Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Black City by Elizabeth Richards

I've got a cover reveal on the blog today, courtesy of Penguin Books for Young Readers! I am so excited to share with you the cover of Black City by Elizabeth Richards, which is coming in November from G.P. Putnam and Sons! Wowza this is one heck of a cover!

 First, here's a little bit about the book!
A dark and tender post apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection, that causes Ash’s long dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

 Doesn't this one sound just completely awesome? Well now, wait till you see the cover!!!

 But wait, there's more! You can be one of the lucky people to win an advanced copy of this amazing novel! Just fill out the form! And if you win this amazing novel, you're also entered to win one of five of the author's hand-drawings of the main characters of the novel! Here's a sample!

 Fill out the form!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thank you to Penguin BFYR for providing me with the galley to giveaway!

Not convinced about Black City? Read the first chapter!


An air raid siren wails in the distance, alerting Black City citizens to lock their doors and turn out the lights. They don’t want to be out in the dark alone. They might meet something dangerous. Something like me.

 I head under the canal bridge and wait for the girl, taking a packet of Sentry-regulation smokes from my back pocket and sparking up. The nicotine courses through my veins, making them throb with adrenaline; the sensation is almost like a pulse . . . almost.

 Footsteps approach the bridge, and a short girl with straggly black hair appears from the shadows, dressed in men’s work boots, tight black trousers and a tailcoat made from a patchwork of clashing fabrics. Her hazel eyes gaze up into mine. She’s brave. Not many cherry-poppers have the courage to look me in the eyes. She hands me an old playing card with two hearts on it, one red, one black. It’s my calling card. It seemed an appropriate choice; that’s what I’m selling her after all, an illusion of love. I slip it into the pocket of my dark green military jacket.

 “You’re late,” I say. “Last thing I need is to be caught out here after curfew by a Tracker. They’re just begging for a reason to throw me in jail.”

 “Sorry, they’ve put up extra checkpoints, stopping everyone. There’s tanks everywhere!” she babbles. “I guess they can’t be too careful with the Sentry Emissary back in the city, what with the boundary negotiations with the Legion and—”

 “You paid Beetle?” I interrupt.

 The girl nods.

 “Terms and conditions,” I say. “No refunds. You don’t enjoy it, you puke, you freak—not my problem, okay?”

 She nods again.

 “You pregnant?” She blushes furiously. “I’ll take that as a no. It may cause drowsiness, so don’t drive or operate any heavy machinery.” She smiles at this, and I grin. They always like that. “And no repeats for at least two weeks, all right? I mean it.”

 “That all?”

 “No kissing. Strictly business, okay?”

 She seems a little disappointed by this, but I don’t like to mix business with pleasure. She shyly unbuttons the collar of her coat, revealing her slim, pale neck. Hunger grips my stomach at the sight.

 “What do I do?” she asks.

 “Lean back,” I say.

 She obeys like a good girl. I place a hand against the wall and slip my other hand between her thighs, gently easing her legs apart. Touching her doesn’t turn me on, but I groan like it does, knowing she’ll enjoy that. They all do, even the guys—it’s why they come to me instead of the Haze dens. I slide my body between her thighs so we’re face-to-face. Her shallow breaths are warm against my cool skin.

 “Relax, okay? It’s more enjoyable if you relax.”

 “My heart’s pounding a mile a minute.” She gives a nervous laugh.

 “Can’t say I know how that feels,” I admit.

 She tentatively presses a hand against my chest, and her eyes widen. “So it’s true, then? You don’t have a heart?”

 “I have a heart,” I growl, shoving her hard against the wall. It just doesn’t beat.

 A small tear snakes down her cheek, her thin lips trembling.

 “Sshhh, it’s okay, sweetheart. I didn’t mean to frighten you.” I gently wipe her tear away. “Forgive me?”

 She nods, then tilts her head to one side, exposing the smooth whiteness of her neck. The poison sacs behind my fangs swell with venom.

 Focus, Ash. Don’t blow your load.

 I lean toward her, pressing my lips against the soft flesh on her neck, just below her ear. Her pulse flutters under my lips, and I nearly lose it. I begin to nibble on the flesh, tickling the tiny hairs on her neck with my tongue, making them wet with my saliva.

