Saturday, August 30, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (60)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost
Deliverance by C.J. Redwine
A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

From the Library:
City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Foster

Sheri's Bounty of Books
From the Library:
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2)
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3)

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Book Review: Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

Gates of Thread and Stone (Gates of Thread and Stone #1)
Author:  Lori M. Lee
Publisher:  Skyscape, 335 pages
Publication Date:  August 5, 2014

From Goodreads:
In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

What I liked:

1.  Unique blend of fantasy and dystopian.  There was a war a long time ago between magic and technology.  Magic wielding dictator in charge now.  Most of the city lives in poverty.  Kai has no idea how, but she can slow down time (one time she actually made a day repeat).  

2.  Avan.  He may be the most different love interest I've read about recently.  Not exactly a bad boy, but let's just say he has an interesting history.  Have I piqued your interest??

3.  Kai's loyalty to her brother.  She is focused and will do anything to find and save Reev.  

4.  Interesting secondary characters.  I can't say much more about these characters or I will ruin the plot, but the author presents them in a much more realistic way than authors typically do.  I know this is really vague, but that's all I can say.

5.  Wraps the main story up but at the same time is a cliffhanger.  I know, sort of contradictory.  And that ending…gah!!!  I cannot wait to find out what happens with a certain character.  Arghhhh!!!  

I really enjoyed this book…highly recommend.

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book Review: Day 21 by Kass Morgan

Day 21 (The Hundred #2)
Author:  Kass Morgan
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Expected Publication Date:  September 16, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
It's been 21 days since the hundred landed on Earth. They're the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries...or so they thought. Facing an unknown enemy, Wells attempts to keep the group together. Clarke strikes out for Mount Weather, in search of other Colonists, while Bellamy is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost. And back on the ship, Glass faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.

Fast-paced and action packed, Day 21 continues the story of the teenagers sent to Earth.  The book alternates between four different POVs.  Wells takes charge and has everyone building structures, Clarke's taking care of people getting sick (is it radiation poisoning?), Bellamy's searching for his sister, and Glass and Luke are back on the ship that is running out of oxygen.  Oh, and there are Earthborns that are killing them.

Just so you know, this book is not a novelization of the TV series.  The plot is completely different and most of the characters are different as well (even the ones with the same names are only similar in very basic ways).  

I enjoyed the book for the most part.  The plot is interesting and the characters all have distinct personalities.  I still have questions about life on the ship, but I don't think those questions are going to be answered, which is disappointing.  I also don't like where some of the relationships are headed.  There was a lot of flip-flopping of emotions, which I found annoying.  I love you and I've loved you for a long time, but wait a minute, this other person is really cute so now I don't care about you anymore.  What??  

Day 21 is intense with many twists and turns and I'm interested in seeing where it goes, but it's not one of my favorites.  

Posted by:  Pam

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Really Want to Read But Don't Own Yet

                              Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

Basically, the reason I don't own these books are because they aren't out yet and I don't have an ARC.  These are books I'm really excited about that are coming out soon.

1.  Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas.  I love love love this series and I just keep hearing great things about this book.  I feel like I'm the only one who didn't get an ARC of this one!
2.  The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2) by Rick Yancey.  I loved The 5th Wave so I'm looking forward to the sequel.  
3.  In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3) by Alexandra Bracken.  How will it end????  Can't wait to read this one, but I'm nervous.
4.  Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy #3) by Sarah Rees Brennan.  Kami!  Jared!  With the way the last book ended, I can't wait to get my hands on this one.  
5.  Queen of the Zombie Hearts (The White Rabbit Chronicles #3) by Gena Showalter.  I just have two words:  Cole Holland.  
6.  Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  JLA is one of my favorite authors (the feels!) and this new series is amazing!!  Hot demon Roth, hot gargoyle Zane.  I was heartbroken at the end of the first book, but JLA has never let me down.  
7.  Chaos (Guards of the Shadowlands #3) by Sarah Fine.  Malachi!!!  I'm really nervous about this one.

8.  Time's Edge (The Chronos Files #2) by Rysa Walker.  I love time travel books and this series is so well done.

9.  The Vault (The Farm #3) by Emily McKay.  One of my favorite vampire series!  Can't wait to see how it ends!
10.  The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #3) by Michelle Hodkin.  I feel like I've been waiting for this book FOREVER!!!!!!  This series has been such a mindf*ck, I have to say.

             What books do you really want to read?

                         Posted by:  Pam

Monday, August 25, 2014

Book Review: Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin

Tabula Rasa
Author:  Kristen Lippert-Martin
Publisher:  Egmont, 352 pages
Publication Date:  September 23, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via Edelweiss

From Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Sarah has a rare chance at a new life. Or so the doctors tell her. She’s been undergoing a cutting-edge procedure that will render her a tabula rasa—a blank slate. Memory by memory her troubled past is being taken away.

