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Monday, April 30, 2012

"Until I Die" by Amy Plum

Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: eGalley
Age Group: Young Adult

Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

Since this is the second book in this awesome series, this is going to be a short one, because I don't want to risk spoiling anything from the first book.

There are so many things I love about this series. I love that it's set in Paris, because I'm a huge fan of Paris and wish that I could go back there. I love how Amy does such a wonderful job of describing the places and things that Kate, Vincent and the other characters go and see. I am completely enamored with the wonderful set of characters that Amy has created for us. The "family" that Kate has found herself apart of, with the revenants, has such a wonderful dynamic. They all play such an integral part to their existence and you truly feel how much they care for one another. Kate is so much stronger this time around. Not that she ever has been, but she's even less helpless when it comes to her safety, in book two. She's learning how to take care of herself and even though she probably should be sometimes, she's much less afraid to jump head first into situations that could harm her. And can I just say, I think Georgia is one of my favorite characters in a long time! She's got so much spunk and now that she has some idea of what Kate's really been up to, she's more than willing to join the fight and help when she can. I love sister solidarity!

There are so new characters and a new mystery that unfolds in this installment, but I loved the direction it took and I think I might have even liked this book better than the first. And oh my goodness, that ending was just...I have no words. I am desperate to find out where this is going to go. If you've already read DIE FOR ME, then I definitely suggest picking up UNTIL I DIE once you get the chance. If you haven't given this series a try yet, what are you waiting for? It's original, romantic, action-packed and funny! A must read :0)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Breaking Beautiful" by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Publisher: Walker Children's
Format: eGalley
Age Group: Young Adult

Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.

When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.

I am having a hard time coming up with the right words to describe the emotions from this book. It was such an excellently written story with so much sadness and a lot of mystery woven in. I both liked and didn't like being in Allie's head the whole time. It was her story, so having it told from her point of view made it feel a little like my experience, too. I got to remember things right along with her and reliving the experiences from her perspective made it feel more real. Unfortunately, a lot of the things that Allie had gone through were so heartbreaking and terrifying. I completely understand why she wasnt' trying harder to remember the things she'd blocked out, because the things she did remember were awful.

I don't want anyone to think this was a dark and depressing book, because it wasn't. It's not a light and easy read, because there are a lot of tough issues to be dealt with, but there is growth and hope woven in there too. Allie starts off with everyone blaming her for Trip's death and everything that she does is scrutinized and held against her. She's also got someone leaving creepy notes in her locker, which adds to the overall mystery of the book. The biggest mystery is about how Trip died and the only one who was there, is Allie. Unfortunately, Allie can't remember anything about that night. It's terrifying when you can't remember something so horrible, it's even worse when you aren't sure if you are the one responsible.

Most people weren't on Allie's side, but she did have a few people who never left her corner. Her brother Andrew was such an excellent character. He suffers from Cerebral Palsy, and has a hard time with things that come so easy to others, but he loves Allie so much and she feels the exact same way about her. I love reading about siblings who not only really care about each other, but are also best friends. They didn't always get along, but in the end the two of them always stick together. Then there is Blake. He and Allie have known each other since they were very young, and he tries his hardest to be there for her after everything happens, even while she keeps pushing him away.

This story was completely engrossing and really well written. I didn't fall in love with all of the characters, in fact I kind of despised half of them, but that's the point. Not everyone is understanding and kind, but you learn to move on and live without caring what they think. Allie was a great character to go on this journey with and I had so much emotion for her by the end. I definitely recommend this for anyone who likes a solid contemporary and a little mystery. I cannot wait to see what Jennifer Shaw Wolf has in store for us next!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Cinder" by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: eGalley
Age Group: Young Adult

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. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. 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.

It has been a really long time since I've read the original Cinderella story, but I've always loved the various book and movie incarnations of it. When I first read the blurb for this book I thought, what could be more brilliant than a cyborg Cinderella, living in a dystopian world, with an impending intergalactic war? Um, nothing! Oh my goodness, this book was completely wonderful and insane.

I loved New Bejing and Marissa Meyer did an amazing job at building this world and making it feel like a real place. The market, the palace, Dr. Erland's office and the quarantine warehouse were all described in such a way that I felt like I was standing in them with the characters, even when they weren't very pleasant places to be. I also really liked the droids that were always around for various things. I've always thought it would be pretty cool to have robots around to do things for us, but these droids had personalities and some of them even seemed to have connections with people. That was so much cooler than regular old robots.

Now let's talk about Cinder. She was fantastic! So self-depricating and yet, so determined. I liked that we weren't reading the whole story from inside her head, it definitely felt more like a fairytale that way and then we also got to have scenes with some of the other characters when she wasn't around. I thought it might be weird with her cyborg attributes, but it was so easy to fall into and eventually you just feel like she is a regular person. No matter how much more than regular she turns out to be. I am the biggest fan of her droid Iko. Everytime she was around she made me chuckle and I loved the relationship she had with Cinder. They had such a comraderie and even though she had to obey Cinder's evil stepmother, she would be there for Cinder as far as she could. I know you aren't supposed to like the stepmother in this story and Adri was no different. She was so infuriating and I just wanted to reach into the book and smack her. Prince Kai, on the other hand, I wanted to reach into the book and snuggle. He was just so charming and nothing like you would expect a prince to be. From the very beginning he treated Cinder as someone worthy of his time. He may not have known she was a cyborg, but she was still technically beneath him and he never once let that stop him from seeing her. And the tension! I'm glad this isn't an instant love situation, especially since we have a few more books to look forward to, but I just wanted to scream at them to kiss already! Ugh!