 “Do it,” she whispers.

 So much for foreplay. I sink my fangs into her jugular. Hot blood spills over my tongue, making my taste buds burst with its sticky sweetness. Man, I love the newbies; they always taste the best. She sighs as my venom enters her bloodstream. I wait for the Haze to take effect before I start to drink from her. That’s the bonus of Haze; my clients get high from me, and I get high from them by drinking their drugged blood. It’s win-win.

 A sour, bitter flavor suddenly floods my mouth, and I gag, leaping back.

 “What the—” I spit up blood.

 The girl stares at me with glazed eyes, blood trickling down the two puncture wounds in her neck.
“Everything’s sparkling,” she says dreamily.

 “Didn’t Beetle tell you I don’t take clients on meds?”

 She lurches toward me, and I grab her before she falls into the water.

 “I love you,” she slurs, trying to kiss me.

 I shove her, hard. She falls back against the wall and slides to the floor. Her eyes roll back into her head, and she begins to spasm, white foam bubbling out the corners of her mouth.

 “No, no, no! Wake up.” I kneel down and shake her, panic rushing through me.

 The girl jerks, her boots leaving black scuff marks on the cobblestones. Fragg! This is why I don’t take clients on meds. You can never tell how they’re going to react to the Haze. I shrug off my jacket and place it under her head.

 A Sentry tank rolls over the bridge, and I shut my eyes and wait for it to pass. Even though the war is officially over, I still get chills at that sound. Wherever they went, Death followed. I had a few close scrapes during the war. During those days, the fact that I was a legal citizen and half human didn’t mean much to them. If you weren’t 100 percent human, you were the enemy. Every day was a fight for survival. Not much has improved since then; I’m still the enemy in most people’s eyes. All they can see is the Darkling in me. The tank turns down Bleak Street toward the Sentry Emissary’s headquarters.

 The girl groans. It’s too dangerous here; I have to go. I could just leave her . . . No, that’s not an option, but I can’t take her to the hospital. I’d get in so much trouble.


 I peer down the canal. A yellow barge is moored about one hundred feet away. The lights are off. Where is he? He’s meant to be my wingman; that’s why I came to the bridge in the first place. Can this get any wor—
An explosion of pain bursts inside my chest, and I clutch a hand over my lifeless heart. I sense someone behind me and turn.

 A girl stands by the entranceway, lit by the headlamps of a passing truck. In the fleeting light, I catch a glimpse of cornflower-blue eyes flicking between me and the Hazer writhing on the ground.

 Her gaze finally fixes on me.

 I fall back, struck down, as the pain in my chest blooms again.

 Shivers run through my body, rushing toward a single point in my chest. There’s a spark of electricity and then:

 A flutter.

 Amazing, right?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review: Torn by Amanda Hocking

Title: Torn
Series: Book 2 in the Trylle Trilogy
Author: Amanda Hocking
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (Originally Self-Published)
Release Date: February 28th, 2012 (Today!)
Source: Publisher
Add it on Goodreads
When Wendy Everly first discovers the truth about herself--that she's a changeling switched at birth--she knows her life will never be the same. Now she's about to learn that there's more to the story... She shares a closer connection to her Vittra rivals than she ever imagined--and they'll stop at nothing to lure her to their side.

With the threat of war looming, her only hope of saving the Trylle is to marry a powerful royal. But that means walking away from Finn, her handsome bodyguard who's strictly off limits...and Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares a growing attraction.

Torn between her heart and her people, between love and duty, Wendy must decide her fate. If she makes the wrong choice, she could lose everything, and everybody, she's ever both worlds.
"Torn is a fast-paced, fun read told in an easy, flowing writing style!"

What an improvement upon Torn's predecessor, Switched. Amanda really amped up the stakes with the second installment in the Trylle Trilogy. Not only is everything switched into hyper focus, Amanda manages  to make it feel as though the reader starts off right where they left off in Switched. Her writing style is familiar and simple, and I could just slip right into the plot without any problem!

 Wendy is seriously an awesome, kick-butt female character! It's so refreshing to have a heroine who isn't jelly and putty in her love interest's hands, and I thought the tortured relationship of Wendy and Finn was perfectly done and undeniably taut and electric. I was on pins and needles the entire novel, until that epic climax of their tortured romance that was blazing!

