Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Review - Delilah Dusticle by A.J. York

Delilah Dusticle has special powers, she can completely eradicate dust. With her quiver pouch of special dusters Delilah can run up walls and reaches places others just can’t. As a maid in the Fenchurch-Whittington house Delilah’s unusual skills soon lead to her being promoted to Chief Dust Eradicator and Remover. Until one day a broken heart leads to her powers taking an expected turn.

This is the first in a series of touching and funny stories about Delilah Dusticle. Follow her on a journey of self-discovery, friendship and adventure.
I don’t really know how to write this review.  I was actually thinking about just…not, but I promised the author and my followers that I would post the review.  This was before I read it, though, and realized that it just wasn’t for me.

You may think, looking at my back catalogue of reviews, that I don’t mind being the ruthless reviewer person.  But I do.  Major-label books are one thing – they need honest reviews to balance out the plethora of fangirl ones – but indie books…I always feel a huge twinge of guilt with posting an overall negative review.  Such is the case with Delilah Dusticle.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #10 - Freebie Week (Books That Have Been Recommended To Me)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the amazing The Broke And The Bookish
I've always been a big "recommended reader", meaning I'm always asking book friends for new titles to read. I've even gone as far as to say, "Name a book you think I should read and I'll buy it, no questions asked."  Occasionally I'm disappointed, but I've also found some of my very favorite books (like those on this list) through recommendations.  I also absolutely love recommending books to other readers.  So this week, I'm going to list the top ten books I've read directly due to either a recommendation, or a glowing review by a trusted blogger/reviewer.

Top Ten Books That Have Been Recommended To Me

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Review - Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

I am a review junkie.  Not just writing them, but reading them as well.  In fact, about ninety percent of my reading choices are determined by reviews, most of the other ten by e-ARCS or indie requests.  But when I saw Shatter Me pop up in my GR feed, with that absolutely stunning paperback cover and hooking synopsis, I didn’t even check reviews.  I just added it to my must-have TBR list, confident I’d love it.  My favorite GR reviewers weren’t so thrilled by this novel, and after reading it myself, I’m reminded yet again why I put so much faith in their judgment.

It’s because they’re usually right.  Like with Shatter Me.

Friday, May 24, 2013

YA Epidemics #9 - They're All White

YA Epidemics is an original feature in which I rant about discuss a different one of the
numerous trends and cliches plaguing the YA genre. The Epidemics are posted most Saturdays.

Comments and discussions are encouraged!

The world we live in is a beautiful mosaic of origins, races, ethnicities, colors and orientations.  We all wear some mark of our ancestry and history on our skin, and each and every one of us should be proud of this.  My country and the setting of most popular YA books I read, America, is known as the melting pot because of how we embrace different cultures and swallow them up into the whole that makes our nation.

Or so we like to claim.  But taking a look at most major media will tell you differently.  A vast majority of the most popular movies, music, and of course books feature prominantly middle-class white people.  In fact, it's a standing joke when you see the one African-American character in a movie that he's the "token black guy".  And nearly every single book I pick up features a white protagonist, with mostly white friends and a white love interest.  There's even a whole section of books called "urban books" that are written for the black community.  And this isn't a form of segregation, how...?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Review - If I Stay by Gayle Forman

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

It’s no secret that I’ve been eye-humping Gayle Forman’s Just One Day.  It’s also no secret that I spend way too much money on books to pay full price plus delivery for a new release as often as I want to.  So my compromise was to get the cheaper (used) If I Stay to whet my appetite for Gayle until I get around to reading her newer novel.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

YA Epidemics #8 - Everyone Loves An Average Girl

YA Epidemics is an original feature in which I rant about discuss a different one of the
numerous trends and cliches plaguing the YA genre. The Epidemics are posted most Saturdays.

Comments and discussions are encouraged!

Brown hair.  5'5.  Neither skinny nor fat, curvy nor flat.  I have one best friend, she's so much prettier and more charismatic than I am.  I am average Jane Doe, Everywoman.  Never even been on a date.  I am destined to live my life on the sidelines, alone.

300 pages later....

