Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Weekend Update - 5.31.14

Saturday, May 31, 2014 with 11 comments
So, since my end-of-the-week post isn't just about what I got in my mailbox or on my Kindle each week -- though that is a big part of it, I won't lie -- I decided to change up the title and intro a bit.  I might tweak the format a bit over the next few weeks, but for the most part, it'll contain the same stuff: stuff I got, stuff I did, and stuff that's coming up on the blog.  Plus, I get to use the awesome GIF you see here and blow kisses to all the people who sent me lovely books and bookish things.  Oh, and I've started linking up to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews since I'm not using a specific meme title anymore.  April's also doing her own Stacking the Shelves posts on Sundays.  Stop by and say hi!  =)

Short weeks always feel the longest, don't they? I was looking at the calendar to find the next holiday I get off from work, and it's a whole month away! Waaaah. I think it's time for a vacation. Or a stay-cation. Whatever. Just time to relax and read and avoid other people. But not you guys, of course! :D

Anyway, here's what I scored this week:

For Review:

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2)Anatomy of a MisfitFalling into PlaceThe Jewel

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas - via Netgalley
The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas - via Edelweiss
Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes - via Edelweiss
Falling into Place by Amy Zhang - via Edelweiss
The Jewel by Amy Ewing - via Edelweiss

Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy, #1)Empire of Shadows (Bhinian Empire, #2)Top Ten Clues You're CluelessNo Place to FallA Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)

Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini - ARC
Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster - via Edelweiss
Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas - via Edelweiss
No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown - via Edelweiss
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray - via Edelweiss

Your Perfect Life

Your Perfect Life by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke - unsolicited ARC

Yep, auto-approval will be the death of me, lol. Lots of awesome new reads this week, courtesy of Bloomsbury, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan! Thanks, pubs!


Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine from the author - I read and reviewed this in a GIFfy a couple of months ago, but I helped the author with the announcement of the sequel, and she was gracious enough to gift me with a signed ARC, bookmarks, and a spider necklace (that'll make more sense once you read the book :D). So gorgeous!


Splat the Cat: The Name of the Game

Got this one free for Katie in celebration of I Can Read! Month. :D I think that's good through today, so go grab your kiddo a copy!

So, that's my haul. How about you? What did you get this week?

The Week in Review:

Current Giveaways:

3rd Blogoversary Week of Giveaways
Day 1 - Prize Pack #1
Day 2 - Prize Pack #2
Day 3 - International
Day 4 - Prize Pack #3
Day 5 - Grand Prize

Promotional/Discussion Posts:  Recommended Reads, SYNC 2014 - Week 3 Books Up for Grabs

Jen's Currently Reading/Listening To:

AttachmentsBetween the Spark and the Burn (Between, #2)I've been able to resist this sequel until now, but I can't hold out any longer. I need to know what's become of River and what's up with this supposed love triangle I've heard about. =) Also, I've been reading quite a bit of light and fluffy so I needed something darker. I think this will suffice, don't you? ;0)

Got this on audio cheap a couple of weeks ago, but I keep seeing great reviews for it popping up on Goodreads, so I thought I'd go ahead and give it a chance, especially since I was having a hard time deciding on my next listen. I finished this yesterday and haven't decided on my next listen yet, lol. But I liked it. Not my favorite RR book, but I'd rec it to fans of Flat-Out Love.

Upcoming Reviews:

Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief, #1)Since You've Been GoneWhat I Thought Was True

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Title: Rebel
Author: Amy Tintera
Narrator(s): Khristine Hvam, Mike Chamberlain
Length: 7 hrs 59 mins
Series: Reboot, book #2
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss, audio borrowed from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads
The sequel to the action-packed Reboot is a can't-miss thrill ride, perfect for fans of James Patterson, Veronica Roth, and Marie Lu.

After coming back from death as Reboots and being trained by HARC as soldiers, Wren and Callum have finally escaped north, where they hope to find a life of freedom. But when they arrive at the Reboot Reservation, it isn't what they expected. Under the rule of a bloodthirsty leader, Micah, the Reboots are about to wage an all-out war on the humans. Although Wren's instincts are telling her to set off into the wilderness on their own and leave the battle far behind, Callum is unwilling to let his human family be murdered. When Micah commits the ultimate betrayal, the choice is made for them. But Micah has also made a fatal mistake . . . he's underestimated Wren and Callum.

