Never To Sleep (Soul Screamers, #5.5)

First Lines: “I know she’s your best friend and all, Sophie, but Laura Bell has got to go,” Peyton whispered, shoving both gym doors open at once so she could walk through the center of the double doorway for a grand exit.

I think I squealed when I saw this on Rachel Vincent’s Goodreads page.  I can always use a  shot of Soul Screamers between books.  It is from Sophie’s POV, which I wasn’t so keen on, but I wasn’t going to pass it up.

*WARNING: POTENTIAL SERIES SPOILERS*

Sophie’s crazy cousin Kaylee is not about to ruin things for her.  Sophie has fought tooth and nail for the great reputation she has and she worked hard for her position on the social ladder.  When Sophie sees something terrifying, she lets out a blood curdling scream…and ends up somewhere else.  Does this place really exist?…Or does insanity run in the family?

I’ve never really liked Sophie for the way she treats Kaylee.  Sophie always seemed more interested in social climbing than anything else.  So this was kind of a good way to glimpse what really goes on in Sophie’s mind.

And from what I read…Before I Wake is going to be an awesome book.  Did Sophie inherit the same powers Kaylee did?  Is she going to hide what she knows from them?  And who is this mysterious Luca she meets?  (Apparently, he’s going to feature big time in the next time.  Or maybe I’m reading too much into a little blurb I read at the end of this.)

I’m really interested now in the next book.  Not that I wasn’t before (SO MUCH EXCITEMENT!), but this just solidifies it and adds a new level of intrigue to it all.  Just 2 more months before the next book comes out!

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Spotlight Friday (38)

Hey, my peeps!  🙂  It’s Friday and I’m in a really good mood!  So let’s look at some new, upcoming books, shall we?  Most of them come out in less than two weeks.

In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Release Date: May 8, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads): Hours after her brother’s military funeral, Honor opens the last letter Finn ever sent. In her grief, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously decides to go to California to fulfill it.

Honor gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen Rusty in ages, but it’s obvious he is as arrogant and stubborn as ever—not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. Despite Honor’s better judgment, the two set off together on a voyage from Texas to California. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn’s memory—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

What’s To Like: I really like stories of journeys because they are so metaphorical.  Honor is so going to grow as a person, along with Rusty, while they are traveling.  Plus, I’m really draw to the fact that Honor comes from a military family.  That seems like a rare thing in stories (maybe I’m just not reading them), so I’m interested in that as well.

My review of In Honor

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Release Date: May 8, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads)Taylor’s family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then they get news that changes everything: Her father has pancreatic cancer, and it’s stage four – meaning that there is basically nothing to be done. Her parents decide that the family will spend his last months together at their old summerhouse in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former summer best friend is suddenly around, as is her first boyfriend. . . and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they’ve ever been before. But all of them very aware that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance – with family, with friends, and with love.

What’s To Like: Over every summer, there needs to be books about summer.  This is mine this year.  Now, my family is really close knit, so it’s kind of hard for me to imagine having a family that doesn’t have time for each other.  Apparently, I like reading sad stories, considering this is the 2nd one on the list.  Anyway, I’ve read another story by Morgan Matson and I know she’s a phenomenal writer.  This’ll be brilliant.

My review of Second Chance Summer.

Struck (Struck, #1) by Jennifer Bosworth

Release Date: May 8, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads)Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

What’s To Like: A dystopia!  And a cool one at that.  Like Mia, I’m really drawn to thunderstorms.  I’ve never been struck (nor do I ever want to be), but I suppose, for someone like Mia, I can see the allure.  Anyway, I like that there’s this tension between Mia and everyone else.  It wouldn’t be a dystopia if there wasn’t that tension.

My review of Struck

Dead Is The New Black (Dead Is, #1)

First Lines: Being dead became fashionable approximately forty-five minutes after Samantha “the Divine” Devereaux came back from summer break.

I have a couple of friends that have talked about this series before, so I decided I’d take a look at it, see what all the fuss was about.

