Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked 
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book 1
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Published by: Speak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cate Cahill is desperately trying to hold her family together after the death of her mother, now that her father has become extremely distant and barely pays attention to them anymore. Of course, she has two younger sisters thrown into the mix which make things much more difficult at times since the Cahill Sisters are a bit different from most everyone else for the fact that they can weld magic! That's right...they are witches. Unfortunately if their secret were to get out and they were to be discovered by the Brotherhood it would mean the asylum, a prison ship, or death. But when things look darkest Cate finds light in a diary and a note to her from her mother and begins down a path that will forever change all of their lives...

My thoughts: At first I wasn't sure about this one since it takes our country's beginnings and twists it so that witches and women were in control for many years. Then at some point they were overthrown violently and went into hiding with this Brotherhood of men, men, men being in charge which just chafes at me like you cannot believe! Ugh! I wanted to reach in and kick some butt! I just would NOT do well in an extreme male dominated society!

In the end this is probably what makes this series SO BRILLIANT! This Brotherhood and the world they have set up is just SO wrong and, or course, so corrupt that they are amazing "bad guys"! Of course you do find out that there are some good ones here and there who are just a part of it to protect their family members but not many.

Oh the love triangle, the love triangle...and if this makes you do an epic knee jerk I have no problem spoiling things and telling you that it's extremely obvious from the beginning that her "intended" or "hoped for" fella ends up being one who is completely unperfect for her and someone she would have never have thought of before. BUT there are still some very sticky and uncomfortable situations here and there which are fantastically written!

The idea of sisters who aren't even safe from each other is something I would never even THINK OF and extremely creepy to me! We are constantly telling our girls that they should stand by each other, etc. So to have to possibly watch your back from even your own loved ones is just the most evil thing! Yikes! What a fabulously twisted mind you have Spotswood!

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #84 - Untold & Frozen

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan 
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Published by: Random House Books for Young Readers

Free from bonds, but not each other

It's time to choose sides...On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.
But Rob and his followers aren't the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she's now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be? (Summary from Goodreads)

I can't wait...I can't wait...I can't wait. Kami...Jared what in the blue blazes happened! Why, why, why???

(Heart of Dread, Book 1)

Release Date: September 17, 2013
Published by: Putnam Juvenile

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature--freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.
At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she's heard of a mythical land simply called "the Blue." They say it's a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it's a place where Nat won't be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.
But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all. (Summary from Goodreads)

Seriously!? I'M IN!!!

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook & Brendan Halpin

A Really Awesome Mess 
Author: Trish Cook
Release date: July 23, 2013
Published by: EgmontUSA
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Heartland Academy--the place where kids with “issues” go to resolve them. Summer semester.

Two Main Characters:
Emmy doesn't feel like she belongs in her family. She’s the adopted one, the one who doesn’t look like anyone else in her family and who has gone to desperate measures to look the way she wants to.

Justin feels disconnected from his family. His father is never around and doesn’t seem to care about anything Justin does, and his mom is remarried and has new children. Justin is angry and not afraid to show it.

A whole host of other unique characters:
There are several other characters in Emmy and Justin’s therapy group: one who doesn’t talk, another who compulsively lies, a third who is violent in her anger, and another who is addicted to gaming.

Cook and Halpin really create well-developed, believable characters. I loved them all!

Throughout the story, Emmy and Justin connect as they try to overcome their own issues. They begin to realize that all people have problems they need to work through. Don’t get me wrong, that realization takes a while to appear, and until it does you will enjoy the group’s bickering and shenanigans. Eventually this group of misfits works together to help someone else and that is what really pushes them forward in their own lives.

I read this story in a day because of the engaging characters. So if you love a quirky character-driven story, then A Really Awesome Mess is a novel you should pick up. You will smile when you finish it and thank me for the recommendation ;)

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Our Week in Books...

