Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Handler by Tish Thawer


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. WoW posts are about books that you can’t wait to get your hands on.

This is one of my favorite posts to read on the blogs that I follow because other bloggers have found so many wonderful books that I had no idea about! I get most of those from reading Waiting on Wednesday posts. :-) I urge you to visit other blogs and read theirs to find these great lists!

Our world was perfect––until we broke the law: Don't go out at night.

Utopian by day, dystopian by night; this is the world I recently discovered. I now struggle with the fact that our whole society has been based on a lie. There's only one way to change it––conquer the darkness we've all been raised to fear.

Live the lie; fight to the death; become a Handler. It's the only way.

Release Date: 2015

Why I'm excited about it:
Utopia by day. Dystopian by night.  Ooooo!
And  stand-alone too!

Have you heard of this one?  Leave a comment and let me know what your WoWs are this week!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Review: Outage by Ellisa Barr

Outage (Powerless Nation #1) by Ellisa Barr
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Parker Heritage Press
Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic

When fifteen-year-old Dee is left at her grandpa's farm in rural Washington, she thinks life is over. She may be right. A high-tech electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack destroys the country's power and communication grids, and sends the U.S. hurtling back to the Dark Ages. Can Dee learn to survive without the basics: electricity, clean water... even her cell phone?

The chaos caused by the EMP isn't her only problem. A sinister plot by a corrupt official threatens Dee and all she holds dear. She will have to fight if she wants to survive in this hostile new world.

I've been on a post-apocalyptic kick lately, and this one was a winner for me!  I loved this story from the first page.  It doesn't take long for the action to start, and when it does, it was amazing through the very end.

I really liked Dee as a character. At first, you can tell she's somewhat of a pampered, angsty fifteen year old, pretty average in that way, and who is mad at her parents.  They've dropped her off at her grandpa's farm while they're off to an Alaskan cruise.  You can tell something has happened between them at the beginning, but you don't know quite what it is.  As soon as they leave, Dee gets it into her head that she's going to leave and uses her grandpa's truck to do it.  She picks up a hitchhiker, and from that point on, things get really interesting.

I loved Dee from that point on.  The author didn't waste a bunch of time letting her fifteen year old heroine sit around and angst further, whining about circumstances or denying what's happening.  She's smart and acts immediately.  She learns quick, and she works to get back to her grandpa.

This story ends up with a small mis-matched group of characters working together at her grandpa's farm and learning to survive in a new world where there's no electricity, no good drinking water, and barely any food.  I loved and adored every single character in this story, and and they all fit together so perfectly and lent some sort of special element to the story.

Aside from the obvious threat and danger of survival, there's also an external threat that comes from a source they never might expect.  There was survivalist training, an element of suspense, some heartbreak, and some romance.  The author did an amazing job pulling me in and holding my attention until the last exciting, amazing moment.  I will definitely be sticking with this series to find out what happens next!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas

Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher:  Harper Teen
Genre: YA Fantasy

A prince. A ball. A glass slipper left behind at the stroke of midnight. The tale is told and retold, twisted and tweaked, snipped and stretched, as it leads to happily ever after. But it is not the true Story. A dark fortress. A past forgotten. A life of servitude.

No one has ever broken free of the Godmother’s terrible stone prison until a girl named Pin attempts a breathless, daring escape. But she discovers that what seems to be freedom is a prison of another kind, one that entangles her in a story that leads to a prince, a kiss, and a clock striking midnight. To unravel herself from this new life, Pin must choose between a prince and another—the one who helped her before and who would give his life for her. Torn, the only thing for her to do is trade in the glass slipper for a sword and find her own destiny.

This is so not Walt Disney's Cinderella retold.  It was so much more than that, and just...other.  This has got to be one of the most, if not the most, unique Cindrella retelling I've ever read.  I was so completely intrigued and engrossed by this telling of the story, that I had a terrible time putting it down.

Pin comes to herself in a stone fortress, remembering nothing and thinking of herself as Nothing, until she is pushed into a chair and told she is a seamstress.  From the moment she awakens to this fate, I fell in love with this character.  You knew from the very beginning that despite her circumstances, despite the fact that she is supposed to do what she is told, sit still, be a seamstress and nothing more, she is a strong character.  She's not content with her circumstances, and doesn't intend to withstand them for long.  She begins plotting her escape almost immediately, and she brings the Shoemaker into it with her.  I loved Shoe!

