Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (5)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & The Bookish.

Top Ten Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Buy/Pick Up A Book

Sarah's Picks:

1. Young Adult
2. Russia
3. Richelle Mead
4. Contemporary
5. Fairytale retelling
6. Written in verse
7. Vampires
8. Curses
9. Wonderland
10. Zombies

Angela's Picks:

1. Young Adult
2. Contemporary
3. Lisa Schroeder
5. Kasie West
6. Hannah Moskowitz
7. Tear-jerker
8. Retelling
9. Revenge
10. Road trips

Megan's Picks:

1. Young Adult
2. Contemporary
3. Re-telling
4. Love
5. Dystopian
6. "like the Hunger Games!" (never really works out. ;))
7. Revenge
8. Kody Keplinger
9. Sarah Dessen
10. Meg Cabot

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (4)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & The Bookish.

Top Ten Books I Thought I'd Like MORE/LESS Than I Did

Sarah's Picks:

Books I thought I'd like more than I did.
1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
2. Every Day by David Levithan.
3. A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young.
4. The Bridge by Jane Higgins.
5. Emilie & the Hollow World by Martha Wells.

Books I thought I'd like less than I did.
1. Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey.
2. The Host by Stephenie Meyer.
3. Under the Bridge by Michael Harmon.
4. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout.
5. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.

Megan's Picks:

Books I thought I'd like more than I did:
1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (didn't see that one coming, did you?)
2. You, Maybe by Rachel Vail
3. Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
4. Dare You To by Katie McGarry
5. Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Books I thought I'd like less than I did:
1. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
2. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
4. Dust by Devon Ashley
5. Partials by Dan Wells

Stephanie's Picks:

Books I thought I'd like more than I did:
1. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (I liked it, but I thought I'd love it. I still gave it 4 stars, because it was good)
2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
3. Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer
4. Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic (Just like TSPoLaFS)
5. Atonement by Ian McEwan

Books I thought I'd like less than I did:
1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer (I didn't think I'd like it but I ended up LOVING it!)
2. The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
3. Florence by Ciye Cho
4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
5. Beyond the Eyes by Rebekkah Ford

Diana's Picks:

Books I thought I'd like more than I did:
1. Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
2. Losing it by Cora Carmack
3. The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa
4. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
5. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Men I've Dated by Shane Bolks

Books I thought I'd like less than I did:
1. Sunshine by Nikki Rae
2. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
3. The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen
4. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
5. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Annie's Picks:

Books I thought I'd like more than I did:
1. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by: Jennifer E. Smith
2. The Hunger Games series by: Susanne Collins 
3. Unearthly series by: Cynthia Hand 
4. For Darkness Shows the Stars by: Diana Peterfreund 
5. Angelfire by: Courtney Allison Moulton 

Books I thought I'd like less than I did:
1. Shatter Me series by: Tahereh Mafi
2. Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend by: Becca Ann
3. Perfect Chemistry series by: Simone Elkles 
4. Darkest Powers series by: Kelley Armstrong
5. Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by: Ransom Riggs 

Angela's Picks:

Books I thought I'd like more than I did:
1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
2. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
3. Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
4. Tilt by Ellen Hopkins
5. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Books I thought I'd like less than I did:
1. Teeth by Hannah Moscowitz
2. Angelfall by Susan Ee
3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
4. [all her books] by Lisa Schroeder
5. How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Review: Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers

 Title: Grave Mercy                                                                                    Author: R.L. LaFevers                                                                              Series: His Fair Assassins #1                                                              Source: Bought                                                                            Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt                                    Publication Date: April 3, 2012                                                           Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?                                                   Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.                                                                                    Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
When I heard this book was about nun assassins, I took a double take. Nun ASSASSINS? Say what? I was very pleasantly surprised with this book, and I was engaged the whole time. Combined with a tender, slow building romance, the coolest historical setting ever, and gorgeous writing, this quickly became a favorite!

Ismae is an assassin for St. Mortain, the god of Death. After the covenant saved her years ago, she has trained every day how to kill people quickly and quietly. When she is tasked to delve into the high political circles to see, she uses her exceptional skills to see who is in the midst of betraying the Duchess, Anne.

Ismae is a total kick-ass. That basically describes her the best. After a horrible early life, she doesn’t let anyone get close to her, and it takes her forever to trust. I definitely don’t blame her. She is very strong, clearly, and really knows how to read people. She uses her many skills to her advantage to take out the baddies and she sticks to her guns and her morals and duties. Despite her tough exterior, she’s very sweet and caring inside.

