Monday, January 11, 2016

Blog Tour: Zero Day by Jan Gangsei | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Zero Day by Jan Gangsei | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Zero Day by Jan Gangsei | Review + GiveawayZero Day by Jan Gangsei
on January 12th 2016
Genres: Suspense
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Eight years ago, Addie Webster was the victim of the most notorious kidnapping case of the decade. Addie vanished—and her high-profile parents were forced to move on.

Mark Webster is now president of the United States, fighting to keep the oval office after a tumultuous first term. Then, the unthinkable happens: the president’s daughter resurfaces. Addie is brought back into her family’s fold, but who is this sixteen-year-old girl with a quiet, burning intelligence now living in the White House? There are those in the president’s political circle who find her timely return suspicious.

When the NSA approaches Darrow Fergusson, Addie’s childhood best friend and the son of the president’s chief of staff, he doesn't know what to think. How could this slip of a girl be a threat to national security? But at the risk of having his own secrets exposed by the powerful government agency, Darrow agrees to spy on Addie.

It soon becomes apparent that Addie is much more than the traumatized victim of a sick political fringe group. Addie has come with a mission. Will she choose to complete it? And what will happen if she does?

My Thoughts:

Zero Day is one of those books that automatically got added to my TBR when I read the synopsis.  I didn’t care about other reviews, that the author was a debut, none of that.  Suspense featuring the daughter of the President of the United States who also happens to be a kidnapping victim?  I was sold.  Jan Gangsei’s debut novel surprised me in many ways and was definitely worth the read.

Pros:

  • Suspense: The suspense in Zero Day was strong.  I grew up reading James Patterson, Harlan Coben, and many other adult crime writers that were fabulous at suspense.  I’ve only found that same caliber in a few young adult authors so I was a bit skeptical going into this one.  While I did manage to guess a few things, it was usually only right before they were about to be revealed anyway so it didn’t take away from my enjoyment.
  • Romance: I was iffy about this romance for a while.  Darrow and Addie grew up together and Darrow pretty much held himself responsible for Addie’s kidnapping.  He was also 9-years-old at the time so there really wasn’t anything he could have done but try telling him that.  When Addie is returned, he pretty much automatically has feelings for her.  I couldn’t tell if it was because of what they went through or not but he grew on me and I liked seeing him with Addie.  As for Addie’s side of the relationship, it was really hard to judge.  If you read the book you’ll understand what I mean but her personality was so odd that I had a hard time telling if she meant things or if she was attempting to play someone.  I wanted her to like Darrow and at times I felt that she did but other times I was a bit hesitant.  It was odd.
  • Characters: Where do I even begin with these characters?  I have some really mixed feelings about some of them but overall I loved the development of them and the complexities to all of them.  Just look at Addie.  She was all over the place with her feelings and thoughts.  I couldn’t tell from page to page what was coming next with her.  She obviously went through a ton of crazy stuff in the eight years that she was held captive but that wasn’t really what fascinated me about her.  I wanted to know more about what motivated her when she got home.  You will understand what I mean if you read the book.  Her parents were both good parents and bad ones.  They cared so much about public opinion and they couldn’t see how that was affecting their daughters.  Then again, they would spend private time with them and be completely wonderful.  I guess that’s how politics works.  And I won’t spoil anything about Addie’s captors but I will say that they were seriously messed up.  Very twisted.
  • Setting: I don’t know if it’s so much the setting that I loved but what comes along with the setting.  A lot of the story takes place in and around the White House and also at Addie and Darrow’s very classy high school.  Taking a peek inside the world of the offspring of high up government officials was really interesting.  I can’t tell you how accurate it is but I enjoyed it.  I love reading about the lifestyles of the rich and famous so that definitely appealed to me.

Pro/Con:

  • Story: The story had good and bad things going for it.  I loved the idea of the story but the execution left some things to be desired.  I read a majority of the book before I even realized what exactly Cerberus was hoping to gain from their terrorist attacks.  Also, once I figured it out, I couldn’t really see how what they were doing was going to achieve that goal.  It confused me.  However, the idea of someone on the inside of the White House working with terrorists really appealed to me and kept me very intrigued.  Things tied up pretty nicely at the end but I could see how there might be room for a sequel and I wouldn’t say no to reading that.

