July 29, 2011

In My Mailbox (22)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is designed to put new books on people's radars, and encourage blogger interaction.

Here's what I received during the past week:



For Review:

**All links lead to Goodreads

So I've gone absolutely insane this week reading the Morganville Vampire books. They're so good! I'm so glad I decided to get them from the library. Can you believe the first 8 books are in one eBook? The thing is over 1500 pages!!

I was so excited to get my Armchair BEA books in the mail finally, and also so excited to start reading the FNL Companion book. Friday Night Lights is one of the best shows ever, so I'm psyched to read essays about it from people who love it as much as I do.

Can't wait to see what everyone else got in their mailbox this week!

July 28, 2011

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Release Date: August 2, 2011
Publisher: Hyperion Books CH
Pages: 288
Series: n/a
Review Source: NetGalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

My Thoughts:
All I had heard about ‘The Near Witch’ when I started reading it were glowing reviews. So perhaps because of this I was just a tad disappointed by the book. I found it really hard to get into. The start of the book was really slow, and the lack of dialogue was also a bit distracting to me. Perhaps if I had been in the mood for a slower, atmospheric story it might have worked better.

The strong point of the book is definitely Schwab’s writing. There were so many beautiful phrases and descriptions, and I also loved the way the setting was described. It was so mysterious, which lent itself well to the fairy tale style of the book. ‘The Near Witch’ really feels like a fairy tale, which I think is appealing to a lot of people.

I guess I’m on the fence with this one. Great writing? Yes, absolutely. Yet I just couldn’t stop myself from feeling bored while reading it. I liked Lexie and I loved the witches, but I just didn’t seem to care that much about the characters, and I didn’t really buy the romance at all. This book seems to be a favourite of a lot of people, but it just couldn’t quite keep my interest.

The Cover: It's alright, but nothing spectacular. I don't get how it relates to the story at all.


Find The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon

July 26, 2011

Into the Parallel by Robin Brande

Release Date: July 12, 2011
Publisher: Ryer Publishing
Pages: 391
Series: The Parallel Series #1
Review Source: eBook from author for review

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Science has become the new magic . . . High school senior and amateur physicist Audie Masters has discovered what no other physicist has been able to prove: that parallel universes do exist, and there is a way to journey into them. She also discovers something else: a parallel version of herself, living the kind of life Audie never could have imagined for herself. Now Audie is living that life, too, full of adventure, romance, and reality-bending science. It’s all more than she could have hoped for--until something goes wrong.

My Thoughts:
This was such a perfect read at a perfect time for me. Robin Brande writes in such an awesome straightforward manner. I love how it felt like Audie, the main character, was speaking right to the reader. The best thing about this book is that there's actually science behind the science fiction. Most books to do with parallel worlds or time travel tend to gloss over the specifics, but Brande brings scientific theories right to the foreground. No worries, though, if you're not a science geek. You'll still be able to understand and appreciate all the science-y information being brought forth. Mostly it was just refreshing to see a science fiction title actually rooted in science.

'Into the Parallel' introduces a sort of Fringe-like parallel world to the one Audie is living in. There are people who look alike, but who have different names and different personalities. I loved all the differences between the 2 universes, as well as the differences between the look-alike characters themselves. I don't want to say much more because reading the book is an incredible journey on its own. I have yet to be disappointed by Robin Brande. I can always count on her books to contain great characters and interesting, issue-driven plots. 'Into the Parallel' was refreshing and absolutely satisfying, leaving me desperately wanting Book 2.

The Cover:
Love it! The colouring makes it a little bit spooky looking to draw you in, but it also perfectly represents the story.

[A very strong 4/5]

Find Into the Parallel by Robin Brande on Goodreads. Available at Smashwords, Kindle, Nook, or in Paperback.

July 24, 2011

In My Mailbox (21)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is designed to put new books on people's radars, and encourage blogger interaction.

