Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

This is Not a TestThis is Not a Test 
Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: June 1, 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?

This is Not a Test is Courtney Summer's first venture into paranormal and post-apocalyptic. I was a little weary because while I love Summer's contemporary novels, would This is Not a Test live up to my expectations? Well, it did. This is Not a Test is a great, edge-of-your-seat novel and was definitely a success. 

True to herself, Summers puts more into this novel than zombies. She addresses other issues in this book such as abuse and suicide. This may not be a contemporary novel, but it definitely fits right in with Summer's first three novels. 

Within the first few pages, we lean that Sloane doesn't want to live any longer. After the world ends, she still doesn't see the point of living, yet she survives. I'm going to admit, this isn't a characteristic that I like in a character. Why go through all of that to survive when she doesn't want to? Sloane has had painful experiences even before the zombie apocalypse. She's not really a relatable character. Yet I kept rooting for her. I wanted her not only to survive, but to want to survive. Finding a reason to live is just as vital to the novel as the zombie aspect is, if not more. 

There is no doubt, Summers is an excellent story teller. The imagery in this book was fabulous. And Summers, per usual, was very blunt and candid, which I love about her. Overall, Summers can write one heck of novel. 

This is a book that sucks the reader in from the beginning and doesn't let go until the last page. It is a very intense and perfectly-paced book (not too fast, not too slow). The last fifty pages or so are especially intense, filled with many a heart-wrenching and heart-pounding moments. 

Overall, I was very impressed with this novel. Even though this was a zombie, post-apocalypse novel, it was so much more than that. Summers did not disappoint! 


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: Under the Light.

So. It's been quite some time since I've done a WoW post. Recently I've been just doing Charming Covers posts. But, I just found this book and a WoW post seemed like the only on that would fit to showcase this book. 


Waiting on Wednesday was created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. 

Under the Light (Light, #2)
Under the Light by Laura Whitcomb
May 14, 2012

Helen needed a body to be with her beloved and Jenny needed to escape from hers before her spirit was broken. It was wicked, borrowing it, but love drives even the gentlest soul to desperate acts.

When Jenny returns to her body, she finds that someone has been living her life while she was away. She doesn’t remember being Billy’s lover or defying her family. But now she is faced with the consequences. And Helen, who has returned to warn Jenny—to help her—finds herself trapped, haunting the girl she wished to save.

In this captivating companion novel to A Certain Slant of Light, the love story between Jenny and Billy begins out-of-body—where they can fly and move the stars--and continues into the tumultuous realm of the living, where they are torn away from each other even as they slowly remember their spirits falling in love.

A Certain Slant of Light is one of my favorite books. I just found out, after several years, that there is going to be a sequel. I am excited to return to these characters again, but I am worried that I'll be disappointed. I loved ACSL so much, I don't want to be let down. That doesn't mean that I'm not going to read this book, though!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I've Yet to Finish

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and Bookish. For more information or to participate, visit here. 

This week's topic, as the title of this post states, is series that I have not finished. 

  1. The Millennium series by Stieg Larsson-I've read the first two books in the series but I've yet to read the third for a few reasons. One, because it's so long that it's hard for me to commit to a book for so long that I'm not even going to review. Two, Because even though it is the last book, it's not the conclusion. The author died before he could finish the series, so this is the last book available and I know I will want to know what happens to the characters after this novel.
  2. The Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong-I honestly don't know why I haven't read the last book yet. I've had for quite some time. I think it's just because I don't want the series to end. After thirteen books, I've grown quite attached to this world and the characters in it. 
  3. A Need so Beautiful series by Suzanne Young-I just read the first book a couple of weeks ago but haven't read the sequel yet. I really liked the first one so I should get on that soon. 
  4. 13 to Life by Shannon Delany-I've read the first two books in this series. I really enjoy, but I just need to get on to reading the rest. 
  5. Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout-I enjoyed the first book. I've had to sequel for some time now, I just need to read it.
  6. Fever series by Karen Marie Moning-Honestly, I didn't love this series like a lot of people have. But I've only have one book left and I want to know what happens. I just need to be motivated enough to pick it up.
  7. The Mediator by Meg Cabot- I just bought the last two books in this series so I should get around to them fairly soon!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: The Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