This is our week in books at Libby Blog! 
This feature is not our own original idea and is inspired by so many others that are out there (esp. IMM by The Mod Podge Bookshelf and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Review) with the goal of sharing our new books and getting to know one another a bit better in the book blogging world. If you have a similar post for the week, please share it in the comments so we can comment back...

For Review from NetGalley...
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynne Barnes (Disney-Hyperion)
A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron (Scholastic)
Uncrashable Dakota by Andy Marino (Henry Holt and Co.)
Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb (Harlequin Teen)

What did you get for your libby this week?

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Morning Star Blog Tour...

Welcome to our stop on the tour for the 3rd and final entry in the fabulous Katerina Trilogy by Robin Bridges

Oh how I adore this series! I really cannot say enough fangirl things about it. Each and every book has had its own wonderfulness that I have loved. The Russia, the fantasy, the paranormal, the history, the romance and even the creepy all rolled together makes for the most perfect combination. Robin is just brilliant! If you haven't given these books a try, you really must go for it! Katerina Alexandrovna, The Duchess of Oldenburg, desperately wants to be a doctor more than anything, but instead is stuck as the Tsar Alexander's personal necromancer instead. With the threat of Konstantin on the loose, vampires bent on resurrecting the lich tsar, and so much more...Katerina is running out of people to trust. This ending to the trilogy did not disappoint! It was everything I hoped for and SO much more. There were twists and turns I never saw coming.

The Author...
~Robin Bridges~
By day, Robin is a mild-mannered writer of fantasy and paranormal fiction for young adults. By night, she is a pediatric nurse. Robin lives on the Gulf Coast with her husband, one soon-to-be teenager, and two slobbery mastiffs. I like playing video games and watching Jane Austen movies. (Alas, if only there was a Jane Austen video game!) 
Connect with Robin:

Check out my previous reviews of...

Series: The Katerina Trilogy, Book 2
Author: Robin Bridges
Release date: January 10, 2012
Published by: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Katerina Trilogy, Book 2
Author: Robin Bridges
Release date: October 9, 2012
Published by: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Morning Star Blog Tour...
August 18 - The Hiding Spot 
August 19 - YA Bibliophile 
August 21 - Candace's Book Blog 
August 22 - Mom Reads My Books 
August 23 - Libby Blog 
August 24 - My Life is a Notebook 
August 26 - Imaginary Reads 
August 26 - Reader Girls 
August 27 - Kimba Caffeinated 
August 28 - Page Turners Blog 
August 29 - Book Rook Reviews 

Now for the giveaway! :) Good luck!
(If you win, we will contact you for your direct mailing address)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #83 - Starry Nights & Projection

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: Daisy Whitney
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Published by: Bloomsbury USA 

Seventeen-year-old Julien is a romantic--he loves spending his free time at the museum porin over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, a peach falls out of a Cezanne, Degas ballerinas dance across the floor, and Julien is not hallucinating.
The art is reacting to a curse that trapped a beautiful girl, Clio, in a painting forever. Julien has a chance to free Clio and he can't help but fall in love with her. But love is a curse in its own right. And soon paintings begin to bleed and disappear. Together Julien and Clio must save the world's greatest the expense of the greatest love they've ever known. (Summary from Goodreads)

Cool story concept: cursed painting, good versus evil, and a love that may need to be sacrificed...I'm in, are you?

Author: Risa Green
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Published by: Soho Teen

When 13-year-old Gretchen Harris's mother is murdered at Gretchen's 8th Grade graduation party, everyone in the town of Delphi, Calfornia, suspects a power struggle within the Oculus Society: Delphi's version of the Junior League. Gretchen's best friend, Jessica Shaw, might even hold the key to finding the culprit with The Plotinus Ability: the Oculus Society's jealousy guarded secret power to trade souls, which hinges on a kiss.
Gretchen's hope at finding the murderer ends in tragedy when Ariel Miller-the class outcast-stalks Gretchen and Jessica and surreptitiously films them exchanging a kiss to test if the Plotinus Ability is real, not knowing their motives. The ensuing YOUTube video ("PopularGirls=Secret Lovers") goes viral, Gretchen's and Jessica's lives are further shattered, and they vanish from Delphi.
Flash forward two years later: Ariel is suddenly the most popular junior in town, but wracked with guilt over what she did to Gretchen and Jessica. When both girls reappear after their mysterious absence, Ariel finds herself pawn, suspect, and key player in their scheme to bring the murderer to justice. (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds like such a great premise for a book! I read the Sweet Venom trilogy this summer and this make me think of it! I can't wait to try it!

