Sunday, September 30, 2012

Paul's Partials Review

My Pre Reading Post


I enjoy reading dystopian books and due to the current trend in YA, there are plenty of them out there. I like how dystopian books take our current culture and evaluate what could  happen if something catastrophic took place. In Partials, 99.9% of the population is dead. A deadly virus known a RM was released. This ended a war with the "Partials", genetically engineered soldiers. 

Before reading this I thought there may be some similarities to the Battlestar Galactica series. There were some. The Partials look exactly like humans so anyone could be a Partial. Also, the human race is almost extinct. The government does all it can to try and increase the human population, going as far as enacting the Hope Act in which all 18 year old females are required to get pregnant. 

I liked how Wells addressed survival and freedom. There were some times that I wished he would have shown more and let me infer my own opinions. Many things were detailed out. It wasn't until the last third of the book that I really got into it. The start of the book moved slowly. There was a lot of details given of the government and science/biology. I enjoyed the biology and virology, but I don't know if a casual reader would. 

There were a lot of characters introduced at the beginning of the novel. Sometimes it took me a minute to remember who someone was. 

I really liked the world building in this novel. I felt like it was very believable. The differences between the Partials and the humans were also very interesting. I liked the way Wells incorporated diversity into the humans left alive. The protagonist is described as mostly Indian. Although, the front cover looks awfully Caucasian to me. I guess she may be very light skinned.

The terrorist group in this novel is known as "The Voice". It took me at least half of the novel to stop imagining Christina Aguilera pushing a red button. 

The romance in this novel is not overpowering. It was okay. I like where the novel ended with it. 

Overall, I enjoyed this novel, but it started slow and I didn't get into it until the end. I will definitely be reading the prequel novella and sequel. I give this book a 3/5


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Paul's The Assassin's Curse Review

*I received this as an eARC from Strange Chemistry on*

Pre Reading


Review: This was a fun adventure story that took a pirate and an assassin across a wonderful world of desert and ocean. My favorite part of this book was the world building. Not only are the geographical locales beautiful, but the magic of the world is very interesting. Different magic users conjure their magic from different elements, like water, earth, or blood. I always like when a world is bigger than the book itself. Many interesting things were just mentioned off hand that I wanted to know more about. Hopefully I will see them in the sequel(s). 

This book is told in first person from the perspective of Ananna, a young pirate. Her grammar is definitely reflective of her upbringing. I understand why the author chose to do this, but I found it very distracting. Many times I was enamored by a scene and then a double negative appeared and I was completely taken out of the world. The same took place with some unusual contractions and shortened words that took me some time to figure out. 

I also found Ananna to be slightly annoying at times. She would go against suggestions for no apparent reason. She rarely heeded warnings. Naji, the assassin, was also slightly annoying in that he would never answer questions, but I found him more understandable. 

I wanted this book to keep going after my kindle said 100%. I wish the ending would have been less a beginning to a new adventure. It seems like so much happened in this novel just to be where it is at the end. I wanted to feel more resolved. 

I definitely will be reading the sequel, The Pirate's Wish, when it comes out sometime next year. I give this novel a 4/5. The world building and characters were good enough to overcome Ananna's poor education.


Friday, September 28, 2012

The Assassin's Curse: Ashley's Review

My Pre-Reading

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

At first, I thought I was really going to have a hard time getting into this book. I struggled to get into Ananna's mind and with her  dialect. I also couldn't really see where the plot was going to go, or how everything would fit together.

And then she jumps ship and runs away from her planned marriage, and everything just takes off. I actually really enjoyed how she spoke/thought, and it was kind of refreshing to read a book that wasn't written with a very strict grammatical structure.The way Clark puts the reader into Ananna's head is incredible, and I was definitely pleasantly surprised. While she did annoy me at times, and I didn't necessarily agree with all of her decisions, I thought she was very real and dynamic.

Actually, Naji was also a very well developed, dynamic character as well. I enjoyed getting to know him with Ananna, and I even found myself wishing that some of the chapters had been from his point of view. I'd like to know his feelings and his thoughts concerning this whole curse business, and about everything related to it. There are so many unanswered questions I have about him, and I'm really hoping the rest of the series answers at least some of them.

The plot and the pacing also move along much more quickly once Ananna actually decides to run away. While it does take her some time to meet the assassin and then continue on their journey, Clark does a great job with filling the time with all sorts of interesting details that help with the world building. The world is rich and full, and parts of it definitely seem like they're based on real places. The deserts, for instance. Other places though are completely fantastical and magical and really showcase what a vivid imagination Clark must have.

