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Monday, April 30, 2012

2012 Challenge Progress: April

At the end of each month, I'll make a post showing what books I read for what challenge, along with a link to the review.

I think I did pretty well this month. I read at least one book for each challenge except for two, well one...kinda. I did read a few vampires, but what I really need for the Immortal Reading Challenge is Shifters!

So here is my progress for April...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Showcase Sunday [23]

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits, and Tea to show off our newest books and book related goods!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

[Review] The Dead Girls' Dance (The Morganville Vampires, #2) by Rachel Caine

Title: The Dead Girls' Dance  
Series: The Morganville Vampires, #2  
Author: Rachel Caine  
Pages: 380 (Mass Market Paperback)  
Publisher: NAL Jam  
Release Date: April 3, 2007

Claire has her share of challenges. Like being a genius in a school that favors beauty over brains; homicidal girls in her dorm, and finding out that her college town is overrun with the living dead. On the up side, she has a new boyfriend with a vampire-hunting dad. But when a local fraternity throws the Dead Girls' Dance, hell is really going to break loose.

The Dead Girls' Dance picks up exactly where Glass Houses ended, which is great since that was some cliffhanger! We immediately learn more about the hilariously, sweet, Shane, who isn't so hilarious or sweet with his crazy, vampire-hunting, biker, father around. In fact, his father causes a whole lot of trouble in his arrival and it's up to Claire to fix it.

"You know, I thought you were a mousy little thing when I first saw you, Claire, but you're not, are you?" "Even a mouse bites."

I think those above quotes perfectly describe Claire in this book. She's in even more trouble than she was in the previous book, and so are her roommates. She's scared, but she's determined to not let the vampires control her life. She still goes to her classes despite the threats she's sure to encounter the moment she steps out the front door. When her roommates aren't able to go out and face the night to try to save themselves, Claire takes it upon herself. Thankfully, she uses her brains and has a cop escort her, but sometimes curiosity gets the best of her and she makes some incredibly rash and stupid decisions.

We get to see a lot more of the vampire world that has taken over Morganville, and it's even more corrupt than at first site. It also becomes less clear who the bad guys are: humans or the vampires? There appears to be monsters on both sides and Claire must face them both. She must also decide who to trust and who can really protect her and her friends.

This was a fast paced addition to the series, and thankfully it didn't end on too big of a cliffhanger. I'm still eager to know what comes next for Claire, Shane, Eve, and Michael though!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Freebie Friday [2]

So, what freebie would I like to share with you today...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

[Giveaway] 6 Month Blogoversary!

My 6 month blogoversary is coming up on May 26th! To celebrate I've decided to host my very first giveaway to thank everyone who has viewed, followed, commented or otherwise interacted with my little blog since I first started.

The Prize:
A book of your choice (up to $10) from the Book Depository
$10 worth of Kindle books from

The Rules and Giveaway Info:
+ Must be 13 years or older to enter.
+ The Book Depository must deliver free to your country.
+ You don't need a Kindle to choose the Kindle books, just grab one of the free Amazon Kindle reading apps!
+ All entries must be in by 12:01AM on May 26th.
+ You must use the Rafflecopter form to enter, so do not leave personal information in the comments!
+ The winner has 48 hours to reply to my e-mail before a new winner is chosen (so don't disappear on 5/26!)
+ There is no mandatory entry, so do as many or as few tasks as you like (there's a lot!).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday [10]

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It's so we can show what pre-published books we're anticipating! So what title am I featuring this week...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Teaer Tuesday [10]

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, April 23, 2012

[Review] The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Pages: 313 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Dutton Books
Release Date: January 10, 2012

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

While I wasn't blown away by this one as so many other were, I did really enjoy it. I read it through in three sessions, interrupted only by sleep and classes. I didn't cry which probably makes me a horrible person, especially since I'm a total cry baby, but I was still moved by Hazel and Augustus' story. The Fault in Our Stars deals with a very tough, sad subject, but overall it didn't feel sad. There were some very sad parts, hence the expectation to cry, but there's the theme of hope weaved throughout the whole story.