Shoe was a character that I also loved immediately.  He is brave, even when he doesn't want to be, honorable and selfless.  Though he is unremarkable in his place in this story, he becomes something extraordinary, all on his own.

This is a difficult review to write because giving away even the smallest thing might ruin it for anyone who hasn't read the story.  So I'll just say this.  This author did an amazing job re-imagining a much-told and much-loved tale.  It was so unique, that I was left breathless.  To see this story from a new, different, and unimaginable place was extremely interesting and entrancing.  The romance was perfect and exactly how it should be.  The writing was beautiful, at times poetic, at times suspenseful, and at times a little eerie.  I absolutely adored this book, its characters, and the new perspective.  Amazing.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Discussion Post: Using Share Links On Your Blog

My Discussion Topic This Week - Blogging 101 - Using Share Links On Your Blog

So if there's one thing I think is super important for your blog, it's making sure people are able to share the content.  You want people to see your posts.  You want new people to find your blog.  Then use share links!  Unfortunately, I'm not super familiar with Wordpress because I don't use it, so this post will be exclusive to Blogger blogs.  It's very easy, but everyone should know how to do it.  So here's what you need to do:

1. Go to your Blogger Dashboard and choose Layout

2. Inside the layout, go to the section titled Main (Blog Posts), and click Edit

3. A configuration window will pop up.  Click Show Share Buttons.

That's all there is to it!!  Three easy steps and you enable others to share your blog content on most of the major social networks out there.  

How many of you use these buttons when you're on another blog?  How often do you "share" content"?

Let's discuss...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Review: Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck's small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He's curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening-- and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister-- and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.

I had mixed feelings about this story.  On the one hand, I really wanted to like, and did for some reasons, but on the other hand, I had trouble getting through it for others.  So let me take both sides.

First, I really did love the characters.  West was kind of free-spirit who seemed a little caged to me. She seemed a bit adrift with how little time she gets with her preacher father.  Silas enters her life and opens her up.  I loved Silas as a character because he was also free-spirited, sweet, funny, kind, and very caring of his sister, Laurel.  Which leads me to how intrigued I was by Laurel.

Laurel has a disorder I've never heard of before, and I was utterly fascinated by her, and in love with how carefully Silas handles and loves his twin sister.  This is another side that made me fall in love with him.

The story was littered with great characters, including Gordon, and West's boyfriend, Elliot.  This leads me to the problems I had with the story.

West has a boyfriend, and Elliot is a great guy.  Yet, West goes out with Silas all the time on what I can only describe as dates.  I have an issue with cheating, and so this story really walked the border of that for me and pressed a hot button I don't like to cross.  She should have broken up with her boyfriend when she sensed her feelings for Silas were more than friendly.

My second issue is that despite the fact that this book had some great characters, I was bored while reading it.  I found it way too easy to put it down and come back to it later, and extremely easy to stop in the middle and read an entire other book before coming back to finish this one.  This was a bad sign for me.

The author's writing was well done, as I loved her characterization, but the pacing could definitely have used a pickup in order to be really engrossing. I felt like some things could have been condensed and that too much time was spent on things that didn't really progress the story forward all that much.But I'll definitely remember this story for its excellent characterization.  Very memorable people.

Tempting New Tales

Tempting New Tales is my weekly post where I share what new books I managed to acquire this week. Credit goes back to the Stacking the Shelves weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  

Below is my breakdown of what was posted last week, and what I'll be posting in the coming week. I had a really busy week at work last week, and I worked a ton of long hours, so what I said that I would post last week didn't exactly go down as planned.  My discussion post didn't go up.  But don't fret! I'll put it up for this coming week.

So here's what happened last week:

  • Review: The Rain by Virginia Bergin.  Post here.
  • Review: The New Wild by Holly Brasher. Post here.
  • Review: Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers. Will post later this morning.

Here's what to look forward to next week:

  • Discussion Post: Blogging 101 - Using Share Links On Your Blog
  • Review: Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas
  • Review: Outage by Ellisa Barr
  • Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Omega by Lizzy Ford
  • Tempting Future YA Releases: October 2015

Now, on to the new bookshelf items.  Here's what I got this week!