Cons:

  • Writing: The writing was a bit heavy.  I honestly can’t put my finger on what exactly about it caused the book to drag more than it should have but there was just something about it.  I was hoping that as  I read more of the book, I would get used to the style and the pace would pick up but that didn’t happen.  It’s also weird because the book features short chapters which tend to speed things along for me but that didn’t happen with Zero Day.  The story was interesting enough though that I didn’t every feel like giving up on it.

Overall, Zero Day had it’s flaws but it’s good parts far outweighed those.  It’s a great read for fans of suspense with hints of hacking and politics as well as a peek at the lifestyles of the rich and famous.  I will be keeping an eye out to see what Jan Gangsei does next.

What others are saying about Zero Day:

Bookish Babes’ review: “Zero Day by Jan Gangsei is a pulse pounding YA thriller that kept me guessing until the end.”

Kovescence of the Mind’s review: ” The strong female lead provides a refreshing addition to the realm of technology and mystery in young-adult fiction.”

Looking for something similar? Check out Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano!

Giveaway

Enter to win one of three copies of Zero Day!

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken | Review

Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken | ReviewPassenger (Passenger, #1) by Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger #1
on January 5th 2016
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 496
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

passage, n.i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.ii. A journey by water; a voyage.iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever

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Why do I continue to do this to myself?  I swear, I think I just like torturing myself.  I knew better than to read an Alex Bracken novel without having the sequel in my greedy little hands.  Passenger is just as amazing as I’d hoped but my heart broke when I reached the end and found out I was going to have to wait another year for the sequel after that seriously major cliffhanger.  I knew better.  Really.  I did.  However, if you’re like me and just can’t wait when a favorite author has a new book out, here are the good things about Passenger.

Pros:

  • Characters: I can honestly say that every character in this book held some appeal for me.  Even the bad guys were awesome.  It’s not that I liked them all but every single character had serious depth and the ability to surprise me.  Nicholas was definitely my favorite though.  He lived through so much hardship and adversity and yet he was still such a good person.  The same could not be said for Sophia.  That girl is on my shit list.  As for Etta, she was pretty bad ass.  She was thrust into so many different time periods and places that she knew nothing about and she took it all in stride.  Not only that, she did it all under serious pressure.  She was impressive.
  • Romance: I’m a sucker for romance and Nicholas and Etta’s was adorable.  Nicholas didn’t think very highly of himself and he couldn’t have imagined a girl like Etta ever falling for him so it was tough for him to take in.  I think that made me like him even more.  He didn’t take her for granted or her interest in him.  As for Etta falling for Nicholas, I can’t blame the girl.
  • Setting:  I guess this one would be better classified as settings.  Passenger takes place over many years and in many different places.  Alexandra Bracken did an amazing job setting up each place and time.  I honestly don’t know how she managed it.  The amount of research that had to go into each setting just boggles me.  Each different place and time period was full of so much history and depth.  It’s not just that she chose amazing places but she also chose to have Nicholas and Etta be in these places during some crazy time period like London during the war.  I have to give her props for the setting above everything else.
  • Story:  I truly didn’t know how anything was going to come together but it all fit together so seamlessly.  I love time travel stories but I’m also typically scared to read them because they can come across so choppy and undeveloped.  That was not the case with the story in Passenger.  The passages, the settings, the clues; everything somehow just fit and worked for the story.  There were no extraneous details and while things were a little confusing at first, it makes sense as you read more of the story.
  • Writing:  Alexandra Bracken became one of my favorite authors because she is such a fabulous writer and Passenger really cements that.  I find that with historical novels like this one (calling it that because a lot of it takes place in the past) the writing can either make or break the story.  Alexandra Bracken’s beautiful writing made this story come to life in my head.

Cons:

  • History: I’m a history buff and I’m not afraid to say it.  However, even to me some of the history seemed a little heavy.  It was pretty much just in the beginning of the book and I feel like it maybe just felt that way because the pacing is a bit slower to start but I was a little confused at some parts.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved the history that was woven into the story but when I was just trying to figure out the time travel and the plot, it added a bit more confusion for me.  Once I got past maybe the first 100 pages though it stopped feeling that way.
  • Pirates?: I can’t really say this is a terrible thing but I was hoping for a story with pirates and more ships.  Technically, Nicholas is a pirate but he’s not the kind I was thinking of.  And yes it starts out on a ship but not much of it actually takes place there.  This point is more just for me though because the cover had my hopes up.  Also, this point didn’t really take anything away from my enjoyment of the book.