I've noticed that all of John Green's main characters seem to be quite pretentious. Hazel is no exception, but I like that. She may be dying of cancer, but she still displays humor, cynicism, brains, and caring. She even falls into some of those stereotypes of how people treat cancer patients, which she hates. I absolutely loved Augustus from the moment we met him! He's hilarious and sweet and just completely loveable.

The one thing I did not like about this book was the whole Peter Von Houten plot. He played an important role in the story, but at the end I found his actions very unbelievable and just irritating. I know a lot of the plot couldn't have happened without him, but I still just didn't like it.

I'm never really sure how to review Green's books. He's obviously a talented writer, and I do enjoy his books. I just don't know what to say without spoiling anything! The Fault in Our Stars is heartwarming, funny, sad, moving, so many things in one. I'm not familiar with the cancer process, but it felt like a very realistic portrayal with ups and downs.

Was this review helpful? If so, please vote yes on Amazon.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In My Mailbox [22]

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to show off our newest books: purchases, borrows, ARCs, galleys, etc.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

[Review] Exiled (Immortal Essence, #1) by RaShelle Workman

Title: Exiled
Series: Immortal Essence, #1
Author: RaShelle Workman
Pages: 340 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Polished Pen Press in cooperation with Literary Underground
Release Date: October 3, 2011

Worlds divided them. Chance brought them together. Only love will save them.

An alien princess exiled to Earth. An arrogant boy. One week to get back to her planet or she'll die. And, her only chance for survival? She must help the boy find his soul mate. Piece of cake!

Stubborn, sixteen-year-old Princess Venus of Kelari wants one thing, to become immortal, that is, until someone exiles her to Earth, kills her irrihunter and takes her family. Now she wants revenge. First she’s got to get home. But before she can return to Kelari, the Gods have commanded her to help an arrogant boy named Michael find his soul mate. Only she doesn't know the first thing about love. Rather quickly, her inexperience with human emotion is obscured by other matters--alien-controlled psychotic teens that are out to kill her, and a government group that is set on capturing and dissecting her. Worst of all, Venus will suffer a painful death-by-poisoning, thanks to Earth’s atmosphere, if she remains on the planet longer than one week. Still, Venus is a Princess and she's got a plan. Surely, with her help, Michael will fall in love with a human.

But time is running out and Michael is falling for the wrong girl--her.

This is one of those cases where I picked a book based on its cover. It's so pretty and over the top, and how could I not love it?! Secondary to the cover, the blurb caught my attention: alien princess? Sure, sounds fun and unique among all of the paranormal and dystopians out there. So, did this live up to my excitement and love of the cover? Well, let's just say I'm glad it was temporarily free on Amazon when I got it...

Something about the writing style was off to me. One paragraph would seem very stiff, then the next was too relaxed. It just seemed inconsistent. Also the dialogue was either cheesy or too formal. I have a hard time believing that a king, alien or not, would say "royally mucked up." The writing also seemed to suffer from too much telling and not enough showing, however cliched that may sound. It took a while for me to get into it because of this.

The characters were not likeable to me. Cheverly was nice enough, but if I had to read her using "cheese" as an exclamation one more time, I was going to scream! I didn't feel like we got to know Venus, the alien princess, very well. At times she was bland, other times she was fierce and kickass, and yet other times she was snobby and conceited. She was everything and nothing at all, and I couldn't relate to her or care what was happening to her. Michael was broody and angry, but he's had a horrible home life, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. However, he had absolutely no personality and was either sweet or a jerk depending on what the scene called for. There's a few other characters, but all of them felt flat.

As for the plot, it's a little strange and silly, but also a bit refreshing. Venus is framed as a traitor and banished to Earth where she can only survive the atmosphere for seven days. But the gods of her planet say she can return if she helps the brooding Michael find true love. Of course there's also the side-plot of an evil alien doing evil things which somehow happens to wind up involving Venus and her task. Then as the story progressed more and more stuff kept getting piled on top: mystery parentage, alien hunters, human sacrifices, etc.

