Friday, August 30, 2013

ARC Review: All Our Yesterdays (Cassandra Chronicles #1) by Cristin Terrill

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
368 Pges

"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

 “Is there evil in me?” “Could I become a terrible person someday?”
I’m trying to figure out what I can say about this book without giving it away. First off, it’s amazing. Everyone needs to read this. I was hooked by the first chapter, where we find Em and Finn being held captive in what appears to be a dungeon type building. They are being held by someone who calls himself the Doctor and tortured daily for the location of certain documents. It is here where Em finds a list written in her own handwriting explaining what scenarios she has already tried and failed. It is here where she realizes in order to save the world from what it becomes she must Kill him.
Kill who? And why? And how? And more importantly, what???
Time travel. This book deals in time travel.

If you’re like me, you may find time travel confusing. It’s such a hard subject to wrap your mind around. If you go back in time to change something that happened but you had already been there before but now things are different with different outcomes that change the future, how did you know to go back there if you had never been there? AHHHH What???

Time is so confusing.
What Terrill has done so brilliantly is mixed the scientific world of time travel with real life problems. Em and Finn aren’t going back in time to look at dinosaurs or stop World War 1 or any of those other places people go in other time travel stories. This is a character driven story with science as a subplot. Em and Finn in “present” time, and Marina and James in the past. Both sets of characters were so real and honest. I loved the strength in Em and Finn’s unconditional love for her. They were fighting for a better future, knowing what losses they would incur in the process. I loved James’ drive to make the world a better place. He loved his family and friends to the point where it blinded his decisions, and Marina loved him, blinded by everything else.
I adored every second of this book. Parts I predicted and cheered when I was right (even though for some I didn’t want to be) and some things just came out of nowhere and hit me in the gut, even bringing the tears. It didn’t even matter that I didn’t completely understand the last chapter (no seriously, if anyone can help me out, send me a message lol).
This is the story of friendship, love, loss, and surviving…with a little time travel thrown in. And I am counting down the days until the next one is released. Brilliant.
I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Blog Tour: Book Review + Giveaway: Descendant (Starling #2) by Lesley Livingston

I am so happy to join Rockstar Book Tours as a part of the Descendant Blog Tour. You can find more information about this tour here.

Descendant (Starling #2) by Lesley Livingston
The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
336 Pages

The last thing Mason Starling remembers is the train crossing a bridge. An explosion . . . a blinding light . . . then darkness. Now she is alone, stranded in Asgard—the realm of Norse legend—and the only way for her to get home is to find the Spear of Odin, a powerful relic left behind by vanished gods. 

The Fennrys Wolf knows all about Asgard. He was once trapped there. And he’ll do whatever it takes to find the girl who’s stolen his heart and bring her back—even if it means a treacherous descent into the Underworld. But time is running out, and Fenn knows something Mason doesn’t: If she takes up the Spear, she’ll set in motion a terrible prophecy. And she won’t just return to her world . . . she’ll destroy it.

In this pulse-pounding sequel to Starling, Lesley Livingston delivers another electrifying blend of nonstop action and undeniable romance that will leave readers breathless.

Tour Schedule:
8/19/2013 - The Happy Booker - Guest Post
8/20/2013 - Bewitched Bookworms - Interview
8/21/2013 - IceyBooks - Review
8/22/2013 - Tater's Tall Tails - Guest Post
8/23/2013 - [B.O.O.K.L.I.F.E.] - Review
8/26/2013 - Fiktshun - Character Interview Fennrys 
8/27/2013 - Wholly Books - Review
8/28/2013 - Book Jems - Review
8/29/2013 - Two Chicks on Books - Guest Post
8/30/2013 - About to Read - Interview

Two signed sets of Starling and Descendant are open to US and Canadian residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Descendant was a "MUST READ ASAP" book for me as soon as I finished its prequel, Starling. If you have read the first book, you know that it ends on a doozy of a cliffhanger. Like many, I had been itching to get my hands on a copy of Descendant so that I could know what happened next. Thankfully, I read Starling only about a month before the release of the second book, so I wasn't tortured as long as some of those who had read the book when it was first released. It was everything I could've hoped for, and more. In fact, I enjoyed it even more than Starling and was seriously upset at its end, not only because this part of the story was completed, but also because there was a major cliffhanger in this novel as well and the wait for the next book is F-O-R-E-V-E-R (not really, but I tend to exaggerate when I am displeased).

