Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Wrap-up

So, I didn't get to go to BEA or BookCon.  But I was on vacation all last week and it was glorious!  Let's see what happened this month.

End of Days by Susan Ee
Lord Peter and Little Kerstin by Ian Cumpstey
The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Dragon Zoo: Apocalypse by Martyn Perry and Simon Carter
Eric and the Woolly Jumpers by Malcolm Hulme
The Corridor by A.N. Willis
In the Eyes of Madness by Michael Pang
Polarity in Motion by Brenda Vicars
Fading by Heather Kirchhoff

Here's what I read this month
Lord Peter and Little Kerstin
The Girl at Midnight
An Ember in the Ashes
A Court of Thorns and Roses
Dragon Zoo: Apocalypse
Eric and the ?Woolly Jumpers
The Corridor
In the Eyes of Madness
Polarity in Motion
At the Sharp End of Lightning

I read a lot less this month than I did last month, and they were almost all review books.  But I also wrote about 20k words in my book so there's that...

So here's what I got this month

Bought New

  • A Court of Thorns and Roses Hardcover
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses Paperback (UK)
  • The Sin Eater's Daughter
  • Magonia
  • End of Days (this is the second copy)
  • Dead Girls' Dance
  • Midnight Alley
  • Under the Never Sky
  • Hush, Hush
  • Valiant
  • The Winner's Crime
  • Hold me Closer (I may have squealed when I saw this in B&N)
  • Splintered
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Something Strange and Deadly
  • The Evolution of Mara Dyer
  • The Assassin's Blade
Received from Publisher or Author
  • Court of Fives from Little, Brown Books
  • Signed Never Fade from Alexandra Bracken's 30 second twitter giveaway (she also sent an awesome Passenger bookmark!)
  • Not Pictured: Eric and the Woolly Jumpers (already gifted to some awesome kids I know will enjoy it)
Because I have received so many review requests this month, I'm not picturing the ebooks.  I will just list them.

Ebooks for review
  • The Corridor
  • Polarity in Motion
  • Fading
  • In the Eyes of Madness
  • Five Wounds
  • At the Sharp end of Lightning
  • Automation
  • Rebel Song
  • Grounded
  • Awake
  • King Seized
  • Benjamin McTish and the Door Through the Grandfather Tree
  • Benjanim McTish and the Wizards of Coranim
  • Helen the Transartist
  • Lunar Rampage
So that is a quick look at a lot of what's coming up next month.

Bought used at Thrift Store
  • New Moon (Thai)
  • Breaking Dawn (Thai)
  • Breaking Dawn (Thai - another edition)
  • Emma
  • Poems by Robert Frost
So I found these interesting looking Twilight editions in my favorite thrift store.  I bought them for 50 cents each.  I plan to trade them for other things.  Also yes, I love poetry.

All in all, my book haul this month was really big considering I didn't go to any of the conventions.  How was your May?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Review: Fading by Heather Kirchhoff

Title: Fading
Author: Heather Kirchhoff
Release Date: January 1, 2015

What if you're told you won't live another year? What if you feel yourself slowly dying inside? What if you try to do everything you can to not hurt those you love, to live the rest of your days to the fullest? For sixteen-year-old Jennifer that's exactly what happens. She now struggles, knowing exactly what'll happen if she dies. She does her best to live a carefree life, to not question anything, but it's harder than she thought it would be. After all, how can you say goodbye to those you love while you still have time? How can you show your fears without breaking them?

I love short stories.  I can read them quickly and they count toward my Goodreads reading challenge (for which I am crazy behind).

Fading was truly different from anything I've read.  It's written in second person POV (crazy right?) as a story of a sixteen-year-old girl who is losing her battle with cancer.  The point of view makes everything seem more real, making the reader experience what is going on in Jen's mind in a completely different way than first person does.

This is relatively short (which is wonderful in my opinion) and yet Fading does an amazing job of creating tension between family and friends caused by terminal illness.  It's sad to read, because things like this happen every single day.

I would recommend reading this particularly if you're in the mood for something short (as it is).  Even so, it's a good contemporary story.

Note: I received a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (13) The Mirror King

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're really excited about.

This week I'm waiting on...

The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen, #2)Title: The Mirror King
Author: Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: April 5, 2016

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen.

My late-ass WoW.  I'm super excited for this I don't even... And the cover was revealed today and it's so pretty and I have to have this book.  How am I going to wait another year?!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Quick Update

So, it may have gone noticed that I have some posts coming out late.  And I didn't do a TTT this week.

