Archive | March, 2014

Review: HIGH & DRY by Sarah Skilton

Framed for a stranger’s near-fatal overdose at a party, blackmailed into finding a mysterious flash drive everyone in school seems anxious to suppress, and pressured by his shady best friend to throw an upcoming game, high school soccer player Charlie Dixon spends a frantic week trying to clear his name, win back the girl of his dreams, and escape a past that may be responsible for all his current problems.

Quick recap for those who haven’t memorized my reviews from time immemorial. Last year, I read Bruised by Sarah Skilton and was floored by how much I loved it. Straight contemporary fiction, especially those involving issues, is not my thing. NOT. MY. THING. But Ms. Skilton completely drew me in to Imogen’s world, and I enjoyed my stay immensely. So of course I wanted to read High & Dry, and of course I was terrified that Ms. Skilton wouldn’t be able to keep the magic going. But she did. Not only did she SURPASS my love for Bruised, but she inspired me to sit down and write a gushy email immediately after finishing, which I almost never do. Continue Reading →

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Rewind & Review (44)

Rewind and review

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Interestingly, my two reviews this week featured a win and a fail in world-building. How symmetrical. Also this week, Cover Love went old school, I confess an envy problem, and we talk bucket lists.

 

Stuff I Received

  • The Zoo at the Edge of the World by Eric Kahn Gale (from HarperCollins vis Edelweiss)
  • In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis (from HarperCollins via Edelweiss)
  • This Is How It Ends by Jen Nadol (from Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss)

Thanks this week to HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster!

Books I Read

  • Meridian by Josin McQuein – Started this one last week and finished it this week. Review to come but O_O
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling – Eep!
  • The Cute Girl Network by M.K. Reed and Greg Means – my first “real” graphic novel!
  • Nil by Lynne Matson – Literally just started this one, so no opinion yet.

No audiobooks this week, and I allowed myself a break from the schedule to read more Harry Potter. Look for a Blogging Unicorn recap on Friday!

Happenings

  • My cousin had a baby! Little princess Cosette now has baby sister Juliette Ilsa to build a snowman with.
  • I donated two bags of ARCs to a local high school. It’s SO nice to get them out of the house, and I can’t wait to hear how the kids like them.
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Review: SEA OF SHADOWS by Kelley Armstrong

In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

I think the worst reviews to write are the ones without emotion. When I love a book, I will gush for paragraph upon paragraph. When I hate a book, I’ll spit and snarl in a never-ending scroll. But when I don’t care? When I am abstractly amused by some pieces but left cold by others? Then I just want to stick up a GIF and call it a day.

Continue Reading →

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Cover Love #49

Cover Love

It’s 50 years before the settlement of the city of Ember, and the world is in crisis. War looms on the horizon as 11-year-old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood, North Carolina. There, one of the town’s respected citizens has had a terrible vision of fire and destruction. Her garbled words are taken as prophetic instruction on how to avoid the coming disaster. If only they can be interpreted correctly. . .

As the people of Yonwood scramble to make sense of the woman’s mysterious utterances, Nickie explores the oddities she finds around town—her great-grandfather’s peculiar journals and papers, a reclusive neighbor who studies the heavens, a strange boy who is fascinated with snakes—all while keeping an eye out for ways to help the world. Is this vision her chance? Or is it already too late to avoid a devastating war?

I usually don’t dig back into my files to highlight older covers, but I found this book in one of my boxes and couldn’t stop staring. This cover is deceptively simple—just a red sky and a flock of birds—but it gives me goosebumps. Even without knowing the history of the Embers series, this cover is scary. It blatantly invokes the specter of a nuclear holocaust with the shape and direction of the birds. Add in the violent sky, and the cover screams DOOM.

What do you think of the cover? Has you read the book? Does it fit?

 

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Schedule Envy

Oh my word, envy is tricky. Just when you think you’ve got in nailed, that green-eyed snake twists its way out.