Gavriel Duval is so very adorably cute. He is just about the most loyal and protective person ever. Everything he has had to go through to protect his sister and Ismae is just inspiring. At first, he is a bit cold and hard to read, but once I really got to know him, I fell for him just as fast as Ismae did. He’s beyond caring…just ahhhh. I am such a sucker for Duval. :)

Anne, the Duchess and Duval’s sister, was one of the best characters ever. Although she is very powerful, she is young and kind. I couldn’t imagine having my whole life planned out at such a young age, and she has no say in it! Poor child. I love Beast, Duval’s friend, too. He’s so gruff on the outside, but he’s so lovable on the inside. I basically had a hard time trusting everyone else in the book; it felt like they all had some ulterior motive for their actions. Makes me nervous!

The plot was definitely exciting, and LaFevers didn’t waste anytime diving right into the story. The mystery aspect was so great. It kept me hooked right up until the end. I also adored the historical setting. It felt so dang real. It’s definitely one of the best historical books I’ve ever read. The writing is beautiful and captivating. Their relationship is very slow-building, but it worked amazingly. They clearly did not get along at the beginning, since they both thought the other person was a betrayer. They were thrust together by circumstance, but slowly began to trust, respect, and eventually love each other. Sigh…I really wouldn’t mind my own Duval.

I am sad to see Gavriel and Ismae leave, but I am hoping to see them in Dark Triumph, Sybella, another handmaiden of Death, and Beast’s book, which just released. I’m so stoked! All I can say is more nun assassins!

Favorite Swoon-worthy Quote: Slowly, he leans toward me. His lips are soft and warm as they touch mine. His mouth moves urgently, as if he is trying to experience every nuance and curve of my lips. The utter rightness of this fills me, for it feels I have waited all my life for just this moment. His mouth opens slightly, and he shifts the angle of his kiss, nudging my mouth to do the same, and I am lost in a whole new world of sensation. His mouth is soft compared to the strong, callused hands that grip my waist.
Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)
Rating: 5/5 Ravens!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: Alice in Zombieland

Alice in Zombieland (The White Rabbit Chronicles, #1)Title: Alice in Zombieland
Author: Gena Showalter
Series: White Rabbit Chronicles, #1
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever. 

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.
I absolutely love Alice in Wonderland retellings. I'm also becoming a huge fan of zombie books and by combining those two things you'd think I would be absolutely in love right? Well only kind of. I did love the second half of the book, I just found the beginning pretty boring.

There is only so much you can take when the main character doesn't really do anything. Yes, I know, her family just died, but still the book could have had a lot of the moping, doing nothing part cut out. Once she starts school it gets a little better and then when she finally joins up with Cole's group things get interesting.

The idea of teenagers going out and hunting zombies is pretty cool. The thing that really makes this story is what the zombies actually are. They aren't your typical zombies that go around eating human flesh, they're more of a spirit form. I really have never seen zombies done in this way and that really makes this book stand out.

I really wasn't a huge fan of Alice in the beginning. I got pretty bored while she moped and did nothing. As the story went on however, she turned out to be a pretty tough character who knew how to kick zombie butt. Then there's Cole, the love interest. He's tall, dark and brooding. Oh and he's major trouble. What isn't to love? He's actually pretty sweet and kind once you break through that bad boy shell of his too. One of my favorite character's was Kat. She was funny and outgoing. Spunky and outspoken. She was just an all around enjoyable character, I found myself looking forward to the parts where she made an appearance.

This is definitely a unique twist on the zombie story which I really liked. I am definitely going to be picking up the sequel when it comes out and I can't wait until the next trip into Zombieland.

Final Rating:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cinder [Review]

This was originally posted on my personal book blog In Wonderland

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles, #1
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends- Hardcover; Square Fish- Paperback (an imprint of Macmillan)
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Source: Paperback, 387 pages
Average Rating: 4.06
Challenge: 2013 Page Challenge
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…
Sixteen-year-old Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past and is reviled by her stepmother. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. Because there is something unusual about Cinder, something that others would kill for.
Book Links:
Goodreads || Amazon || B&N
First Lines:
“The screw through Cinder’s ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle. Her knuckles ached from forcing the screwdriver into the joint as she struggled to loosen the screw one gritting twist after another.”

My Thoughts:
I loved this book! So much! I didn’t think I was going to like it as much as I did. I was a little weary to start this book, but I am so glad that my collaborative book bloggers pushed me to read because our buddy reads for the month of April is Scarlet, which is the second installment to this series.

So, what can I say about Cinder? Cinder is a cyborg. It takes place in the future, way in the future, approximately 126 years after WWIV, yes, that’s right, World War 4! Since we haven’t had a WWIII yet, and considering how long it has been since the last WW, you can only imagine how far into the future this is. So, that being said, androids/cyborgs should be common. There are hovercrafts and people living on the moon. Whoever said that this is a twist between the Cinderella fairy tale, The Terminator, and Star Wars, was exactly right. I couldn’t explain it any better even if I tried.