I was a little disappointed in the ending - I thought it was very abrupt and gave very little closer to anything. In fact, I can't really think of anything that was truly resolved. I kept trying to get my Kindle app to go to the next page, but it just wouldn't budge. However, that makes me very excited that this book is only the first in a trilogy, and I will definitely be trying to desperately get my hands on a copy of The Pirate's Wish as soon as I possibly can.

Anyone who is a fan of pirates, assassins, magic, epic adventures, and even some fantasy should definitely check out this book - it's one you won't want to miss! I would definitely give this one a 4/5.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Paul's Partials Pre Reading

Title: Partials
Author: Dan Wells
Year Published: 2012

Amazon  | Goodreads

Synopsis:  The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials--engineered organic beings identical to humans--has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them--connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

Dan Wells, acclaimed author of "I Am Not a Serial Killer," takes readers on a pulsepounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question--one where our humanity is both our greatest liability and our only hope for survival.

Why?: This was Ashley's September pick. I have heard good things about this book, but I haven't looked into it much. I'm a fan of Dystopian novels and this one seems like a near future one. It reminds me of Battlestar Galactica, with the humans and the humanlike nonhumans. 

Expectations: I am expecting a YA dystopia with a strong heroine with a small amount of romance (the cover for the sequel has a guy on it, so I'm just guessing). I expect this book to address some modern day controversial topics involving science. I'm interested how the mandatory pregnancy laws will be dealt with.

Judging a book by its cover:  This cover is very generic for YA these days. I have seen it in the bookstore a lot. I have only picked it up and looked at it because of the good reviews I have seen. 


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Forsaken (Ashley's Review)

My Pre-Reading
Paul's Pre-Reading
Paul's Review 

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

For a book that gets off to a kind of slow start, I really thought it eventually picked up and redeemed itself. I understand that the beginning of the book is used to set up the world and the characters, but I thought it could have been done a little bit more quickly. While the history is interesting, I felt like I was trudging through a swamp of details before actually getting to the meat of the book. After that swamp though, it was great! The pacing is much better, and the excitement really builds up.

While the pacing was kind of slow, I thought the world building was excellent. I really enjoyed the way the world was constructed - a futuristic North America where Canada, the US, and Mexico have become one giant country. The concept of being tested at a certain age to see if you're too violent or could have violent tendencies was very much like the testing done in Divergent. Those who fail are sent away, and those who don't are let be.

I also really liked most of the characters. Gadya was back and forth, but I thought she was very real. Rika was sweet, and I felt like I would have loved to be friends with her. I'm still really confused about David, Veidman, and a few other characters, but I'm really hoping they're explored more in the sequels. I did think that Alenna was developed as much as she could have been, but at least she's mostly trying to solve a mystery the entire time, and she does grow a little bit.

I found the ending to be very abrupt, and I'm not entirely sure where it will go from here. I really hope several missing characters come back, and  I hope that more questions are answered than are created in the next book. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of the Divergent series, and also fans of books about alternate futures. I'd give this book a 4/5.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Paul's Assassin's Curse Pre Reading

*I received this as an eARC from Strange Chemistry on*

The Assassin's Curse

Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Year Published: 2012

Synopsis: Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

Why?: This book sounds like it has all the makings of an epic epic. There are pirates, assassins, and curses. The world also seems very interesting and vast.

Expectations: I'm expecting a fantasy epic with a strong female heroine. It seems there may be some Middle Eastern influence. Maybe it will have the feel of a story straight out of The Arabian Nights.

Judging a book by its cover: The cover has a nice classic feel with the Middle Eastern font and imagery. The cover doesn't really pop though. I would probably pick this up if I saw it on the shelves at a bookstore. 


Monday, September 24, 2012

Paul's September Book: Fathomless (Ashley's Pre-Reading)

Title: Fathomless
Author: Jackson Pearce
Year Published: 2012

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Synopsis: FATHOMLESS is a companion book to SISTERS RED and SWEETLY, and is a retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid.

Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets, and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, Jane can see the present—therefore essentially read minds—and all Celia can do is see the past.

Lo doesn’t know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea—an undine, a nymph, a mermaid; all terms too pretty for the soulless creature she knows she’s becoming. The other ocean girls, her “sisters,” tell her there’s only one way for her to earn her soul and humanity back—convince a mortal to love her, and steal his.

Lo thinks a soul is within her grasp when she saves a guitarist, Jude, from drowning. When Celia intervenes, she accidentally reads Lo’s past, calling out Lo’s long-forgotten human name. The two forge a friendship, meeting by the shore to remember Lo’s old life, to talk, to share secrets they’d never tell their “real” sisters.

