Monday, April 30, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Jelly Bean Crisis

The cover for The Jelly Bean Crisis by Jolene Stockman has been revealed!

Release Date: August 1, 2012
Author Information: Website / Blog / Twitter / Facebook
Add to Goodreads: Add here
A total meltdown. The whole school watching. Now Poppy’s an ex-straight-A with no Plan B.

When Poppy Johnson throws away a full scholarship to Columbia, she can only blame the jelly beans. The yucky green ones? Midnight cram sessions and Saturday’s spent studying. The delicious red? The family legacy: Columbia, and a future in finance. Except now it’s starting to look like Poppy’s jelly bean theory is wrong. School has been her life until, but maybe it’s time to start living now.

Poppy has thirty days to try a new life. No school, no studying. Just jumping into every possible world. Thirty days to find her passion, her path, and maybe even love. The Jelly Bean Crisis is officially on.
I love the cover! I think it is adorable and really seems to fit the tone of the novel. For some reason, it reminds me of a favorite childhood story of mine, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Maybe it is the food references or the umbrella? I don’t know! However, I do know I cannot wait until this book is released! (Note to self: remember to buy jelly beans so I can snack on them while reading this book. It is only appropriate, no? J)

Also, for those of you interested, here is the countdown widget for the book!
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Release Date: May 24, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Author Information:
Website / Blog / Twitter
Genre: Paranormal, Steampunk, Historical (Victorian England)
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook
My Shelf: Want to Buy
In 1897 England, 16-year-old Finley Jayne is convinced she's a freak. No normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch. Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special . . . that she's one of "them."

I have to say, this is one book in which I am sad the bad guy was not victorious. He had a pretty wicked plan, in my opinion. He was determined to take over England, and how was he going to do that? By creating a cyborg Queen. That’s right. He wanted to create a cyborg/machine Queen Victoria. That’s a brilliant evil master plan, no? Just think, if he had succeeded, this could have been the current face of deception:

That’s right. I know who (or what) you really are. 

Of course, with me being me, I could not help but ponder over mundane things concerning this cyborg Queen. For instance, would she (it?) still be able to have her afternoon English teatime, or would her cyborg parts rust and combust? I think this is a very pressing question, and I am sad to see that it will not be answered. [sigh] Well, here’s to hoping the bad guy is successful in the next book. Anyway, I digress. Let’s get to the actual review and leave cyborg Queens behind, shall we?

Like many, the thing that drew me to this book initially was the cover. (It is a mighty fine cover!) To be honest, I am actually surprised at how much I liked this book. I am not a very big fan of sci-fi and books relating to machinery and/or technology, so I automatically assumed I would not care for the steampunk genre, either. However, between this book and The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare, I am quickly becoming a fan.

This book is long (~500 pages), but it is definitely worth finishing. I was intrigued with Finley’s character from the start, and her Jekyll and Hyde type of personality really drew me in. Everyone has a darker nature to them, and I like how Cross actually draws out Finley’s and personifies it. It made for both an interesting storyline and character. Finley is no pushover, either. She can fight to protect herself, and she is also not hesitant to stand up to men, which are things I appreciated since they are unique characteristics in a Victorian woman. Griffin, being the rich noble he is, uses his wealth to advance his technology and way of life. He is devious without fault, and I found myself slowly warming up to him as the story progressed. There is also Jack, who is somewhat of an ambiguous character. Even at the end, I was unsure whether he is one of the ‘good guys’ or not. Both he and Griffin vie for Finley’s attention, and I have to say that I am leaning towards Jack. Nothing against Griffin, though; I just happen to like ambiguous boys. Emily, a friend of Griffin’s, is so ridiculously smart it is almost bizarre. She holds a wealth of knowledge in the field of medicine and technology, and I cannot help but wonder where she learned it all. The one character I did not care for was Tom. He annoyed me consistently. He has a deeply ingrained sense of what is right/wrong and good/evil, but it is very faulty. He came across as judgmental more than anything. His way of thinking was irksome and he does not contribute much to the story, which was probably why I dislike him. Overall, the characters were good, but I wish we could have learned more about them. Hopefully we will in the next book, and I will reserve my opinion until then.

My only critique for this book is I wish we could have gotten more of a feel for the times. The technology, medicine, and machinery were advanced and abundant in the novel, which detracted from really getting immersed in the Victorian era. Things such as the use of electricity and other modern conveniences were used frequently throughout the book and are not synonymous with that time. I often forgot that the setting was late 1800s in England and not the twenty first century. To be fair, I have not read many steampunk novels, so I am no expert, but I expected there to be a few more Victorian England details present.

I thought this was a very entertaining read and would definitely recommend it! The book was well written and detailed, there was an awesome villain (who should be victorious in the sequel!), and the plot was well crafted and piqued my interest. I cannot wait to see what happens next in The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, due out May 22, 2012. (*crosses fingers* Please let there be a cyborg Queen, please let there be a cyborg Queen!)
A Great Escape!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (20)

Waiting on Wednesday was created by Jill at Breaking the Spineand it's a weekly meme mentioning an anticipated upcoming release!
My pick:
Release Date: September 1, 2012
The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, land choked with toxic pollution, wildlife ravaged by mass extinctions.