Overall, Passenger is a hefty book that you will honestly wish there was more of when you finish it.  Nicholas and Etta’s story is really just beginning and I’m dying to see where it goes next in Wayfarer.  You can bet your butts I’m going to be getting that one the day it comes out.

What others are saying about Passenger:

Christina Reads YA’s review: “If you’re a The Darkest Minds fan, I do think that you’re going like Passenger; there’s a similar blend of cinematic action, romance, suspense, and emotionally charged situations.”

Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s review: “If you are looking for a brilliant adventure with a little swoon, I invite you to book your passage on the Passenger.”

Friday, October 23, 2015

Win Through The Dark by Alexandra Bracken | Giveaway

Win Through The Dark by Alexandra Bracken | GiveawayThrough the Dark (The Darkest Minds, #1.5, #2.5, #3.5) by Alexandra Bracken
Published by Disney Hyperion on October 6th 2015
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

IN TIME
Gabe's life has been devastated in the wake of the economic crash. The only option left for someone like him to escape his tragic past is to leave his small town behind and to attempt to become a skiptracer. This already almost-impossible task is made all the more difficult by his first "score,"a young girl who won't speak, but who changes his life in ways he could never imagine.

SPARKS RISE
Sam didn't think things could get worse at Thurmand rehabilitation camp. Then the Reds arrive. Everyone assumed the kids with firepower had been killed years ago. Instead they were taken away, brainwashed, and returned as terrifyingly effective guards. To her horror, Sam recognizes one of them: Lucas, the one spark of light in Sam's dark childhood.

Lucas has a deadly secret--he beat the brutal training that turned his fellow Reds into mindless drones. When Sam defends herself against an attack by a vile PSF guard and faces a harrowing punishment, Lucas must risk everything to save her.

BEYOND THE NIGHT
The government-run "rehabilitation camps" have been shut down, but kids with Psi powers are anything but free. Sam would rather be on her own than put in the care of a foster family and given the "cure"--a dangerous procedure that unclaimed kids across the country are being forced to undergo. But there's more at stake than just her own safety. Sam once made someone a promise, and the time has come to fulfill it.

Now that she's out of her camp, Mia only has one thought in her head: finding Lucas, her beloved older brother. She hasn't seen him since they were separated and taken to different camps years ago, before Mia even became Psi. When Sam, Lucas's childhood best friend, rescues Mia from the government's inept care, Mia learns that nothing is as simple as she thought--and the past that she's so desperate to salvage may not be possible to recover...

Thanks to the wonderful team at Disney Hyperion, I’ve got a fabulous giveaway for you guys!

I don’t know about you but I’m a fan of The Darkest Minds.  I admit, I haven’t finished the series but that is only because of lack of time, not lack of interest.  Now that I’ve got the novella collection, I think it might be just the push I need to binge read the rest of the series.

AlexBrackenAuthorPhoto

 

Alexandra Bracken is theNew York Times bestsellingauthor of The Darkest Minds and Never Fade. Born and raised in Arizona, she moved east to study history and English at the College of William&Mary in Virginia. Alex now lives in New York City, where you can find her hard at work on her next novel in a charming little apartment that’s perpetually overflowing with books. Visit her online at www.alexandrabracken.com and on Twitter @alexbracken.

Visit AlexandraBracken.com

Follow Alex Bracken on Twitter and Instagram

And if you’ve already read all of Alexandra Bracken’s Darkest Minds books, I’m sure you’re extremely excited about her newest novel, Passenger, coming in January.  Make sure to check out a sampler from Passenger to tide you over until the release!

Download the PASSENGER eSampler

AMAZON

NOOK

iBooks

About PASSENGER

Two worlds collide in this sweeping, romantic novel about a love that crosses centuries by bestselling author of theDarkest Minds series, Alexandra Bracken.

Giveaway!

One (1) winner receives: THROUGH THE DARK.

 

Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Disney-Hyperion.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan | Review

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan | ReviewThe Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1
on June 1st 2005
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 377
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school... again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus' master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus' stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

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I can’t tell you how many people have told me to read the Percy Jackson series.  I also can’t tell you how many times I’ve put off reading the series.  I honestly don’t know why, I just did.  The urge finally hit me to actually sit down and give this one a shot and I’m very glad I did.  This seems like the start of a series that I’m going to enjoy.