I was majorly disappointed in Exiled. I wish there had been more about how the planet of Kelari worked rather than only the comparisons to Earth that were scattered throughout. Absolutely nothing gets resolved at the end, and I have no interest in continuing the series to find out what happens.

Was this review helpful? If so, please vote yes on Amazon.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Freebie Friday [1] NEW Feature!

I gather A LOT of free books for my Kindle, but I don't read very many of them. Why? Mainly because I tend to read mostly library books and the few books that I actually paid for. But I also avoid these freebies, because I'm not sure if they're any good! They typically only have a handful of ratings and even fewer reviews, so it's hard to judge their quality. I have read some; a few have been winners but there have also been some losers. That's how I got this idea for a new blog feature: Freebie Friday. This is when I'll feature one freebie that I read (and possibly reviewed) and say whether I think it's worth the read and maybe if it's even worth paying for.

So, what's the first freebie I'd like to tell you about...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

[Review] Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1) by R.L. LaFevers

Title: Grave Mercy
Series: His Fair Assassin, #1
Author: R.L. LaFevers
Pages: 560 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Houghlin Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: April 3, 2012
I received an ARC from NetGalley. 

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Just like just about everyone else, I had to read this book because of the assassin nuns. Yes, ASSASSIN NUNS. The Sisters of Mortain take in young women and girls who are the daughters of Death, who have been feared and abused by society. They teach them everything they need to know to lure in a man and silently bring him to his death. Amazing concept, and wonderful execution. Ismae is a daughter of Mortain, and when we first meet her she's 14 and it's her wedding night. It's also the night the Sisters bring her to the convent to begin her training. Then only a handful of chapters in, Ismae is 17 and on her first assignment. I wish we could have gotten to see a bit more of the training process before the time jump, but we do get to see how the nuns get the girls ready for their kills as we watch Ismae prepare.

Ismae is a great protagonist! She's been ridiculed and abused, and that has inspired her to give her all when serving Mortain. She's determined, smart, compassionate, and does not take anything laying down! She is definitely not content to sit idly when she can be in the center of the action. Even though she tended to skip out on her "womanly arts" lessons, she manages to charm her way into Duval's heart. I love the way their relationship develops. They start off not trusting each other at all as they begin their assignment of protecting the duchess. Their charade at court of being lovers made it obvious that they would soon be lovers for real, but I still enjoyed that plot despite it's predictability.

There are some slow parts, which is to be expecting from a 550+ page book. It's mostly scenes involving the political situation, which were necessary for the story, but I still found them boring. They were also confusing from time to time with all of the information about who the duchess' hand has been promised to, who's faithful to the duchess and who's a traitor, etc. However, about half way through, when the plot is more established, things begin to become more clear, which I was glad for.

Things really get interesting when Ismae must choose between serving her convent, her god, or her heart. Over all, Grave Mercy was an engaging and exciting read. I absolutely loved the paranormal elements related to being a daughter of Death, as well as the historical setting. There's a nice tidy ending to Ismae's story, which makes it read like a standalone. This make sense since the following book is to focus on Sybella, and I'm excited to read it!

Was this review helpful? If so, please vote yes on Amazon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday [9]

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It's so we can show what pre-published books we're anticipating! So what title am I featuring this week...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Teaser Tuesday [9]

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My Mailbox [21]

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to show off our newest books: purchases, borrows, ARCs, galleys, etc.