Yet remembering makes Lo more desperate than ever for a soul– and despite Jude’s blossoming romance with Celia, she can’t resist longing for his. Straddling the line between humanity and darkness, Lo struggles to find her place on either side, while Celia wonders just what she and her power have unleashed. But the sister you choose can be more powerful than those you’re born with– in a fight against Lo’s sisters and the waves themselves, Jude and Celia risk their lives to save Lo from her own darkness. But is a soulless, wanting existence better than none at all?

 I've read both Sisters Red and Sweetly (my reviews are here and here), and loved both of them. I love the world Pearce has created, and I love how the books are connected in very subtle ways. Plus, I love the Little Mermaid story, and I'm interested to see how Pearce takes it back to the original fairy tale.

Expectations: I expect a dark retelling of The Little Mermaid, complete with a little bit of magic. And definitely some conflict with the Fenris. I also expect the Reynolds family to be a huge part of this book, and the missing younger sister from Sweetly to be pretty important.

Judging a book by its cover: I'm not really as in love with this cover as I was with the ones for Sisters Red and Sweetly. I do think it's still a very pretty cover though, and it would definitely catch my eye if it were on a shelf in a bookstore. I just wish it looked like the original hardcovers of the first two books in this set.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Paul's The Book of the Night Review and GIVEAWAY

There's a GIVEAWAY down below!!!

Pre Reading

REVIEW: This book! So, I enjoyed the first two in this series. They were nice fantasy stories that involved interesting societies with some cool gender roles. The magic and the science were one in the same. There were "Ancients", but I didn't put much thought into them other than a ruined society of high technology. This book completely blew my mind away!

Before I get to why this book is way more than a solid 5/5, I'll go through the basics. 

The characters are all fully developed. There is not one true protagonist. I loved the way North would switch the perspective mid scene or even mid conversation at some points. You got to see how the other side of the conversation is thinking, even if they are not saying it. 

The story may have not had a linear path, but the storytelling was done so well. Each character had their own solution to the world's problems and we got to follow all the paths. My favorite of the stories was Po's. He had come from this female dominated society and he had learned of gender equality in the last books. He is again in the female dominated society. 

The pen. It is so amazing. The way North revealed what is was and the different ways it was used were so interesting. What would you do if you could write anything down and it would immediately come true?

It is really hard to pinpoint the genre of this. I really like books like that. There's some sci-fi, some high fantasy, some dystopia, and some thought provoking amazingness. 

It is very hard to write this review without spoiling it. I can only say that this book really bends reality. It reminded me of The Neverending Story. It questions the most basic ideas of existence. What is real? Why is it real? 

The only way you can experience such a mind blown feeling, like I had when I finished this book, is to read it! If you haven't read the other books in the Libyrinth series, you should! They are both pretty good fantasy stories, but this third installment blows them away!

If you like reading, and books, and reading books you should read this book series! 5/5


Now, for the GIVEAWAY!!!

To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below. 

The Giveaway will end on October 7th, 2012. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What is your favorite last book in a series?


Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Part to Play (Ashley's Pre-Reading)

*I received this book from the author in return for a fair review*

Title: A Part to Play
Author: Jennifer L. Fry
Year Published: 2012

Amazon | Goodreads | Rogue Phoenix Press

Synopsis:   When fifteen-year-old actress Lucy Carter loses her older sister in a car accident, her mother shuts down and her father can’t hold the family together. Their only choice is to ship Lucy off to the Edmond School for Performing Arts. But boarding school is no cure for Lucy’s grief. With failing grades, wooden stage performances, and curfew violations, Lucy is threatened with expulsion. For the once talented Lucy, it feels as though she has nowhere to turn.

One night, Lucy hears mysterious music drifting through the school’s old heating system. The music leads her to a troubled but passionate songwriter whose brilliance gives her the strength to perform like never before. Yet their intense relationship puts Lucy in a precarious position: if she follows her muse, will she lose herself? And if she breaks it off, can she stand on her own again?

Why?: Jennifer asked me to review this book for her, and since I haven't read a contemporary YA novel in quite some time, I thought it would be nice to have a change of pace.

Expectations: I expect a sad story, with a lot of main character growth. She's obviously going through a rough time in her life, and I think most of the book will be her trying to overcome her grief and move on with her life. Plus, I think there will be quite a bit of relationship drama and Lucy trying to rediscover herself after her devastating loss.