What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review: Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Openly Straight 
Author: Bill Konigsberg
Release date: May 28, 2013
Published by: Arthur A. Levine Books
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rafe is a kid from Colorado who has decided to attend an all boys’ school in New England. He’s smart, involved, and friendly...oh, and he’s gay. He’s been out since middle school and is a leader in his community as a public speaker supporting gay teenagers. However, he’s become tired of always being seen as the “gay kid” first and everything else later. hence his move to New England. At his new school he’s decided to be “not out” and see if he can be a “normal” teenager for once--see if it changes how people view him. But in the end, it might change how he sees himself.

I enjoyed the story’s premise: Rafe is wondering if people can be label free. In the story he escapes one label in his old community only to be given another in his new community. Identity is such a complex concept so it was interesting to see how Rafe would adjust to his new label/identity at his new school. I liked the concept, but I didn’t like the web of lies that Rafe has to weave as he works to “not tell the whole truth” in his bid to be a “normal” teenager. I do like how it shows that you can’t hide a part of who you are and still be happy with yourself.

Rafe also has a group of quirky friends who add some humor to the story; I usually enjoyed a chuckle with his odd-ball roommate.

Overall, I liked it. I was satisfied with the ending because I knew there had to be consequences to Rafe’s lies--particularly with his friendships and romantic interest. If you are looking for an interesting exploration of identity, then this story is for you!

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Book Trailer Thursday #73 - The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Book Trailer Thursday is a feature inspired by Once Upon a TwilightWe are hoping to promote not only new books that are out or are soon to be out on the shelves, but to also promote the creation of book trailers themselves! Make sure to post a comment below and let us know what you've found out there this week!

Author: Sherry Thomas
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Published by: Balzer + Bray

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning...

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation--or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to revenge the death of his family--even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life. (Summary from Goodreads)

I'm VERY intrigued by this! What about you!? Did you see all of the epic authors who were talking it up? WHOA!

What did you find out there this week?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #82 - Just Like Fate & The Lost Kingdom

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Release Date: August 27, 2013
Published by: Simon Pulse

Caroline is at a crissroads. Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline's been at Gram's bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape--both her family and the reality of Gram's failing health. So when Caroline's best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram's side, or go to the party and live her life.
The consequence of this one decision will split Caroline's fate into two separate paths--and she's about to live them both.
Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all-new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships, and even make a few new ones. If she stays, her longtime crush, Joel, might finally notice her, but if she goes, Chris, the charming college boy, might prove to be everything she's ever wanted.
Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending...(Summary from Goodreads)

Do you know Sliding Doors the movie? This seems like the same concept. One choice, two different life paths, only one is going to end happily. Kind of a scary concept but I'm in for a good read.

Release Date: August 27, 2013
Published by: Scholastic Press

Billy Bartram, his father, and a secret society of philosophers and scientists venture into the American wilderness in search of the lost people of the Welsh Prince Madoc, seeking aid in the coming war against the French. Traveling in a flying airship, the members of the expedition find their lives frequently endangered in the untamed American West by terrifying creatures, a party of French soldiers hot on their trail, and the constant threat of traitors and spies. Billy will face hazards greater than he can ever imagine as, together with his father, he gets caught up in the fight for the biggest prize of all: America. (Summary from Goodreads)

Doesn't this sound brilliant!? I can't wait to start this one! I have it from NetGalley and plan on diving right into it!

What are you waiting on this week?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Our Week in Books...