Friday, April 13, 2012

[Review] Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Series: Divergent, #1
Author: Veronica Roth
Pages: 487 (Hardcover)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: May 3, 2011

In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

I absolutely loved the idea of factions! It seems like something likely to happen after a major event to put everyone in nice little boxes, and keep order. However, I felt like the factions were just over-exaggerated stereotypes. I had a hard time believing that people would behave that way without brainwashing. For example what does having 37 piercings and jumping out of a speeding train have to do with bravery? Nothing, it's just reckless. If they're the ones who are suppose to protect the people, why are they behaving in a way that's likely to get them maimed and killed? Also, how is self defensive and eating hamburgers self indulgent or selfish? It just doesn't make any sense to me. And I'm pretty sure you don't need hipster glasses to pursue knowledge, especially if you have perfect vision.

Sure bravery and selflessness are great qualities to value, but the level of exaggeration of their actions (or inaction) bothered me. This one-mindedness was briefly acknowledged towards the end, but the explanation just wasn't good enough. I never was able to accept this world and it hindered my enjoyment of the novel.

I did like Tris though. She had her own thoughts and opinions, and didn't follow the one-track mindedness of the factions. But I suppose there wouldn't be a story if she was just another faction member. She was something known as "divergent" but what that means, no one knows, but it might get her killed if anyone finds out. It's a super interesting concept, but we don't get many answers about what exactly divergence is or why it happens. Perhaps in future books?

Divergent does end on a cliffhanger, which is the only reason why I'll probably read the second book. Maybe there will be some more world building that can explain more of why things are the way they are. Plus I'd like to see more of the Amity faction, which seems like it will be a bigger part of the next book.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday [8]

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It's so we can show what pre-published books we're anticipating! So what title am I featuring this week...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesday [8]

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, April 9, 2012

[Review] Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Author: John Green & David Levithan
Pages: 310 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Dutton Books
Release Date: April 6,2010

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

I'm a brand new John Green fan. His writing style is so easy and fun, and combined with David Levithan (this is my first time reading him) we get something awesome! Will Grayson, Will Grayson flips back and forth between the point of view of two Will Graysons. I was worried that it would be confusing, but their chapters are written in completely different styles. And, most importantly, the Will Graysons are totally unique from each other, and have their own interesting group of friends and side characters.

The characters are amazing! They felt real, and were all loveable or love-to-hateable! None of them are perfect. They all have their annoying moments, or times when they're being kind of meand and unlikeable, but I still cared about what happened to them. I absolutely loved Tiny! He's just so happy about life and himself, and was a lot of fun. Maura...well there's no nice way to put this, so I'll just say it: she's such a bitch! I didn't like her from the beginning, but when we find out she did, wow. Awful. Of course the Will Graysons are great too, each with their own outlook on life and romantic problems.

The story was a lot of fun, too. Will Grayson and Will Grayson are trying to nagivate these things called love and life, when fate shoves them together in the most unlikely of places. I wanted to slap first Will Grayson for being a dumbass, and give second Will Grayson a big hug! Then there's Tiny's musical, which was absolutely fabulous and seemlessly connected the two Will Graysons. I wish there would have been more at the end, maybe an epilogue. But the ending as it is made me smile so hard it hurt! It's super sappy, cliche, and wonderful! I definitely recommend this one!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In My Mailbox [20]

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to show off our newest books: purchases, borrows, ARCs, galleys, etc.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

[Review] Fire Study (Study, #3) by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Fire Study
Series: Study, #3
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Pages: 441 (Paperback)
Publisher: Mira Books
Release Date: March 1, 2008

The apprenticeship is over—now the real test has begun.

When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder—able to capture and release souls—spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena's unusual abilities and past have set her apart. As the Council debates Yelena's fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before....

Honor sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward. Her journey is fraught with allies, enemies, lovers and would-be assassins, each of questionable loyalty. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself—and save the land she holds dear.

I hate to say this, but I was a bit disappointed with this final installment of the Study series. While the previous book was fun, exciting, and action packed, this one was action packed but in an almost boring way. It seems like the characters were just going in circles for the first 300 pages. Yelena and Co would travel, get ambushed, fight, move on to next location, get ambushed, fight some more, go to another location, and so on. Sure we learn more about Sitian history and the powers of the different clans, but I felt like we got nowhere with the story.