Judging a book by its cover: I probably wouldn't pick this book up off of a shelf, since it really doesn't catch my eye. The only reason I might have even stopped to look at it would be because of the stage - I'm kind of a sucker for theater and music.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Glow (Ashley's Review)

My Pre-Reading
Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

Glow was not really what I expected. I was hoping for an epic battle, where the New Horizon would come and take the girls from the Empyrean, and then those left on the Empyrean would retaliate and attack the New Horizon to recover their girls. Yeah, that didn't happen. Only the first part really. And then the boys sit around and just wait until they get out of the nebula to do anything.

I'm not sure if it was supposed to come off this way, but I definitely felt that the girls, and Waverly in particular, were much stronger characters than the boys. Waverly refuses to give up hope, and is constantly trying to uncover Anne Mathers' secrets and make her way back to the Empyrean. The boys, and Kieran, on the other hand, kind of just sit around and wait for something to happen. They mutiny, and then they get over it. And then they mutiny again when they realize the first mutiny was probably a mistake. It's kind of a mess.

I did enjoy the world building and the plot construction though. I think it's interesting when novels are set in space - there's so much an author can do with that, since nothing is limited. The better their imagination, the richer and more engrossing their world built on a spaceship becomes. Ryan really develops her spaceship worlds, and I often felt like I was the one wandering around the ships trying to find things. The way she imagines that life would be sustained is creative and interesting, and the passengers don't have to give up the things they loved from Earth.

Plus, the idea of one ship having infertile women and one ship having a solution to the problem is something new and different that I haven't encountered before. Usually books in space have some sort of mystery, but mystery kind of took a step back to allow for the conflict to take over. I felt bad for the women aboard the New Horizon, especially since they had no idea what Anne had done to try to bring them babies. They were basically as innocent as the girls, and were being lied to in order to further one person's plan.

I understand wanting to make the ships different in some way, but I really didn't understand why all of the religion was necessary in the book. Especially real religions. I was hoping that they would turn out to be fictional, like in Girl of Fire and Thorns, but the more I read the more I saw otherwise. I'm not sure many people would be attracted to this book if they knew about the huge role religion plays in it, and how it's dealt with. I understand that Christianity has been used to justify some horrible things (e.g. the Crusades, etc.), but was it really necessary to make all of the bad guys religious? I don't think so.

When I started reading Glow, the different points of view and the seemingly haphazard arrangement of them kind of threw me off. The third-person omniscient viewpoints were also unsettling at first, since books that switch between characters are typically written in first person. After about 1/3 of the way through the book though, I started to get used to it. I'm not sure why Ryan chose to write the story that way, but I guess it works in the long run.

Overall, I wasn't really as impressed by this book as I had hoped I would be. It was a good story with interesting characters and conflict, but there were too many things that got in the way of my enjoying it fully. I think anyone who enjoys YA novels in space, or the Across the Universe series might like this book. It's not on par with Across the Universe, but I'm hoping the rest of this series pushes it up a few notches to get there. I would give this book a 3/5, but I will definitely be reading the sequel.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Paul's The Book of the Night Pre Reading

Title: The Book of the Night (Libyrinth #3)
Author: Pearl North
Year Published: 2012

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

The world of the Libyrinth has experienced a series of wrenching changes. After the Libyrarians and their longtime foes the Singers discovered their common heritage, a young healer named Po found the Lion’s Bloom, an ancient and enormously powerful artifact capable of rewriting reality.

Behind the mysteries of their shrouded past has always been the legendary Book of the Night. Sought for generations, both feared and revered, it is the key to this world of wonders. When vain, grasping Queen Thela steals the Lion’s Bloom and imperils the very reality of the world, only the Book can heal what she has rent asunder. An epic journey through strange lands, a perilous encounter in a clockwork city, and the revelation of the truth beyond reality will lead those who find the Book to a moment when their world will either be saved...or cease to exist.

Why?: The first two books in this series came out in 2009 and 2010. I have been waiting to read this since the day I put down The Boy from Ilysies. The woirld of the Libyrinth is so unique and different than any other fantasy YA out there. It appears to be set in the future, but has a fantasy feel, and there are modern books like Curious George.

Expectations: It has been a while since I read the other two in this series so I am hoping for some recap. If not, I will be googling some character information. I remember this series has some interesting takes on gender roles. Also, the magic and the science are one in the same. I expect this to be an epic conclusion.