Here's what I received during the past two weeks:


Gifted (RAK):


From Library:

**All links lead to Goodreads

I had a crazy past couple of weeks when it comes to books. The 'Generation Dead' books I got for $1 each, I found the Deb Caletti ones in a couple of different used bookstores, and 'Looking for Alibrandi' was at a place that sells overstock books. Then I couldn't help but buy the 'Darkest Powers' omnibus when Walmart had it again for a good price.

And then there's the awesome RAKs, library stash, and three books that I won -- two of which were stuck in the mail from during the postal strike, so I was psyched to finally get them.

So that's my mailbox. I can't wait to see what you all have received!

July 23, 2011

She Smells the Dead & Spirit Storm by E.J. Stevens

Release Date: August 19, 2010
Publisher: Sacred Oaks Press
Pages: 172
Series: Spirit Guide #1
Review Source: eBook from author for review

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
It's the beginning of senior year and Yuki's psychic awareness of ghostly spirits is threatening to ruin her life. Her ability to sense spirits of the dead isn't glamorous like the ghost hunting on television.


The smell impressions are becoming stronger. Yuki is being visited in her dreams, and she suspects that her friend Calvin is involved in something strange. To make matters worse her crush on Garrett is going unrequited, Yuki's friend Emma is on a rampage against bee oppression, and Calvin Miller mysteriously disappears.

Will Yuki be able to focus her powers in time to save the lost soul who is haunting her? Meanwhile, who will save Yuki from following the spirits into the light?

My Thoughts:
Yuki is such a cute character. I really liked her and her style. She's confident in what she likes, and this shows through her narration. Calvin, from what we got to know of him, was also sweet. I would have liked to have seen more conversations happening between Calvin and Yuki instead of being told about them after the fact, though.

This book is an interesting mix of werewolf mythology, spirit animals, and Yuki's spirit power. I did really enjoy reading it, but it was so short! It didn't really leave time for a full detailed plot. Instead it was more like this was the first half of a book with the story being continued in Book 2.

The Cover: I'm not the biggest fan of the fonts or the background, but I think it's good overall. It's memorable, and that girl could totally be Yuki, especially if she were SMILING.

Find She Smells the Dead by E.J. Stevens on Goodreads & the Spirit Guide Series page.

Release Date: January 1, 2011
Publisher: Sacred Oaks Press
Pages: 210
Series: Spirit Guide #2
Review Source: eBook from author for review

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
"Let the spirits guide you, but never let them take you."

Spirits of the Dead are coming...

Yuki is about to face an army of lost souls on Samhain, the night of Halloween, when the spirits of the dead roam free. Yuki will need all the help she can get from her friends, but will Calvin be there for her when she needs him the most?

My Thoughts:
I found 'Spirit Storm' to be even more riveting than the first book. It felt a bit more complete as well. Again, Yuki is just such a cute character. I love her mannerisms, and how she's the biggest sweetheart ever even though her outward appearance is "out there" by most people's standards.

In the end, though, I felt like things wrapped up far too easily. There was definitely danger, but the whole book was leading to this big climactic scene that ended up being over with before I knew it. So despite the awesome action and plot it ended up being a little bit disappointing.

The Cover: I like it a lot more than the first. It's so gorgeous while still being sinister enough to show what the book is about.

Find Sprit Storm by E.J. Stevens on Goodreads & the Spirit Guide Series page.

Overall Impressions:
I would definitely read more by this author, especially more in this series. The books are very short, but sometimes that can be appealing. A fun and enjoyable series.

Series Rating:

July 21, 2011

Fury by Elizabeth Miles

Release Date: August 30, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 352
Series: Fury #1
Review Source: GalleyGrab

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Sometimes sorry isn't enough....
It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

Em and Chase have been chosen.

My Thoughts:
‘Fury’ is arguably one of the most hyped books of the late summer, but I think it’s going to disappoint a lot of people. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Fury’ is a decent enough read. There’s lots of action and paranormal-esque instances, and it kept me reading and wanting more the entire time. But ‘Fury’ is also one of those books that you read and when you finish you ask yourself: ‘What was that?’ None of the characters are very likable, which I can understand might be the whole point, but it just doesn’t work. They have their moments, but then they also do and say things that are completely ridiculous. Characters flip-flopping all over the place is one of my pet peeves, and this happens a lot with our main character, Em.

