Monday, April 30, 2012

Release Day and Giveaway: Unicorn Keep by Angelia Almos

Unicorn Keep by Angelia Almos
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Angelia Almos' website
Expected publication:  April 30, 2012 (today)
Amazon | Goodreads

Description (taken from Blog Tour):
Jiline of Ainsley is dismayed when her best friend is selected by the mages to become a unicorn keeper at the Keep, an isolated mountain fortress. Especially since Madelen is in love and engaged to the richest boy in the village. Jiline on the other hand has no prospects of marriage or a trade in their small village. So, she comes up with a plan to take Madelen’s place at the Keep and hopefully flunk out of unicorn keeper training before the mages can discover the deception. Unfortunately, the unicorns have their own plans for her.

Mage Herrick, son of the Keep Mage, returns home to the Keep as the trainee keepers arrive. A chance encounter with Jiline, who he believes is Madelen, on the trail sparks a magical connection between the two. Knowing he can’t feel a magical draw to someone who has no magic, he tries to prove Madelen (Jiline) has magic within her. His attention brings unforeseen complications for both of them.

Author Bio
Angelia Almos formed a lifelong passion for horses at the age of five when she talked her parents into riding lessons. Horses often play a prominent role in her young adult fantasy books. She also write horsey nonfiction and space opera. She lives in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with her husband, two daughters, two dogs, two cats, and one pony (she often thinks of bumping that number up to two).

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

In My Mailbox

The "In My Mailbox" post consists of which books we bought during the past week, hosted by The Story Siren.

For Review (e-edition):

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
A dystopian involving computer chips that solves all of our problems?  Or takes humanity out of the equation.  Yeah, I want to read this one!  Thanks goes to St. Martin's Griffin and Netgalley.
Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle
To everyone who wonders where my romantic notions lie: I am a major fan of Shakespeare.  But don't let the word get out...  Thanks goes to Random House Children's Books and Netgalley.
Flutter by Gina Linko
Honestly, time travel books have become my new 'must-reads'.  This one just sounds so interesting!  Thanks goes to Random House Children's Books and Netgalley.

Be sure to check out my author interview with Jennifer Krey and a giveaway of The Hollow of Mont Noir!!

Note:  this may or may not be my last IMM.  I'm looking for an alternative meme that will allow me to showcase what books I received in the past week, but I want to give credit where credit is due (e.g. credit to the meme creator).  So, any ideas, suggestions, or alternatives would be greatly appreciated.  I haven't quite made up my mind yet on what I want to do.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The White Oak by Kim White

Genre:  YA Fantasy
Imperfect Darkness Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Kim White's website):
Cora Alexander falls through a sinkhole and enters the underworld still alive. Her living presence threatens the tyrannical rule of Minos and the infernal judges who have hijacked the afterlife and rebuilt it, trapping human souls in a mechanical, computer-controlled city that lies at the core of the earth. To survive, Cora must rely on her untrustworthy guide, Minotaur, an artificial intelligence built by Minos. She is helped by a mysterious voice, and by Sybil, underworld librarian and author of each person’s book of life. Sybil’s collection holds the key to humankind’s intertwined life stories. When Cora’s own book is destroyed, Sybil gives her a magical golden pen and sends her to the underworld city to write her own destiny. Along the way, Cora finds the ghost of her dead brother, Lucas, a genius programmer who alone is capable of finding the chink in Minos’s armor. But will he be able to get Cora out alive, or will they both succumb to the seemingly inescapable underworld trap? In book one, Cora and Lucas begin their epic adventure to master the underworld’s monsters and the inner demons of their troubled family history.

This is something like ancient mythological view of the underworld meets the twenty-first century of computers and machines.  The descriptions of the underworld and Cora's journey through it are really good.  However, I felt like there were way too many questions coming up and not enough answers.

I never really got a feel for Cora's character.  I figured she was a hard person who could take care of herself, but I didn't see much of it.  It was based off of the stories and memories that other characters had of her.  But these stories left me with more questions.  And then the ending comes.  I think this is one of those books where you'll need to pick up the second one right away to see if anything gets answered.

The descriptions, mythology, and fantasy in this book were beautiful.  However, I felt like there wasn't enough character development.  I'm not sure whether or not I want to continue.  The curiosity is there, but I don't feel like I was invested enough with Cora to continue.

Thanks goes to Story Machine Studio and Netgalley for providing me a review copy.

Challenges:  Debut Author Challenge, YA Mythology Challenge, and Young Adult Reading Challenge

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Genre:  YA Dystopian Romance
Delirum Series, Book 2

Note:  If you haven't read Delirium yet, I highly suggest you read it instead of my review.  Also note that my review has a very mild spoiler (if you haven't figured it out from other reviews, then I applaud you).  Giving you warning ahead of time.

