Thursday, October 30, 2014

Blog Tour - Loop by Karen Akins!

19286673I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Loop by Karen Akins, which was released about a week ago. Please check out Karen's thoughts about time travel, which plays a big part in her new novel:
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today to celebrate the release of LOOP!
LOOP has some pretty twisty-turny, wibbly-wobbly time travel in it. When I was deciding exactly what rules of time travel I wanted/needed to set up, I had one main question that needed to be answered.
Can Shifters change the past?
The answer to this question is pretty much the crux of any time travel story. It drives my character’s motivations and worldview. And there are a lot of great examples of both answers to that question.
On the “yes” side is Back to the Future, Terminator, Looper, Dr. Who (sort of), X-Men: Days of Future Past, some renditions of Star Trek
On the “no” side is The Time Traveler’s Wife, Harry Potter’s time-turner, A Christmas Carol, other renditions of Star Trek
There’s not a right or wrong answer. I look at both of these lists and see time travel that I love on each one. Both sides have their challenges in writing. It’s easier to write yourself into a corner when your characters can’t change their environment or affect the outcome of the past.
At the same time, if you change anything in the past, you have to think of all the other changes that will ripple throughout your story. The Grandfather Paradox is always waiting right outside your door, ready to bite. If you go back in time and kill your grandfather, wouldn’t you cease to exist? But if that happened, then you wouldn’t have existed, and therefore you wouldn’t have been able to kill your grandfather, but then you’re back to existing, so what if you went back in time and killed your grandfather…?
On a side note, how many theoretical grandpas have been killed in the name of science?
Does your brain hurt yet? Here, watch this Big Bang Theory clip on time travel grammar. It will make you feel better (even if it does nothing to help your brainache).
Still don’t feel better? Okay, watch Baby Groot dance.
Ahh, much better.
Thanks again for having me! I hope everyone enjoys LOOP. <3 p="">

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

Gwen has a destiny to fulfill, but no one will tell her what it is.

She’s only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve, and since then nothing has been going right. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. And she’s just learned that her charming time-traveling partner, Gideon, has probably been using her all along.

This stunning conclusion picks up where Sapphire Blue left off, reaching new heights of intrigue and romance as Gwen finally uncovers the secrets of the time-traveling society and learns her fate. (from GoodReads)

Ok, it's been awhile since I read this so short review! I love the series as a whole, especially the first two books. It has a great premise and the characters are hilarious. I also enjoyed the burgeoning romance between Gwen and Gideon. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy the conclusion quite as much. The plot started to get confusing with no great development and Gwen and Gideon's relationship started getting to that insta-love phase. Overall, I liked it but yeah, this one isn't as great as its predecessors.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: library

2013/Henry Holt/451 pages.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - 136

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

Top Ten Books & Movies To Get into the Halloween Spirit


1. Night Film by Marisha Pessl
This book starts out so creepy. I remember just feeling uncomfortable while reading because the author does such a great job of setting a mood. It also has a great mystery that was fun to unravel.

2. The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting
Come on, Violet has a special sense that draws her to dead bodies. Perfect for Halloween.

3. Frost by Marianna Baer
I loved the ambiguity of Frost because you don't know if the house is haunted or the happenings are a result of mental illness.

4. Down a Dark Hallway by Lois Duncan
This probably isn't that scary anymore, but it definitely freaked me out in middle school!


1. The Conjuring - Such a spooky ghost story! I obviously don't believe that it's real, but they do claim that it all happened. Now I can't wait to watch the companion movie Annabelle.

2. The Village - I love this movie not because it's scary but the message is great! I'm sure some people will be freaked out by the scary parts too.

3. Hocus Pocus - Halloween classic

4. Halloweentown - Same for this one. Gotta love those Halloween classics.

5. Halloween - Michael Myers has always creeped me out and I love that it always takes place on Halloween.

6. Silent House - I don't get scared watching horror (unless it's a jump scare) but I remember being truly freaked out by this! Elizabeth Olsen does a great job.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Two of you exist. Only one will survive.

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her. (from GoodReads)

When Dualed was announced however long ago, I thought it sounded so cool. You have a twin that you have to kill? That sounds so awesome and it would be like watching a thriller. Unfortunately, my expectations were way too high for this book.

Honestly, I did not like this book at all and it's sad to say that I can't think of that many redeeming qualities. I just felt like nothing was explained, especially in regards to West and her decisions. There was no backstory, no development, no reasoning behind her actions. Become a trained assassin? Sure! Run away from her alt, even though she's been killing other ones for money no problem? Why not! I think her becoming a Striker was the worst part. Essentially they're assassins for hire, which is technically illegal. But somehow everyone still knows about them and even when West is noticed killing people, no one seems to care. I just don't understand why she decided to join them and why they even let her since she's only 15?! She's not described as being a great fighter but then somehow she is. Seriously what is going on with this book?

Another part that drove me crazy was her relationship with Chord. Definitely not enough backstory there because the set-up is supposed to be that they really like each other but West pushes away Chord for his safety. However, that's not how it comes across. It seems like the author was trying to push them together but it wasn't happening naturally. Therefore I didn't really care about either of them but was confused that Chord kept going back to her even after she ignores him and ditches him multiple times.

All I can say is: I have no interest in the sequel.

Rating: 4 out of 10.
FTC: bought (unfortunately)

2013/Random House/292 pages.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - 192

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.

Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers

In this gripping sequel to THIS IS NOT A TEST, Rhys and Sloane are headed for a safe haven when they get separated along the way. Rhys is determined to reunite with Sloane until he discovers people who might need him more--people who offer him the closest he'll get to everything he's lost, if they can just hold on long enough.