 I also loved how Amanda focused on the relationship between Elora and Wendy in this second installment. It was nice to get to know the seemingly heartless birth mother of Wendy, but certain moments in the book were truly heartwarming and perfectly done.

 The action is, as it was in Switched, vivid and totally edge-of-your-seat material! This book lacked that certain moment of pure and intense hand-to-hand combat that Switched had, but there were perilous chapter cliffhangers that made the ability to put Torn down next  to impossible.

 Torn is different from Switched. The action is not as present as is relationships and the exploration of Wendy's future as Queen. I liked getting to know all the characters more, and how Amanda set up the battlefield for the final novel, Ascend. Don't expect explosions and guns in Torn, but expect moments of delicious passion, vivid emotions, and a climatic build up to what I expect will be an epic conclusion

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cover Duel: US vs. UK

I always wished that I was British. The accent is wicked (yes, I know, I'm trying to hard,) and they seem like such peaceful people who eat scones all day and drink tea and say things like "trolly" and "matey" and "laddy." I thought I'd do something fun and compare some US covers to their UK cover partners! Without further a do, let's begin!

The Scorpio RacesThe Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steivater

I'm leaning a bit more towards the UK cover of The Scorpio Races. It's edgy, it's dark and mysterious, and the horse is perfectly posed. It stands out, whereas the US edition is muted and not overly eye-catching. They are both pretty solid cover, though!

The Future of UsThe Future of Us

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Two other covers that are both seriously awesome. I absolutely ADORE the US edition, because it is made up of  0's and 1's like computer code, and it makes up Josh and Emma. It relates to the book well, and is also funky and unique, like the contents. The UK cover is very spunky and fun. It has lots of color and brightness to it. The winner for me is the US!


Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

The dead winner on this one is the US cover. It's bright, it's eye-catching, it LOOKS  like an iTunes card, and it kind of screams STRUGGLE! I don't know why, but even though it's just a girl with her hair flipped, I feel some sort of angst in the cover. The UK cover is posed and the model looks awkward and bored.

The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1)

The Name of The Star by Maureen Johnson

The US cover of The Name of The Star was not received well by most, and I am one of those non-well-receivers. I saw the UK cover on someone's blog and I fell in love. It's dark, it's edgy, it's gritty and frightening. It's seriously a chilling, well done cover. The US one on the other hand is terribly photo shopped and it just

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

The US cover for Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the BOMB. Seriously, one of the BEST covers of 2011 hands down. It's dark and edgy and the blue is stunning in person. Pop art never worked so well to make a cover statement. The UK cover  is nice, but it looks like a placeholder for the real cover. Not the best, but in comparison to the US not very good.

HemlockDeadly Hemlock

I actually like both of these covers equally, though they aren't my favorite covers in the world. If I had to choose, I would say the UK cover is the winner. I really love the significance of the red coat and the hinting of a Little Red Riding Hood-esque novel, and how there is a wolf face in the trees. See it? Now you do!

The Alchemy of Forever (Incarnation #1)The Alchemy of Forever (Incarnation #1)

The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

The clear winner (to me) is The Alchemy of Forever US cover. I love the font usage of the US cover, it's fragile and elegant, as the novel sounds. The colors are nice and very appealing to the eye. The UK cover, on the other hand, is slightly posed and a little harsh and off-center to the eye!


Slide by Jill Hathaway

I really like both of these covers to the disappointing Slide by Jill Hathaway. The US one of is creepy and a little hazy, just like the book. The UK one is jarring and instantly makes you want to know more. Both covers have taglines that scream READ ME. All in all, I'd say the UK cover is a winner for me!


Which covers from the one's above do you prefer?

What are some US vs. UK covers you think have a big difference?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Review: Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne

Title: Harbinger
Author: Sara Wilson Etienne
Publisher: Putnam
Release Date: February 2nd, 2012
Page Count: 320 Pages
Source: Melina
Book Twin: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Add it on Goodreads
Plagued by waking visions and nightmares, inexplicably drawn to the bones of dead animals, Faye thinks she's going crazy. Fast. Her parents beleive Holbrook Academy might just be the solution. Dr. Mordoch tells her it's the only answer. But Faye knows that something's not quite right about Dr. Mordoch and her creepy, prisonlike school for disturbed teenagers.