There’s been much discussion and commiserating in the blogging community about ARC envy. For those who don’t know, ARC envy is when one blogger covets a review copy (or sometimes finished copy) that another blogger receives. It’s a disease that can hit bloggers of any genre and experience. Newbie bloggers get really bad cases, but so do us more experienced souls. In my personal experience, ARC envy was the worst around the one-year mark, when I’m established enough to get a few things and feel like I’m hot stuff but new enough to not really have the proper connections yet. Oh how it burned to see others getting such lovely packages. Strangers, friends, it didn’t matter—they had books I wanted, and I wanted them NOW.

Now that I’ve sailed past my two-year mark, my ARC envy has subsided somewhat. I’m certainly not immune from spontaneous flare-ups, but I’m content with what I have. But like I said, envy is tricky, and I’ve found a new, undermentioned form that’s hitting me hard. Continue Reading →

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Review: SALVAGE by Alexandra Duncan

Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood.

I’ll admit, at first I thought Salvage was going to be the book to break my awesome reading streak.  I was not impressed by what was going on in the beginning. In fact, I think Salvage is a lot like Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein in that the opening is a bit deceptive, as the opening is only the first part in what becomes a three-part drama. So let’s compare (in as spoiler-free of a manner as possible) how the first 70 pages of Salvage compare to the rest. Continue Reading →

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Rewind & Review (43)

Rewind and review

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Another great week of posts, if I do say so myself. The TTT was fun to make, the Cover Love made me giggle, the discussion topic seemed to strike a chord and the reviews were so wildly different (one psychological thriller, one short n’ sweet romance) that it makes me grin.

Stuff I Received

  • A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (both from Ginger Clark)
  • Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano (from Sarah Davies)

THE GOODIES! They make me so happy. A big, big, BIG thanks to Ms. Ginger and Ms. Sarah!

What I Read This Week

  • Agency manuscript (shhhh)
  • Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano – SO GOOD. So shippable, too. Can’t wait to write a review.
  • Arclight by Josin McQuein – Lovely book. Glad I got a chance to reread it.
  • Meridian by Josin McQuein – Currently in progress, but I’m loving it!
  • Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan – Still listening to the audiobook I started last week, but I’m ALMOST to the end.

Happenings

I finished my massive project to catalog every book I own. NOT counting ARCs or digital copies, I own 654 books. I KNOW. By the time this post goes live, I hope to decrease that number just a bit, but to be honest, it won’t drop by that much. Sigh.

I also got to cross something off my bookish bucket list, which I’ll be able to tell you about on Tuesday. 🙂

Serious moment: A coworker of mine’s nephew disappeared while on a hiking trip over a week ago. They’re considering him dead but prayers would be appreciated. 🙁

My sister Summer decided to accept USF’s offer. She’s a Bull!

 

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Review: HUNG UP by Kristen Tracy

Can you fall in love with a voice? This witty romance, told entirely through phone calls, chronicles the tale of a wrong number gone right.

It all started with a wrong number. The voicemails Lucy left on James’s phone were meant for someone else—someone who used to have James’s digits. But then when James finally answers and the two start to talk, a unique bond forms between the two teens.

Gradually Lucy and James begin to understand each other on a deeper level than anyone else in their lives. But when James wants to meet in person, Lucy is strangely resistant. And when her secret is revealed, he’ll understand why…

Hung Up is a quick little book, so I’m going to attempt to make this review comparable in size. The story is told in transcript form, documenting the exchange between two teens after one, Lucy, dials a phone number that used to belong to a business and instead reaches a boy named James. Continue Reading →

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Cover Love #48

Cover Love

Every year, the lives of ten girls at Vienna High are transformed.

All because of the list.

Kenzie Summerall can’t imagine how she’s been voted onto a list of the hottest girls in school, but when she lands at number five, her average life becomes dazzling. Doors open to the best parties, new friends surround her, the cutest jock in school is after her.

This is the power of the list. If you’re on it, your life changes.

If you’re on it this year? Your life ends.

Oh my gosh, this cover. It’s so campy! The ritzy setting with that glitz chandelier, the dead rich girls with their fancy dresses, the clasped hands, the red plates arranged like pools of blood. Just based on this cover, the book looks like it will be the perfect mix between creepy-twisted and hilarious. They All Fall Down may not have a glamorous cover, but it has an enticing one, which, in this case, is even better.

What do you think of this cover? Do you love it? Hate it?

 

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