But when her final surgery is interrupted and a team of elite soldiers invades the isolated hospital under cover of a massive blizzard, her fresh start could be her end.

Navigating familiar halls that have become a dangerous maze with the help of a teen computer hacker who's trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, Sarah starts to piece together who she is and why someone would want her erased. And she won’t be silenced again.

A high-stakes thriller featuring a non-stop race for survival and a smart heroine who will risk everything, Tabula Rasa is, in short, unforgettable.

What a fun book!  Here's what I liked:
1.  Non-stop action.  It. Never. Stops.  From page one, I was hooked and it never slowed down.

2.  Badass heroine.  Sarah is likable and strong.  And unlike all of the other books with the beautiful girl who doesn't know she's beautiful, Sarah is bald, with holes in her head from the doctors trying to wipe out her memories.

3.  Lovable sidekick.  Geeky hacker, he provides some funny moments in the book.  He and Sarah have some good sarcastic banter.

4.  Engrossing, intriguing plot.  I love books where the main character doesn't have her memories.  

5.  It's a standalone.

My one complaint is that the ending felt a bit rushed (and a bit open, I would have liked an epilogue) and there was a scene near the end where the villain gives a speech, info-dumping the entire plan.  Other than that, loved it!

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (59)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
From the Library:
Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington
From NetGalley/Edelweiss:
The Unhappening of Genesis Lee by Shallee McArthur
Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander

Sheri's Bounty of Books
From the Library:
Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Independent Bookstores in Colorado

My family and I recently traveled to Avon, CO for a little relaxing and lots of outdoor activities.  While I was there I also wanted to visit some local bookstores and imagine my surprise when I could only find ONE between four distinct tourist towns.  I realize independent bookstores are becoming increasingly rare but I really thought I would find more than one.  The one I found, Bookworm of Edwards, was located in Edwards, CO and it exceeded my expectations!!

Not only did they have an interesting selection of books organized according to age and interest, but they also offered some unique book related services.  They actually have a LITERARY CONCIERGE SERVICE who gets to know your tastes and then recommends books!  My only complaint was in the children's section where all the toys and stuffed animals distracted my kiddos from the actual books.

 In addition to the fabulous book selection, including four LARGE young adult bookshelves, the bookstore also had a small cafĂ© with an outdoor patio and the gorgeous view above.  I would strongly recommend ordering the Lemonysnicket crepe while you enjoy your new purchases.

Posted By: Sheri

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After 
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton, 339 pages
Publication Date: August 14, 2014

From Goodreads:
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Our Review:
We heartily agree that Isla and the Happily Ever After was our favorite book in the Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins.  There is so much to enjoy about this book but we wanted to focus on just a few of our favorite aspects.

Without a doubt Josh is possibly one of our favorite young adult male romantic characters.  We love his backstory, his artistic ability, his attitude toward his senior year, his tattoo, and the way he observes and knows Isla.  Through her writing Stephanie Perkins found a way to let us know Josh as well as Isla even though the book is only written from Isla'a point of view.  We love Josh!!!

We very much appreciated that there was no actual love triangle but there was the specter of past relationships specifically in the rabbit metaphor.  We can't say more but you will also hate the rabbits!  

We also appreciated how frank and healthy the sexual relationships are between the characters.  We believe it's important that actual young adult readers get some discussion of sex between teenagers and when the discussion is positive and involves safe sex we couldn't ask for more.  It's not fade to black so you actually know what happens, but it doesn't go on and on like a New Adult novel.

The dialogue between the characters was realistic and hilarious.  Stephanie Perkins has a great ear for dialogue. 

Isla is such a relatable character.  She's adorably awkward.  She's a good student, loves to read about adventures but is very shy and has had a crush on Josh for so long it's hard for her to believe that he could like her.  This felt real.  Reading about them getting to know each other and falling in love…we both smiled so much in this book.  There are so many awww moments.  There are so many laugh out loud moments.  The ultimate feel good book…READ IT!!!!!

Posted by: Pam and Sheri

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review: I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre

I Want It That Way (2B Trilogy #1)
Author:  Ann Aguirre
Publisher:  Harlequin HQN, 352 pages
Expected Publication Date:  August 26, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she's determined to make them come true—for her parents' sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can't risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia's and Ty's paths cross, and soon they can't stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can't know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

I really liked this New Adult novel by Ann Aguirre and here's why:

1.  Realistically portrays college life with Nadia balancing work, school, and a social life.  She's struggling a bit with her special education practicuum and her best friend is struggling with whether she wants to be a political science major.  I appreciated the fact that these characters don't have it all figured out and that it's ok not to have it all figured out.  I do wish the author had described the college a bit more, I had no idea if it was a small or big school, what the campus looked like, etc.  I also liked Nadia's other roommates, Max and Angus.  I'm assuming future books will focus on them.