The story definitely has a slow build to it, we get to gather a lot of information about the characters and the way things in their world work, before we really get into the conflicts of the story. The whole book was fantastic, but those last few chapters were just, wow! Some of the things that happened were a bit predictable, given that it is a take on a well known fairytale, but it didn't matter at all because it was such a fun ride getting there and her final delivery packed a nice bit of wallop. I am so excited to find out what is going to happen next in this wonderful series, I'm sure Marissa Meyer has more than a few surprises up her sleeve for us. 

CINDER Audiobook Clip:

CINDER Book Trailer:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Month of Cinder: Guest Post by Marissa Meyer!!

It's been so awesome hosting this month long event for the book, and even though the month is coming to an end, CINDER is always around to pick up and read again! Thank you so much to all of you who have joined in this month and big thanks to Marissa Meyer for writing the book and being so generous and sharing CINDER with us :0)

Alright, alright...I'll get to the good stuff and I've saved the best post for last guys!

A guest post from Marissa Meyer telling a little about the journey of the first words of CINDER all the way to being a published author! She certainly didn't let bumps along the way get her down and we are all so lucky they didn't! I am so glad that I've gotten to experience this amazing sci-fi fairytale and I cannot wait to see where Marissa takes the series.

The Story behind CINDER: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles

The seed for CINDER and The Lunar Chronicles was first planted in my brain after entering a writing contest in early 2008. For the contest, I’d written a short story (a Sailor Moon fanfic, titled “Luna v. 4.2”), which gave a futuristic twist to “Puss in Boots,” one of my long-time favorite fairy tales.

I would later come to find out that there were only two stories submitted for that writing contest… and mine didn’t win.

Perhaps most authors would hear that and recognize that science-fiction is clearly not their forte and they should move on to another genre. But not me. I was inspired. I’d had so much fun writing the (losing) story, and it had given me an idea… an inspiration. I was going to write an entire series of interconnected futuristic fairy tales. As far as I knew, it had never been done before, which is a rarity in itself, so I started brainstorming. Rumpelstiltskin as an android? Bluebeard as a rogue spaceship merchant? The possibilities seemed endless.

And then I had what I refer to as my “boy sparkling in a meadow moment” as I was falling asleep one night.

Cinderella… as a cyborg!

I could envision her instantly: a mechanic instead of a servant, but still oppressed, still slaving away for her hateful stepmother, still dreaming about going to the ball despite knowing its impossibility.

The ideas flooded my head and would continue to inspire me for weeks, eventually connecting with other favorite fairy tales until The Lunar Chronicles began to look more like one continuous storyline, rather than four separate books set in the same futuristic world. And Cinder, my star, was at the heart of its all.

That November (National Novel Writing Month), I sat down to get to work and ended up dashing out both CINDER and Book 2: SCARLET, along with about 1/3 of Book 3: CRESS, all in 30 days. (Word count total: 150,011. Why the insanity? I was trying to win yet another contest… which I also lost. But that’s a story for another time.)

Skip forward two years, two re-writes, and countless revision and editing drafts later.

Once I’d finally, finally gotten the book to a point where I was happy with it and it was time to send it out into the world, things started to happen very fast. I queried agents and, two months later, signed with the first agent I’d queried. Two weeks after that, she went on submission to editors. That was on a Friday, and we had our first offer the following Monday. About a week later, the book went to auction and finally sold to Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan.

WHEW. It was a crazy whirlwind of a time, and BAM, just like that, I’d done it. I’d sold my first book. I’d sold my first series of books. I was going to be published.

Those were magic words. I was going to be published.

That was almost a year and a half ago. CINDER was released earlier this year, on January 3. It still feels like I’m walking through a dream, one that’s been recurring in my fantasies since I was a kid and has somehow manifested into reality.

I couldn’t be more thrilled with the enthusiasm and love I’ve received from readers and the YA community, and knowing that my book is being read and enjoyed is one of the greatest honors I could ever imagine. My only hope is that Cinder’s story will continue to enthrall and entice through to the very end.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

"The Fine Art of Truth or Dare" by Melissa Jensen

Release Date: February 16th, 2012
Publisher: Speak
Format: Paperback
Age Group: Young Adult

Ella is nearly invisible at the Willing School, and that's just fine by her. She's got her friends - the fabulous Frankie and their sweet cohort Sadie. She's got her art - and her idol, the unappreciated 19th-century painter Edward Willing. Still, it's hard being a nobody and having a crush on the biggest somebody in the school: Alex Bainbridge. Especially when he is your French tutor, and lessons have started becoming, well, certainly more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl actually end up with a happily ever after with the golden boy, when no one even knows they're dating? And is Ella going to dare to be that girl?

I wanted to love this book so much. I had been desperately pining for it for months and when I finally got my hands on it, I was so excited. And I liked it, it was adorable and had some really excellent characters, but in the end I was left a little disappointed.

I loved the time we spent with Ella and her family. That dynamic was fantastic and one of my favorite parts of the book. Her relationships with her dad and her grandma were so wonderful and you could really feel the love between them. I also really liked spending time with Ella's friends. Frankie and Sadie were such an awesome pair. None of the trio was perfect and that's what made them work so perfectly as friends. Their constant playing of truth or dare was fun. I think it's an awesome way to keep learning about your friends. And my absolute favorite thing about this book was Ella's "relationship" with Edward Willing, swoony artist from the 1800's. Sure it could be considered weird that a teenage girl has conversations with a dead man, but I loved these parts of the story. Since she was obviously not talking to Edward, and was really only having conversations with herself, I thought it was a great way to show her personal growth.