First off, things were a little odd for me with this one because I’ve read the graphic novel and I’ve also seen the movie.  Yes, the movie is very different but it still felt a bit like deja vu while I was reading.  I didn’t mind though because there was enough new content for me that I found it enjoyable.  Sure there wasn’t so much mystery about how things were going to end but that didn’t slow me down at all.

This series is very much middle grade, at least for now.  Percy is only 12 years old at the beginning of The Lightning Thief and while I knew that, I still found it a little off putting.  I’m so used to reading about older teens that getting used to Percy was difficult.  He was not very mature but what 12 year old boy is?  Some of his concerns seemed trivial to me but otherwise I liked him and I enjoyed watching him grow throughout the course of the book.  He went through a lot in a short period of time and he handled it really well, especially for someone so young.  I was impressed by that.  As for the other characters, Annabeth and Grover were awesome.  Annabeth was a little snotty at first but she came around eventually.  Grover was, by far, my favorite.  He was hilarious.  Grover was definitely the comic relief here but he also played a huge role in the quest.  He was funny but that wasn’t his only purpose and I appreciated that about him.

The Lightning Thief incorporates a ton of mythology.  I can see now why so many people love this series.  It’s full of stories that people of any age can enjoy.  I lost track of all the myths that were included in The Lightning Thief.  Even if it was just a brief mention, I caught so many gods, goddesses, and myths.  I think I really appreciated this now because I just finished a mythology in literature course and I was able to catch so many references that I might not have before.  It was fun trying to figure out all the myths and people as I went along.

The story itself is pretty straightforward but I can tell it’s going to tie into something much bigger as the series goes on.  The theft of Zeus’ lightning bolt is the main storyline in The Lightning Thief (obviously) but it all ties into something that doesn’t get wrapped up at the end of this book.  While I wouldn’t call the ending a cliffhanger, it’s definitely enough to get me to keep reading.

The writing style is simple and I enjoyed that in this case.  Rick Riordan’s writing is nothing fancy, that’s for sure, but I think that works with the type of story this is.  Like I said, I knew a lot of what was going to happen in The Lightning Thief but it never got boring and the style of writing really helped move things along at a good pace.

Overall, The Lightning Thief wasn’t absolutely amazing but it’s definitely earned the hype that surrounds it.  The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is one that I will be continuing.

What others have to say about The Lightning Thief:

Fantasy Book Review’s review: “A fantastic book for sure that has me thanking the gods I bought the series.”

Shae Has Left the Room’s review: “The story itself was also a joy to read.”

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout | Review

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout | ReviewDon't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend. 

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

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I continue to be impressed with Jennifer L. Armentrout’s books.  Whether she’s writing young adult or new adult, paranormal or contemporary, it’s always fabulous.  Don’t Look Back is no exception.

Contemporary suspense is one of my favorite genres.  However, it’s sometimes hard to impress me when it comes to these types of stories because I can be overly critical.  Don’t Look Back is a good addition to the genre but not one of the best out there.  Sure parts of the mystery surprised me but I’d guessed the killer by the end of the first few chapters.  The motive, on the other hand, kept me guessing for a while.  I guessed parts of the motive but not all of them and I couldn’t quite figure out how everything was going to tie together in the end.  That definitely kept me reading although I would have preferred if the mystery was a bit less obvious.

The characters are what got me truly invested in the story.  Samantha is basically a blank slate after she disappeared.  She gets a second chance at life pretty much.  She quickly finds out that she was a giant bitch before the night she disappeared but this is a chance for her to change that about herself.  She takes that to heart.  She doesn’t know much about who she used to be but she knows she doesn’t want to go back to being that girl.  It’s hard for her to change though when everyone seems to be pushing her right back in the direction she started.  Her boyfriend is a complete and utter prick.  Her brother is an awesome guy but for some reason they never got along.  Carson, her kind of neighbor, is there for her no matter what, even when it’s made clear that she might have been the biggest bitch to him.  However, it seems like every last person is keeping some kind of secret from Sam and it’s up to her and her alone to figure out what’s true and what exactly happened with Cassie the night they both disappeared.