Every cute guy in my school is in love with me.  Huh.  Must be the new shampoo.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Indie Spotlight Book Review - In Your Dreams by Amy Martin

Sixteen-year-old Zara "Zip" McKee lives for three things: basketball, books, and bailing out of tiny Titusville, Illinois, where the junior high and high school are in the same building and everyone's known everyone else since birth. But when Kieran Lanier moves to town and passes out on her desk on his first day at school, Zip's life gets complicated in a way she never dreamed.

Kieran has narcolepsy, and although he sometimes struggles to stay awake, he has no trouble capturing Zip's heart and trusting her with his most guarded secret--he sees bits and pieces of the future in his dreams.

But just when Zip thinks that maybe she can handle having a boyfriend who sees things before they happen, her budding relationship with Kieran gets a jolt when Kieran's parents reveal that his sleeping disorder is not what it seems and may be putting them in harm's way. And when Zip begins to have unsettling dreams, she must decide if she can live with knowing the future in advance when she's afraid of what might happen.

*Recommended for Young Adult readers 13 and up (mild cursing, some adult situations)

I am so, so insanely happy that this is the novel to kick off my Indie Spotlight feature.  It’s obvious by now that I try to support indie and self-published authors as much as I can, but I’ll be the first to admit that there are a lot of just plain bad self-pubs out there.  Read the grin on my face when I say that Amy Martin’s In Your Dreams is on a whole other level than most self-published novels.  That’s not to say it was perfect, or that there weren’t any scenes or chapters where it was obvious it was self-published, but as a whole, this novel is very polished and original.  I have zero doubts that this could be picked up by a major label and embraced by so many readers.

Delilah Dusticle by A.J. York - Now Free On Amazon!

**I was recently contacted by A.J. York, author of the short children's story, Delilah Dusticle.  I agreed to read and review it for her, and while I had hoped to have that done by the time this promo started, there's been a lot of unexpected stuff to come up in my life and quite honestly, I forgot that the promo was coming so soon!  It's only 33 pages so I still plan on reading and reviewing it in the very near future, but I wanted to make sure to have this information up for you.  It's free, so unless your Kindle is running out of memory, you really have no excuse to not at least download it and give it a shot.
Below is the info the author provided on how to download her book connect with the author.**

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Review - Touch Of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life....

I recently got Scent Of Magic, the sequel to Touch Of Power.  I’ve been dying to read it since I first finished ToP, but I realized that I’d forgotten most of this novel.  Since I never wrote a full review for it, I felt like that was the perfect excuse to revisit and reread it.

Maybe the fact that I couldn’t remember much more than the basic plot after only a year was a sign that it wouldn’t be as good as I remembered, or maybe it was a case of wrong timing.  All I know is that, the second time around, I wasn’t nearly as excited by this book and its characters as I was originally.  I liked it still, and I do look forward to continuing the journey with Scent Of Magic, but I can’t say I loved it like I originally did.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book Review - Stolen by Kelley Armstrong (Women Of The Otherworld #2)

It was in Bitten, Kelley Armstrong's debut novel, that thirty-year-old Elena Michaels came to terms with her feral appetites and claimed the proud identity of a beautiful, successful woman and the only living female werewolf.

In Stolen, on a mission for her own elite pack, she is lured into the net of ruthless Internet billionaire Tyrone Winsloe, who has funded a bogus scientific investigation of the "other races" and their supernatural powers. Kidnapped and studied in his underground lab deep in the Maine woods, these paranormals - witches, vampires, shamans, werewolves - are then released and hunted to the death in a real-world video game. But when Winsloe captures Elena, he finally meets his match.

Note; since I totally dropped the ball and waited weeks after finishing the novel to write the review, this will be relatively short.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #9 - Books I Read When I Want Something Light And Fun

The highly addictive meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish
Top Ten Books I Read When I Want Something Light And Fun

I first saw this topic and thought it would be a breeze to think of ten.  I do, after all, mostly read YA, which is known for fun, light reads.  But, the thing is...most are actually a lot deeper than they appear on the surface, and though I love them, I would never dream of adding books by Laurie Halse Anderson or John Green, or series' like The Hunger Games or Unwind to this kind of list.  But then there are the "light, fun" reads that I didn't think were all that fun, so I can't add those, either.  So though I did think of ten, and could probably have thought of a few more, this list wasn't nearly as easy to actually compile as I thought it would be.

