Thursday, December 31, 2015

Cover vs Cover: Conjure by Lea Nolan

This week's pick is...

Conjure (The Hoodoo Apprentice, #1)VS.  Conjure (The Hoodoo Apprentice, #1)
Original                Redesign
So much improvement. The first cover isn't horrible, but it has that awkward feeling that Entangled Teen book covers seem to have (thankfully, their cover designs seem to be improving). The redesign looks much more polished. It has a magical feeling and the title font looks fantastic and fits with the cover, rather than looking stamped on the front like the first cover.
   Final Verdict: Redesign
Do you agree? Give me your thoughts on which cover is the best!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

REVIEW: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace



Shallow GravesFor fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace. 





MY THOUGHTS
One year after her death, Breezy wakes up and digs out of her own grave. She doesn't remember how she died and she has no idea why she alive again. What she does know is killers. She's now able to tell who has murders someone and she has the ability to quickly kill them. Traveling away from her home, Breezy soon finds out that there others out there who aren't quite human and a cult intent and ridding the world of them.

I didn't know what to expect from this book, besides some creepiness. I make it a rule not to read the synopsis of a book right before reading the book, since sometimes spoilers are included. I thought that the beginning was very interesting. I was expecting the book to be about Breezy killing various murderers. As weird as it sounds, I though that was pretty darn interesting. I was thrown when the cult was thrown in and then the book felt less creepy dead girl thriller, but weird paranormal. For some reason, the introduction of other paranormals didn't do it for me. I later grew to like it and found a lot of it interesting, but it took a bit for me to get used to the new topic.

As for writing, Kali Wallace is a wonderful writer. I liked how the story moved and how there were flashbacks intertwined within the story. This wasn't really a mystery, but there was a mystery underneath about what happened to Breezy and I liked how that flowed. And as weird and dark as the story was, I did like it.

Breezy as a character was hard to connect to. Partly because she's dead and doesn't remember what happened to her. She can also easily kill people. You know, not really something you can easily relate to. She also felt oddly older, which shouldn't be the case. She's dead, not an immortal being that has lived centuries. Another thing I would like to mention is that Breezy is bisexual. What I liked about that in this book was that it was never made a big deal of, it just was.

IN CONCLUSION
Overall, I did like this book. It wasn't what I expected, but it was a very interesting and dark read. This book won't become a favorite of mine, but Kali Wallace can definitely write and if she writes any more YA, I will pick it up. If you're a fan of dark, paranormal reads that are definitely strange.

I hereby give this book
3.5 Stars
Meaning: I liked it, but it wasn't quite amazing.

Waiting on Wednesday: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, where you talk about whatever book you are IMPATIENTLY WAITING for!

This week I am waiting for...

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1)
Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge.

Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention — they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim.


The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. 

Release Date: March 8th 2016



Why am I waiting?
Sure, I think it's a bit ridiculous that Cassandra Clare now has three separate series about Shadowhunters, but... I still really want to read it.
What book are you waiting for this week?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

REVIEW: Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake



Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers, #1)
Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.

Jumping into some of the world's most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik's world and her own, before both are destroyed. 


I received an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.




MY THOUGHTS
I've been waiting to read this book for almost two years, when the book was titled "Library Jumpers". That was all I needed to know in order to need this book! This book wasn't as much as I hoped for, mostly due to the romance, but the fantasy elements were amazing and I did enjoy this book!

After being sucked into a book and ending up in a library in Paris, Gia's life is changed forever. They discover Sentinels, magical knights that travel across libraries to protect the human race from various creatures. Now, Gia and her friends are in danger from these creatures and rather they like it or not, they're now in this new world. Gia may be involved more than she realized.

The main idea behind this book sounds absolutely fantastic! A fantasy that is based around libraries? A booknerd's dream! I loved the idea behind this book! This book also has a very complex magic system. I thought that all the magical and fantasy elements were very interesting. They were a bit hard for me to wrap my head around at first, but in the end, I was very impressed by the world Brenda Drake created.

A lot did definitely happen in this book, which may also factor why my head was spinning so much. Gia also founds out a whole lot of stuff in a short period of time, some about the world, some about her, some about other things. There is a lot of information in this book and I still feel like I don't know anything, that there are answers that I still need. I hope my questions will be answered in the other books in the series!

Gia is a lover of libraries and a bit of a tomboy. I liked Gia. She annoyed me at points, due to the romance (which I will get to), but she was a great MC most of the time. We're thrown into this world with Gia ad both of us are still trying to understand it. She cares deeply for her friends and family, and on that thought, they too are really great characters. I can't say that I love her as a MC though. She's great, but I've read many books with similar MCs.

The romance is the main reason why I didn't enjoy this book as much as I wanted to. I don't have much like with romance in books and it's very hard for me to like a romance in books because it's just so easy for an annoying trope to sneak in. This book was no different. First of all, once a guy was described as hot and with a snazzy accent, I knew that we've found the love interest. The romance just felt too much like insta-love. Arik is not a bad guy, but sometimes all I ever really felt the attraction was based on was the fact that he was really hot, because Gia thought about that a lot. I know there was more to it, but it happened so fast! Add in the fact that of course it was forbidden and of course there's so really hot French girl, with big boobs, hanging around Arik. Of course. I'm sorry, but I've getting sick of these tropes in YA. Maybe eventually, as the series continues, I'll be less annoyed. Also, another guy was introduced and is it wrong that I actually want a love triangle? I kind of want to know more about the other guy.

IN CONCLUSION
Okay, despite my annoyance with the romance, this was a great book. It introduced a very new and unique fantasy world with a very complex magic system! I enjoyed reading this book and I'm very curious what will happen next as the series continues.