Jennifer L. Armentrout has a way with relationships.  However, with Don’t Look Back she proved that she doesn’t just have a way with romantic relationships but also with familial relationships.  Samantha and Scott had a lot to work through after she disappeared but they had a really strong relationship.  Scott was always there for his sister and as Sam figured out who she wanted to be, she started to be there for Scott as well.  That’s not to say that there wasn’t a fabulous romantic relationship in Don’t Look Back.  Carson and Sam have this instant chemistry and I was rooting for them from the start.  They had a lot of stuff to work out and a lot of history to work through but they never gave up.  They worked through things together, no matter how tough.

Overall, Don’t Look Back is a wonderful addition to Jennifer L. Armentrout’s books.  While I’m pleased that it’s a standalone, I definitely wouldn’t mind more of these characters or more of this style from her in the future.

What others are saying about Don’t Look Back:

Just A Booklover’s review: “Overall, Jennifer L. Armentrout has written the most perfectly nerve-racking suspense that had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.”

Cuddlebuggery’s review: “Is there anything Jennifer L. Armentrout can’t do?”

Mel, Erin, and Regina Read-a-lot’s review: “Yeah, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat til the very end.”

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Unbound (The Archived #2) by Victoria Schwab | Review

The Unbound (The Archived #2) by Victoria Schwab | ReviewThe Unbound by Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on January 28, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she's struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn't easy -- not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she's really safe.

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She's sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she'll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

With stunning prose and a captivating mixture of action, romance, and horror, The Unbound delves into a richly imagined world where no choice is easy and love and loss feel like two sides of the same coin.

The Unbound, the sequel to The Archived, is even better than it’s predecessor. Really, I shouldn’t be surprised since this is Victoria Schwab we’re talking about but I’m still amazed at her talented writing, wonderful characters, and captivating stories.

The Unbound picks up shortly after the end of The Archived. Mac is about to start at a new school and she now has to figure out how to balance her duties as a Keeper, her duties as a daughter, and her duties as a student. That doesn’t even touch her rocky relationship with Wesley Ayers. Mac has a lot on her plate and things get even worse when it looks like she is causing the disappearances of people. It’s up to her to solve who is really behind the disappearances.

Mac is one of the most kickass characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. She’s fierce, smart, capable, and funny. She needs no help saving her own life but she’s not always above asking for it. With the help of Wesley Ayers, Mac has to figure out what’s going on. They have to figure it out because the other alternative is that Mac is going to go down for the disappearances and she also might be losing her mind. But that’s all. Seriously though, you don’t want to get me started on Wesley. That boy is amazing. I can’t say that enough. I thought I loved him in The Archived but that was nothing compared to my feelings for him after reading The Unbound. That kid just gets better and better. Read The Unbound just for more of him if you don’t have any other reason.

The story is suspenseful and totally shocking. There were times when I honestly thought Mac might be going crazy. It was really hard to tell sometimes. I felt horrible for her. People that she interacted with were going missing and she was the prime suspect. There were times when even I thought maybe she was actually behind the disappearances. It was hard to tell and I loved that about The Unbound. And once I found out who was really behind the disappearances, I was even more surprised.

The writing is enough for me to recommend The Unbound. Victoria Schwab is one of the most amazing writers. I have read almost everything she has written and I will continue to read her books for her writing alone. The Unbound is no exception to that amazing writing.

Overall, The Unbound deserves a place on everyone’s shelves. I can’t recommend it enough. If you haven’t already started this series, do it immediately!

What others are saying about The Unbound:

Hell Is Cold’s review: “Because Schwab always delivers. I can count on her not to disappoint me, and I’m really glad.”

Never Too Fond of Books’ review: “The Unbound is absolutely another gush-worthy book.”

Read My Breath Away’s review: “In my opinion, a strong sequel raises the stakes of the overarching story that was started in the first book and wow, does The Unbound ever raise those stakes.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Archived (The Archived #1) by Victoria Schwab | Review

The Archived (The Archived #1) by Victoria Schwab | ReviewThe Archived by Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on January 22, 2013
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 328
Format: ARC
Source: ALA, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what she once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

Victoria Schwab is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. The Near Witch was one of my favorite books of 2011 and it really impressed me. I was pretty sure her sophomore novel couldn’t be better than that one but boy was I wrong. The Archived is one of the best books I have read in 2012 and one of my all-time favorites.