This is our week in books at Libby Blog! 
This feature is not our own original idea and is inspired by so many others that are out there (esp. IMM created by Story Siren and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Review) with the goal of sharing our new books and getting to know one another a bit better in the book blogging world. If you have a similar post for the week, please share it in the comments so we can comment back...

Wow, it has been a few weeks since we've done one of these! I guess we are just enjoying our summer and reading, reading, reading! :) How about you? I cannot believe that it's only a few weeks before the kiddos will be back at school with us! AND, we just found out that my girls will be WITH US this year! WHOA! That is going to be a HUGE change for us, but such a big one that we so desperately wanted to try. Ange is back in the extreme Northwoods of Wisconsin for the whole of next week enjoying her last week of "freedom". 
What are you doing for your last few weeks of summer (if it's summer where you are)?

For Review from NetGalley...
Autumn by Sierra Dean 
Arrow of the Mist by Christina Mercer 
For the Good of Mankind?: The Shameful History of Human Medical Experimentation by Vicki O. Wittenstein (Twenty-First Century Books)
Inhuman by Kat Falls (Scholastic)
Lives of Magic by Lucy Leiderman (Dundurn)
Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (RandomHouse/Disney Hyperion)
Love Disguised by Lisa Klein (Bloomsbury USA)
Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender (Scholastic)
A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook & Brendan Halpin (Egmont USA)
Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always by Elissa Janine Hoole (Flux)
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone (Disney Hyperion)

Cheap NOOK Books for $1.99!...
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (Greenwillow Books)
Defiance by C.J. Redwine (Balzer+Bray)
Graveminder by Melissa Marr (HarperCollins)
Starling by Lesley Livingston (HarperTeen)

(Shown in video)
Otherkin by Nina Berry (Kensington)
Othermoon by Nina Berry (Kensingston)


What did you get for your libby this week?

Review: Flicker & Burn by T.M. Geoglein

Flicker & Burn 
Author: T.M. Goeglein
Series: Cold Fury, Book 2
Release date: August 20, 2013
Published by: Putnam Juvenile
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sara Jane's family is still missing, creepy creatures are trying to kidnap her every chance they get, her boyfriend just wants to meet her parents, and she is still acting as The Outfit's a nutshell her life is NUTS! Will she be able to hold everything together AND be able to figure out the answer to all her mysterious questions!? Who has taken her family? What do they want with them? What is the ultimate power that her family is supposed to have knowledge of?

My thoughts: This was an interesting ride...I have to be honest though that when I picked up the 1st book, I was really hoping that when I picked up a completely different genre then I usually read, since I always read fantasy and science fiction, I was so excited to read a mystery, mafia story based in Chicago and then it went all sideways and fantasy! I'm not sure how I feel about that...BUT the story in general was an amazing action adventure thrill ride from beginning to end just like the first book. It was just silly me who had the issue with the mystery v. fantasy.

The ice cream creatures were incredibly creepy and the whole bad guy story too was so, so creepy! WOW! It actually reminded me of the old 007 Bond movies and how utterly bizarre the bad guys were sometimes, like the guy with those creepy teeth! Plus, twisting her best friend was beyond creepy. Of course still living in the Bird Cage is very cool; what a neat building for a hideout and center for their operations! (I still maintain that this would make the COOLEST TV SHOW!!!)

New characters!: We have new characters that show up in this 2nd book which really make waves! I don't know that I want to say too much about them since there isn't anything about them in the summary and they really shake things up while also being a huge part of everything that happens in the end. So you'll just have to read the book to find out about them, but I have to say that they are just as well done as the rest are so well done Ted, well done!

Final thoughts: That cliffhanger ending Ted! Are you kidding me again sir!? ARGH! Now I have to wait FOREVER!!!! C'est la vie! I cannot wait to read the next installment of this and this seriously needs to be made into a TV show ASAP! It would be brilliant with flashbacks, hidden doors, and high school drama all wrapped into one! The CW should come running!

View all my reviews