What's wrong with Holbrook goes beyond the Takers, sadistic guards who threaten the student body with Tasers and pepper spray; or Nurse, who doles out pills at bedtime and doses of solitary confinement when kids step out of line; or Rita, the strange girl who delivers ominous messages to Faye that never seem to make any sense. What's wrong with Holbrook begins and ends with Faye's red hands; she and her newfound friends--her Holbrook "family"--wake up every morning with their hands stained the terrible brown of dried blood. Faye has no idea what it means but fears she may be the cause.

Because despite the strangeness of Holbrook and the island on which it sits, Faye feels oddly connected to the place; she feels especially linked to the handsome Kel, who helps her unravel the mystery. There's just one problem: Faye's certain Kel's trying to kill her--and maybe the rest of the world, too.

A rich and tautly told psychological thriller, Harbinger heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in young adult fiction.
"Unlike any other YA out on the shelves now, Harbinger is executed in a stunning, lyrical prose that brims with vivid imagery and intoxicating twists and turns."

I don't know how I waited so long to read Harbinger. Everything about the packaging calls to you. The cover is just stunning, and the way that the cover and whole book looks like a tarot card is just one giant sign saying READ ME.

 From the moment I opened the first page, I couldn't stop. Sara's writing style is atmospheric, and the way she makes you feel the way Faye felt, and how she could send goosebumps up my arms with her writing style. And that is simply what makes this book. With a prose that is reminiscent of Victoria Schwab and Jodi Meadows, Sara sucks the reader into Faye's world and her sufferings. It's surreal.

 The plot, by itself, is non-stop twists and turn. There isn't a dull moment, and I really loved how I had no idea what was going to happen next. There was also that insanity part, where I couldn't figure out whether Faye was imagining things or the stuff was really happening. It was quite reminiscent of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, and it was executed well too!

 There was one thing that kind of kept me from loving this book completely, and that is the characters. Faye okay character. She was just pretty average, and I didn't find anything about her to be interesting. And Kel, the love interest (was he, or not, cause I got kind of confused), was not very appealing either. I found him to be slimy and never really saw what made Faye  like him so much. The supporting characters were okay, and I found them all interesting, but I never really connected to any of them. I know this is a major flaw in some books, but Sara made up for it in other areas.

 Unlike any other YA out on the shelves now, Harbinger is executed in a stunning, lyrical prose that brims with vivid imagery and intoxicating twists and turns.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Review: Article 5 by Kristin Simmons

Title: Article 5
Author: Kristin Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Page Count: 364 Pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Tara @ Hobbitsies
Add it on Goodreads!
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It’s hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.
"Article 5 is one wow of a book! An explosion of emotion and action that takes you by the throat and doesn't let you go until the last second. Article 5 starts off with a bang and doesn't let up!"

I've been DYING to read Article 5 for the longest time now. I've seen nothing but five star reviews and I just knew I had to get my hands on a copy. And when Article 5 showed up on my doorstep, I tore the package open and began to READ. And once I started, I couldn't stop. I thought there was something wrong with me, because I seriously couldn't tear my eyes away.

 Kristin does a fabulous job of making sure that action saturates every page of the book, but also that this action doesn't fill up space where romance, emotions, and thought process should fill. The action, at its peak, is vivid and heart-pounding, and I could see every movement, and feel every tension that Kristin slowly tied tauter and tauter. It was surreal! I found myself on the edge of my seat, screaming and yelling at the book.

 With all this action, I didn't expect a romance at all. I thought, you know, Kristin put it in there because it has a real, solid meaning. Ember fell in love with her best friend, Chase Jennings, but then he got drafted as a soldier, and he went away. A year later, she hasn't heard anything from him. Until he shows up at her door with other soldiers, ready to take her away for a violation in the Moral Statutes. The whole tortured love story throughout the plot is blazing with intensity and passion. I loved every second!