The thing that didn't wow me in this one, was the romance between Ella and Alex. It's not that I didn't like Alex. He was okay for the most part, though I felt like he could have been more of a man from time to time, but I just didn't believe his and Ella's relationship. Even though he denied it, I didn't really feel like he wanted people to see them together, and I felt like Ella deserved more than that.

I am such a fan of the contemporary genre in general and it always sucks when one of them isn't a home run for me, but even though it wasn't everything I hoped it would be, it was still a cute, fun read! And just because I wasn't completely sold on the romance angle of the book, I was still rooting for Ella all they way and adored all of the time I got to spend with her and the people in her life.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"Princesses of Iowa" by M. Molly Backes

Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Publisher: Candlewick
Format: eGalley
Age Group: Young Adult

What does it mean to do wrong, when no one punishes you? A smart and unflinching look at friendship, the nature of entitlement, and growing up in the heartland.

Paige Sheridan has the perfect life. She's pretty, rich, and popular, and her spot on the homecoming court is practically guaranteed. But when a night of partying ends in an it-could-have-been-so-much worse crash , everything changes. Her best friends start ignoring her, her boyfriend grows cold and distant, and her once-adoring younger sister now views her with contempt. The only bright spot is
her creative writing class, led by a charismatic new teacher who encourages students to be true to themselves. But who is Paige, if not the homecoming princess everyone expects her to be? In this arresting and witty debut, a girl who was once high-school royalty must face a truth that money and status can't fix, and choose between living the privileged life of a princess, or owning up to her mistakes and giving up everything she once held dear.

I love a book that has a solid group of characters and this book was so expertly character driven. The story starts with Paige coming home from a summer away and trying to fit back into her perfect, popular world. The problem is that nothing feels the same since she and her two best friends were in a bad car accident and she was exiled to Paris. She comes home to a lot of resentment, emotional distance, and fake happiness. Right away we meet Paige's mother and I don't even know what to say about her. I feel like deep down she must think that she's being a good mother, but the things she said to her daughter and the type of encouragement she gave her was appalling. It automatically made me sympathetic toward Paige, which worked in her favor, because she did a few cringeworthy things throughout the book, too.

At first Paige's two best friends and boyfriend came off as completely fake and insincere. As I got to know them a little bit better, my opinions shifted slightly, but it was obvious that they were products of the adults they grew up around. None of them did anything because they wanted to, so much of their lives were dictated by what others wanted or thought. I was so frustrated with Paige for much of the first part of the book, because she was making such ridiculous choices and she was letting her fear control her. I actually wanted to put down the book a couple of times at first, because I just couldn't relate to her desperate need to please these people. I'm so glad I kept reading and what ultimately saved the book for me was Ethan, and later on Shanti. I loved the way Paige could be herself when she was around them and I was so proud of her each time she left a little of the fake Paige behind. She wasn't a perfect character, by any means, but when she found some real friends instead of competitors, she was able to figure out the Paige she wanted to be. Or at least start to figure it out.

Ethan and Shanti cracked me up. They had such great back and forth with each other, and they brought it out in Paige when she was with them. I loved that they weren't afraid to be themselves no matter what people were saying about them, or the insults that were hurled. They are the kind of kids everyone should want to be friends with in high school. You can be cool without being popular. There were some pretty serious topics tackled in this one, too. You've got the overbearing parents who don't necessarily set the best examples, but you've also got racism and homophobia at the forefront. I thought it was dealt with really well, it may have taken some time, but all of these awful things finally came together and helped some of the characters grow. This is an excellent contemporary, by no means light and fluffy, but absolutely worth the read. I loved and hated the characters, which for me is a sign of good writing. If the author can evoke emotions from me, while reading, then I am an instant fan. Definitely pick this one up :0)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Month of Cinder Giveaway + Previous Giveaway Winner!!

First I'd like to say Congrats to G. Donald Cribbs! You've won the first giveaway of a hardcover of CINDER and a bookplate signed by Marissa Meyer! An email has been sent, so check your inbox!

Now onto to the new giveaway, and it's a BIG one!! There will be a grand prize pack and two smaller swag prize packs...and they are awesome :0)

*The Red Riding Hood magnets & postcards are courtesy of Michelle (@YA_Bookworm07) and her extremely artistic self! You can check out more of her stuff in her etsy shop: here!
Grand Prize Pack:

*A signed UK version of CINDER (Paperback)
*Signed bookplate (for book two!)
*CINDER mirror w/ cute holder pouch
*CINDER stickers, bookmark & card
*Red Riding Hood magnet & postcard

Swag Pack #1

*CINDER bookmarks, stickers, and card
*Red Riding Hood magnet & postcard

Swag Pack #2

*CINDER bookmarks, sticker, and card
*Red Riding Hood postcard

Good Luck Everyone!! And thanks for all of your support during the event, you've been awesome :0)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 16, 2012

Month of Cinder: Guest Reviews!! :0)

Today we've got a few awesome guest reviews for CINDER! I figured since I've already reviewed it on the blog, I'd let other people's reviews represent for the month! And later in the week I'm going to have another post full of CINDER goodness, so stay tuned!



First up is an awesome review by Jenna @ Making the Grade! I don't know if you guys have ever checked out her blog, but she writes excellent reviews and really awesome feature posts. Definitely stop by her blog :0)

CINDER is a well written re-envisioning of the classic fairy tale… with cyborgs, alien races and interracial war in the mix. I admire Marissa’s bravery in undertaking a well-known story and dropping it right in the middle of a futuristic setting as well as turning Cinder(ella) into a cyborg. For the traditionalist, that is quite a lot to take in. It could have gone bad, so very, very bad, but amazingly it works! And it works in a very, very good way indeed.