The explosive finale to the Reboot duology is full of riveting action and steamy love scenes as Wren and Callum become rebels against their own kind.

So, I didn't love Reboot when I read listened to it last year, and I'm sad to say that I may have actually liked Rebel even less. Which was kind of unexpected because so many friends were gushing that this sequel was better than the first book. I honestly think it's just a case of "it's me, not you," though, because I am rather tired of the post-apocalyptic rebellion-type stories. I thought the zombie-esque element might make this series stand out, especially the way it's handled, but I just found myself bored, tuning out the audio whenever I was multi-tasking.

The dual narration did little to enhance the experience for me. I love Khristine Hvam as a narrator, and she brought the ultra-intense yet stoic Wren to life, so to speak. But the narrator for Callum's perspective sounded like a news anchor to me, dull and monotone. Which is the opposite of Callum, who's the closest to human out of any of the Reboots we've met. The difference in the narrative voices would have been obvious without the different narrators, but it became less so because of them, if that makes sense. What I mean to say is, I would have preferred Khristine Hvam have narrated both points of view. She does the male voice well, and it probably would have made my listening experience, and therefore the story, better.

I think what bored me the most was the Micah aspect because it was obvious how that was going to go and it felt like filler to me. I think I would have enjoyed this series more if that section had been cut and the two books had been combined to make one really long one. As it stands, I'm glad this is scheduled to end as a duology because I don't think I'd pick up a third book, and I'm glad to have the closure. I normally really enjoy "zombie" stories, but this one didn't turn out quite as I'd hoped. I still think I might see it as a movie, if that comes to fruition, because I love a good zombie action flick, but I'm kinda over this storyline, otherwise.

GIF it to me straight:

Title: Guy in Real Life
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Narrator(s): MacLeod Andrews, Arielle DeLisle
Length: 9 hrs 33 mins
Series: n/a
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss, audio borrowed from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads
From the acclaimed author of Brooklyn, Burning comes Guy in Real Life, an achingly real and profoundly moving love story about two Minnesota teens whose lives become intertwined through school, role-playing games, and a chance two-a.m. bike accident.

It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.

But they don't.

This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other's lives, who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn't belong in their lives. A story of those moments when we act like people we aren't in order to figure out who we are. A story of the roles we all play-at school, at home, with our friends, and without our friends-and the one person who might show us what lies underneath it all.

Guy in Real Life was cute. A lot cuter than I was expecting, anyway. I think that you'll probably like it more if you're any kind of gamer, less so if you're not, but it's relatively likable all the same. You've probably seen all of the comparisons to John Green and Rainbow Rowell, and though I detest not letting a work stand on its own merits, I actually kind of think these are apt: a) the dual narrative from both the main character's perspectives, b) Lesh reminds me of the surly Will Grayson, and c) Svetlana was a slightly less introverted Cath-like character. Also, the writing is clever and sardonic and definitely on par with those two authors, but Steve Brezenoff still adds his own flair. This story definitely makes me want to check out his other books, which I'd previously written off as "not my thing". Oops.

I liked the gaming aspect, even though I'm not a gamer myself. I am an enthusiastic gamer observer, though. My husband's not a LARPer or a MMOGer either, but it all seems fun to me. And I love that that was kind of the underlying current running through the two narratives: their enjoyment of different types of gaming and unusual characters and their abilities to see past their preconceived notions. Also, acceptance of these things. One thing that threw me, though, was how one's online life could become one's reality, and though that part was a little sketchy, kudos to the author because I did NOT see it coming.

My enjoyment of this novel was immediately secured one I saw that MacLeod Andrews was narrating for Lesh. He is one of my favorite narrators for the young adult male perspective, and he did me proud with this character. And now that I think about it, he provided the voice to the idiosyncratic, sarcastic will grayson, the counterpart to the other Will Grayson in John Green's story. Funny, that. I don't think I've ever listened to anything else narrated by Arielle DeLisle before, but her performance as Svetlana was spot-on. She wasn't too angsty, but she was distracted and bumbling and kind of perfect for the role.

Yep, I kind of loved this story. I know not everyone did or will, but like I said, I think that depends on how you feel about the gaming aspect, as well as how you take to Lesh. If you liked either Will Grayson, though, I think you'll be fine.