So, let’s get down to it. Cinder, I thought it was spectacular. Ingenious really. Painstakingly beautiful; it kept me holding on to the edge of my seat. I barely got any sleep because I just kept wanting to know what was going to happen next. I literally could not put the book down.

The characters. Let’s see, Cinder was a sarcastic, smart, kickass heroine. I loved her as a character. Iko, one of my favorite characters ever! She’s hilarious and I want her as my android and my friend! Peony, I wanted her as my sister. Kai… oh, what can I say about this dreamy heartthrob? Adri, hated her, with a passion; however, she fit the bill as evil stepmother perfectly. Same with Cinder’s other stepsister, Pearl. What a bitch (excuse my language). And last but not least, Queen Lavena. The Lunar Queen, biggest bitch in the galaxy. Killing off her own family just so that she could take the throne, bitch please. The fact that she has “auburn” hair, we all know that means a reddish brown color. We all know my love for redheaded women. Just so the literary world knows, us redheads are not all evil, contrary to what people thought in the medieval times. I kind of went on a rant to some of my bookish friends about that, but oh well, I got over it as soon as I found out that Scarlet (a character in the second installment) has red hair, and she’s a good guy!

I took a risk reading this book. When I first heard about it, I was weary. I put it on my TBR list but it wasn’t something I was going to be reading right away. Cinderella retellings are SO popular and with it being so science fiction-y, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. Even though two of my favorite shows ever are Sci-fi (Warehouse 13 and Eureka). I cannot stress to you how much I LOVED this book!! You should definitely at the very least give it a try. I’m so glad I did and now I’m going to go straight and read Scarlet and dive back into the wonderful world Marissa built!

Memorable Quotes:
“Cinder jerked, her head smacking the underside of the table. She shoved back from the desk, her scowl landing first on a lifeless android that sat squat on her worktable and then on the man behind it. She was met with startled copper-brown eyes and black hair that hung past his ears and lips that every girl in the country had admired a thousand times.” Pg. 6

“Instead of answering, the prince bent down, craning his neck so that she had no choice but to meet his eyes, and dashed a grin at her. Her heart winced.” Pg. 8

“’Then my only mistake was in waiting too long to be rid of you,’ Adri said, running the washcloth between her fingers. ‘Believe me, Cinder. You are a sacrifice I will never regret.’” Pg. 67

“It has been five years since you became a part of this household, Cinder. Five years since Garan left you to me. I still don’t know what made him do it, don’t know why he felt obligated to travel to Europe, of all places, to find some…mutant to take care of. He never explained it to me. Perhaps he would have someday. But I never wanted you. You know that.” Pg. 64

“’Yeah, well.’ Cinder pinched her metal fingers with the pliers’ nose. ‘We all have our weaknesses.’
‘I know,’ said Iko. ‘Mine is shoes.’” Pg. 193

About the Author: (From her website)
One of my first spoken words was “story” (right along with “bath” and “cookie”), my favorite toy as an infant was a soft, squishable book, and I’ve wanted to be a writer since I first realized such a job existed.
When I was fourteen my best friend introduced me to anime and fanfiction—over the years I would complete over forty Sailor Moon fanfics under the penname Alicia Blade. Those so inclined can still find my first stories at fanfiction.net. Writing fanfic turned out to be awesome fun and brought me in contact with an amazing group of fanfiction readers and writers. As Alicia Blade, I also had a novelette, “The Phantom of Linkshire Manor,” published in the gothic romance anthology Bound in Skin (CatsCurious Press, 2007).
When I was sixteen I worked at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Tacoma, Washington, affectionately termed “The Spag.” (Random factoid: This is also the restaurant where my parents met some 25 years before.) I attended Pacific Lutheran University where I sorted mail that came to the dorm, carted tables and chairs around campus, and took writing classes, eventually earning a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Children’s Literature. Knowing I wanted a career in books, I would also go on to receive a Master’s degree in Publishing from Pace University (which you can learn more about here). After graduation, I worked as an editor in Seattle for a while before becoming a freelance typesetter and proofreader.
Then, day of days, someone thought it would be a good idea to give me a book deal, so I became a full-time writer. CINDER is my first novel, though I have an adorable collection of unfinished ones lying around too.
I now live with my husband and our three cats (Calexandria Josephine, Stormus Enormous, and Blackland Rockwell III), who go in and out, in and out, about eight hundred times a day. My favorite non-bookish things include Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, re-watching episodes of Firefly, and playing all manners of dress-up.

Author Links:
Goodreads || Website || Blog || Twitter