Descendant begins almost exactly where Starling left off. Everyone is injured after the quasi-battle. Mason has no idea where she is, no idea what's she's to do and no idea how to get home. Fenn, the Fennrys Wolf, is desperately searching for his beloved Mason, with the help of mutual friends. Mason is guided to a way home by an unlikely companion, but is ignorant to the fact that the key to getting her back is also what will cause the end of the world, or Ragnarok mentioned in Norse mythology.

I love these characters! Except… Ya know… The ones I hate (there is one that comes to mind who really needs a kick in the pants). We are introduced to several new characters in this book, and one of them is especially entertaining: Loki. Everyone at least has an idea of who Loki is (if you aren't thinking of Tom Hiddleson in The Avengers, you obviously have the wrong mental image in your head), and no matter what, he's always this misunderstood character that you hate to love AND love to hate. That description works well for several of the characters in this story. The author does a good job at making sure to give you a smattering of both good and evil characters--ones to love and ones to hate all the way to holy hell. I could hardly put the book down due to my affection for the characters. Well, the characters and the plot, that is.

Livingston is a skilled storyteller. Her devotion to myth in this series is wonderful. I'm not extremely knowledgable beyond Greek mythology, but her focus on all different kinds of these ancient stories really intrigued me. It was neat to see them incorporated with the modern world, and joining our characters on their adventures was absolutely thrilling--Mason's time in Hel (specifically her time spent with Loki in the very beginning) was my absolute favorite part of this story. The lore brought to life was just wonderful. It's amazing that the author was able to pull together multiple kinds of mythology (Egyptian, Greek and Norse--Norse being the main focus) without completely demolishing the original stories. Each kind plays a role in this story, and it is done in a way that will intrigue readers rather than confuse them. Livingston excellently displayed her ability to weave a story remnant of mighty legends in this novel. Book three cannot come soon enough, if only so I could get a taste of more! 

While the author's focus on monologue and description disoriented me at first, I really grew to appreciate it in this novel. Her strong prose and engaging plot were able to negate most issues I found. This book is so addicting. It, and its prequel, are fast paced, plot-driven and utterly engaging. I'm really enjoying this series and the different twists that the author has taken. Though if I'm being honest, Descendant was able to enthrall in places where Starling fell flat. The main theme of action works fantastically well with the myth in this novel, and I really enjoyed the details given on those sequences. It was impossible to not be entranced by the mind-blowing action, the mythical monsters and gods, and new and old challenges that these characters face. I hope that the author keeps up with her growth and makes the next book in this series even better.

Descendant, too, ends on a major cliffie. As much as I hate them, I must admit that they really work for this series. I will most definitely be reading book as soon as I possibly can! I advise that YA fans who like action, romance and a huge helping of mythology read this series whenever they have the time. (Except if you have trouble will cliffhangers--which I wouldn't blame you for--then I'd wait until the next book is out because DANG.) After finishing this novel, it is safe to say that Lesley Livingston is well on her way to becoming a favorite author of mine!
I received a finished copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review.

Thank you to the ladies at Rockstar Book Tours, Lesley Livingston and HarperTeen for allowing me to join in this tour!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Undertow (Dragonfly #2) & Descendant (Starling #2)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading!
To participate, all you have to do is:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can ad the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!


"We'll, I'd hate it if I had to punch that Travis guy in the face. And if he starts cross-examining me about my time and my plans again, I can't guarantee I won't."
Book 1, 13%
Undertow (Dragonfly #2) by Leigh Talbert Moore

"'Remember when I said you looked like nine miles of bad road? You're into the double digits now.'"
Chapter 1, Page 2

What are you reading this week?


ARC Review: The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
336 Pages

For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now... not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn’t even know what they are?

Charlie Parker, on the other hand, is painfully aware of his heart’s desire. A gentle boy with a troubled past, Charlie has loved Wren since the day he first saw her. But a girl like Wren would never fall for a guy like Charlie—at least not the sort of guy Charlie believes himself to be.