2.  Ty…he was pretty swoony, I have to say.  An architecture major with a cute four year old kid.  A good guy who's trying to be a good dad, I liked the fact that he wasn't all bad boy broody (not that I don't like the bad boys, but it's a refreshing change).  

3.  Parents.  Yes, there are actually parents in a New Adult novel.  Even though Nadia is far from home, she visits her parents for Thanksgiving, Skypes with them, etc.

4.  Nadia and Ty's relationship.  They're very open with each other about how they're feeling, the fact that they're attracted to each other, and the fact that they can't really date each other because of Sam, Ty's son.  Ty is even open about his history with Sam's mom.  Given that so many NA novels have the characters keeping secrets from each other, that was a welcome change.  

5.  I liked the message the book sends about love and timing and that what's right for some people may not be right for everyone else.

If you like New Adult contemporary romances, you'll enjoy this one!

Posted by:  Pam

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books People Have Been Telling You That You MUST Read

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

Sheri's Choices: All of these have been at the top of my to be read list for months!
1. Pandemonium (Delirium #2) and Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver: I read Delirium almost a year ago and recently watched the pilot and definitely want to read the final two books in the series soon.
2. Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson: I am a sucker for books about teenage girls traveling abroad!
3. Incarnate (New Soul #1) by Jodi Meadows: While I've never  been a fan of stories about reincarnation I truly loved the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series so I think I'm going to like this series as well.
4. Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tehereh Mafi: The character of Juliette with her lethal touch intrigues me and I have read so many positive reviews of this book that I will definitely start the series in the next few weeks.
5. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: I just finished Landline, which was my first Rainbow Rowell book and really enjoyed it.  Since this is the book most people argue is her best I definitely plan to read it soon.

Pam's Picks:
6.  If I Stay by Gayle Forman.  I keep hearing great things about this one and with the movie coming out, I need to read it.
7.  Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness.  Everyone raves about this series and I just haven't read it yet.
8.  Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman.  I'm not a big historical fiction reader, but I keep reading great reviews for this one by trusted bloggers.
9.  Winger by Andrew Smith.  I've never read this author and people seem to love him.
10.  Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. This book has won a lot of awards and people seem to love it.  Again, I'm not a big historical fiction fan but I feel like I should read it.

What books are people telling you that you must read?  Do you agree that we should read these books?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien

Vault of Dreamers  (Vault of Dreamers #1)
Author:  Caragh M. O'Brien
Publisher:  Roaring Book Press, 432 pages
Expected Publication Date:  September 16, 2014
*Received ARC from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students' lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students' schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What's worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.

Disturbing, dark, unsettling, and creepy, Vault of Dreamers hooked me from the beginning with the mystery of what's happening at The Forge School.  It's such a strange place, an art school that believes the best way for students to reach their potential is to be on camera 24/7 so it's a popular reality TV show.  But another part of reaching their potential is that they have to sleep twelve hours in a coffin like pod and in order to sleep they take a pill.  Rosie skips her pill one night, stays awake, and finds out that certain people at the school are doing something to the students at night while they sleep.  Yeah, super creepy.  So she keeps staying awake and investigating, with the help of Linus, a seventeen year old staff member at the school.  The cameras obviously make this difficult.

I liked Rosie.  She's poor and this school is the only way for her to improve her circumstances.  Which is the only reason it's even plausible that she stays at school as things go from bad to absolutely horrific.  She should just leave, but of course she doesn't.  This is one of those books where the suspense just keeps building and building and Rosie makes such dumb decisions that I started getting frustrated.  You know those movies where you're screaming at the TV for the person to not go out in the woods alone when there's a homicidal maniac on the loose?  Yeah, it's like that.  

And then there's a certain point where you wonder what's actually happening as you find out that Rosie may not be a reliable narrator.  I was riveted, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.  

And then it ends.  In a huge cliffhanger.  And to be honest, I'm not sure exactly what happened in those last paragraphs, it was a bit confusing.  Other than the ending, I loved it and I can't wait to find out what happens next (By the way, if anyone has read this and has an opinion regarding what happened at the end, e-mail me!)

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (58)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
From the Library:
Extraction by Stephanie Diaz
Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore
Nantucket Red by Leila Howland
Fire Wish by Amber Lough

From NetGalley:
Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst

Sheri's Bounty of Books
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

What books did you add to your shelves this week?