The Archived is one of the most unique books I have ever read. The concept is fabulous and the execution is perfect! I wasn’t quite sure where the story was going to go in the beginning but I honestly didn’t care because it was just so interesting. However, once the story really picked up and things started to come together, I was fascinated. I won’t try and tell you exactly how things work in the Archive because the book does a way better job of explaining it. Just know that it’s an awesome concept and it’s kind of spooky.

That’s another thing about The Archived that I didn’t expect but I should have given the spookiness of The Near Witch. The Archived takes place in two locations: the Coronado, an old hotel turned apartment building, and the Narrows/Archive. Both places are pretty much equally creepy. The Coronado is a building full of secrets. A series of strange deaths happened shortly after the place became apartments and somehow these murders tie in with strange things happening in the Narrows and the Archive. While it’s not a horror story by any means, I was sufficiently creeped out yet equally intrigued.

Mackenzie is one stubborn, strong-willed, hard-headed girl. She did not want to accept help from anyone and she wanted to do everything her own way. She was a little closed off with people but she did grow out of that a little bit throughout the book. She was lonely and she just wanted someone who could relate to her. She found that someone in the very unlikely form of Wesley Ayers. (By the way, Wesley Ayers is my new fictional crush and none of you can have him!) Wesley is the comic relief in this book. He’s the complete opposite of Mac. He’s free-spirited, friendly, and a little goofy. He’s pretty much the definition of a nice guy. I have no complaints regarding Wesley’s character! As for the rest of the characters, it was hard to judge them. The Librarians were very aloof and mysterious, Mackenzie’s parents were heartbroken and lost, and the Histories were kind of creepy yet kind of sad. I look forward to learning more about everyone in the next book.

As for the writing itself, if you’ve read The Near Witch you know what to expect from Victoria Schwab. Her writing is beautiful and creepy and mysterious and just freaking fantastic. Victoria Schwab is one of those authors who could write a phone book and have people fall in love with it. I really can’t put into words how much I love her writing. =)

Overall, The Archived is a stunning sophomore novel from Victoria Schwab. It’s a creeptastic story full of mystery and secrets and I can’t recommend it enough!

Looking for more reviews of The Archived by Victoria Schwab?

The Paper Reader’s review
Dark Faerie Tales’ review
The YA Sisterhood’s review

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab | Review

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab | ReviewThe Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Published by Disney Hyperion on August 2, 2011
Genres: Historical Fantasy
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know-about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab's debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won't soon forget.

picadillyblueThe Near Witch is one of the few books that I have nothing bad to say about. From the very first line I was hooked and I was on the edge of my seat until the very last page. Victoria Schwab’s debut novel deserves every word of praise that it has gotten.

Lexi is one of the best main characters I have ever read about. Her life was not easy but she never let that change her positive outlook on life and people. She was one of the few people in the town of Near who was not afraid of witches and instead she treated them just like everyone else. She was open-minded, loving, and very brave. I feel like teenage girls should read this book just to see how a heroine should really act. Lexi is a role model or she should be.

The rest of the characters were wonderful as well. Cole was very sweet and caring but he did have a troubled past. His story was very heartbreaking. Lexi’s little sister, Wren, was fun and bubbly and she helped lighten the mood at times. Lexi’s mom was a little confusing at times, as was Lexi’s uncle, Otto, but in the end I liked them both.

As for the plot, I don’t want to give anything away but I will say that it was very suspenseful, unique, and creepy at times. Victoria Schwab’s lyrical writing really brought this story to life and I can’t wait to see what is next from her.

Overall, The Near Witch is a must-read for everyone, boy or girl, young or old. I’m sure that everyone will find a little something to fall in love with (or a lot, like me).

What others are saying about The Near Witch:

Alexa Loves Books’ review: “Finishing The Near Witch was like having the perfect cup of coffee in the morning – it left me feeling relaxed and satisfied.”

Ivy Book Bindings’ review: “Ultimately, I have to admit that it was the slow pace that made me put this down far before I’d reached the end.”