Daisy Giordano comes from a family of psychics.  Unfortunately for Daisy, she didn’t inherit the family powers.  She’s a normal girl trying to make it through high school in a city filled with secrets.  Teenage girls are being attacked in the city and Daisy is determined to get to the bottom of it.  When she finds out it may be the work of a vampire, she immediately suspects Samantha, who has made dead cool in school.  Is Samantha involved or is it even worse than that?  To find out Daisy does the unthinkable: she joins the cheerleading squad.

I really didn’t like the first half of the book.  It was choppy and the pacing was rushed.  It was almost like an information dump, only more sophisticated.  That doesn’t change the fact that it was still an information dump.  Everything was outlined quickly: who Daisy was friends with, who were the social climbers, who was popular, and who were Daisy’s enemies.  High school, in my experience, wasn’t that clearly defined.  It was, but then you had those fringe friends and those kids you really wanted to hate, but you still had to be polite to and so forth.  High school wasn’t clear cut.

I also didn’t like Daisy in the first half.  She leveled out in the second half, but she had this super-innocent thing going on.  She was more naive than any 16 year old I’ve met and that sort of bothered me too.  It felt unrealistic.

The second half of the story I enjoyed.  It was intriguing and mysterious.  Maybe a little too contrived at times, but still interesting.  Still, that couldn’t make up for how I almost stopped reading due to the first half.  I just don’t see what all the fuss is about.  Though I will say I liked that jukebox a lot.  Where can I get one like that?

The Mayfair Moon (The Darkwoods Trilogy, #1)

First Lines: No one used the f-word more than my step-dad, Jeff.  It pretty much made up his already limited vocabulary.

A great big thank you to J.A. Redmerski for giving me a free copy of this to read!

Ok, so if it hadn’t been for the author, I probably wouldn’t have heard about this book or, obviously, read it.  And I’m really glad I did get the chance to read it.

It was an accident, the night Adria and her sister Alex ran into a werewolf in the forest in Georgia.  Now living in Maine, Adria and Alex try to make new lives for themselves.  Life in Hallowell, Maine, isn’t quite what it seems.  Residents are getting sick with a mysterious disease that has symptoms similar to pneumonia and some kids are flat out disappearing.  Adria turns to the mysterious Mayfair family for help.  Isaac Mayfair takes a special interest in Adria’s life and is adamant about keeping her safe, especially from Alex, who has made some dangerous decisions.  Secrets are bound to come to light and Adria is at the middle of it all.  No matter what she chooses, those close to her are in danger.  So what will she do about it?

When I started this book, I thought it was a little cheesy and stereotypical.  Adria and Alex are walking alone at night in the woods and happen across a werewolf attack.  It happens in nearly every werewolf story.  But the beginning also held things I haven’t seen so much in stories.  The girls come from an abusive home, but they aren’t really on the receiving end of the abuse.  It still affects their lives, though.  This is part of the reason why they go to Maine.

The story really took off once they got to Maine.  There was always something going on and some secret that you were like, “Tell us already what this means!”  Sometimes the action was sort of small, like a crush on a guy or the threat of a fight, and sometimes it was much bigger like, say, a werewolf attack.  But there was always something intriguing going on.

One thing I noticed pretty quickly while I was reading was that this story didn’t mince words.  Characters curse.  They don’t make up cute little words to cover the fact that they really want to be cursing right now.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t know that many people who will say “Oh Fiddlesticks” in an unsarcastic way when they’re angry.  They freely comment upon sexual relations without it being weird or like something you’d find in a romance novel.  Blood and gore is revealed and not hidden.  It was an honest way of telling a story and I regret to say that I don’t see this enough in books anymore.

