August 16, 2014

Book Haul/Stacking the Shelves #151


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly book blog feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews which gives book bloggers the opportunity to share the books we get each week with other bloggers, and our followers. This haul is one of the the first I have done in nearly a year. I have decided to break up the books I have received in the past year into many Stacking the Shelves posts. This is one of them.


From NetGalley/Publisher:
More Than Good Enough by Crissa-Jean Chappell
Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner
Poor Little Dead Girls by Lizzie Friend
Girl in Motion by Miriam Wenger-Landis
Codename: Dancer by Amanda Brice
The Queen Bee of Bridgeton by Leslie DuBois
Hover (The Taking, #2) by Melissa West
Countdown by Michelle Rowen
Out of Play by Nyrae Dawn & Jolene Perry

From Edelweiss/Publisher:
Love Me (Starstruck, #2) by Rachel Shukert
Hexed by Michelle Krys
Fates by Lanie Bross
We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts
This Is How It Ends by Jen Nadol
Push (The Game, #2) by Eve Silver
On the Fence by Kasie West

August 9, 2014

Book Haul/Stacking the Shelves #150


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly book blog feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews which gives book bloggers the opportunity to share the books we get each week with other bloggers, and our followers. This haul is one of the the first I have done in nearly a year. I have decided to break up the books I have received in the past year into many Stacking the Shelves posts. This is one of them.


From NetGalley/Publisher: 
Forged by Greed by Angela Orlowski-Peart
Reign of Blood by Alexia Purdy
Freak of Nature by Julia Crane
Hidden Wings by Cameo Renae
Reveal (Cryptid Tales, #1) by Brina Courtney
Relativity by Cristin Bishara
Dead Girls Don’t Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Hero Worship by Christopher E. Long

From Edelweiss/Publisher:
Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Black Knight (Witch World, #2) by Christopher Pike
The Offering (The Pledge, #3) by Kimberly Derting
Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac
What We Hide by Marthe Jocelyn 
Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke
Suspicion by Alexandra Monir
Sublime by Christina Lauren
Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither
Unravel (Linked, #2) by Imogen Howson

August 6, 2014

Future Favorites #170


Future Favorites is a weekly feature on Electrifying Reviews. Its purpose is to highlight six different books that look great, and will hopefully be favorites of mine when I get the chance to read them.

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons (Tor Teen: February 10, 2015)●
Sublime by Christina Lauren (Simon & Schuster: October 14, 2014)●

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray: March 3, 2015)●
The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan (Balzer + Bray: September 2, 2014)●

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (HarperTeen: February 10, 2015)●
The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand (HarperTeen: February 10, 2015)●

Which of these looks best to you? What are some books you're looking forward to? Comment below and let me know!

August 4, 2014

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


Title: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Release: June 5, 2012

Alina Starkov doesn't expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal--and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed. 
Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina's extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destory the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart--and her country--in two.
After reading so many rave reviews of the Grisha series, I could no longer resist picking up the first novel in the trilogy. Although high fantasy has never appealed to me in quite the way that other genres have, Shadow and Bone changed my perspective entirely. After reading, and highly enjoying, this novel, I am more than eager to continue the Grisha trilogy and then find out what else the high fantasy genre has to offer. 

I have always been interested in Russian culture and mythology, and although Shadow and Bone doesn't explicitly say it is based in Russia, it is very clear that the fictional country of Ravka in which the book is based is modeled after the very real country of Russia. This pleased me immensely, as so much of what I read fails to have an international setting, or even perspectives which extend beyond the United States. Although the Grisha mythology was not explained fully, I find the idea of them very interesting and very unlike any other paranormal entity I have encountered in literature. The closest match would be witches, but even that comparison fails to explain the beings Bardugo has created adequately. I suggest you read Shadow and Bone for yourself in order to understand what I'm trying to get at, and for many other reasons. 

Leigh Bardugo has created a magical, wonderful world in Shadow and Bone. That, I think, is really the best part of this novel. The atmospheric, rich realm that Bardugo was able to craft is one that is exciting for readers to experience. From the rough battlegrounds to the glimmer and gilt of the royal court and Grisha palace, each description and setting is fleshed out and unique in a way that is sure to keep readers entranced. 

Another highlight of Shadow and Bone is the characters. Although I have seen some qualms about Alina, the protagonist, I really enjoyed her both as a narrator and as a person. Her reactions to the things going on around her, I believe, were typical of what most other people's would be. Sure, she is not always confident or fearless, but for me she was a character I could really support and I did not mind experiencing the story though her eyes. The other characters in Shadow and Bone were as fleshed-out and dynamic as the settings and world of Ravka, and the true nature of some characters is shocking to say the least.