And then there’s the furies. I didn’t really understand what they were all about. What were they doing? I guess they felt wrath or something, because what they were handing out definitely wasn’t justice. Just because some teenagers do some pretty (or in some cases, really) shitty things, it doesn’t mean they should die for it. I wish there had been more depth to the furies, maybe some chapters from their POV or something, because they basically just appeared as beautiful psycho stalkers obsessed with vengeance.

I guess I just didn’t “get” this book. I enjoyed it enough while I was reading it, but it left me with more questions than answers. I was especially disappointed by the ending. I guess it sets up the next book nicely, but I didn’t like where any of the characters had been left. If I could have felt more of a connection with the characters, if their behaviour had made more sense, I think I could have really loved this book. Instead I’m left with a book that I definitely liked, but that I feel more confused about than anything else.

The Cover: I know everyone loves it, but I don't. The girl is posed so awkwardly! The only thing borderline cool is the way the hair looks flame-y at the bottom.


Find Fury by Elizabeth Miles on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca

July 20, 2011

YA Bachelor - Jay Heaton

All throughout the month of July, Amber @ Down the Rabbit Hole is hosting The YA Bachelor.

Today is my post about Jay Heaton from Kimberly Derting’s The Body Finder, Desires of the Dead, and the upcoming The Last Echo.

Be sure and check out Down the Rabbit Hole today for my post, an interview with Jay, as well as a chance to win a signed copy of 'Desires of the Dead' and some swag.

July 19, 2011

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

Release Date: September 6, 2011
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 432
Series: n/a
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Sixteen-year-old Laurel's world changes instantly when her parents and brother are killed in a terrible car accident. Behind the wheel is the father of her bad-boy neighbor, David Kaufman, whose mother is also killed. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laurel navigates a new reality in which she and her best friend grow apart, boys may or may not be approaching her out of pity, overpowering memories lurk everywhere, and Mr. Kaufman is comatose but still very much alive. Through it all, there is David, who swoops in and out of Laurel's life and to whom she finds herself attracted against her better judgment. She will forever be connected to him by their mutual loss, a connection that will change them both in unexpected ways.

Fans of emotionally true and heartfelt stories, such as Sarah Dessen's THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER and IF I STAY by Gayle Forman, will fall in love with Jennifer Castle’s incandescent debut novel...a heart wrenching, surprisingly witty testament to how drastically life can change in the span of a single moment.

My Thoughts:
First of all, I cannot believe this is a debut. The characters are so strong and the story was so beautiful and engaging. The book examines a lot of interesting issues such as the process of grief, big life changes, and what are our lives are “supposed” to be.

I absolutely adored the main character, Laurel. I found her voice to be so true! All the grief, humour, love, and questioning felt absolutely real. Even though ‘The Beginning of After’ is very different from ‘The Sky is Everywhere’ the two books share similar themes, and I think fans of either would enjoy the other (and I don’t make that comparison lightly!).

What makes this book so great is that it is about dealing with grief in a realistic way. Everyday life is still there when you’re going through horrible things, and Jennifer Castle shows this wonderfully. Castle brings in a lot of different aspects to the story, such as how Laurel deals back at school, her job at the animal clinic (loved the animal aspect!), and her relationship with her Nana.

The one thing I didn’t completely buy was Laurel and David’s relationship in a romantic sense. David was interesting and incredibly lovable, and I totally understood (and adored) their connection, but I would have liked to have seen some other indication of why they worked, beyond just understanding each other’s grief. However, this was the one (tiny) weak spot in an otherwise amazing book. This book features moments that will make your heart ache, but tons of lovely heartwarming ones as well. The ending was hopeful but realistic, reinforcing the idea that when bad things happen you can only try and move past them, making the best of things as you enter “the beginning of after”.

The Cover: I love the colouring so much, and even the way the title is put over top of the picture I think is gorgeous. The girl on the cover makes it a bit typical, but it's still a great cover overall.


Find The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca


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