but I hope it's a little better than it's predecessor so I can enjoy it even more.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.

2013/HarperTeen/365 pages.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - 178

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be released soon.

My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal

18465608What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?

Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss—the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died—is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.

If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made—good and bad—that led to her last kiss.

Bethany Neal’s suspenseful debut novel is about the power of first love and the haunting lies that threaten to tear it apart. (From GoodReads)

This sounds so good! It reminds me a bit of If I Stay or Before I Fall but those books were amazing so I'm sure this will be just as well-written. My Last Kiss will be released June 10, 2014.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - 124

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Books On My Spring 2014 TBR Pile

1. The Taking by Kimberly Derting
I won a copy of this book from a GoodReads contest and I'm so excited to read it. Kimberly Derting's Body Finder series is so good so I'm hoping The Taking will be just as thrilling.

2. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
I can't believe the conclusion of the Mortal Instruments will finally be released this spring. I'm excited to see how it ends and even more excited for all the new Shadowhunter books Clare is planning on writing.

3. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
I can't believe I still haven't read this but I am so ready for Divergent to be released on the silver screen. I have plans to go on Friday so I'll let you know what I think!

4. The Last Forever by Deb Caletti
I haven't read a Deb Caletti book in forever which is a shame because she's a fantastic author.

5. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
I feel like such a bad Harry Potter fan for not having read this yet. But my goal is to read it this spring!

6. Double Down by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann
I got my dad book for Christmas and now I want to read it! Unfortunately I have to wait for him to finish reading it.

7. Summer State of Mind by Jen Calonita
You have no idea how excited I am for this! I adore Sleepaway Girls and I need more of Camp Whispering Pines. I'm definitely buying a copy as soon as it's released.

8. Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd
I really really liked The Madman's Daughter and can't wait to see what happens next!

9. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
I love Leila Sales so I can't wait to get her latest novel. She's hilarious and I'm sure this book will be just as good as her other ones.

10. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
I just love the premise of this book and it's supposed to be released in April, right in time for spring.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - 177

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be released soon.

Hungry by H.A. Swain

18525734In the future, food is no longer necessary—until Thalia begins to feel something unfamiliar and uncomfortable. She’s hungry.

In Thalia’s world, there is no need for food—everyone takes medication (or “inocs”) to ward off hunger. It should mean there is no more famine, no more obesity, no more food-related illnesses, and no more war. At least that's what her parents, who work for the company that developed the inocs, say. But when Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that most people live a life much different from hers. Worse, Thalia is starting to feel hunger, and so is he—the inocs aren’t working. Together they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food.

H. A. Swain delivers an adventure that is both epic and fast-paced. Get ready to be Hungry. (from GoodReads)

Can you imagine a world without food? No pizza or ice cream or French fries? That would be horrible. I can't wait to see what this new world looks like. Hungry will be released June 3, 2014.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - 123

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Favorite Books in the Fantasy Genre

1. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
This is an obvious choice, so no explanation needed.

2. The Mortal Instrumentals by Cassandra Clare
I know people are tired of these books, but I really can't get enough of the Shadowhunter world. I can't wait for the conclusion to be released in a few months.

3. The Angelfire Trilogy by Courtney Allison Moulton
I finally read Shadows in the Silence and it was amazing!

4. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
I'm really enjoying this series, even though it's yet another vampire book. The movie wasn't amazing but definitely check out the books!

5. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
Yes, another Clare series. I actually love this one more than TMI, which I'm not sure how is possible.

6. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray
I love this series, especially because it wears so many hats. It can be classified as fantasy, historical fiction, romance and it does a great job in all of those genres.

7. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
This was such a good high fantasy novel and very similar to Game of Thrones. I just borrowed the sequel from the library and I can't wait to read it.

8. The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
I was wary to read this book because I'm not a huge fan of fantasy but I ended up loving it! I still haven't finished the trilogy though which is pretty pathetic.

9. Glimmerglass by Jenna Black
I hated this book in the beginning and ended up loving it in the end! Not quite sure what my problem was at the time. This is another series I have yet to finish.

10. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
This counts as fantasy right? Maybe it's more science fiction. Either way, it's an awesome book.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin

The New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof delivers another captivating novel about women and the choices that define them. This is the story for anyone who has ever wondered: How can I truly love the one I'm with when I can't forget the one who got away?

Ellen and Andy's first year of marriage doesn't just seem perfect, it is perfect. There is no question how deep their devotion is, and how naturally they bring out the best in each other. But one fateful afternoon, Ellen runs into Leo for the first time in eight years. Leo, the one who brought out the worst in her. Leo, the one who left her heartbroken with no explanation. Leo, the one she could never quite forget. When his reappearance ignites long-dormant emotions, Ellen begins to question whether the life she's living is the one she's meant to live.

Love the One You're With is a powerful story about one woman at the crossroads of true love and real life. (from GoodReads)

I really like Emily Giffin as a writer and I've read three of her books that I enjoyed immensely. However, I wasn't as enthralled by Love the One You're With as I wanted to be. It wasn't horrible, but Giffin's other novels have been much better.