GIF it to me straight:

Title: Her Dark Curiosity
Author: Megan Shepherd
Narrator(s): Lucy Rayner
Length: 12 hrs 52 mins
Series: Madman's Daughter, book #2
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss, audio borrowed from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads
To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father's island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.

When I finished The Madman's Daughter last year, I thought we were done with the monsters from the island, done with that silly love triangle, and rid of the crazy experiments that brought all of it about. So, imagine my surprise when all three aspects make a return in this retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

The science and the gore didn't bother me. That's actually what drew me to this series, besides the reimagining of some already thoroughly creepy stories. The reemergence of that awful love triangle, though, was a bit disconcerting. The turns it took were all a bit abrupt, but I can honestly overlook it because the romance is not where my interest in this story lies.

The first three quarters of this story were rather bland, with the exception of the serial killings and what they meant for Juliet and the others. But once the story was in full swing, I found the level of horror and the resulting aftermath to be quite enthralling. In real life, something like this would appall me, but I'm reading/listening to this series specifically for the horror aspect, and I was pretty happy with it once it emerged full-force.

Lucy Rayner did a beautiful job narrating from Juliet's perspective, and it's not her fault that the romance fell to the wayside, that the swoon-inducing moments weren't quite up to par and couldn't hold my interest like the more gory elements. This sequel was okay, but neither book in this series has yet to reach the level of awesome that the covers have hinted at. Here's hoping the third book, which seems to be a retelling of Frankenstein of some sort, will make up for that.

GIF it to me straight:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

18594477Title: Searching for Sky
Author: Jillian Cantor
Series: N/a
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Source: from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads
Sky and River have always lived on Island, the only world they’ve ever known. Until the day River spots a boat. Across Ocean, in a place called California, Sky is separated from River and forced to live with a grandmother she’s just met. Here the rules for survival are different. People rely on strange things like cars and cell phones. They keep secrets from one another. And without River, nothing makes sense. Sky yearns for her old life where she was strong and capable, not lost and confused. She must find River so they can return to Island, but the truth behind how they ended up there in the first place will come as the biggest shock of all

When I saw Searching for Sky go up on Netgalley, I was interested right away. The description had me with “lived on Island”. I have this thing for story lines involving being stuck on islands. I read a book when I was a little kid, and I cannot for the life of me remember what it was called, but I loved it and it was about this kid surviving alone on an island. Plus, I watched Gilligans Island growing up, even though it was kinda old school even back then.

I’ll be honest though, In Searching for Sky, there isn’t much island life going on. Sure there is some, and there are flash backs of how things were, but for the most part, this book takes place in California. It very much centers on Sky learning how to live in the real world. I expected this, and I loved every minute.

I can see how it may be slow going for some readers once the excitement of leaving island passes, but I found everything after just as fascinating. Sky has no clue how to live in this new world. She doesn’t know what a toilet is, clothes, anything. She only knows what her mother has told her. She’s thrust into the home of her grandmother, whom she has no recollection of. It’s hard for both of them, and their relationship was just heartbreaking. As a huge fan of contemporaries these days, I enjoyed watching Sky work through all these things. Her feelings for life off the island, the reasons she ended up on Island in the first place, her feelings for River (The boy she grew up with), and so many other things.

Ahh and the reason they were on Island, that’s a doozy, and I’ll admit I had my suspicions, but whoa, how it all went down was a bit different than I had imagined. So interesting and cray cray.

This story left me with damp eyes and feelings of hope. I really loved Searching For Sky. It snuck up and surprised me. It’s awesome when books do that, I knew I would like it but it surpassed my expectations.

Jillian CantorAbout the author:

Jillian Cantor has a BA in English from Penn State University and an MFA from The University of Arizona. She is the author of award-winning novels for teens and adults including, most recently, the critically acclaimed MARGOT, which was a Library Reads pick for September 2013 and also featured in O the Oprah Magazine, People, Ladies Home Journal, and Her next book for teens, SEARCHING FOR SKY, will be published by Bloomsbury US on 5/13/14 and Bloomsbury UK on 7/3/14. A Scholastic edition will also be sold in Scholastic book clubs and fairs in the 2014-15 school year. Born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, Jillian currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

Find Jillian:

WebsiteTwitter | FacebookGoodreads 

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