The hunters of Shima's imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary beast, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows thunder tigers have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a hidden gift that would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.
Could this book possibly be more tempting? A historical Japanese steampunk novel? Yes, please! いただきます。I am craving this novel. I have been interested in Japanese culture and language for as long as I can remember, and currently living in Japan has made me even more interested (which I did not think was possible)! There are so few books relating to Japanese history and culture (especially for YA), and when I find one, I latch on. That is what happened with this book. I randomly came across it this weekend on Goodreads, and it is now on the top of my list for most anticipated upcoming releases. No joke. I really cannot put into words how excited I am for this book, so hopefully some of the following pictures will give you an idea for how much I am looking forward to reading this book! 

(Warning: the following pictures are not an exaggeration)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cover for The Evolution of Mara Dyer is Out!

The cover for The Evolution of Mara Dyer has been revealed, and I happen to love it as much as the cover for the first book!

Release Date: October 23, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pre-order the Book:  Amazon  / Barnes and Noble / Books-A-Million
Two days after Mara walks into a police station in Miami at the close of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, she is committed for psychiatric treatment for what her parents believe is a mental breakdown. But what seems like a hallucination to everyone else is a chilling reality for Mara. Someone from her past has discovered her strange, disturbing secret and that someone wants her to pay. But she's about to discover that the price is more than she can bear.

Dark and thrilling, suspenseful and passionate, The Evolution of Mara Dyer will have readers breathlessly turning pages to find out what will become of Mara Dyer next.
Yep, I love this cover. I like how the publisher/author is sticking with the underwater theme. It meshes nicely with the cover for the first book! Although I am concerned about the guy, who I can only assume is Noah. The more I look at the cover, the more it seems like he is drowning or something. It reminds of that scene in the movie Titanic where Jack is sinking down into the depths of the North Atlantic. (I sobbed like a baby watching that scene! ><) Anyway, I adore the cover, and I have high hopes for the story itself!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

Release Date: June 29, 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Children
Author Information: Website / Twitter
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Available Formats:
Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook
My Shelf: Want to Buy
Alona Dare–Senior in high school, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, Homecoming Queen three years in a row, voted most likely to marry a movie star… and newly dead.

I’m the girl you hated in high school. Is it my fault I was born with it all-good looks, silky blond hair, a hot bod, and a keen sense of what everyone else should not be wearing? But my life isn’t perfect, especially since I died. Run over by a bus of band geeks—is there anything more humiliating? As it turns out, yes—watching your boyfriend and friends move on with life, only days after your funeral. And you wouldn’t believe what they’re saying about me now that they think I can’t hear them. To top it off, I’m starting to disappear, flickering in and out of existence. I don’t know where I go when I’m gone, but it’s not good. Where is that freaking white light already?

Will Killian–Senior in high school, outcast, dubbed “Will Kill” by the popular crowd for the unearthly aura around him, voted most likely to rob a bank…and a ghost-talker.

I can see, hear, and touch the dead. Unfortunately, they can also see, hear and touch me. Yeah, because surviving high school isn’t hard enough already. I’ve done my best to hide my “gift.” After all, my dad, who shared my ability, killed himself because of it when I was fifteen. But lately, pretending to be normal has gotten a lot harder. A new ghost—an anonymous, seething cloud of negative energy with the capacity to throw me around—is pursuing me with a vengeance. My mom, who knows nothing about what I can do, is worrying about the increase in odd incidents, my shrink is tossing around terms like “temporary confinement for psychiatric evaluation,” and my principal, who thinks I’m a disruption and a faker, is searching for every way possible to get rid of me. How many weeks until graduation?

The Ghost and the Goth is all kinds of cute and adorable. I was grinning like a total fool when I read the last page, and I fell completely in love with this book. The story itself is light and cute, the characters are fun and witty, and I loved the relationship between Will and Alona.

To be honest, I am very surprised at how much I loved this book. Based on the cover and synopsis, I expected this book to not be plot-heavy or emotionally intense (which it was not), but the characters really threw me for a loop. I expected Alona to be the stereotypical teenage cheerleader, and I was imagining her as something like a ditzier Regina George from Mean Girls. However, she proved to be an interesting character, and I really liked her. The girl is smart, almost wickedly so, and I just loved how devious she got, especially when it came to manipulating Will. (You have got to respect a woman who can own a man verbally.) There is a lot more to her than meets the eye, and learning more about her and what makes her the way she is was interesting and added excellent depth to her character. And then there is Will. Oh, how I adored Will. Again, as was the case with Alona, I was pretty judgmental early on, and I was expecting him to be a super emo/depressing sort of character. Thankfully, I was proven wrong again! He is snarky, slightly brooding, and hates his ‘gift,’ but there is a lot to him. I could not help but adore him! He was the perfect male lead, in my opinion.