Plot: 9
So you have the classic fairy tale, ok. But place it somewhere in the distant future after multiple World Wars have ultimately united the citizens of Earth. Throw in a race of Lunars (people living on the moon) and you have the world conflict. Then you make Cinder even more of an outcast by turning her into a cyborg in a world where cyborgs are looked down upon in society as the lowest of the low. Mix in a deadly disease, a controlling step-mother and two step-sisters, as well as a mystery of epic proportions, and you have turned the classic fairy tale into this highly entertaining, futuristic cyberpunk chronicle. Sadly, I did notice a couple little “holes” here and there while reading, though I’m not sure if they are holes, so much as they are items that we’re not yet supposed to know about (there are three more books currently planned in the series). This book definitely does read like the first part in a continuing story. We’ve only scratched at the surface here. (But still I wonder, did I miss the explanation as to how the Lunars ended up on the moon and became the “Lunar” race in the first place?)

Characters: 10
I instantly fell in love with the main character, Cinder. She is both meek and strong-willed, if such a thing can be said about a single person (er, cyborg). She is fixated with the belief that her kind -cyborgs- are worthless and have no real place in the world. All thanks to the words of her step-mother, as well as the beliefs of those who live and work around her. Yet, at the same time, Cinder knows what she wants and in most cases (except for those that have some relation to her being a cyborg, of course) she will stand strong in her convictions and work tirelessly for what she wants or for what she believes is right. I admire Cinder, both as a person, per say, and as the heroine of the story. Ohhh, but there moments when I seriously wanted to strangle her (for reasons I will not reveal)!!! In addition, I fell in love with the “Prince”, Kai. In Cinder we have the opportunity to get into the prince’s head, witness his side of the events and learn more about his story, which is something lacking in most classic fairy tales. The step-mother fits her mold, as do the step-sisters (or at least one of them). Cinder also has a wonderful android friend, Iko, who I grew to like for her humor and personality (chip). Finally, there is an additional antagonist in the story, Lunar Queen Levana, who chilled me to the bone on more than one occasion.

Setting: 9
At some unknown time in the future, people are identified with chips in their arms, use net screens to communicate, hover cars have replaced the modern vehicle, broken body parts are replaced with cyborg pieces, the elite are assisted by androids and all people live in a unified world where the Commonwealth appears to reign supreme. Oh, and there is a race of people on the moon who we are apparently deathly afraid of. This is the world in which Cinder lives, and it is in many ways familiar, yet in ever more ways like a foreign unimaginable future. I love the way that Marissa takes components of our current world and twists them into things of her future world. Oh, and apparently, in this distant future, we have already experienced not one but two more World Wars – the second of which almost destroyed us all. Finally, the fear that the citizens have for some new, fast-acting and deadly disease that is rampaging around the land (which is incurable at that) is felt in nearly every action and/or word said by the characters. I only wish that a little more could have been said about how we got to this future.

Pacing: 8
Quite a lot happens to poor Cinder within these 300 pages. There is a large amount of build up and multiple peaking climaxes within the book before you even reach the final, fast-paced climax. At its core, the book follows the classic storyline of Cinderella, but it is a telling unlike any Cinderella you have ever read or seen before. There is no fairy godmother here, and thankfully there are no clothed mice who talk either. And the ball, well that is something else entirely… It’ll be difficult to put this book down once you’ve started, so be sure to make a corner of your home nice and comfy for a handful of hours or, if you’re a busy mommy like me, for a whole weekend. But please please read the book knowing that this is the first entry in a four part series. With that said, I desperately want the second installment, Scarlet. (Like, NOW NOW NOW!)

Style: 9
Oh my, the dialogue. I personally believe that dialogue is the strongest part of Marissa Meyers’ writing. At times witty and at times quite tragic and sad. She has a way of making you sympathize when you should be sympathizing, or suspicious when you know a character may be pulling one over on you. She will make you despise those who commit wrong doings. There is also a lot of foreshadowing splattered throughout, some of which (most unfortunately) caused me to know the outcome before it even happened. But no worries! Even if it is a bit predictable, you will still find yourself cheering, shrieking or cringing as the events unfold. I did subtract a point though, since I, in all my naivety, could not be surprised to the very end. Others may find it even easier to guess what happens next.

I enjoyed Cinder to my geeky core and I look forward to reading Scarlet in 2013, Cress in 2014 and Winter in 2015. (My! That sounds so far away!) I would recommend this book to anyone who likes cyberpunk, science fiction, fairy tales or anime/manga. The author is a Sailormoon fan, and its influence is slightly apparent in her writing. (That’s a major compliment, coming from a fellow Sailormoon fan.)

Next up is a review by Monica @ Cover Analysis! I wanted to copy and paste her review here on the post, but it's mulitmedia and is best viewed directly on her blog. It's a great review and immensly entertaing, so definitely go check it out :0)

CINDER Review:


And last, but not least, we've got a review from Evie @ Bookish! I love how she incorporates quotes from the book into her review!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer is one outrageously amazing book! If you haven't read it yet, get on it. LIKE. RIGHT NOW. It's funny, touching, thought-provoking, fiercely compelling and insanely heartbreaking. Ridiculously well-written, taut, original, deeply emotional and gorgeously mesmerizing, it's the definition of a page-turner.