The plot also got extremely convoluted and I had trouble keeping up. There were too many characters with their own plans and agendas, and they were connected in various ways that were hard to keep track of. In fact, with all of the location jumping, I would forget about what was happening in previous locations until Yelena and Co went back there. Yelena was constantly making promises to help everyone everywhere, which just added to the too many separate plots list. I eventually gave up trying to keep everything straight, and just kept reading without absorbing much.

I did like how fire played a different role than what I was expecting. I don't want to spoil anything, but it involves yet another one of Yelena's unique abilities, which I wish had been explored more. This series could have benefited from an extra book or two rather than being a trilogy. We would have gotten to see Yelena grow into her powers, and Fire Study wouldn't have felt like too much information in too few pages (even at 441 pages!).

The ending was fitting though. I liked watching Yelena go from being unsure and afraid of her powers to embracing them and becoming a kick-ass magician! I also loved the reveal of the origin of the Commander's secret; very interesting! Overall, this one wasn't as good as the previous two books, but it was a pretty good ending to the series.

Friday, April 6, 2012

[Review] Magic Study (Study, #2) by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Magic Study
Series: Study, #2
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Pages: 392 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Luna Books
Release Date: October 1, 2006

You know your life is bad when you miss your days as a poison taster...

With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be reunited with the family she'd been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But though she has gained her freedom, she can't help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways—and her newfound friends and relatives don't think it's for the better....

Despite the turmoil, she's eager to start her magic training—especially as she's been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes involved with a plot to reclaim Ixia's throne for a lost prince—and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians.

If that wasn't bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with all her new enemies...

When we last saw Yelena she was fleeing execution in Ixia. Now at the start of Magic Study she's on her way to study magic and finds her family. While her parents are ecstatic at her return, her brother, Lief, has his suspicions. He's convinced that she's a spy for the Commander, and has her kidnapped when he's suppose to be escorting her to the Citadel for her magic lessons.

Even though we lose the novelty of having Yelena as a food taster, she still gets herself into plenty of exciting and interesting (and sometimes disturbing) situations as she travels through the jungle and when she eventually enters the Magicians Keep. I loved being able to see the world outside of Ixia. There's several different clans, each with their own unique fashions (or lack thereof!) and lifestyles. We also learn so much about magicians and the vast variation in their magical abilities. It was so fun getting to see some Yelena's abilities, such as bonding with an adorably hilarious horse!

Speaking of her horse, there's a fantastic cast of new characters along with the return of some favorites! Esau, Yelena's sweetheart, scientist father. Perl, her neurotic mother. Lief, the standoffish brother. Kiki, the horse, and my personal favorite! Cahill, friend or foe? The Master Magicians, Moon Man, and several others. Each of them adds something to the story and even the minor characters felt well developed.

There's more than enough action and intrigue, twists and turns aplenty, a little bit of romance, and lots and lots of magic! While I really enjoyed this one, I'm not sure if I liked it more than the previous book. Both are so different, so let's just say I like them the same but for different reasons. One thing that was definitely more enjoyable in the previous book was Yelena and Valek's relationship. In Magic Study it felt forced and superficial. Every scene with them together they're having sex (not that that's a problem), Valek is calling her "love," but I felt absolutely no emotion. It was as if their scenes were just added for the sake of having romance. Despite that, I'm excited to see what Fire Study has in store for them!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

[Review] The Annihilation of Foreverland by Tony Bertauski

Title: The Annihilation of Foreverland
Author: Tony Bertauski
Pages: unknown (Kindle edition)
Release Date: December 31, 2011

When kids awake on an island, they’re told there was an accident. Before they can go home, they will visit Foreverland, an alternate reality that will heal their minds. Reed dreams of a girl that tells him to resist Foreverland. He doesn’t remember her name, but knows he once loved her. He’ll have to endure great suffering and trust his dream. And trust he’s not insane. Danny Boy, the new arrival, meets Reed’s dream girl inside Foreverland. She’s stuck in the fantasy land that no kid can resist. Where every heart’s desire is satisfied. Why should anyone care how Foreverland works? Together, they discover what it’s really doing to them.