Have you read any of these yet?  What did you get this week?  Leave a comment!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review: The New Wild by Holly Brasher

The New Wild by Holly Brasher
Release Date: August 26, 2015
Publisher: Full Fathom Five
Genre: YA Post-Apocolyptic

Mother Nature is pissed. Few will survive. Jackie is loving her last year of summer camp, despite new-guy Xander, jerk extraordinaire. That is, until disaster strikes on the senior backpacking trip. At first, it seems like a nightmare, but Jackie quickly realizes that the huge fire and resulting carnage around her are as real as real gets.

Miraculously (and infuriatingly, in Jackie’s opinion), Xander survives the burning, too, but that’s the least of her worries. Mother Nature has wiped out millions and burned cities to the ground, plants are growing at a crazy-rapid rate, and fairytale creatures are very real—and very dangerous. Jackie and Xander must learn to survive sans food, shelter, and soap, and battle their way across the wild American landscape in search of their families—all without killing each other. Along the way, the duo learns that maybe the other isn’t so terrible after all.

This story was a big surprise to me.  I went into it thinking it would be a certain type of story... a post-apocolyptic tale with two survivers that hate each other who fall in love inexplicably just because.  For the most part, I was right... but only on the good parts of the above.  The cliche I thought I would find wasn't there and I was pleasantly surprised by how the author handled the romance, and some other, very interesting elements that I wasn't expecting.

I loved the concept behind this story... that mother nature, or let's say the earth itself, has risen up against misuse and has decided to do something to correct the wrongs done to it.  You kind of have to suspend disbelief and think of it as a thinking being that was able to take independent action, think of a plan and execute it to get rid of anyone it felt wasn't a friend of the earth.  When the characters are first introduced, they're all at a co-ed summer camp, but break off on their own to camp in separate areas.  Jackie wakes up to find herself floating in the air while her campsite and everyone in it, burns.  For a while she's on her own and learning to survive, and I really loved watching her learn survival skills from an unexpected character, and I love how strong she grew.

I admit, at first, I hated Xander just as much as Jackie did because he came across as a big jerk. Very arrogant.  But I guess there must be something about being a survivor of your camp mates burning to death that changes you.  Not completely, but a bit.  These two meet up and discover the other survived, and this is when things get interesting.  They did have a hate relationship at first, but I loved watching how the author maneuvered them through this and gradually worked them into friends, co-survivors and finally into romance.  It was very well done, and I loved watching it.

Something really unexpected to this story was that there was a touch of fantasy to it. Bubbles you can pop that will cause different trees and fruit-bearing trees to grow on the spot, unicorns, etc.  This made this really different than your run of the mill end-of-the-world story.  I loved this aspect and thought it was new, fascinating, and refreshing.

I loved the author's writing, the pacing of the story, and the character growth.  Both characters went from pampered to powerful, cocky to kind and honorable.  It was a great journey.  If I had any complaints, it would be that the ending felt a little rushed to me, but not enough to ruin the story for me.  A very good read!

Waiting on Wedesday: Name of Ra by Kelsey Ketch


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. WoW posts are about books that you can’t wait to get your hands on.

This is one of my favorite posts to read on the blogs that I follow because other bloggers have found so many wonderful books that I had no idea about! I get most of those from reading Waiting on Wednesday posts. :-) I urge you to visit other blogs and read theirs to find these great lists!

After being on the run from a psychotic cult for a week, Natara “Natti” Stone has finally come to realize she and Seth are the only two people standing between the Sons of Set and the secret name of Ra. Holding a part of the key that unlocks Ra’s power, they relocate to a more isolated location in the California mountains. While laying low, Natti becomes even more determined to understand her mother’s bloodline and her blessing from the goddess, Isis. But when she starts seeing the truth behind her destiny, she begins to doubt her role in the events that are about to unfold.

Then the unthinkable happens . . .All Seth O’Keefe wanted was to get Natti as far away from his father and the Sons of Set as possible. Unfortunately, after hearing of Natti’s destiny from Isis’s own lips, he realizes they have bigger issues to worry about. Especially when one stupid slip up leads the god of chaos himself straight to their doorstep. Now Natti is the god’s prisoner, and Set holds the key to unlocking the location of the secret name of Ra. Can Seth save Natti from her own destiny and thwart the demented god’s rise to power?