Shadow and Bone was a pure delight. Rich and atmospheric, Leigh Bardugo has truly impressed me, as well as many other readers. Full of surprises and excitement, Shadow and Bone is one of the best introductions to a series I have read in a very long time. I am so eager to continue reading the Grisha series, and will definitely be picking up whatever Bardugo releases afterward. 

August 2, 2014

Book Haul/Stacking the Shelves #149


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly book blog feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews which gives book bloggers the opportunity to share the books we get each week with other bloggers, and our followers. This haul is one of the the first I have done in nearly a year. I have decided to break up the books I have received in the past year into many Stacking the Shelves posts. This is one of them.


From NetGalley/Publisher:
Played (Hooked, #2) by Liz Fichera
How to Fall by Jane Casey
Wanted: Dead or in Love by Kym Brunner
Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson
Monsters (Ashes, #3) by Ilsa J. Bick
Scorched by Mari Mancusi
We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

From Edelweiss/Publisher: 
The Fall by Bethany Griffin
The Rules by Nancy Holder & Debbie ViguiƩ
Feral by Holly Schindler
The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos
The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer
Rebel (Reboot, #2) Amy Tintera
Wild by Alex Mallory
Meridian (Arclight, #2) by Josin L. McQuien
The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

July 30, 2014

Future Favorites #169


Future Favorites is a weekly feature on Electrifying Reviews. Its purpose is to highlight six (seven this week) different books that look great, and will hopefully be favorites of mine when I get the chance to read them.

Scratch by Rhonda Helms (Kensington: September 30, 2014)
Breathe for Me by Rhonda Helms (Spencer Hill: August 5, 2014)
Promposal by Rhonda Helms (Simon Pulse: February 10, 2015)

The Young Elites by Marie Lu (Putnam: October 7, 2014)
The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer (HarperTeen: March 30, 2015)


The Memory Key by Liana Liu (HarperTeen: March 3, 2015)
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (Balzer + Bray: April 7, 2015)

Which of these looks best to you? What are some books you're looking forward to? Comment below and let me know!

July 28, 2014

Avalon High by Meg Cabot


Title: Avalon High
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release: December 27, 2005

Maybe it's not where Ellie wants to be, but if you have to start at a new school, Avalon High is typical enough: There's Lance, the jock. Jennifer, the cheerleader. And Will, senior class president, quarterback, and all-around good guy.  
But not everyone at Avalon High is who they appear to be . . . not even, as Ellie is about to discover, herself. As a bizarre drama begins to unfold, Ellie has to wonder, what part does she play in all this? Do the coincidences she's piecing together really mean—as in King Arthur's court—that tragedy is fast approaching for her new friends? 
Ellie doesn't know if she can do anything to stop the coming trouble. But somehow, she knows she has to try.
My biggest mistake in reading Avalon High was that I read a different book my Meg Cabot, Jinx, immediately beforehand. The similarities in plot structure and techniques were so apparent to me that at times I felt as though I was experiencing the same novel twice, with changes in characters' names and locations. Nonetheless, I did enjoy both books and can see myself revisiting Meg Cabot's works in the future. 

I believe that I would have enjoyed Avalon High much more had I been familiar with Arthurian legend beforehand. The references to Camelot and King Arthur, etc that were constantly included in Avalon High often went over my head. However, as Meg Cabot surely knows, many of Avalon High's readers will be unfamiliar with the lore as well. Due to this, Avalon High flows smoothly as its own tale. Primarily focused on stereotypical high school drama, the relevance of the Arthurian legends and their connection to the story at hand come almost as an afterthought. This was disappointing to me, as I was expecting more of a fantastical story rather than a contemporary. 

Meg Cabot certainly understands how to craft an entertaining story. With both Jinx and Avalon High, I felt compelled to continue reading until I reached the end, despite any qualms I had with the stories. I do feel as though the Meg Cabot books I have so far experienced were intended for a different audience than myself. Although I often enjoy middle grade novels, I felt as though Jinx and Avalon High were written for very young teens, and I felt like I was in an awkward position as a reader. 

The characters in Avalon High were likable and relatable, certainly, however I felt as though many of them were quite cookie-cutter. Too stereotypical, and too fitting to what one would expect them to be. Ellie, the protagonist, carried the story well. I felt as though she was a bit too naive at times, however, which inspired annoyance from myself. Ellie's attraction to Will certainly seems justified, as he is kind and loyal throughout the book. Beyond that, the other characters didn't really earn any distinction in my mind apart from the fact that they fit their roles well. 

Although things were not always explained well, and I didn't understand a lot of references made throughout the story, Avalon High was fun. A nice, easy summer read with some epic moments. It's definitely for a younger crowd, however, and I wish I had known that before reading it. Meg Cabot has managed to win me over with Jinx and Avalon High. Although neither books are favorites of mine, they entertained me and have solidified my decision to return to Meg Cabot's works in the future. 
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