What I also liked was that Adria was an admirable character.  Sure, she didn’t exactly kick ass like Katniss, nor was she mouthy and sarcastic like Rose Hathaway, nor was she the “OMG, my boyfriend is a supernatural creature!  *SQUEE*  Make me one too!” character like Bella Swan.  She was intelligent and strong in her own way.  She was going to make her own decisions on her own time and not let anyone make them for her.  She managed to balance two worlds at the same time.  Also, thankfully, she didn’t scream and cry at the first signs of danger.  Hallelujah, can I get an amen?  Finally a girl who can control her emotions!  I’m not a girly-girl, so when girls start crying over say, a guy looking at them funny, I’m just like, “Suck it up already!”  So I was very glad that Adria was not like that.

The Mayfair family and Adria’s friends were also great characters to get to see.  So many diverse personalities and so many different ways of seeing things.  I did like Isaac…ok, I liked him a lot…but I also liked Harry, who was just a sweetheart.

The lore and mythology in this is just astounding.  I ate it right up.  There were specific reasons why things were the way they were.  There were clear lines of leadership and values.  The plot was so involved.  Things mentioned early on would creep back into the story slowly later to change things into a whole new ballgame.  I loved it.

In line with that, there also wasn’t just a huge information dump where they sat Adria down and explained EVERYTHING to her.  I was relieved that wasn’t the case.  It moved the story along at a moderate pace where you learned things, then something would happen.  Nothing was ever too fast or too bogged down.

So yeah, I really enjoyed this story.  I’m really lucky I could get my hands on a copy, and from the author no less!  Be jealous.  Be very jealous.

Spotlight Friday (37)

Hello my pretties!  It’s a new Friday and we’re looking at 3 more books coming out very soon.  Don’t you just love Fridays?  Let’s have some fun!

Wrecked by Anna Davies

Release Date: May 1, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads)Ever since the death of her parents, Miranda has lived on Whym Island, taking comfort in the local folklore, which claims a mysterious sea witch controls the fate of all on the island and in its surrounding waters. Sometimes it’s just easier to believe things are out of your control.  But then a terrible boating accident takes the lives of several of her friends, and Miranda is rescued by a mysterious boy who haunts her dreams. Consumed by guilt from the accident, she finds refuge in late-night swims—and meets Christian, a boy who seems eerily familiar, but who is full of mystery: He won’t tell her where he is from, or why they can only meet at the beach. But Miranda falls for him anyway…and discovers that Christian’s secrets, though meant to protect her, may bring her nothing but harm.  Seductive and compelling, Wrecked brings a contemporary, paranormal twist to a classic enchanting tale.

What’s To Like: Yeah, yeah, I’m a sucker for these kinds of stories where the couple really can’t be together and we know that going into it.  I’m actually thinking this sounds vaguely like The Little Mermaid, but with the dude being the mermaid.  Also, merpeople are still really popular in YA lit.

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Release Date: May 8, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads)It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past – and hers?

What’s To Like: I love me my fairy tales and this looks awesome.  It’s not your typical “Let’s retell Sleeping Beauty” story or anything.  It’s the Frog Prince meets Romeo and Juliet.  I’m so going to read this.  Plus, you have to admit it will be really easy to remember the names of all of Sunday’s siblings.

My review of Enchanted.

Hemlock (Hemlock, #1) by Kathleen Peacock

Release Date: May 8, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads)Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

What’s To Like: There are a lot of vampire or zombie novels where normal people become monsters after infected by a disease.  This is probably the first book I’ve seen with a werewolf virus.  So I’m interested because of that.  Oddly, there aren’t many books where werewolves are um…”out of the closet” shall we say.  I’m interested to see how this goes.

Pretty Crooked (Pretty Crooked, #1)

First Lines: GO GO GO go go go!  The chant was in my head, because I didn’t have enough breath in my lungs to make sound.

When this was advertised as a modern day Robin Hood story, I was hooked.  I’m a huge Robin Hood fan and I love the story of stealing from the rich to give to the poor.  It has never gone out of style in the 700 years or so it’s been around.  So I was intrigued to read a modernization of the tale.