Judging a book by its cover: The cover seems very steampunky and there hasn't been steampunk in the previous two novels so I am intrigued. The cover is in the same style as the previous books.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ashley's September Book: Partials (Pre-Reading)

Title: Partials
Author: Dan Wells
Year Published: 2012

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

Why?: I've heard nothing but good things about this book, and it's been a while since I've read a dystopian YA. I think the idea of Partials isn't really that far off, so it will be interesting to see how they came about and why they were created. Also, I like that there's a mystery involved - I'm already dying to know what the connections between humans and Partials are!

Expectations: I expect an epic dystopian story, set not too far in the future, full of adventure and mystery. A kick-butt heroine, and probably a love interest.

Judging a book by its cover: The cover is kind of interesting. A girl, with silver streaks in her hair, looking at a city in the middle of nowhere. I'm not sure if I would pick this book up off of a shelf based on the cover alone, since it's a little generic, but it would at least catch my eye.


Paul's Fathomless Review

Pre Reading

I read this book in less than a day! I read the prologue and the first chapters before bed and then I read the rest of the book the next day.

This is my favorite of Pearce's Fairytale Retellings so far. I may be partially biased as I have a degree in marine biology and half of this novel takes place under the sea.

After reading this, I both want to rewatch Disney's The Little Mermaid and read the original story by Hans Christian Andersen. Pearce always does such a nice job recreating a well known story.

Another reason I enjoyed this book so much was the amount of moral quandaries. There was less action and more thinking. These mermaids that Pearce has created are so interesting. They are far from Ariel, yet I wondered if Pearce was referencing her with Molly's red hair. The mermaids slowly lose their self, going through many new names before merely drifting away to an unknown destination, in which many think involves Angels.

Pearce has said that this book is written in 2.5 perspectives. It was done perfectly. I liked the way she did it and I won't reveal any more.

The connection to the other books is so subtle. Many books written as companions make the references very bold and obvious. In Pearce's works you have to catch them on your own. They may be references to siblings, locations, or even last names. The mythology of the worlds is all the same and in each companion novel, it becomes more in depth. I really enjoyed what was revealed about these pseudo-mermaids towards the end of the novel.

Celia was a wonderful protagonist. I liked her relationship with her fellow triplet sisters. Their powers and the way they use them is also very cool. Each can see either the past, present, or future when they touch someone. Celia sees the past.

Jude was an excellent replacement to Prince Eric, although I would have liked some more dancing. He is an indie musician, barely getting through life. I like how the relationships in this novel played out.

Lo was another very interesting character. I love when I am unsure how I feel about a character throughout a novel until the very end.

Overall, I loved this book. I am looking forward to Pearce's next untitled Fairytale Retelling of The Snow Queen. I know that story is very close to her and I think she will excellently tell it. Until then, I am going to have to read Purity soon, as it is the only Jackson Pearce novel I have to read.

I give this book a 5/5. If you have not read Sisters Red or Sweetly, you should definitely look into this series. This novel could be read alone, but I think the knowledge of the two previous novels enhances it.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Paul's The Shadow Cats Review

Amazon | Goodreads

Title: The Shadow Cats
Author: Rae Carson
Year Published: 2012

Review: This is a really nice prequel novella. The Crown of Embers comes out today. Unfortunately I am on a boat and won't be able to read it immediately. I pre-ordered it from Amazon, so it will be at my house waiting for me when I get home. 

This novella takes place before A Girl of Fire and Thorns. That means all the character progression Elisa goes through hasn't happened yet. The protagonist is her older sister, Alodia. I like how we get to see Alodia's opinion of her younger sister. 

I am glad I read this now because it reminded me of this very interesting world Carson has created. It reminded me of many of the characters as well as the godstone and the animagus. 

If you are planning on reading The Crown of Embers and have not yet read this, I suggest that you do!


Monday, September 17, 2012

The Assassin's Curse - Pre-reading

*I received this as an eARC from Strange Chemistry on*

The Assassin's Curse

Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Year Published: 2012
Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis:  Ananna of the Tanarau is the eldest daughter of a highly-ranked family in the loose assortment of cutthroats and thieves in the Pirate's Confederation. When she runs away from the marriage her parents have arranged for her, they hire Naji the assassin to murder her. When a mysterious woman in a dress shop offers her magical assistance for dealing with the assassin, Ananna accepts. She never went in much for magic herself -- she lacks the talent for it -- but she's not quite ready to die yet, either.