Great Imaginations’ review: “Victoria Schwab did it all, and she did it well in this book.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bloody Valentine (Blue Bloods #5.5) by Melissa de la Cruz | Review

Bloody Valentine (Blue Bloods #5.5) by Melissa de la Cruz | ReviewBloody Valentine by Melissa de la Cruz
Series: Blue Bloods #5.5
Published by Disney Hyperion on December 28, 2010
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 160
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
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5 Stars

Vampires have powers beyond human comprehension: strength that defies logic, speed that cannot be captured on film, the ability to shapeshift and more. But in matters of the heart, no one, not even the strikingly beautiful and outrageously wealthy Blue Bloods, has total control. In Bloody Valentine, bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz offers readers a new story about the love lives of their favorite vamps - the passion and heartache, the hope and devastation, the lust and longing. Combined with all the glitz, glamour, and mystery fans have come to expect, this is sure to be another huge hit in the Blue Bloods series.

Also, witness the bonding of Jack and Schuyler.

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Bloody Valentine is the first set of short stories that I have read about the Blue Bloods but if Keys To The Repository is anything like this one I will have to check it out.  Bloody Valentine really shed some light on the characters that I love from the Blue Bloods series.

The first story is about Oliver and it also introduces Freya Beauchamp who will be in Melissa de la Cruz’s new book, The Witches Of East End.  I really liked finding out more about what happened to Oliver after Schuyler left and I like Oliver even more now.  And I am dying to read The Witches Of East End!

The second story is set in the past and features Schuyler’s mother, Allegra Van Alen, as a teen.  It is about her love for the human, Bedix Chase, who I assume is Schuyler’s father.  This one left me with some questions though so it wasn’t my favorite.

The last story is about Jack and Schuyler’s bonding and I loved it.  It takes place after the events in Misguided Angel and this story just reinforced my love of Jack and Schuyler together.  I can’t wait to see what is next for this pair.

Overall, Bloody Valentine is a great set of short stories to go along with the Blue Bloods series.  Each story had me hooked and I read the whole book in a little over an hour.  Sadly, now I have to wait for October to see what’s next!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins | Review

Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins | ReviewHex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on March 2, 2010
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
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5 Stars

When Sophie Mercer turned thirteen, she discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-Gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hecate Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fae, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard. Three powerful enemies who look like supermodels; a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock; a creepy, tag-along ghost; and a new roommate, who happens to be the most-hated person and only vampire on campus. Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her friend Jenna is the number one suspect.

Meanwhile, Sophie has a more personal shock to grapple with. Not only is her father the head of the prodigium council, he's the most powerful warlock in the world, and Sophie is his heir. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all prodigium, especially her.

picadillyblueHex Hall, Rachel Hawkins’ debut novel, was fantastic! I could not stop reading it and now I really want to read the sequel. Everything about the book was great and it is definitely being added to my list of favorite books.

Sophie Mercer is a witch. She’s not exactly good at it though, so she is sent to Hecate Hall, where she won’t run the risk of exposing witches to the world. Hecate Hall is not where she wants to spend her next two years but she is stuck so she might as well make the best of it. She befriends Jenna, the only vampire student, develops a futile crush on Archer, a very good looking warlock, and makes enemies of the only coven of dark witches at the school, including Archer’s girlfriend. It seems like nothing else could possibly go wrong but then the attacks start. And Sophie may be next.

Sophie was actually a pretty funny character. She was kind of clueless and I loved her for it. I could really relate to what she was going through, the whole trying to fit in thing. She just kept making mistakes and they all had me laughing. I really loved how she took control, though. She realized that she wouldn’t get any better without practice so that’s what she did. She was a strong heroine that I found myself rooting for!

The plot was great. I couldn’t guess who or what was attacking the students. And that wasn’t the only surprise thrown in. Let’s just say that Archer had a bit of a secret that I never saw coming. It threw me for a loop. After reading that, I have to have the sequel. I want to know what happens and I want to know now.

Overall, Hex Hall is a great paranormal book that has a little bit of everything thrown in. Rachel Hawkins did an amazing job with her debut and the sequel is one that I am dying to get my hands on.

What others are saying about Hex Hall:

The Book Smugglers’ review: “This is a much better book than its premise.”

Dark Faerie Tales’ review: “Laced with mystery, adventure and an adorable romance; this book was impossible to put down.”

NYX Book Reviews’ review: “I really liked the ideas Ms Hawkins had, and her world sounds interesting.”