I'm out of town for my vacation, working on a laptop with a broken keyboard. (the computer is also the reason the covers on the "Currently Reading" and "Next Review" haven't been changed)  Good times.  Anyway, this week is going to be a little rough on me.  I had planned to catch up on my reviews.  I have so many books in my backlog.

It turns out that this week was perfect for working on my WIP.  I haven't had any real serious time before now to sit down and work on it.  I'm finally a little more than halfway through the first draft (which is really bad and needs lots of help).

I have all these ideas floating around in my head for stories.  So I'm having trouble really focusing on my current WIP (which is bad).  ADD and writing don't go well together.

Well, I'm hoping to get my first draft done soon (you know since I finally am halfway through).  Oh wow, random (because I'm ADD and I just say whatever is on my mind) I just got a message on goodreads from Brenda Vicars thanking me for my review.

I have no focus (obviously).  I need to change that.  So this week I am going to try and get to 40k words (not very likely).  After this week, posting should resume as usual.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Review: Polarity in Motion by Brenda Vicars

Polarity in MotionTitle: Polarity in Motion
Author: Brenda Vicars
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Release Date: October 6, 2014

Fifteen-year-old Polarity Weeks just wants to live a normal life, but with a mother diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, that’s rarely easy. Her life gets exponentially more disastrous when her sixth-period history classmates start ogling a nude picture of her on the Internet. Polarity would never have struck such a shameless pose, but the photo is definitely of her, and she’s at a complete loss to explain its existence. Child Protective Services yanks her from her home, suspecting her parents. The kids at school mock her, assuming she took it herself. And Ethan, the boy she was really starting to like, backpedals and joins the taunting chorus. Surrounded by disbelief and derision on all sides, Polarity desperately seeks the truth among her friends. Only then does she learn that everyone has dark secrets, and no one’s life is anywhere near normal.

So I meant to write this last night.  But writing reviews while half asleep is a bad idea.

Polarity in Motion was heartbreaking to read.  It makes me so grateful for my highschool experience.  The plot was pretty straightforward.  A naked picture of a girl shows up on the internet.  And then the consequences.  But it's about so much more.  This book deals with so many subjects that are relevant to us these days.  It was really a wonderful read.

The main character is Polarity, a very sheltered fifteen-year-old girl who has moved around a lot due to her mother's mental illness.  I love it when books deal with mental illness.  And this one shows how the family copes with a mother who is not completely stable.  She loves them, but she certainly doesn't always show it.  And the family gets frustrated with her.  But they understand that it's just the way things are.

Ethan has my heart in this book.  I love that Vicars pulled characters from all races.  More young adult books need to do this.  And Ethan is the best kind of guy ever.  He's sweet, friendly, protective.  But he isn't completely predictable.  I kept finding myself asking, "wait, what?  Why did he just do that?  What's going on?"  Until finally things are revealed completely with him.  And even better, because of Ethan, Polarity learns a lot about privileges and race.  She learns to see people differently.  Even though she wasn't "racist" to begin with, she was still half blind to the suffering of others.  And Ethan helped her become a better person.  

Polarity in Motion is so different from anything I've read before.  And yet it's so realistic.  Kids are bullied in school.  And there are lots of consequences.  After the whole naked picture thing happens the police are involved.  Once Polarity's parents are cleared it's not over.  Someone had to make the picture.  And so the blame has to go somewhere doesn't it?  Things in life are never simple.  And Polarity in Motion really displays how difficult life can be.

I would recommend this to anyone that reads young adult books.  Even if contemporary isn't your favorite genre it's a worthwhile read.

Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Review: In the Eyes of Madness by Michael Pang

Title: In the Eyes of Madness
Author: Michael Pang
Publisher: SolaFide Publishing
Release Date: April 30, 2015

A near tragic incident at the hands of his psychotic mother left Declan Peters alone and with so many questions. Years later, Declan is determined to find a way to be closer to his mother and takes a job at the institution where she's being held. That fateful decision will be the impetus for a chain of events so terrifying that Declan will question his own grasp on reality. What he finds will be more horrifying than anything he's ever experienced and more dangerous than anything he's yet known. In a place, rife with demonic possession and sadistic beings, will Declan finally be able to find the answers he's longed for before its too late or will he succumb to the evil forces that inhabit the institution and all who live there?

So, Declan works in the mental hospital where his mom has been since he was seven years old when she tried to kill him.  He has superhuman strength and speed.  A new guy comes to work and teaches him about demons and possession and the like.

Okay.  This was a pretty interesting premise for the plot.  I had a lot of trouble with this one though.  This book is centered upon religion, mainly Christianity as being accepted as truth.  While I'm okay with books dealing with religion, I felt like this was a little much.  Many of the characters were very preachy about religion.  And of course they ended up being correct.  Because religion is where it's at.