Unfortunately, the woman's magic fails. Fortunately, Ananna inadvertently saves the assassin's life in the skirmish, thus activating a curse that had been placed on him a few years earlier. Now, whenever her life is in danger, he must protect her -- or else he experiences tremendous physical pain. Neither Ananna nor the assassin, Naji, are pleased about this development. Follow Annana and Naji as they sail across the globe, visiting such mysterious places as the Court of Salt and Waves, in their desperate effort to lift the curse. Soon they will discover that only by completing three impossible tasks will they be able to set themselves free.

Why?: There are pirates, assassins, and magic all wrapped up in one book. How much better could it get?! Also, it seems like there will be a great deal of world-building, of which I am always a fan. And I always enjoy reading things by authors I've never heard of before!

Expectations: I expect an epic journey filled with mystery and magic. Some swashbuckling too. I've never read anything by Clark before, so I'm not sure what to expect from her writing style, but I hope to be surprised.

Judging a book by its cover: The cover kind of looks like something out of Aladdin. It also has a big boat between two cities, so maybe Ananna and Naji have to sail back and forth. If I saw this on a bookshelf somewhere, I would probably pick it up if I saw it, but I might also skip over it since the cover isn't very bright or eye-catching.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Paul's Fathomless Pre Reading (September Pick)

Title: Fathomless
Author: Jackson Pearce
Year Published: 2012

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Synopsis: Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant -- until Celia meets Lo.

Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea -- a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid -- all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality.

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.

Why?: I first found Jackson Pearce on youtube (her channel). I hadn't yet read any of her books, but I found her hilarious, intelligent, and a lot of fun. Recently with the whole Chick-fil-a debacle, I have found even more love for her! I have read most of her books. I have this one and Purity left. I love the way she takes a well known fairy tale and molds it to make something new. I am very excited for this one since it is The Little Mermaid, although from her youtube videos I would not be surprised if this book has a depressing ending in homage to the original tale by Hans Christian Anderson. 

Expectations:  I am expecting to see more of the world Pearce has created in Sisters Red and Sweetly. I am very interested in her take on mermaids. 

Judging a book by its cover: I am very sad that the cover does not match the old covers of Sisters Red and Sweetly. I really liked how those covers used colors and optical illusions. This cover is very simple, but I think I would pick it up off the shelf even if I hadn't read the rest of the series. 


Friday, September 14, 2012

Paul's Endlessly Review and GIVEAWAY!!!

*I received this as an ARC from epicreads*

Paranormalcy Review
Supernaturally Review
My Endlessly Pre Reading

This is our first GIVEAWAY!!! All the details can be found below my review!!!

Review: If you have read my reviews of the other two books in this series you will know my feelings on these books' covers. I do not like them. I don't think they accurately portray the feel of the book. The books are so fun and these covers look so serious and dramatic. And very paranormal romancy. These books may involve paranormals; they also may have a little bit of romance, but I think they are far different than the common paranormal romance. There are many instances when the characters within the books make fun of paranormal romance cliches, or specific paranormal romances. 

My favorite thing about this series is how lighthearted and fun it is to read. I enjoy the many pop culture references. The chapter titles are also always fun to read. 

This third book in a trilogy tied up the series very well. I enjoyed the depth White went into explaining the history and mythology of this world. The story of how the Faeries originally came to Earth was very interesting. 

I love reading series because you really get to know the characters and the world they inhabit. White brought back almost every character from both books. Many of the minor characters reappear often. The paranormals like the Dragon and the different elementals were fun to read about. Characters that were once evil got their chance to redeem themselves. I liked that in the end, there weren't any characters that were evil purely to be evil. They all had their ideas of right and wrong and were pursuing their own plans. Because of this, there are many moral dilemmas. I like how White shows Evie considering all her options. Although, a pretty clean cut answer usually emerges in the end. 

I would recommend this series to younger female readers interested in paranormal things. I am obviously not a young female, but I enjoyed this series too. I give this book a 4/5. That also makes this trilogy a solid 4/5.


Now, for the GIVEAWAY!!! So this is The AP Book Club's FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY!!! It will hopefully be the first of many. Follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below!

This Giveaway ends on September 30th, 2012.

Things to Keep in Mind:This book is an ARC, but the finished product is already released. Also, this is the third book in the series. After I won this book from epicreads, I got the kindle versions of Paranormalcy and Supernaturally. They're pretty cheap and well worth it. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
What books do you think have a cover that doesn't match the content?


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Paul's Girl of Nightmares Review

I finally finished reading the last few chapters! I read most of this book so fast, but got stuck on the end. So, I have another work project starting tomorrow! I'll be on a dredge in Texas. I don't know yet whether this will mean more or less reading. I have brought plenty of books to occupy me for the whole 25 to 30 days this project is slated for. 