Description (taken from Lauren Oliver's website):
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.

After reading this book, I've decided if I were living in this world, I would definitely be cured.  I'm too weak to be an Invalid.  And once Lena's gotten over the love syndrome, you see a lot of emotion from her.  And not all of it is happy, in fact, there's a lot of anger.  I think I'll take the forced happiness, thank you.

Honestly, the new love between Lena and Julian did not work at all for me.  It felt superficial and very forced.  I mean, I can understand Julian's puppy-dog eyes and crush on Lena, but I don't see how she reciprocated the feelings.  It must be something that happens from sharing a near death experience together.  I mean honestly, I'd probably grow attached to the guy I was with when facing death.  But I just didn't see the romance and the love grow.  It was just there...

Nonetheless, I cannot wait for Requiem to come out.  Fans of dystopian novels should read this series; you will not be disappointed.  Now I believe I need to pick up Before I Fall.

A quote I absolutely loved (I could just feel the angst and hate):

I imagine one day I will fly a plane over Portland, over Rochester, over every fenced-in city in the whole country, and I will bomb and bomb and bomb, and watch all their buildings smoldering to dust, and all those people melting and bleeding into flame, and I will see how they like it.
     ~ p. 147

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it spotlights upcoming books that we as readers are anxiously awaiting...

Unwholly by Neal Shusterman
Genre:  YA Dystopian
Unwind Trilogy, Book 2
Expected publication date:  August 28, 2012

Description (taken from Goodreads):
In a society where unwanted and troublesome teens are salvaged for their body parts, Connor, Risa and Lev continue to fight against the system that would 'unwind' them. Thanks to their high-profile revolt at the Happy Jack Harvest Camp, people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of so-called troublesome teens might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question and a new law passed. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests, not to mention the illegal 'Parts Pirates', that want to see it not only continue, but expand.

Connor, Risa and Lev each struggle to rescue as many AWOL teens as possible and offer them sanctuary. But life at the Graveyard is hard, rivalries bubble under the surface and the cracks are beginning to show.

And then there is Cam, a teen who does not exist. Made entirely out of parts from one hundred other 'unwinds', Cam is a 21st century Frankenstein, a rewound, struggling to find a true identity and meaning, and a place in society. But when a sadistic bounty hunter who takes "trophies" from all the 'unwinds' he captures starts to pursue Connor, Lev and Risa, Cam finds his own fate inextricably bound with theirs…

I didn't realize a cover was finally revealed for this book until I checked it on Goodreads this past week.  Ever since I read the first, I've been dying to know more about this world.  Honestly, Unwind is one of the very few that disturbed me and made me want to pee my pants even though it's not a horror novel.  Definitely recommend the first book when you're in the mood for a dystopian.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters In Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's post is Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters In Books.

So I can't do all-time favorite characters because I don't remember all of the books I've read (and my many books are still in boxes).  So these are from books in the last year.  Also note that I am very horrible at remembering names, so all those side characters that I absolutely loved but can't remember their names?  Yeah, they're missing from this list...

Boys I could just kiss (if they were real and I wasn't already married):

Bones from Night Huntress series
Dorian from Dark Swan series
Duvall from Grave Mercy

Elder from Across the Universe/A Million Suns
Jack from Everneath
Jackson from Tempest

Kick-butt female characters (I aspire to be like, maybe):

Stephanie Plum from Stephanie Plum series
Rose from Vampire Academy
Elena Michaels from Women of the Otherworld Series
Eve from Morganville Vampire series

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Genre:  YA Paranormal Dystopian
Blood of Eden Series, Book 1
Expected publication date:  April 24, 2012

Description (taken from Goodreads):
In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

Aaah!  So you know how everyone has said this book is amazing?  All those awesome reviews you've seen that make you question whether or not you need to read this?  Let me tell you, this book lives up to all of that hype.  And then some!

It's not all that often that you get to read about vampires from a vampire's perspective.  And then those books don't always portray vampires as actual monsters.  This book?  I loved how vampiristic and realistic (even though we're in a world of vampires) it was.  Awesome!

I'm not going to say anything about the plot line because I think everyone should have the chance to read the book without knowing what's going to happen.  I'll only say this: don't get too attached to people.  My heart literally broke five times throughout the book.

Who would I recommend this book to?  Everybody!  Especially if you're a vampire fanatic like I am.  I believe I will have to read Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series now....

Thanks goes to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for providing me a review copy.

Challenges:  Young Adult Reading Challenge
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