The Annihilation of Foreverland is unlike anything I've read before. It's such a mind trip! Why is there an island full of young men? Why don't any of them know how they got there? What is the purpose of the needle and the Haystack? What's real and what's imaginary? All of these questions and more kept me reading, and it took me awhile to figure out what the heck was going on.

The story follows Danny Boy and Reed. Danny is the new kid on the island, and he's confused as to why he's there, and what memories are his and which ones have been implanted. However, he's blinded by the fun and freedom that the island provides, and engages with the needle. Reed on the other hand, has been through 25 rounds in the Haystack, never once accepting the needle. He knows something is wrong, but he just doesn't know what.

The Haystack is a super disturbing place. It's dark, moist, smelly, slimy and just not pleasant. The Investors who escort the boys there are just as disturbing and slimy and I couldn't figure out what they got out of this. From the Haystack, the needle then transports the boys to Foreverland, a kind of virtual paradise. It's like Lord of the Flies meets Peter Pan, but why does it exist? What do the boys have to do with any of it? Who is the red haired girl who contacts Danny? You'll just have to read this one to find out!

This is a very clever and mind-bending novel, and it kept be engaged from page one. There were times when I was confused, but everything gets cleared up at the end. Overall, this was a very strange and engaging read.

Was this review helpful? If so, please vote yes on Amazon.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Top 5 of 2012 First Quarter Blog Hop

My Reading Addiction Cami @ My Reading Addiction is hosting a little blog hop where we list our favorite books that we've read in the first quarter of the year. I loved that idea, so I signed up!

Here's my top 5 reads from January 1st to March 31st...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pinkindle Reads but no Reviews: March, 2012

I read a lot, but review less. Sometimes I just don't feel like writing something, or I just don't have much to say. Either way, it doesn't seem fair to leave these books out. So once or twice a month I'll present the books that I read, rated, but didn't review, and give a quick few sentences about what I thought of them.

Monday, April 2, 2012

[Excerpt] Sykosa by Justin Ordoñez

Please enjoy this excerpt from Sykosa, a YA novel (for 18+ readers), by Justin Ordoñez. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.  

First period. American history.

Who knows which is worse. At this hour, it’s too early to care. Luckily, it’s never too early to bitch and moan. And she would do so, save her teacher is already on it. He’s up at the board—in shock that not a pupil noticed how his cuff smudged all his bullet points. Like wrist trajectory were her problem. That’s a math problem. And math problems aren’t her problem for another two hours. Yawn. He’s still going on—something about full attention being on…

Her fingernails.

Fingernails, you see, are better than lectures.

Particularly these lectures. Particularly this class.

She wishes nail polish didn’t break the Academy’s Personal Code, then her fingernails could be pretty colors, and she’d feel like a pretty girl. They should let her do her nails in class. It’s no different from doodling. It also increases hygiene, and in high school, that’s nothing to scoff at. She may paint her fingernails this afternoon, just for fun, then remove it and—

Hang on. Her teacher said something will be on a test.

Never mind, she already knows it.

Anyhow, if she does do her nails, she has a problem. She doesn’t know what to do. However, she does know she doesn’t want to do something she’s already done. If she’s gonna do her nails for one night, then it’d be nice if it were a departure of some type. Alas, her brain has no ideas. Being pretty is hard! Yet, she likes it so very much. That does it. She needs to talk to Niko. For one, Niko’s her best friend. Two, Niko’s gifted in the department of being glamorous. And luckily, Niko’s her neighbor, so she drafts a note that she passes across the table.

What should I do with my fingernails?

Niko reads the note in delight, then dies of boredom.

I thought you were gonna share good gossip or something.

No, I want to do my fingernails.