And yet certain things are written in the stars. And in the summer after high school, Wren and Charlie’s souls will collide. But souls are complicated, as are the bodies that house them...

Sexy, romantic, and oh-so-true to life, this is an unforgettable look at first love from one of young adult fiction’s greatest writers.

Such a pretty cover... I wanted to really like this one, and for a bit, I thought that I would fall head over heels in love with it. I was ‘oohing’ and ‘awwwing’ pretty much through the first few chapters. Then somewhere, about halfway through it, I realized we were just going to have a ‘like’ relationship. 

Feelings are like three-year-olds. They’re not rational. They’re just there.

The Infinite Moment of Us is the love story of Wren and Charlie. Wren is an only child who comes from a life of privilege and overbearing parents who have her entire life planned out Charlie lives with his foster family and works hard for everything. He has a past and it’s not pretty. Perfect and imperfect. They both feel as if something is missing in their lives, and then they find each other.
In the beginning, I liked Wren. I liked that she knew she wanted something more, that she didn’t want this cookie cutter life that her parents wanted for her. She wanted to do something on her own. But as the story progressed, Wren didn’t. She remained extremely immature. In fact, I felt like she digressed back to all the stereotypes she was trying to rebel against. And God was she needy. For someone who wanted to be independent, she complained an awful lot about Charlie not being there or wanting her every moment of the day. 

Charlie, on the other hand, I loved. He was the shining beacon of this story. His character was so much more realistic than Wren and I felt his emotions so much more. Being a female writer, she certainly tapped in to the male perspective very well. He loved his family and he loved Wren and he felt torn about where his loyalties lie. He generally didn’t want to let anyone down. Even his psycho ex. He wore his heart on his sleeve and I just wanted to hug him. A strong character that made mistakes and owned up to them. 

I enjoyed the writing style of the author, especially her male POV’s. This was a nice love story about two different people coming together and figuring out how to grow. I liked that it shined light on the difficulty of falling in love with someone right before going off to college and the challenges you face when you don’t want to leave that person. What I didn’t like was the excessive drama that filtered throughout. The blatant lies, the drunken phone calls – these were to be expected, although not new and very predictable. What I could have done without was the confrontation toward the end with Charlie’s ex. What started out as a showdown you saw coming, turned into something worthy of the OC or 90210. *cue eye roll* It wasn’t needed and took me out of the moment. 

Also, one other thing that bothered me. This didn’t feel like a YA. I think it should be classified as NA. The sex was a little too graphic for YA. All in all, a nice story, even if it’s a little frustrating at times. A good telling of first love and I would like to read more from this author.
I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Book Review: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

The blub as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
468 Pages

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

“Fate is a very weighty word to throw around before breakfast.” 

Fate: the development of events beyond a person's control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power.

Are we fated to meet certain people in our lives? Blue Sargent has spent her entire life in Henrietta and has never had any interest in the ‘Raven Boys’ – boys who attend the prestigious local private school, Aglionby. Then on St. Mark’s Eve, she sees the spirit of one and suddenly their fates are intertwined.  

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve, Blue. Either you’re his true love or you killed him.” 

Since Blue has always been told that if she were to kiss her true love he would die, this warning weighs heavily on her. She doesn’t seek him out, but an interesting twist of fate brings him directly to her doorstep.

Richard ‘Dick’ Campbell Gansey III, just Gansey as he likes to be called, has been searching for a dead Welsh king hidden for centuries. He is aided by his friends Adam, Ronan, and Noah.  

They were explorers, scientists, anthropologists of historical magic.

I had read Stiefvater’s work before with the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. And while I enjoyed those, they didn’t really stand out against other books I’ve read. However, The Raven Boys is something I will never forget. The story is told in third person omniscient which works perfectly for this type of tale. We not only get to dive into the heads of our main characters, but we also get to really know those close to them.

This was a very character driven book. The pace was a little slow, but I felt it was perfectly timed (if that even makes sense). I enjoyed the slow reveal of secrets, as I too was trying to solve the mystery. But during this time we got to know and fall in love (and boy did I) with these people. Blue, who only fit in when around her family suddenly found herself the missing piece of a puzzle she didn’t know existed. Gansey with his studious quality and big money perfection who was so obsessed with his mythical king that at times he seemed like two different people. Adam, sweet sweet Adam, who wanted acceptance and freedom not knowing the cost he would have to pay to get it. Angry Ronan who’s past haunted him everyday. And Noah, the sad and extremely patient soul who knows more than we do. I loved each and every one of them. 