She was a cyborg, and she would never go to a ball.
Linh Cinder is a cyborg, which of course means some of her body parts have been replaced with mechanical ones. It also means, she's a second-class citizen and she is treated as such. She lives with her "adopted family" in New Beijing, in the Eastern Commonwealth, and has to earn her keep working as a full-service mechanic at the Beijing's weekly market. The Earth's population, ravaged by Letumosis, was driven to the brink of extinction. No one knows the cause of this worldwide pandemic that already killed thousands of people. No one knows how to cure it, either.
Imagine there was a cure, but finding it would cost you everything. It would completely ruin your life. What would you do?
Letumosis is not the only thing that Prince Kai has to worry about, though. There is also the threat of war against the Lunar (Moon) Empire hanging over the nation (no pun intended!). The evil Queen Levana has long been lusting over the blue planet. She wants Earth for herself, and she always gets everything she wants. She's powerful. She can manipulate the bioelectricity of people around her, casting a sort of glamour, making them see and feel whatever she chooses. She's despicable and ruthless, yet people can't resist her "charm". She's ugly and disgusting, yet all that others can see is a beautiful, trust-worthy, angel-like woman. And they follow her. And now she wants Prince Kai and Earth, and she's tired of waiting and negotiating.
"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."
Cinder's world is flipped inside-out when her beloved little sister, Peony, falls ill and is taken away to die in isolation. Her grief-stricken step-mother blames Cinder for her daughter's sickness. She sends Cinder away, volunteering her as a test subject for plague testing. But that's just the beginning of her problems. What she's about to discover will change not only her life, but also the lives of everyone around her, possibly the whole planet.
He was the fantasy of every girl in the country. He was so far out of realm, her world, that she should have stopped thinking about him the second the door had closed. Should stop thinking about him immediately. Should never think about him again, except maybe as a client - and her prince.
And yet, the memory of his fingers against her skin refused to fade.
This book left me speechless.
When I first started reading, I was, like, "So OK, it looks like just another re-telling of the classic fairy tale with a futuristic cyborg twist". I was intrigued (I have a THING for anything clockwork), but not entirely sold yet. The first 20-30 pages is like that. The beginning of the story was great, but with Prince Kai visiting Cinder's mechanical shop, and then Cinder day-dreaming about His Hotness, it didn't have the air of uniqueness about it. Not until Peony got sick. That's exactly when - forgive my French - shit hits the fan (trust me, it's a very accurate description of how things go really bad from this moment onward). From that point in the story EVERYTHING you thought you knew about Cinderella is re-defined and re-envisioned. For the most part it still follows the simple set up of the original tale, but Meyer adds some seriously insane depth to it. She builds around it, gracefully weaving all the fascinating futuristic details and extraterrestrial elements into the plot, creating a complex, impressive, fantastically imagined world. It's mind-blowing.
Her netlink fished for information, telling her that the palace had been built after the World War IV, when the city was little more than rubble. It was designed in the fashion of the old world, with hearty dosages of both nostalgic symbolism and state-of-the-art engineering. The pagoda-style roofs were made of gold-tinged tiles and surrounded by Qilin gargoyles, but the tiles were actually galvanized steel covered with tiny solar capsules that created enough energy to sustain the entire palace, including the research wing, and the gargoyles were equipped with motion sensors, ID scanners, 36-degree cameras, and radars that could detect approaching aircrafts and hovers within a sixty-mile radius.
Marissa Meyer created a truly unforgettable world. Her writing style is amazingly descriptive and enjoyable. She has such a fabulous imagination (and is not afraid to use it!). I can easily picture New Beijing in my head. I think the setting of the story couldn't be any more perfect. On top of the fabulous world-building there's also the savvy plot line. It's a mesmerizing blend of stempunk, fairy tale AND mystery. Some plot developments are easy to predict, but mostly you're just sitting there with your jaw on your knees and eyes bulging out in surprise. And even if you could predict everything that will happen, you'd still love reading about it - it's a real crowd-pleaser in terms of its readability.

I loved the characters. To say that they had more depth than the characters from the original fairy tale would be a major understatement. For once it's not about the silly ball, dancing with the shallow Prince or running away in a carriage made of pumpkin! The characters are real, their emotions are real, they have real problems, fears, struggles. There is a ball, but it's not the kind of ball you imagine when you think of Cinderella. There's a mechanical foot instead of a glass slipper and the dress is not only wrinkled, grease-stained and not in the least magical, but there is also a profound meaning to it. The Prince is not a brain-dead, spoiled little master with personality deficiency, who fancy sumptuous balls. He's an intelligent, good-hearted young man, who finds himself caught between duty and love. He has some insanely difficult decisions to make, and choosing a bride for himself is the least of his problems. Even the wicked step-mother is not entirely rid of human feelings. As much as I disliked her, she did have a few genuinely heart-breaking moments, when you could see a whole different layer of emotions shining through. My favorite character, though, was Cinder's adorable android friend, Iko. She was ROTFL-worthy, witty, supportive, loyal and just so.. cute! Her hilarious comments made for fantastic tension breakers. I really hope to see more of Iko in the next book of the Lunar Chronicles! Oh, and let's not forget about Queen Levana! Oh lord, what a gorgeously evil character she is! The White Witch and the Snow Queen combined wouldn't stand a chance! The whole concept of the Lunar Kingdom and the long lost Princess Selene reminded me of Sailor Moon - how could it not?! There are of course some major differences, but I'm fairly confident that Naoko Takeuchi's greatly enjoyable manga series inspired this breath-taking YA debut novel in some ways. And I LOVED IT!