Release Date: November 2, 2015

Why I'm excited about it:
I'm a sucker for mythology of any kind!!!

Have you heard of this one?  Leave a comment and let me know what your WoWs are this week!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: The Rain by Virginia Bergin

The Rain by Virginia Bergin
Release Date: July 17, 2014
Publisher: Macmillon Children's Books
Genre: Young Adult - Post Apocolyptic

It's in the rain...and just one drop will kill you. They don't believe it at first. Crowded in Zach's kitchen, Ruby and the rest of the partygoers laugh at Zach's parents' frenzied push to get them all inside as it starts to drizzle. But then the radio comes on with the warning, "It's in the rain! It's fatal, it's contagious, and there's no cure."

Two weeks later, Ruby is alone. Anyone who's been touched by rain or washed their hands with tap water is dead. The only drinkable water is quickly running out. Ruby's only chance for survival is a treacherous hike across the country to find her father-if he's even still alive.

I had somewhat of a love-hate relationship with this story.  First of all, I love post-apocolyptic stories. I love seeing people thrown into an impossible survival situation and watching them learn to adapt.  This story was perfect for that, and gave those elements to me.  Although Ruby is with friends at a party at the time the event occurs, she is able to make it home.

A great portion of the story takes place with her at home with her stepfather, whom she once disliked, but whom she is now forced to work with.  I have to say that one of my favorite aspects of the story was Ruby and her relationship with her stepfather, Simon.  She didn't care for him at first, but when these events start to occur, these two have to band together for survival's sake, and she finds an unexpected caring for him that I loved watching develop.  He teaches and instructs her, tries to prepare her and show her what to do and what not to do to remain safe.  I didn't like her at first because she seemed like a spoiled brat, but it's hard to stay that way when such events are happening around you. As she changed, becoming more serious, I liked her much better and began to sympathize with her.

Then suddenly, Ruby finds herself alone.  During this period, I really liked her, despite the way some of her narrative was written (very stream of consciousness that was at times unfocused and irrelevant to what was taking place).  Despite that though, I liked her because she tries to put Simon's lessons to good use, tries to survive, and tries to figure out a way to get to her dad who lives quite a ways away in London.  She meets up with a couple others and starts traveling with them.  At this point, Ruby began to lose me.

Itt's like she became a completely different character.  She could go from zero to screechy in about two seconds flat.  She made stupid decisions, ones for which she knew better than to do, and which endangered her and other stupidly.  At times she was smart, and then at other times she had a very unlikeable, spoiled personality that grated on my nerves.  Who goes shopping for trendy clothes in the middle of events like these?  It seemed so silly and such a waste of good writing space.

The author was a good one, and the story has great potential for this series to blossom.  But Ruby almost ruined it for me, to be honest.  I'll probably pick up the second book because I liked the story enough, liked the concept behind the rain being poisoned, and liked the survivalist actions that take place.  The author did a great job crafting this setting and crafting an interesting survivalist story that had me intrigued and sucked in.  But Ruby has got to pick a personality and stick to it for me to continue to follow the series.  It's definitely worth a read though just for the story alone.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Tempting New Tales

Tempting New Tales is my weekly post where I share what new books I managed to acquire this week. Credit goes back to the Stacking the Shelves weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  

Below is my breakdown of what was posted last week, and what I'll be posting in the coming week. 

So here's what happened last week:

  • Review: Lost by Donnielle Tyner.  Post here.
  • Review: Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru by Tera Lynn Childs. Post here.
  • Review: Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley. Post here.
  • Review: Insight by Jamie MaGee. Post here.
  • Review: Doomed (Time of Death #2) by Josh Anderson. Post here.
  • Discussion Post: Blogging 101 - How to Maximize a Blog Tour on Your Blog. Post here.

Here's what to look forward to next week.  It's a packed week:

  • Discussion Post: Blogging 101 - Using Share Links on Your Blog
  • Review: The Rain by Virginia Bergin
  • Review: The New Wild by Holly Brasher
  • Review: Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

Now, on to the new bookshelf items.  Here's what I got this week!

Have you read any of these yet?  What did you get this week?  Leave a comment!
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