 Article 5 is the very definition of a page-turner. You will not be able to pull your eyes away from this book once you start. Full of sizzling romance, electric action, and a jaw-dropping climax, readers will be hungry for the sequel.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

In My Mailbox (21) - The One With Angels, Articles, and Awkward Adolescents

For Review:
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo - This one looks so amazing, and I actually had a copy of it! But now I can read it SOONER than planned!
Awkward by Marni Bates - I'm on the blog tour for this one, and it sounds like fluffy fun!

Thank you to Macmillian and Shanyn Day!

Article 5 by Kristin Simmons - Thank you Tara @ Hobbitsies for this AMAZING BOOK. I read it the minute I got it, and it is just amazing! Review goes up Monday!
The Gathering by Kelly Armstrong - Thank you Kai @ Fiction State of Mind for this one! I got the Calling last week and needed the first book in the series!
A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink - Thanks to Michelle herself for sending me this AND signing it. I was literally SCREAMING when I won, this is one of my most anticipated 2012.

Thank you to Tara, Kai, and Michelle!

I couldn't resist, I bought the (pre-autographed) copies of two of John Green's novels when I was at the bookstore! I need to read more by this man!
Looking for Alaska by John Green
An Abundance of Katherine's by John Green

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren!

What did you get in your mailbox?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What Do You Think?

So, I've been blogging for a little longer than 6 and a half months now, right? I feel like I've made a huge accomplishment, lasting half a year at this. Sure, I have a long way to go, and my blog is really only getting started, but I'm planning some really big things that will enhance the whole experience at Reading Writing Breathing!

 How can I do this, you ask? By asking...YOU!

 Yes, YOU! I want to know. Fill out the form below, and hit SUBMIT!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Books to BUZZ About - 5

So Waiting on Wednesday is great, right? You get to feature a book you just CAN'T WAIT to come out, and then you post it, people read it for a few minutes, and then they move on. Some may look up that one book, but would if that one book wasn't their kind of book?

Well, i read The Story Siren's Meme BOOKS TO PINE FOR, and Electrifying Review's Meme of the same sort, and thought i'd make one that was like it: Books to BUZZ About!

Books to BUZZ About is a monthly meme at Reading Writing Breathing where i'll feature five or six books of varying genres that are sure to be the BUZZ!

Shadow & Bone (The Grisha, #1)City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5)

Shadow and Bone by Leight Bardugo
This one was so not on my radar until I stumbled upon it on Goodreads. Sounds stinkin' AWESOME! (Update: I grabbed this one at ALA! WIN)

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, Book #5) by Cassandra Clare
Of course. Anyone who's read anything by Cassandra Clare knows her books are worthy of any buzz. And Melina PRE-ORDERED me this for Christmas. She's amazing!

Touching the SurfaceInsignia

Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini
This one has a GORGEOUS cover, and it sounds emotional and different. Winning?

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid
Why has this one not been on my radar? It looks amazing. And it's long and apparently action-packed! (Update: I grabbed this one at ALA. WIN!)


Ripper by Stefan Petrucha
Jack the Ripper? Enough said. (Update: The amazing Em of Sash and Em sent me this one. WIN.)

Glimmer by Phoebe Kitandis
I have no idea how to actually *explain* what this one is about. No one I have seen talk about it has been successful in doing so either. So, follow the link to Goodreads! BUT IT LOOKS AWESOME!

Surrender (Possession, #2)Fated

Surrender (Possesion, Book #2) by Elana Johnson
I absolutely ADORED Possession! It was featured for Dystopian Day and I ADORE Elana! I don't love Surrender's cover as much as Possession's, but it still looks good!

Fated by Sarah Alderson
Okay, I think I may have hyperventilated when I saw this one. It sounds like it has a Mortal Instruments vibe, and I'm reading Hunting Lila now and *dies*!

LucidSpark (Sky Chasers, #2)

Lucid by Ron Bass and Adrienne Stoltz
Again, in my desperate search for something to fill the void that is my inability to read Wake by Lisa McMann, this one sounds remotely like it, and the cover is gorgeous!

Spark (The Sky Chasers, Book #2) by Amy Kathleen Ryan
I'm one of the few that had rave things to say about Glow! I adored it so much!!!! And I am so glad that they changed up the covers, this one is really great!

The Girls of No ReturnDarkness Before Dawn

The Girls of No Return by Erin Saldin
Sounds like an action-packed adventure. And the cover is FANTASTIC.

Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London
A dystopian world where the vampires are the winners? The cover is gorgeous, the plot sounds creepy and TERRIFYING. Want.

Cross My HeartBzrk

Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould
The cover is intoxicating, and the plot is full of lies and deception and betrayal and DRAMA.

BZRK by Michael Grant
Michael Grant. New series. 'Nuff said.

Coverless Love!

What's Left of Me (The Hybrids Trilogy, Book #1) by Kat Zhang
"Never Let Me Go meets His Dark Materials." Oh. My. Gosh. I need this book. In my hands. Now.

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
Time travel? I'm addicted to it!


What are YOU buzzing about this week?

Have you read any of these buzz-worthy titles?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review: Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer

Title: Arcadia Awakens
Author: Kai Meyer
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)
Page Count: 451 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

To Rosa Alcantara, the exotic world of Sicily, with its network of Mafia families and its reputation for murder and intrigue, is just that—exotic and wholly unknown. But when her life in Brooklyn begins to fall apart, she must travel there, to her family’s ancestral home, where centuries of family secrets await her.

Once there, Rosa falls head over heels for Alessandro Carnevare, the son of a Sicilian Mafia family, whose handsome looks and savage grace both fascinate and unsettle her. But their families are sworn enemies, and her aunt and sister believe Alessandro is only using Rosa to infiltrate the Alcantara clan. And when Rosa encounters a tiger one night—a tiger with very familiar eyes—she can no longer deny that neither the Carnevares nor the Alcantaras are what they seem.

Hidden caves, dangerous beasts roaming the hills, and a history of familial bloodlust mean that Rosa can’t trust anyone. Torn between loyalty to her family and love for their mortal enemy, Rosa must make the hardest decision of her life: stay in Sicily with her new love…or run as far and as fast as she can.
"Told in a steady pace that gracefully crescendos into an epic climax. Poetic, enthralling, and completely original, Arcadia Awakens is truly one of a kind."

I really can't find the words to describe Arcadia Awakens. It's lush, it's dangerous, it's electric. It seems to crackle with all of this world and characters that are dying to be read. Everything about this book is different. The whole plot is unique, the idea behind it all is just totally new. Arcadia Awakens breathes new life into YA novels!

 The plot is...intriguing, to say the least. Sicily sounds like such a dangerous place, and I was hoping Meyer would use this to his advantage, and boy did he! The imagery is just superbly written and crafted, Kai is truly a professional at what he does. I was seriously in the word, the imagery was so delicious and succulent. I wanted to live in this world, it was so magnificent.

 And this thing about shape-shifters? It makes Arcadia Awakens what it's all about. Something was truly a stand-out factor with this novel, and it was definitely the intense battles between the panthers and the tigers, or the way the transformations were described or how Kai used words to resurrect a picture of their movements or grace that chilling and simply real.

 The romance  is nothing as you would think it is! It's intense, it's passionate. It's Romeo and Juliet thrown into the Godfather. It's the perfect romance. Slow, steady, and it's rises up and up to that truly tantalizing, adrenaline moment when Kai perfectly wraps this romance and ties the bow. Alessandro and Rosa are both very likable characters with unique personalities.

 The ending is...intense. The last two hundred pages are non-stop. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. There was no stopping me as I raced towards the breathtaking climax.

 Think Romeo and Juliet. Now put that with The Godfather. Now swirl that around with a dash of Twilight and a whole lot of awesome, and you'll get Arcadia Awakens! Arcadia Awakens is a poetic, lilting, dangerous novel that brims with intrigue. The plot gracefully crescendos from a silent static to a roaring, ferocious climax that will leave you breathless.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium - Lauren Oliver
February 28th - HarperCollins
375 Pages - Book Twin: The Hunger Games
I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.
"Pandemonium is different. Told through the eyes of a changed Lena, Lauren narrates with her signature breathtaking prose that sucked me in, a plot that breaks my heart, and an ending that left me reeling."

Pandemonium is different.