To sum it all up: Cinder by Marissa Meyer is one helluva book! It's only the beginning of 2012 and yet I'm 100% sure this book will make it to my TOP 10 of 2012 list. I can't wait to learn more about Queen Levana and the mysterious Lunar Kingdom, and find out what will happen to Cinder, Nainsi and Prince Kai. I strongly recommend this read to everyone!!!


Thanks to Evie, Jenna and Monica, for letting me feature their reviews for this event. I love reading multiple reviews for a book that I loved, because it's always nice to see other peoples opinions on things you loved or didn't like so much! If you guys have CINDER reviews on your blogs, or Goodreads, or anywhwere, just leave the link in the comments so we can all check them out!


"Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe" by Shelley Coriell

Release Date: May 1st, 2012
Publisher: Amulet Books
Format: ARC
Age Group: Young Adult

Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

This book sounded like the perfect kind of contemp and I knew it was one I would really enjoy. It ended up being even better than I imagined and I devoured it so quickly. At first I wasn't completely on board with the main character, Chloe, she was a little self centered. It didn't take long for her to start changing and I ended up falling in love with her. Chloe was a riot and I had so much fun being a part of her life, spending time with her grams, and getting to know her knew friends. I also really liked how she came up with solutions to various problems, by comparing them to different aspects of things from her job at a mexican restaurant. I'll never look at burritos or roasted peppers the same again.

In the beginning of the book we discover, with Chloe, that her best friends aren't really interested in having anything to do with her. Frankly, they are down right mean about it. Chloe doesn't really understand what happened and their explanations are kind of thin. These girls, who were her best friends for years, were so cruel and their reasoning didn't really make sense. It didn't feel like the punishment fit the crime and Chloe let's it affect her big time. Once she's forced into working for the school radio station for her JISP project, she has something to take her mind off of her best friend problems, but there isn't anything that can help her forget the issues with her mom and grams. I loved her grams! She lives in a trailer she lovingly calls the tuna can and is obsessed with Brad Pitt. Almost ever scene grams was in, I was laughing!

At first Chloe is hesitant about working at the radio station and they are hesitant about having her there. Clementine, the one in charge of the show, doesn't want her there at all and isn't afraid to let everyone know it. Clem was pretty rough at first, but as you get to know her better the roughness is just a part of her charm. She ended up being one of my favorite characters in the book. She's fiercely protective of the station and the people in it who make up their little family. Duncan Moore, with his knubby scarves and lots of mystery, was so completely adorable. I really wanted to hug him. He believed there isn't anything you can't fix and he was constantly tinkering with stuff, doing whatever he could to make it usable. He was so sweet and thoughtful of everyone at the station. The budding romance between him and Chloe was adorable and realistic. They had a lot to learn about each other and it was fun watching them find it out.

Overall this was a great read, with lots of laughs and full of heart. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a great contemp! Thank you Shelley for introducing us to Chloe and the crew at KDRS :0)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My Mailbox (33)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.It's a weekly showcase of the contents of our mailboxes!

I'm seriously excited about my mailbox this week! And it's two weeks in a row that I have succesfully gone without buying any books. Of course, I've got 4 or 5 pre-orders for the end of this month, so my streak can only last so long...Anyway, on to the books :0)


Books Mentioned:

"Swipe" by Evan Angler
"Bitterblue" by Kristin Cashore
"Masque of the Red Death" by Bethany Griffin
"Team Human" by Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan
"Endlessly" by Kiersten White
"This is Not a Test" by Courtney Summers
"Just Flirt" by Laura Bowers
"The Talents" by Inara Scott

Bloggers/Blogs Mentioned:

Trish & YA Bound
Krystal @ Live to Read

Huge Thanks, to HarperTeen, Alison, Penguin, Thomas Nelson, Inara Scott, Krystal & Southern ARC Tours!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Unraveling" by Elizabeth Norris

Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: ARC
Age Group: Young Adult

Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

Whew! What a ride. I went into this book not exactly sure of what to expect, but at least expecting that it was going to an exciting read. If was definitely an exciting read and there were so many twists and turns. It starts of pretty normal, actually. Janelle is having typical high school mean girl problems and happens to be dating the cute popular boy in school, even though she's not sure he's exactly what she's looking for. She's on her way to pick her brother up from school and then, bam! Hit by a truck, dead, brought back to life, and Ben. I appreciated the fact that no matter how much her friend Alex insisted she was just delirious, and didn't actually die, Janelle refused to back down. She was dead and now she's not, it's not something she could so easily make up. And that's only the beginning.

I loved Janelle. She is absolutely in my top 5 favorite female main characters. She is strong willed and tough, but she also has a lot of compassion and wants to do what she can for those that she loves. She's got so much spunk and I would definitely hang out with her if she were a real person. Heck, I'll be hanging out with her again when I reread UNRAVELING! Janelle has the best family, too. Her relationships with her dad and brother were so great. Her dad is an FBI work-a-holic and isn't around much, but when they were all together it was so much fun. They actually spouted lines from The X-Files back and forth between the three of them, and their dad was always hoping to find some sort of life beyond. Jared wasn't your typical little brother. Sure he was bratty on occasion, but for the most part him and Janelle were a great team. They spent time together and talked to one another. It's the kind of sibling relationship everyone should be lucky enough to have. Janelle's best friend Alex was such a loyal guy, willing to suspend his disbelief on some major things, because Janelle needed his help. I'm not so sure, presented with the same information that Alex was, that I could have joined in and helped the way he did. And Ben, what can I say about him. I was really unsure of Ben at the beginning of the book. We don't know much about him, other than he has a secret, and he's not so willing to divulge much information. I really enjoyed the friendship, then tenuous romance, that built between him and Janelle. There is a lot of crazy in their world, but they were really there for each other.