My Pre Reading
Ashley's Review

Kendare Blake does an excellent job of painting the outline of a picture that my imagination fills in with gruesome imagery. There were many parts in this book in which I had very detailed pictures in my head. Many of them were Anna's appearances to Cas. The Suicide Forest was also very creepy. 

I like the way Blake dealt with "Hell" and the afterlife. It was all very vague, letting the reader interpret it however he or she liked. Some characters referred to it in their own way, but not even The Order knew specifics about the afterlife. 

I almost always enjoy sequels more than their predecessors. I already have a grasp on the world and the characters. This was, again, the case for this book. The world was enriched and the characters developed more. I liked the new character of Jestine. She is a kickbutt chick playing for only her own team.

Most books make up their own brand names or simply do not mention chain restaurants. Blake used many brand names and wonderful pop culture references. I really enjoyed them. 

One thing I did not understand was how these high school students just leave school all the time. I understand having a lunch break, but it seemed like almost everyday they just walked off campus halfway through the day.  

I believe this is the last book in this series. I guess that makes sense, considering the series on goodreads is simply called "Anna". I would love to read more novels following Cas and his friends' adventures, but this was a solid end to the duology. 

This book was a creepy, gory, fun sequel to an equally scary book. I give this book a 4/5. If you haven't read Anna Dressed in Blood and enjoy horror/thriller and YA, you must! And then once you finish and love that book, you must read this as well!


Friday, September 7, 2012

Shadow and Bone (Ashley's Review)

Paul's Pre-Reading
Paul's Review (with video!)
My Pre-Reading

I love a good YA fantasy book, and this was no exception. The world is so interesting, and so well constructed, that I feel like it could really exist somewhere. Bardugo provides enough details for readers to construct the world in their minds, but doesn't overwhelm them with too many details. And the UnSea sounds like an utterly terrifying place to be.

I loved the idea that the Grisha practice a "Small Science," which most other authors would refer to as magic. It was definitely interesting to see magic-like abilities described in a kind of scientific manner for once. I liked that the Grisha were divided into different categories, and that there were a finite number of different powers they could have. While some powers are more rare than others (Genya, the Darkling, and Alina have powers that no one else seems to share), there still isn't an infinite number of things the Grisha can do.

I also loved how dynamic all of the characters were. Alina changes so much over the course of the novel, trying to discover who she is and what her powers mean. Her emotions are so conflicted most of the time that it's hard not to sympathize with her. And the Darkling is such a complex creature that I'm still not sure I completely understand him or his agenda. He's strong, sexy, powerful, and scary all at the same time. Although it is a little bit creepy that he's like 120+ years old and he's all over Alina, who is 16... Regardless, I'm very ambivalent towards him, and can't decide if I like him or hate him.

Even the minor characters are well developed in the short amount of time they appear. Genya was probably one of my favorite characters in the book, and she receives very little screen time compared to everyone else. Mal too - he's missing for a good portion of the book, but it's almost like he never leaves, with how much Alina talks about him.

One of my only gripes was that I felt that Alina focuses too much on how beautiful everything is. Genya is stunning, the Darkling is beautiful, all of the Grisha are so pretty/handsome, etc. Every time Genya shows up, Alina mentions her beauty. And every time Baghra shows up, she mentions how she's not at all beautiful. Like, ok, we get it. You've never seen any beauty in your life. Let's move on now, please. There's much more to people than their exteriors. It doesn't take anything away from the story, but it doesn't really add much either.

Other than that though, and a few minor things, I thought Shadow and Bone was excellent. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA Fantasy novels, especially darker ones with many twists and turns. It actually kind of reminded me of a YA version of the Sword of Truth novels. This book is definitely not one to be missed! Go read it now if you haven't yet! I can't wait to read the rest of the Grisha trilogy and see what Alina and Mal will do next. I would give this one a 5/5!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Paul's Girl of Nightmares Pre Reading

Title: Girl of Nightmares
Author: Kendare Blake
Year Published: 2012

My Review of Anna Dressed in Blood

Synopsis:It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on. 

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.

Why?: This book was Ashley's August pick. We both really enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood. Kendare Blake does Young Adult scary well so I am excited for the thrill of reading this.

Expectations: I am hoping to learn more about the mythology of this world, or I guess the science of this world. I want to learn where it was that Anna ended up. Is it Hell? What is Hell? I hope we get to see more of Anna's history and her abilities.