These are the ten I thought fit this week's list the best, the light reads that were also fun and enjoyable.  They're listed in no particular order.

Monday, May 6, 2013

You May Be Seeing Less Of Me For Awhile

I've had a lot going on this past week, including starting a new job and having my father come home after a hospital stay.  The job obviously eats up a lot of my time, and so much of the free time I still have afterwards is going toward taking care of my dad until he's back on his feet.  (Literally.  The surgery was for a hip replacement, so he's learning how to walk again.)  While I'm immensely grateful to be working again and understanding of my father's condition, this doesn't leave much time for blogging.

I spent a lot of time trying to think up a blogging schedule, and if I followed it strictly I could still have all my posts up on time.  But then I'd feel like this is a job outside of my job, which is something I promised myself I'd never turn blogging into; a chore.  So I decided to completely discard that schedule and, at least until everything settles and I have more free time, ease up on my blogging.  I'm still going to make the best possible effort to have at least one book review up a week, my indie feature, Top Ten Tuesdays, and my YA Epidemics posts.  But I may not always be able to keep up with even those right now, so please understand if I can't post all three of those things every week.

Another side effect of a suddenly very busy schedule is an inability to visit other blogs as often.  I'll still check out my favorites every week, and try to keep up with others that I follow, but don't be surprised if you see a decided decrease in my comments over the next few weeks.  I promse, once things get back to normal I'll be back to my old blog-visiting self!

To everyone who stops by this blog and gives me a part of their day, I am more appreciative and humbled than you can imagine.  That I actually have people who enjoy reading about my opinions on books and bookish things is nothing short of amazing to me, and for you as much as for myself I am going to make sure to keep posting quality content, even if it's not quite as often as I'd like.  But still, two or three posts a week isn't bad!

Thank you all so, so much for understanding, and I'll see you on Tuesday when I post my TTT list!


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cover Reveal - Across The Stars And Ashes by Pixie Lynn Whitfield

This week, in lieu of my YA Epidemics feature, I'm proud to be participating in the cover reveal for Across The Stars And Ashes by Pixie Lynn Whitfield, the third and final book in her Guardians Of The Night trilogy!  As you may or may not know, Whitfield is a dear friend of mine, and a huge inspiration for my indie feature and desire to support self-published authors as much as possible.  I'm honored to be able to help her promote her newest novel, and encourage you to check out this trilogy and see if it may be right for you!

So, without further ado, I give you the official cover!

Click to add it to your GR shelves

In the conclusion of The Guardians of the Night Trilogy, bonds are tested, unlikely allies are made, and a world is on the brink of destruction.
Zarah has been in captivity with the Fallen Warriors. There she learns that things are much worse for the world than she'd thought. Allies with the humans, the Fallen have started an apocalyptic war sending the world into chaos. Then there's Lucas, Fallen Master and source of a shocking secret. When she makes an unexpected friend out of a Warrior during her captivity, she realizes there's no rescue—only she can be the hero. But at what cost?
Draven never could remember his past. Now he knows why. After learning the truth, the flashbacks start and the memories are returning. He was one of them once.... But what would Zarah say if she knew everything? Because his mission is clear—to get his Bond Mate back, even if it means destroying everything in his path.
Told in dual PoV between Zarah and Draven, Across the Stars and Ashes presents the thrilling final installment packed with action and emotion, romance and family, and supernatural intensity.
Find it on GoodReads

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Book Review - The Sea Of Tranquility by Katja Millay

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

I saw this on NetGalley a few weeks ago.  The cover caught my attention, but the synopsis and mad GoodReads love hooked me.  Ignoring yet again my vow to clear books off of my Nook before adding more to it, I hit that “request” button without even the smallest twinge of regret.  (Also, NetGalley and Atria books, I freaking love you for giving me the book in exchange for this review.)

I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting going into this book, but whatever my expectations were, they have been exceeded.  This is one of those rare books, in fact, where the rating doesn’t fully reflect my love for the story.  In terms of my enjoyment, this deserves the full five stars.  But on the critical side of things, it’s a four.  But I’ll get into all they “why”s of that in a minute.