I want to say so many things about the amazing plot, but then you wouldn't get the awesome experience of discovering it for yourself. I had so many guesses as to what was going on and I never guessed right, but what turned out to be real was completely awesome. It's one of my favorite things about the book and I can't wait to find out more information about it in the coming books. I'm also really hoping to see more Jared in book two. While we did get to know him pretty well, I want to spend more sibling time with him and Janelle. I don't think there were any characters in the book that weren't great. Even the bad guys were so well written and I won't mind spending more pages with any of them.

All I can say is go read this as soon as you can, you will not be disappointed. It's such a wonderfully written, thrilling and adventurous story. There are plots twisting all over the place and it will keep the pages turning and you at the edge of your seat. Elizabeth Norris is a promising new author and I can't wait to see what she's got for us in the future!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Touching the Surface

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that showcases our most wanted upcoming releases.
TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini
*Release Date: October 30th, 2012*

Publisher: Simon Pulse
When Elliot dies for the third time, she knows this is her last shot. There are no fourth-timers in this afterlife, so one more chance is all she has to get things right. But before she can move on to her next life, Elliot will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed… and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the mistakes of her past, Elliot must earn the forgiveness of her best friend and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.
This book sounds like all kinds of dark and mysterious, goodness! I'm so intrigued by stories that involve reincarnation and I am really into books where the main character is forced to come to terms with their past. Whether it's good or bad. And I'm dying to know about who Elliot may have killed and why. I can't wait to meet Elliot, find out about her lives and meet the boys she loves. I'm sure they are swoony! And can we just talk about that cover for a minute?!? I can't wait to see it in person! Also, Kim Sabatini is absolutely wonderful and I just know her book is going to be fantastic :0)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Month of Cinder Guest Post: Michelle @ The Passionate Bookworm

Today I'm so excited to be hosting Michelle @ The Passionate Bookworm! Michelle is awesome and is the creator of the beautiful Red Riding Hood swag I'll be giving away all month long! If you don't know Michelle, check her out on twitter @YA_BookWorm07, and say hi! Today she is sharing with us, some of the things she loved most about Cinder and what she's hoping for in book two, SCARLET!

Things I loved about Cinder:
Breaking it down is going be be difficult for me. The book as a whole was just, so wonderful and diverse! But if I had to:

1.The characters- They all had flaws. Some FAR more than others. But it felt real. Rather than having them all be Completely evil or Completely Pure and good.

2. The world!- It was amazing to me how it could feel so futuristic and have a historical feel to it at the same time! I have not read very many stories that were set in a country outside of U.S. So to me this felt very unique and really helped hold my interest.

3. The romance- It's not BAM in your face. It slowly heats up, cools down and then comes to a boil! At times it just sat there in the back of my mind like a comforting sigh.. and at others it had me swooning all over the place!

4. The fairy tale lurking in the background- Going into this story I knew it was a fairy tale retelling/twist. So it took me by surprise when I got so sucked into the story that, that fact was not ever-present in every thought. I would be reading through it and then *click* the fairy tale aspect would work its way into the story and give me flashbacks to my childhood. I enjoyed the fact that while you can tell that it is pulling from a classic fairy tale, it had its own original take on it and did not over power me with likenesses.

There are SO many more things I loved about this book, but I hope those few help convince you to GO READ THIS BOOK NOW!


Things that I hope to happen in Book #2 - Scarlet
1. I hope Scarlet is a kick a** character! Cinder was so interesting and not just a girl who sat around and felt sorry for herself, I hope that Scarlet is just as strong a character and I cannot wait to see how they meet up!

2. I read somewhere that the "wolf" in the story is a man that helps Scarlet - do I predict some romance? I hope so ! I think it could be a really interesting take on it.. even if he is the "bad boy"

3. To not be spoilery to those who haven't read Book #1 I will simply say I hope one of my favorite quirky characters from Cinder comes back soon!

4. I hope the Evil Lunar queen gets the but kicking she deserves!

5. Last but not least I hope that we learn more about Cinder's past and how she got where she is now!

The Lunar Chronicles is a series that I hope many others fall in love with as much as I have. Such an Original take an a story that is well loved should not be overlooked!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

In My Mailbox (32)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.It's a weekly showcase of the contents of our mailboxes!

I didn't get a whole lot in my mailbox this week, but it's one of my most epic mailboxes, yet!

For Review:

SHINE by Jeri Smith-Ready (Finished copy)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can't even tell you how excited I was to come home to this! Reading
now and wishing I didn't have to work in the morning, so I could read it
until I'm finished :0)
SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo (Signed ARC)
This one was incredibly awesome to get in the mail, too! I can't wait
to start it!
FATED by Alyson Noel (ARC)
I'm looking forward to this one. The plot is really intriguing.


I have been seeing everyone talking about this and
my curiousity got the best of me. I'm only a handful of pages in
but I'm hoping it's as entertaining as I've heard.

*Extreme thanks to Simon & Schuster, Henry Holt and St. Martin's Griffin*

What did you guys get in your mailboxes?!?

Friday, April 6, 2012

"Supergirl Mixtapes" by Meagan Brothers

Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Format: eGalley
Age Group: Young Adult

After years of boredom in her rural South Carolina town, Maria is thrilled when her father finally allows her to visit her estranged artist mother in New York City. She’s ready for adventure, and she soon finds herself immersed in a world of rock music and busy streets, where new people and ideas lie around every concrete corner. This is the freedom she’s always longed for—and she pushes for as much as she can get, skipping school to roam the streets, visit fancy museums, and flirt with the cute clerk at a downtown record store.