Judging a book by its cover: This cover is creepy. I'm assuming that's Anna in Hell. The red beings reaching up at her are creepy. I'm excited to read this and hope the tone matches this cover.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Paul's The Kill Order Review

My Pre Reading

This series has improved with each book. This may be because I am already familiar with the world and, for the original trilogy, the characters.

One thing I liked going into this book was that most, if not all, the characters were probably going to die. There is a lot of violence in this novel. I don't mean, just fist-to-fist combat. Those infected with what becomes known as The Flare are brutal. Children are fighting over dead bodies. Others are eating each other alive. Many try to kill themselves. Dashner did a nice job portraying the brutality of this Apocalyptic world. 

I really enjoyed the Prologue and the Epilogue. They both connected this prequel to the original trilogy. I am unsure if something was inferred as to one of the characters that may have survived (Do we already know this person older?). If you have read the book already and understand what I'm talking about, did you think this as well?

The technology in this prequel was more believable to me than in the original trilogy. The only crazy, out there piece of technology was the flat trans, which is like a Transporter from Star Trek. There is also a gun that utilizes the same technology. 

I liked the way there were two different time lines being told through dreams. I also liked that within these stories, some characters had already died in one while they were still alive in the dreams of the past. 

This was a really good survival/adventure story. Each of the members of the group were interesting and had their own styles or surviving. This is definitely a Young Adult novel for boys. 

If you enjoy Post Apocalyptic Survival/Adventure stories or have read The Maze Runner trilogy, this is a must read. If you know a middle grade boy reader, these books would make an excellent present. I give this novel a 4/5.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Witch Born (Ashley's Review!)

*I received this book as an eARC from the author, Amber Argyle, in return for an honest review. Thanks, Amber!*

My Review of Witch Song

I'm not really sure how to explain how much I loved this book without giving away too many spoilers, but I'll try.

Argyle does a wonderful job bringing the reader back into Senna's world. Although she just recently finished saving the Haven witches from Espen, the Dark Witch, Senna is not treated like their savior at all. Many of the witches resent her and the power and beauty of her song, and the Discipline Heads refuse to tell her things that concern her. It's pretty frustrating to read about, so I can't even imagine how I would feel in that situation. She has a very quick temper and takes things out on her mother and Joshen, but it's almost like they're the only ones who will listen to her.

The world-building in Witch Song was done very well, but I think the expansion upon that world in Witch Born was even better. With the addition of one new place, Senna's world completely changes. I definitely enjoyed the introduction of the new settings and the new threat to the Haven witches. It completely made sense in the world Argyle created, but it was also unexpected. At least for me.

Although Senna definitely matured and grew over the course of the last novel, it was nothing compared to her transformation in this one. She becomes a stronger person, and makes sacrifices that I don't think she previously would have. Her decisions are based more on saving the world than saving herself and those she loves - and she also sacrifices things in order to stay with those she loves. Several times over the course of Witch Born, I felt like Argyle was trying to break my heart into a million pieces. And, if she was, it totally worked.

I loved the ending, and even though I would definitely read another book about Senna and her world, I'm glad it ended how it did. There are very few questions left unanswered, but there's just enough to make you want to learn a little bit more.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has read Witch Song. It's a must-read sequel! And if you haven't read Witch Song yet, but enjoy YA fantasy novels, you should go pick up a copy so you can read Witch Born! It's a fantasy mixed with mystery and romance and a whole lot of character maturation and growth. I would give this book a 4/5!


Monday, September 3, 2012

Bitterblue (Ashley's Pre-Reading)

Title: Bitterblue
Author: Kristin Cashore
Year Published: 2012
| Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Synopsis: Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck's reign, and forget anything bad ever happened.

But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle - disguised and alone - to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the 35-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn't yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

I really enjoyed Graceling, and was really interested in seeing what would happen with Bitterblue. I'm also hoping Katsa and Po are in this book at least in some capacity, because I really enjoyed their characters and watching them develop. I wasn't such a big fan of Fire, but I feel like Bitterblue will be more in the style of Graceling.

Expectations: I expect Cashore to expand upon the world she created in Graceling and Fire. Will Bitterblue have to travel to the Dell? Or will she stay on her side of the mountains? I expect there to be conflict, mystery, and romance, but I think all of them well be dealt with well. Hopefully Bitterblue is closer to Graceling than to Fire! But definitely still completely different from both.

Judging a book by its cover: This cover is kind of a generic YA fantasy cover. Don't get me wrong, I do like it! I just don't think it's as eye-catching as some of the other ones that are out there. I'm not sure what the significance of the keys is, but I'm hoping that after reading the book they will make more sense.