Rhys thinks he has what it takes to survive and find the girl he lost, but in a world overrun by the dead, there are no guarantees and the next leg of his journey will test him in unimaginable ways ... (from GoodReads)

Guys I totally did not expect there to be a sequel to This is Not a Test !!!! I'm so excited now. Please Remain Calm will be released January 15, 2015.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Lyrical, imaginative, and wholly original, this New York Times bestseller with 8 starred reviews is not to be missed.  Rachel Hartman’s award-winning debut will have you looking at dragons as you’ve never imagined them before…
In the kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans live and work side by side – while below the surface, tensions and hostility simmer. 

The newest member of the royal court, a uniquely gifted musician named Seraphina, holds a deep secret of her own. One that she guards with all of her being.

When a member of the royal family is brutally murdered, Seraphina is drawn into the investigation alongside the dangerously perceptive—and dashing—Prince Lucien. But as the two uncover a sinister plot to destroy the wavering peace of the kingdom, Seraphina’s struggle to protect her secret becomes increasingly difficult… while its discovery could mean her very life. (from GoodReads)

On paper, Seraphina should be the kind of book I don't like. I usually shy away from high fantasy because if the world building is less than stellar, I won't enjoy the book. And Seraphina is high fantasy in every conceivable way: dragons that take a human body, new vocabulary, an entirely made-up world. I loved every minute of it.

Rachel Hartman brings the world of Goredd to life. I'm still not sure of how everything works, but it felt like I was thrust into this new world and have to learn as I go along. Everything is so believable and well-done and thought-out. She has some imagination!

I also love the character of Seraphina. She was smart, talented (musically and otherwise), curious, strong, conflicted, sometimes rude, witty, loving, I could go on. She's definitely one of the more fleshed out and developed YA characters out there. The inner turmoil she feels about being half-dragon was so relatable, as I'm sure we've all felt like we've had to hide part of ourselves (though not to extent that Seraphina had to endure). Seraphina's struggle was very heartbreaking and Hartman does a wonderful job of relaying her emotions to the reader.

An important part of the novel is the hatred between dragons and humans, and the stereotyping, prejudice and bigotry that goes along with it. I could definitely see this as a metaphor for present day struggles. The book has the wonderful message of acceptance and tolerance that I'm sure people today could use.

I am so glad that the author is planning a sequel because I thoroughly enjoyed Seraphina and want to spend more time in this world! Too bad I have to wait until 2015!

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: library.

2012/Random House/512 pages

Friday, October 10, 2014

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.

Now he’s alive again.

Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice. (from GoodReads)

This will be a pretty short review. I decided to read Noggin because I absolutely adored Whaley's first novel, Where Things Come Back, which won the 2012 Printz award. Noggin definitely wasn't as good. It was funny, good message, but not the type of book that stays with you, unlike his first novel. I didn't read this book too long ago and I can't even tell you how it ends. I'm still going to check out Whaley's future books but I wonder if they'll compare to his first. I strongly encourage everyone to read Where Things Come Back - it was that good.

Rating: 6 out of 10.
FTC: library

2014/Atheneum/356 pages.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent. (from GoodReads)

I can't believe it took me so long to read Allegiant! It probably had something to do with the fact that so many people told me that they hated it... So I never felt compelled to finish the series. But I'm glad I finally did because I didn't think it was too bad.

I'm pretty far removed from reading Divergent and Insurgent so I'm not as invested in these characters as those who read all three books in a row. So when they act out-of-character or are just annoying (read: Tobias) I wasn't that upset. I was mainly focused on the plot, which I'll admit was pretty far-fetched but I still enjoyed it. All that "science" about genetics is clearly not based in fact, but I just took it at face-value.

The only thing that super annoyed me was Tobias's reaction to one of the twists and then how Tris started becoming a Mary Sue. She even got mad when Tobias didn't do exactly what she wanted and then she got to throw the "I told you so" in his face. That left a bad taste in my mouth.

Now everyone is up in arms about the ending, which I understand. Everyone on GoodReads says that it would have been okay if it was actually needed. I didn't mind it too much, because like I said before, I wasn't really invested in the storyline. I see why Roth wrote it that way and I see why everyone's mad. So you'll just have to read it yourself to see if you like it.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.

2013/Katherine Tegen Books/526 pages

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined. (from GoodReads)

So this book was like a mash-up of The Hunger Games, The Selection, Falling Kingdoms and Midnight Thief (newish book that I've yet to review). It was really interesting seeing elements from other books I've read make their way into this one. I'm not saying the author did this on purpose, especially because Throne of Glass was published long before Midnight Thief (so maybe it was the other way around?). Pretty much what I'm saying is, if you liked those other books, you'll probably like this one.

I thought that Throne of Glass was really easy to read and I rushed through the pages unlike some other books I've read recently. The world-building was pretty good and the plot interesting but also easy to understand. I really liked Calaena, especially because she's supposed to be a cold-blooded murderess, and I really like seeing kick-ass heroines. And while she lived up to the title of assassin for the most part, I wish we could see Calaena in action more often. We know she's killed a lot of people and she tells us frequently how she can disarm so-and-so before they even blink, but there's not a whole lot of showing. What the reader does see is a pretty, feminine girl who cares about her people and plays piano and likes to gossip. I love the idea that Calaena can be both of these things and obviously that's the point, but I wish the author did a better job of integrating these two sides of the character.

And while I enjoyed the two male leads, Prince Dorian and Chaol who is the captain of the king's guard, to me they were the same person. Not much personality differences between the two which is odd when it's supposed to be a love triangle. Usually the girl must choose between two opposites. So that was weird. Hopefully they are more fleshed out in the next novel.

Overall, this book was extremely easy to read and fun for the most part. I enjoyed it besides those two things I didn't like. Hopefully they are corrected in the sequel!

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

2012/Bloomsbury/404 pages.