I think I would have enjoyed In the Eyes of Madness a lot more if it hadn't been so focused on religion.  I know that is a personal preference.  So I wouldn't say the book wasn't good.  I just personally didn't enjoy it as much as other people might.

Some things I really enjoyed were the P-borns.  Tristan, Zoe and Declan were all very unique.  And very powerful.  And the concept of who and what they were was really interesting.  

Overall, the plot and some of the characters in the book were really interesting.  If you don't take issues with it being religion-centered, then I would recommend it.

Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: The Corridor by A.N. Willis

Title: The Corridor
Author: A.N. Willis
Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Release Date: June 23, 2015

Stel Alaster has never known life without the Corridor. It appeared suddenly seventeen years ago, the only portal to a parallel version of our world—Second Earth. Everyone on First Earth fears Mods, the genetically modified Second Earthers who built the Corridor. They are too smart, too strong, and have powers that can’t be controlled. Any Mod found on First Earth is branded, then detained in the Corridor’s research labs.

Only Stel has a dangerous secret. She has a power, too: She can open a portal to Second Earth . . . and several other parallel universes she’s discovered. If anyone ever finds out, she’ll be imprisoned, no better than a Mod or common lab rat.

But when the Corridor starts to fail, emitting erratic bursts of energy that could destroy First Earth, Stel must risk everything to save the people and world she loves. With the help of an escaped Mod and an infuriatingly arrogant boy from a third universe, Stel sets out to unravel the mysteries of the Corridor and stabilize it before it’s too late. The fate of every world lies in the balance. . . .

The concept of this book was pretty awesome.  Multiple universes?  Check.  Trans-dimensional travel?  Check.  

This book hooked me in from the very beginning and kept me reading until the last page.  The first book in a new series, it left me wanting more.  Where's the next book, please?

Stel is a normal girl on First Earth, until a horrible energy surge gives her powers to open portals to any other dimension of Earth.  Throughout the book she struggles with her new gift and the implications it could have on her and her world.  But she grows.  She learns to use it and control it.  Stel is a slightly complex character.  She wants what's best for her world and for her father.  She doesn't necessarily know what that is, but she's always willing to put him first.  

Meeting Cohl changes things slightly for her.  Their relationship is slightly awkward, but that is what makes it so great.  From the first time we met Cohl I instantly liked him and knew he would play a major role in the story.  And their awkward romance is so realistic that I found myself laughing while reading it.  Because romance is never perfect.  It's messy and weird.  And it's conveyed very well here, even if that's not the main premise of the story.

The setting of The Corridor was brilliant.  Even though the worlds were all so similar, just little differences made each one its own separate place.  And these differences were conveyed so well: through the difference in technological advancements, the lack of people, whatever.  Each Earth was the same Earth, yet it was so vastly different from the next.  The Corridor asks the question: do we have an infinite number of universes?

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  I am now anxiously awaiting the sequel.  It's much recommended to fans of science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian novels.

Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Top Ten theme was a freebie.  So I asked, why do some books leave us feeling empty inside?  Why do authors like to crush our souls?  We hand them our hearts on a silver platter, and they squeeze until there is nothing but dust left.

So my theme today is:

Top Ten Book Hangovers

For this theme, I'm focusing on books that either had a cliffhanger that just made me want to scream or the ending totally broke me.  Either way, I had trouble picking up a new book afterward.  And this should be obvious but... SPOILER ALERT

This book wasn't totally cliffhangery, but the ending was kind of... well I wanted to know a lot more.  And I felt a bit lost when I got to the Acknowledgements page.

Okay, so even though I saw Maven's betrayal coming I was still left hurting by this cliffhanger.  What do I do now?  Oh the feels.

This not only ends in a cliffhanger, it's an infuriating cliffhanger.  I think I cried for like an hour after finishing it.

Debut authors this year seem intent on ripping my heart out.

There's actually a support group for this one on twitter.  Thanks Jodi Meadows...

I was so upset when I finished this book.  I kept thinking as it went on that Sam would be able to save her own life and be able to be with Kent.  Boy was I wrong.

The ending to this was just so.... dull.  The entire book was an epic fight and the ending was... ugh.  I don't even know.  I couldn't pick up another book for a couple days.

So this may be half cheating because I haven't quite finished it yet.  But my coworkers can't keep their mouths shut. Hint: Jon Snow dies.  I instantly don't want to finish this book.

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1)
My reaction at the end of this book? "WHAT?! NOOOO!" instantly goes to pre-order the next book.

I think Veronica Roth will hold some kind of record for worst book hangover for The Book That Shall not be Named.  I cried for hours.  I was sick to my stomach for two days.  WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?!