It was hard for me to get into this book at first, but as I kept reading I liked it a little better. Giffin's books are all very similar: they're romance and so far have been about adultery. Now that's a topic that most people aren't interested in but she does a really good job of portraying the complex feelings that are often involved in these situations. For example, most people consider physical cheating to be the worst betrayal, but my AP English Lit class determined that emotional cheating was actually worse (we were reading Ethan Frome). That's sort of the theme of Love the One You're With: Ellen feels a connection with her ex-boyfriend Leo. She loves talking to him on the phone and emailing him and even though there's not much physical contact it feels like she's cheating.

The reason I didn't really enjoy Love the One You're With as much as I wish I did is because I didn't feel the connection between Ellen and Leo. I liked her husband Andy and I didn't like seeing her move away from him. Ellen was an infuriating character especially when Andy wants to move to Atlanta. She shies away from sharing her feelings and then it causes conflict in her marriage. I just didn't like the characters in this book as much as I did in Emily Giffin's other books.

Now Love the One You're With wasn't awful. I liked the relationship between Ellen and her sister. And Emily Giffin is a good writer so there were no complaints there. If you're looking for a romance novel, however, I would head for her other books first.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: purchased.

2008/St. Martin's Press/342 pages.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - 176

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be released soon.

Unmarked by Kami Garcia

12371865The heart-pounding sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, Unbreakable, by New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures co-author Kami Garcia.

He is here... and he could be anyone.

Kennedy Waters lives in a world where vengeance spirits kill, ghosts keep secrets, and a demon walks among us–a demon she accidentally set free.

Now Kennedy and the other Legion members–Alara, Priest, Lukas, and Jared–have to hunt him down. As they learn more about the history of the Legion and the Illuminati, Kennedy realizes that the greatest mystery of all does not belong to any secret order, but to her own family. With the clock ticking and the life of someone she loves hanging in the balance, Kennedy has to ask the question she fears most: what is it about her past that has left her Unmarked? (from GoodReads)

I read Unbreakable so I have to read the sequel right?! I did enjoy the first book and I'm hoping this one will be even better. Unmarked will be released October 7, 2014.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - 122

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Popular Authors I've Never Read

1. Julie Kagawa - She wrote The Iron Fey Series which I've never gotten around to reading. I do want to though!

2. Ellen Hopkins - My sister has read all these books, which is funny because she's not a big reader. I was never interested in Hopkins's books because they're in verse and about drug addiction.

3. Stephen King - I tried reading Salem's Lot when I was in middle school but I think I was too young for it. I would love to give King another try though because I love horror.

4. David Levithan - Everyone loves David Levithan but I've never really been interested in his books.

5. Megan McCafferty - So many people rave about the Jessica Darling Series and I'm not sure why I haven't read it yet!

6. C.S. Lewis - I think I would like The Chronicles of Narnia since I loved Harry Potter but now I feel too old to read them. I saw the first movie though.

7. Stieg Larsson - I've been dying to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo but still haven't gotten a chance to yet!

8. Melina Marchetta - This is another author that everyone raves about. I wonder if any of these books are at my library.

9. J.R.R. Tolkien - I was never a big Lord of the Rings fan. We have all the movies on DVD but I haven't seen any of them all the way through. I haven't seen The Hobbit either.

10. H.G.Wells - I think I would really like his books but alas, never read any. I did see the remake of War of the Worlds.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Forest's Heir Blog Tour: Guest Post with Ley Hayley

Inline image 1
Publishing is hard. Traditional or self-publishing, whichever route you go, there’s a lot of work involved. And I had to do a lot of work to get The Forest’s Heir out there and published.
I tried the traditional route first. I went looking for an agent, sending out query letters and doing a thousand different things to get people interested in the novel. There were a few people who were interested in reading a little bit more of the book, but no one was interested enough to take it on as a project. So I decided to do it myself.

I thought self-publishing would be easy. Ha! Boy was I wrong!
Self-publishing is like another job. It’s like being a writer, editor, graphic designer, publisher, and publicist all at the same time. I’m lucky that I have an amazing sister who helps out with a lot of the graphic design stuff. She designed my website and takes care of most of it for me. There’s little I have to do there, but the rest of the stuff is all on me. I have to edit my novels, format them for publishing, and do all the other work all on my own.

I published my first novel through self-publishing in August of last year. The second will come out in June of this year the same way. The third will be released this fall through self-publishing as well.
That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to try to go the traditional route. I’m always sending out emails and queries to agents. But I’m not going to stop writing or publishing in the meantime. Maybe one day I’ll have my book in bookstores where there are five or six copies. Maybe one day I’ll be doing book signings across the country at the same time I’m doing blog tours. Who knows?

But I do know one thing. I wouldn’t change the way this has happened for the world. Because it has taught me a lot about myself and how dedicated I am to my writing. Everything that I have to do is time and energy consuming. But I love it. And that is why I do what I do. For the love of writing. The love of the written word. And the hope that my words will touch one reader, that they’ll mean something to one person out there somewhere. 
Thanks so much for visiting Ley! You can follow the rest of the blog tour at