I hereby give this book
3.5 Stars
Meaning: I liked it, but it wasn't quite amazing.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases For The First Half of 2016

Hosted each week by The Broke and the Bookish, it's a meme for listing the top ten for everything bookish.

HAHAHAHAHA!!!! I can't do just ten books!

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE


Yeah, there are so many other books I wanted to include, but this is probably enough.
2016 will be a great year.

What books are you looking forward to?

Monday, December 28, 2015

REVIEW: Deadly Sweet Lies by Erica Cameron




Deadly Sweet Lies (The Dream War Saga, #2)Nadette Lawson knows when you’re lying.

Every night for the past two years, the Balasura have visited her dreams, enticing her to enter their world. And every night she’s seen through their lies. Now, they’re tired of playing in the shadows and they begin to stalk her in the waking world. It’s no longer just an invitation; if Nadette doesn’t join them, they’ll take her family. Forever. She needs help, and the haven she’s seeking may be just out of reach.

Julian Teagan is a master of deception.

To survive, he has to convince the world his mother isn’t useless, that everything’s fine, otherwise he’ll lose what little he has left in this life. He knows the lying won’t be enough to keep him and his mother in the shadows, but it’s all he knows. The only light of truth is Orane, a Balasura who sees past Julian’s facade and challenges him to face the darkness.
Then Orane is killed, and Julian learns his mentor was far from innocent. The Balasura have hunted children like him for centuries, and their next target, Nadette is his one chance at finally being a part of something real. If Julian can just convince her to trust him… 

I received an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.




NOTICE: THIS IS A SEQUEL FOR ANOTHER BOOK. THERE MAY BE SPOILERS FOR THE PREVIOUS BOOK. Review of Book One


MY THOUGHTS
Every time someone lies, Nadette has a bell ring inside her head. For the past two years, Balasura have been trying to convince Nadette to stay in her dreams, stay in their world. They want her ability, but her ability allows her to see through their lies. Now they're tired of waiting and will force her into submission by threatening her family and torturing her during waking hours. 
On the other side of the country, Julian lives with a mother who couldn't care less about him and an ability to lie. Every night, Julian sees his best friend, Orane in his dreams. Then Orane dies and Julian finds out that his best friend was a Balasura and was actually evil. Julian doesn't want to believe, but now there's someone else being targeted and he has to help her get to safety.

After the end of Sing Sweet Nightingale, I was expecting this book to follow the same characters. Instead we get two new characters and a new story. Interestingly, it still feels like the story is being carried over. The characters in this book are connected to the ones in the last book and even the events are connected. It's actually a great way to continue the story!

I liked both Nadette and Julian. I liked Nadette's strength. She doesn't have the strength that we associate with most YA girls, but the real kind. The kind where she has to go through something difficult and it able to do it, but also not perfect. She's human and she does break and few times, but she's still strong. I also love her attachment to her family and her family in general. She has a crazy, huge family and I just loved how they believed in Nadette and just never questioned her.  

Julian was a great character too. He would hate me by saying this, but I felt really bad for him. He has a bad family life, sure, but that's not the main reason. First of all, his best friend turned out to be evil and then throughout the book he just seemed confused and I really just wanted to shake him, so he would be able to see things more clearly.

As for romance, there wasn't really much romance, but it was dealt with very well, especially when it came to Nadette  <highlight to view spoiler>I thought the add in of  Julian being asexual was a bit awkward. I really like the fact that we're seeing an asexual character, but it was just so conveniently explained that I felt it could have been added in a little bit differently<end of spoiler>. I appreciated how this book didn't follow what most people expect from YA, while adding diversity.

IN CONCLUSION
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I liked the characters and I like how the story was carried over and it still felt like I was reading something new. The end was very action packed and it kind of left me hanging, so I can't wait for the next book.

I hereby give this book
4 Stars!
Meaning: It was amazing!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

New Releases in YA! (December 27th-31st)

Every week I list all (or almost all) of the YA books (and the occasional MG) that are coming out within that week!
Here's what you get to look forward to this week:
P.S. Click on the book's cover for the Goodreads page!





What books, if any, do you plan to buy?

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Stacking the Shelves: Christmas 2015 Edition

Hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Stacking the Shelves is where all the book nerds can post about the lovely (or not so lovely) books that they've got this week.

I hope those who celebrate Christmas had a lovely time with their families! The weather for me is supposed to be horrible this weekend, but at least I got a few books to hole up with!

P.S. The covers take you to the book's Goodreads page!


Books I've Read in the Last Week


From the Used Bookstore
Amazon Freebies

Trade
The Lonely Hearts Club was a bit of a surprise! I was expecting it, but I wasn't expecting it to be signed!

Christmas Gifts!
This is my Christmas Eve haul. I got these books and a nice suitcase set (which the books are sitting on.
The books:


On the 26th, more presents were opened. These were from my Grandparents and Aunts. I also got some clothes and a foam thing to make my college bed much more comfortable. As for books, I actually got every book on my Christmas list :)
All Fall Down
See How They Run
Everything, Everything
Illustrated Harry Potter

These are from 'Santa'. They total up to $80. I usually get the small things Christmas morning. The other things I got were lots of Chapstick, some make-up, socks, tape, a blanket, and an ice scraper.


For Review


Books I Reviewed
(The covers are linked to my review)

NEW DISCOVERIES
I add books to my TBR pile so often, that I decided to include the new additions to my ever-growing list.
I DID NOT RECEIVE OR BUY THESE BOOKS. I only added them to my TBR list.


Anyway, what books did you haul in this week?