Do something slutty. That’s always good for a thrill.

That’s a good idea.

Niko always has good ideas. Niko’s brilliant!

She wishes she were Niko.

And Niko wishes she were Sykosa’s breasts. That’s me, Sykosa! Well, technically, it’s my breasts. Breasts are an urgent topic for Niko, seeing as her prime puberty years have passed, and to Niko’s horror, she’s all As in the bra and all Ds on her report card. That’s harder on a girl than people think. And it’s why Niko collapses her cheek on her hand, then inconspicuously stares at those far-bigger boobs. Niko thinks she does it for a second or two. In reality, it’s seven or eight. Now, before anyone makes any assumptions, Niko’s not gay. She’s about as boy-crazy as a girl gets. To the point that she collects boyfriends as if they were Girl Scout badges.

And to be fair, this breast-staring is harmless.

Though every girl has her limits.

Hers have been exceeded. Not by Niko, but by Tom. He also has his cheek in hand, his eyes overcome by her chest—for what is maybe ten or eleven seconds.

Unlike Niko, he’s thinking of her as if she were some toy.

He may be right.

In the only snowstorm of the year, as the Academy froze under the sickly sweet smell of a dysfunctional oil furnace, she retreated behind the two bell towers of the Academy chapel. And on that very day, this very boy—in his ski jacket laden with those sticky tags they put on bags at airports—stumbled onto her smoking self and put his tongue in her mouth. It was a bold move. And it impressed her. They didn’t need to “talk.” Besides, it woulda fucked up the moment. I get shy fast. Accordingly, she kissed him until her heart beat so hard she became faint. It meant something. This feeling. She caught her breath. They sat beside each other. Seconds later, she wished they hadn’t stopped, so they restarted, then kept at it.

This time without the tongue.

Niko steals the note, then writes a new one.

Why is he looking at you like that? Only I’m supposed to look at you like that!

Niko’s the type who admits her faults shamelessly. While it’s slightly backward, Niko does so not as a deterrent from such behaviors, but to enable them. She rarely complains. Because that’s Niko. And somehow that excuses everything Niko does. That said, she supposes she’s predisposed to Niko’s jealously over her body, perhaps to the point of flattery. You see, this Tom-thing is nothing. Or if it is something, it’s certainly not enough of something. Not enough for her to buy a prom dress.

Why do you think he is looking at me like that?

Because you * him.

Not to delve too far into the well of note-passing dynamics, but she—and the Queens—use secret codes in case of confiscation. “*” means fuck, in all forms and conjugations. She has not * Tom. She has not * anybody. Her lips quiver at the *. It feels like something she’ll put off until she is thirty. Simultaneously, she also feels like it could happen in the immediate future.

Sometimes she just “knows.”




But, she is afraid. Everything is too complicated. It should not have to be. She goes behind the chapel. He goes behind the chapel. They make out. Simple, right? It’s not. Regardless, if even that must be complicated, then certainly the concept that she wants to go to Prom, thus he should ask her to Prom and then they should go to Prom is simple, right? It’s not. You see, he has this best friend, this confidante, this main focus, this everything—and her name is not Sykosa, but Mackenzie.

Or as you will soon find out: “M.” That’s what he calls her.

  As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Sykosa eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win! To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of Sykosa for just 99 cents
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About the book: YA fiction for the 18+ crowd. Sykosa is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence shatters her life and the lives of her friends. Set at her best friend’s cottage, for what will be a weekend of unsupervised badness, Sykosa will have to finally confront the major players and issues from this event, as well as decide if she wants to lose her virginity to Tom, her first boyfriend, and the boy who saved her from danger. Get it on Amazon. 

About the author: Sykosa is Justin Ordoñez's life's work. He hopes to one day settle down with a nerdy, somewhat introverted woman and own 1 to 4 dogs. Visit Justin on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

In My Mailbox [19]

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to show off our newest books: purchases, borrows, ARCs, galleys, etc.