Willa just moved to Arizona with her mom and for the first time in Willa’s life, they have money in amounts she’s never seen before.  Willa gets into a private school called Valley Prep and quickly fits in with the popular crowd called the Glitterati.  But Willa quickly notices that not everyone at VP is rich like the Glitterati.  Some kids are there on scholarship, and they are bullied relentlessly.  So Willa decides to even the score by stealing from the Glitterati and giving to the scholarship kids.  But how long can Willa keep this up before she gets discovered?  And will she be able to steal from the gorgeous Aidan, one of the Glitterati boys that makes her heart race?

I was actually pretty disappointed in this book.  It wasn’t as awesome as I was hoping.  I didn’t even know it was the first in a series until we started getting to the final 3 or 4 chapters and things weren’t wrapping up like you would expect at the end of a book.  That was disappointing because I really wanted answers to a couple of things.

The first half-ish was pretty good.  It’s Willa trying to adjust to her new life and making friends and fitting in.  That was entertaining because Willa speaks the way teenagers pretty much do.  Meeting the characters is always one of my favorite parts of a story.  And some of these characters are just awesome.

But once she started stealing, it just wasn’t fun to read anymore.  I don’t know exactly what it was, whether it was my moral objections to stealing and pretending to be someone’s friend while you do it or if it was just something about the writing style that threw me off, but I just couldn’t get into it anymore.

I also thought the story missed so many opportunities to comment on social injustice or online bullying, but it just sort of glazed over them.  They were there, definitely, but Willa didn’t have much of a stand on them, even though she was stealing to correct a social injustice.  I know books don’t want to sound preachy or anything, but there could have been some valuable nuggets of wisdom in this.  It was almost more about Willa’s warped sense of revenge than anything else.

So yeah.  I mean, I kind of liked it, but it wasn’t the kind of book I would squeal and pass on to my friends.  I’m not sure whether or not I’m interested enough to read the sequel.

Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1)

First Lines: Our mother was a witch, too, but she hid it better.  I miss her.

This has been sitting on my desk for weeks because I just haven’t had time to get around to reading it.  Such is the life of a college student nearing finals week.  Projects out the ying-yang.  Anyway, I finally finished it.  Yay me.

Cate Cahill and her sisters are witches in 1896 Maine.  The town is run by a religious group of men call the Brotherhood, who have expressly forbidden magic.  If the Cahill girls are found out, they’ll disappear.  Cate, as the oldest, has the responsibility of keeping her sisters from being reckless.  The girls lost their mother three years earlier before she could really teach them about their magic.  Cate feels the stress not only of this, but of her responsibility to also figure out what she’s going to do with her life.  She only has a few weeks to decide whether she’s going to marry someone or join the Sisterhood.  With her mother’s secrets suddenly coming to light and the Brotherhood watching her every move, can Cate keep it all together?

I really liked the story.  Cate was someone I could completely relate to because I’m also the oldest sibling and I know what it’s like to have the responsibility of the younger ones heaped onto your shoulders.  Sometimes you really think it’s going to break you.  So I liked that the relationship between Cate and her sisters was realistic and relatable.

I was a big fan of the fact that this mixed historical fiction with the supernatural.  This is probably my favorite genre of books.  This mix instantly brings with it the political nature involved not only with the supernatural and who’s on top there, but the politics of the time and setting.  1896 isn’t exactly known for its gender equality, so that brings Cate a number of problems.

There’s actually a little bit of a love triangle in this story and it was done in a way that I really enjoyed.  Some love triangles *cough* Cassandra Clare *cough* just frustrate the heck out of you. This didn’t.  You knew fairly quickly which one Cate wanted and why.  It was only the guy she didn’t choose that didn’t know she didn’t return his feelings.  So it wasn’t your stereotypical love triangle where the girl can’t figure out which of the two guys she wants because gosh, she loves them both so much!  Those drive me crazy.

It was a lot of fun to read.  So many different types of characters, so many secrets, so many ways to be awesome.  I’m very much looking forward to the sequel.  It’s going to be intense.