 Kade portrays both Alona and Will really well. Their individual voices stood out really well, even with their viewpoints being switched every chapter or so. In fact, there were a few times I forgot this story was written by a woman because Will’s voice was so believable! (I was going to say manly, but I do not think that explains things well, and I am not too sure if that would be an insult to the author or not. You, sir ma’am, have a very manly way of writing/speaking. What does that even mean?) Getting back to the point, I loved Alona and Will’s characters and voice, and I especially loved their growing relationship as they learned more about one another. The dialogue between the two of them had me laughing at random moments, and I could not help but get invested in their slow-but-steadily progressing relationship.  

Something else I liked a lot was Kade’s take on ghosts and Will’s ghost whisperer abilities. I think Kade did a good job describing and explaining Will’s ability. It was interesting to learn about, and I think it added to the story really well. I do not want to say too much about it for the sake of not giving any spoilers, but just know that his ability is pretty awesome and it provided some interesting moments between him and Alona! 

Overall, this was a great, light read, and I enjoyed it greatly. There is no complex plot or anything, but there is enough intrigue with murders, high school drama, and rogue, malevolent ghosts to keep things plenty interesting. Add to that the great characters, awesome dialogue, and some rather hilarious moments, and we have a book you should not miss out on! I cannot wait for the next dose of Will and Alona in the second book, Queen of the Dead. I am eager to see what becomes of their relationship, and I’m sure some more hilarity will ensue!
 A Great Escape!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (19)

Waiting on Wednesday was created by Jill at Breaking the Spineand it is a weekly event showcasing an  upcoming release we're excited for!
My pick:
Crewel (Crewel World, #1) by Gennifer Albin
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.
Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.
Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.
Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.
Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.
The first thing that drew me to this book was the cover (I love all the colors!), and the story itself sounds original and super interesting, so I cannot wait for this book! What are your thoughts?

Monday, April 16, 2012

More Reveals and a Trailer for Taste!

Kate Evangelista has provided some excerpts and an awesome trailer for her upcoming novel, Taste!
Taste by Kate Evangelista
Release Date: May 2012
At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.
Here is the trailer:

Giveaway and Blog Tour: Embrace by Cherie Colyer

Interested in the book? Stay tuned for a giveaway!! 

Release Date: December 20, 2011
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Author Information: Website / BlogTwitter / Facebook
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Available Formats: Paperback and eBook
My Shelf:
Own (eBook)
Buy the Book: Amazon
How far would you go to save the people you love?

Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It’s responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve.

Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he’s a guy harboring a secret, but she’s willing to risk the unknown to be with him.

Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own.

Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover. Dangerous, intoxicating, and darkly romantic, Embrace is a thriller that will leave you spellbound.

What a wonderful book! I would be lying if I said that I was not surprised by how much I enjoyed this story. The synopsis of the story is rather ambiguous, so even though I was expecting for there to be some paranormal elements present, I was not too sure what they would be. (I will not be giving anything away, either!) Embrace really is a fantastic book. The plot was intriguing, the characters were wonderful and well-developed, and the action just got more intense as the story progressed. I was captivated from the very beginning, and I enjoyed reading every page.

Madison is a great female lead. She is a normal, practical girl, and I found it very easy to connect to her. She is smart, fearless, and I love the relationships she has with her friends and family. My one (and only) complaint is that when she found out she had some paranormal abilities, she immediately accepted them, no questions asked. I would have liked to see her at least question or ponder her new abilities and their existence, but I will take what I can get. Isaac, the male lead and love interest, is mysterious with a hint of dangerousness about him that made him an intriguing character. I really wish we could have learned more about him. There was not nearly enough of him in this book (at least for me)! The attraction between Isaac and Madison is pretty instant, but their feelings for one another deepen as the story continues, and I really enjoyed watching their relationship develop. Overall, the characters were well-crafted, and I found myself really invested in Madison’s story.

With an excellent storyline and characters, Embrace is a book you should not miss out on. It is one of the few standalone paranormal YA books out there, so if you are looking for a nice, entertaining read, look no further! This was a wonderful read by Colyer, and I cannot wait to see what she comes out with next! 
A Great Escape!
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (16-18)

Waiting on Wednesday was created by Jill at Breaking the Spineand it is a weekly event showcasing an  upcoming release we're excited for!
Hello, all! It has certainly been awhile! Sorry for being absent, but I was busy traveling the Americas for Spring Break! As such, I did not have much time for blogging, but I plan on catching up quickly. I missed the last two WoW posts for April, so I will be posting them this week along with today’s pick. So many good books to look forward to!

My Picks:
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

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

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

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

Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.

Release Date: June 19, 2012
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to? 

Release Date: November 13, 2012

A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable--they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash's long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they're caught, they'll be executed--but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.
WHEW! All three of these books seem amazing, and I cannot wait to check them out! :) Any thoughts? What are your picks this week?
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