But just like her beloved New York City, Maria’s life has a darker side. Behind her mother’s carefree existence are shadowy secrets, and Maria must decide just where—and with whom—her loyalty lies.

Supergirl Mixtapes was a heavy book. It's a contemporary, but it's not the type I'm used to reading. There are a lot of dark things going on in Maria's world and in the worlds of those around her. I can't say one way or another if I liked Maria as a character, because I don't feel like we ever really got to know the real her. Maria was a pro at lying, to herself, to her family and her friends, so much so that you are left wondering if she even knows who she can really believe. I definitely came out of this book a little disappointed, because there is no resolution to anything. Don't get me wrong, I never expected nice little bows on everything that went wrong, but the secrets and bad things kept piling on and then the story just stopped. Now here's where you are going to think I'm crazy. While I was a little disappointed by the ending, I'm not sure she could have ended it any other way. That's just the type of story that it is, so much happens and none of it is an easy fix. Heck, life doesn't always have resolution, and I suppose this was a darn good portrayal of life.

The book is set in the late 90s, which I didn't realize right away, but a few key events tipped me off. The late 90s were my prime years and I found it wildly entertain everytime Maria mentioned something that I remember from my youth. JNCO jeans, anyone? Haha. This one focuses very heavily on music, which always piques my interest in a story, and so much of the music talked about was music I was obsessing over when I was in my early teens. I definitely felt nostaligic sometimes while reading.

Yes, this book was dark in some places and yes, it may have left me a little disappointed sometimes, but overall I really did like the story. I cared about Maria and I just wanted to see something good happen for her. I even cared about the people around her, no matter how messed up they may have been. This one might not be for everyone, but if you like realistic fiction that is heavy on the real and a little darker storywise, I'd suggest giving this one a try sometime.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Social Suicide" by Gemma Halliday

Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: ARC
Age Group: Young Adult

Twittercide [twit-er-sahyd]: the killing of one human being by another while the victim is in the act of tweeting.

Call me crazy, but I figured writing for the Herbert Hoover High Homepage would be a pretty sweet gig. Pad the resume for college applications, get a first look at the gossip column, spend some time ogling the paper’s brooding bad-boy editor, Chase Erikson. But on my first big story, things went... a little south. What should have been a normal interview with Sydney Sanders turned into me discovering the Homecoming Queen-hopeful dead in her pool. Electrocuted while Tweeting. Now, in addition to developing a reputation as HHH’s resident body finder, I’m stuck trying to prove that Sydney’s death wasn’t suicide.

I’m starting to long for the days when my biggest worry was whether the cafeteria was serving pizza sticks or Tuesday Tacos...

Hartley Featherstone has all the luck. Hot on the trail of her first big story for the Herbert Hoover Homepage, she ends up finding popular Sydney Sanders face down, in her pool, electorcuted. All Hartley wanted was her big interview with Sydney, so she could crack the cheating scandal and impress Chase with her amazing detective skills. Now someone else is dead, she still doesn't know how the girls got the test answers and she has to deal with Detective Raley, again. When he refuses to believe that Sydney's death was anything but suicide, there is really only one thing for Hartley to do. Solve it herself. With the help of Chase and her best friend Sam, who has dubbed Sydney's murder, Twittercide, they are going to get to the bottom of this. Finding out who's behind a high school cheating ring, has never been so important.

I love Hartley, so much. I mean she keeps ending up in the most awful situations, but no matter what she always manages to find the humor and keep herself from getting pulled under. She's so darn snarky and also quite clever. I also like the fact that she is girly, likes cute clothes and talks about boys with her best friend, but she's not high maintenance of whiny, which I can't stand in a main character. Hartley's best friend, Sam, cracks me up so much. She is extremely enthusiasitc, or dramatic as the case may be, about almost everything and it brings about so many amusing moments. She's so focused on getting the best grades so she can get into the college of her dreams, but she lets herself be talked into some crazy situations to help out Hartley. She's a great best friend. And there is Chase. He is such a smart ass and I love that about him. Hartley's has definitely got a crush on him, but he's so hard to read that she's pretty sure they are just friends. He plays the part of the bad boy for school, but I was on the school newspaper and I know that any guy who is so passionate about it, isn't really a bad boy at heart. Of course, in my opinion, guys who are on the school newspaper are so much cooler than bad boys. I also like his protectiveness over Hartley, whether or not he has actual feelings for her, he is always trying to look out for her. Even when she doesn't think she needs it.

Hartley always stumbles onto the worst possible situations, but I love following her into them and watching her figure out what happened. I feel like there should be so many more teen detectives in the world, because they do it with so much more humor and attitude. The drama of high school, mixed with the drama of mystery, are a perfect combination and make for an extremely entertaining read. Gemma Halliday writes a great balance of crazy, scary stuff happening and humorous characters getting to the bottom of it. I absolutely adore this series and these characters. I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next. I'd recommend this series for all people, it's smart, funny and full of heart.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April TBR List :0)

Welcome to my TBR for April! Some of these are upcoming releases that I am super excited for, others have been on my shelf a bit and I've been waiting to crack them open :0)

"Breaking Beautiful" by Jennifer Shaw Wolf
"Sweet Evil" by Wendy Higgins
"Perception" by Kim Harrington

"The Immortal Rules" by Julie Kagawa
"The Fine Art of Truth or Dare" by Melissa Jensen
"Immortal City" by Scott Speer

"Starters" by Lissa Price
"Spellbound" by Cara Lynn Shultz
"Being Friends With Boys" by Terra Elan McVoy

So what is everyone else reading this month?!?



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