 In a bad way? Dear Lord no! It's the complete opposite of bad. It's sharp, it's focused. The plot moves along at rapid pace. But it's different. Our main character, Lena, is changed. She's nothing like the zombie-like Lena we met in Delirum. She's tough, she's hard-edged, and she's not afraid anymore. I seriously loved this new Lena, because at the same time, Lauren would let snippets of the old Lena slip in the cracks. I still knew Lena, she was still there, parts of her still remained. And I love that.

 But there is still the Lauren Oliver in there I know and love. The writing style. Lauren is a God when it comes to her prose. It's deep, flawless, completely metaphorical and mind blowing. Simple things are blown up and up and up and put under the biggest microscope as Lauren uses the perfect words in the perfect moments. She knows when that one word fits in that sentence, but wouldn't fit anywhere else in the book. She knows when to drop in that metaphor that will completely blow your mind.

Mind Explosion

 The action and pace has definitely picked up in the second installment of the Delirium Trilogy. There really doesn't seem a dull moment in this sequel. Maybe that's that tiny, little, itsy-bitsy piece that was missing from the whole thing, that signature slow pace that really blew my mind. Sure, Pandemonium is supposed to be different. I felt that Lauren made a point to change this sequel. The title is harsher, the colors harsher, and the plot and structure of the novel are different, and harsher. Everything is shifted into hyper-focus in Pandemonium, and the words are sharper, glinting fragments, and I loved it.

 In a different way.

 And the ending...

 Pandemonium is a different kind of amazing. The second installment in this epic trilogy is harsher, slammed into focus, and told in a restrained, sharp prose that will leave you breathless. I expect if you loved Delirium you'll love Pandemonium, but for totally different reasons, and even some of the same.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

In My Mailbox (20) - The One with Fire, Pictures, and Embracing

For Review -
Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin
Embrace by Jessica Shirvington (Embrace, #1)
The Calling by Kelley Armstrong (The Gathering, #2)

Thanks so much to Sourcebooks Fire and HarperTeen!

Gifted -
Ripper by Stefan Pretucha

Thanks so much to Em from Sash and Em! You rock!

Bought -
Graceling by Kristin Cashore (The Seven Kingdoms, #1)
Fire by Kristin Cashore (The Seven Kingdoms, #2)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

What did you get this week in books? Link me in the comments!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Release Date: January 6th, 2012
Page Count: 313
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought (three times...)
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
"A poignant, moving novel crafted by a master storyteller. Told through the eyes of an cancer patient with bursts of both laughter and crying, The Fault in Our Stars is sure to become a classic."

I can sum up the Fault in Our Stars perfectly with this picture. It's right on the mark and is the very sole meaning and amazing thing about this poignant, moving novel crafted by a simply astounding, masterful storyteller by the name of John Green. I've met this man. I've shook hands with John Green. He said: "Sorry about your arm." I have a picture of me breathing the same air as him.

 And I hadn't read anything by him when that happened, so I didn't realize how I was meeting the very God of writing, the very definition of "an amazing writer." Because if I had, I would've hugged him and then bowed down to him and started crying and bawling and gushing and I'd say this.

 John Green, you have written a novel that is the very epitome to "moving." The Fault in Our Stars made me laugh. Really laugh, a genuine chuckle because John Green wrote flawlessly, easily slipping into the personalities and easily projecting the truly unique voices of Hazel and Augustus, our main characters of the novel.

 John Green, you have made the most amazing couple ever. Hazel is smart, sarcastic, dry-humored, and so completely unique that I just wanted to reach through the pages and give her a big giant HUG. And her cancer, she is so strong. But she doesn't want pity, she doesn't want to be looked at oddly, she's different, but that's because of her utterly amazing syntax. The way she speaks is infectious, the way she is way beyond her years yet there are still hints of her youth, of that 17 year old girl still inside of her.

 John Green, the last, well, 300 pages of the book killed me. Yes, only 17 of the pages didn't kill me, and that's still not completely true. Every word was another step closer to that complete heartbreak (page 261...*sobs*) Every word was perfect. Each word was superbly placed. For a reason. 

 The Fault in Our Stars is a heart-shattering, poignant novel told through the eyes of a cancer patients. Told in alternating  tones of both humor and heartbreak, John Green's latest is sure to have the tears flowing and the laughter booming.

The Fault in Our Stars:

(Side note....I seriously want to read An Imperial Infliction now...)