The writing and the descriptive way Stiefvater sucks you in and keeps you hooked. The mystery surrounding this group weighs heavy on every page until you’re drowning in it, but I didn’t mind. Suffocate me, as long as I can find the truth along with them. The characters love for each other and deep connection makes this one of the best character work I’ve read. 

The ending was rather poetic, but left me wanting more and I cannot wait to delve into the sequel. Because I am completely owned by these Raven Boys and I guarantee you will be too. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Review: The Compound (The Compound #1) by SA Bodeen

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: September 1, 2009
Publisher: Square Fish
245 Pages

Eli and his family have lived in the underground Compound for six years. The world they knew is gone, and they’ve become accustomed to their new life. Accustomed, but not happy. No amount of luxury can stifle the dull routine of living in the same place, with only his two sisters, only his father and mother, doing the same thing day after day after day. As problems with their carefully planned existence threaten to destroy their sanctuary—and their sanity—Eli can’t help but wonder if he’d rather take his chances outside. Eli’s father built the Compound to keep them safe. But are they safe—really?

The Compound is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

The idea of this The Compound was fascinating to me, as I'm sure it is to many. The apocalypse occurs and a family burrows their way underground into a pre-prepared refuse filled with everything the family needs to survive until aboveground is safe again. I was sure that I was going to love this, but alas, it fell short of my expectations. It was enjoyable, yes, but not mind-blowing like it had the potential to be.

Everything read as just too dang convenient. It drove me nuts that this family was able to thrive for so long with expensive gadgets that still worked, rooms designed to fit their every whim (each child had their own room, a theater, a nursery, a dance studio, etc.), and they even had a shelter for cattle! Maybe I'm just being too nit-picky because the father has a super powerful job that has left him with more money than I can even imagine and he had been preparing this protection against the apocalypse for a long time. It still just didn't work for me. Bother, bother, bother. It was too much for me to get on board with, as much as I wanted to (and I really wanted to). It was a bewildering concept that I was super excited to see written out.

The characters were… uncomfortable. I mean, I didn't understand any of them, nor did I like any of them. The characterizations of the minor characters were very one-dimensional, which made it all the more difficult to follow along with. How can you enjoy a book when you have no interest in the lives of those in which the story is about? I wanted more, and I wanted relationships between the main character and his family that made sense. They felt more like strangers than relatives who spent every single day together (that would make a great story though: Big Brother meets the apocalypse).

That being said, there were still things about this story that I enjoyed. It was definitely entertaining, The Compound is also very twisted--and as a twisted person (heh), I really liked some of the bizarre twists that story had. Though it wasn't difficult to see those twists coming. There were themes in this story that are rarely seen in YA sci-fi novels. Some of these were well done, others made me squirm. Most of the major plot points are obvious from the get-go--though there were times when I thought, "The author isn't really going to take the story there… Is she?" (She usually did.) Still, through it all, this is still a pretty entertaining read!

I feel like I'm only explaining negative things about this story, but I swear, there were some things that I really liked about it. The fact that I plan to read the sequel should say something about that. I'm really hoping that the sequel, The Fallout will capture my full interest like its prequel was unable to do--thought I'm trying to not let my hopes get away from me. The Compound had all the makings of a great thriller, but the execution was sorely lacking. There will definitely be people who enjoy this, and to whom I would recommend this novel. I understand why, but I believe that this book could've been done better. 
I received a finished copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: The Infinite Moment of Us & In His Command (Don't Tell #1)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading!
To participate, all you have to do is:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can ad the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!


"Tonight Charlie was going to pick Wren up at her house, like a real date. Well, it was a real date."
Chapter 17, e-ARC 73%
The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle

"A learned guide, Eden put paid to my preprogrammed misconceptions about Nomads. What they missed in techonological advances, they made up for in ingenuity, common purpose, loyalty, and acceptance."
Chapter Eight, 38% e-ARC

What are you reading this week?

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