The Stone GirlThe Stone Girl
Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 28, 2012

She feels like a creature out of a fairy tale; a girl who discovers that her bones are really made out of stone, that her skin is really as thin as glass, that her hair is brittle as straw, that her tears have dried up so that she cries only salt. Maybe that's why it doesn't hurt when she presses hard enough to begin bleeding: it doesn't hurt, because she's not real anymore. 
Sethie Weiss is hungry, a mean, angry kind of hunger that feels like a piece of glass in her belly. She's managed to get down to 111 pounds and knows that with a little more hard work--a few more meals skipped, a few more snacks vomited away--she can force the number on the scale level lower. She will work on her body the same way she worked to get her perfect grades, to finish her college applications early, to get her first kiss from Shaw, the boy she loves, the boy who isn't quite her boyfriend.
Sethie will not allow herself on slip, not one bad day, not one break in concentration. Her body is there for her to work on when everything and everyone else--her best friend, her schoolwork, and Shaw--are gone. 

It's hard for me to say that I 'like' this book because this isn't a book that you 'like.' It was heartbreaking and hard to read, but regardless, it is a good book.

I'm going to start by saying that I love Alyssa B. Sheinmel. This is only my second book that I've read by her, but I need to read more. She just has a way of putting so much emotion in her writing. In a way, the writing in this novel is very detached from the main character and story. This would normally not be a good thing, but it works with this subject matter.

Sethie was a very...interesting character. I don't have much to say about her besides that she was a very broken person. She had to go on a long journey in this novel, one that had to get worse before it got better. She wasn't really a character that I could relate to due to the situations, but I will say that I was rooting for her to get better throughout the novel.

This is a very graphic novel. In a way I was surprised by this, but this aspect really works to show the horrors of anorexia. This made the novel hard to read at times, but it really worked in the novel's favor.

Like I've said before, this book can be hard to read. This may be short, but it is no way a light read. It's really hard to watch Sethie be so dense.

Overall, The Stone Girl is a good book. Is it one that I will read again? Probably not. But it did leave an impression on me.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: Miracle by Elizabeth Scott

Elizabeth Scott
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 5, 2012

Megan survived the plane crash—but can she survive the aftermath? An intense, emotional novel from the author ofThe Unwritten Rule and Between Here and Forever.
Megan is a miracle. At least, that’s what everyone says. Having survived a plane crash that killed everyone else on board, Megan knows she should be grateful just to be alive. But the truth is, she doesn’t feel like a miracle. In fact, she doesn’t feel anything at all. Then memories from the crash start coming back.
Scared and alone, Megan doesn’t know whom to turn to. Her entire community seems unable—or maybe unwilling—to see her as anything but Miracle Megan. Everyone except for Joe, the beautiful boy next door with a tragic past and secrets of his own. All Megan wants is for her life to get back to normal, but the harder she tries to live up to everyone’s expectations, the worse she feels. And this time, she may be falling too fast to be saved...
Prior to Reading: There are a few Elizabeth Scott books that I really liked, but I didn't enjoy her last few as much as I wished I would. I excited to read a book of hers again, but at the same time I was a bit weary.

Review: Megan has been through a lot and is trying to deal with being the sole survivor of a plane crash. In some ways, it was really hard to relate to Megan. And that was expected. She's tired of being classified as a "miracle" and even though has survived, has lost sight of what she has to live for. It was easy to feel sympathy towards Megan but not so easy to empathize with her. Like I said, she has been through a lot and is a completely different person than she was before the crash. 

This is a short book and a very quick read. Despite the tough topic this isn't a particularly hard book to get through. It definitely holds its emotional impact but can also be read in one sitting. 

This book is about more than a survivor of  a plane crash. There are also several issues dealt with in this book. It deals with family issues and relationships, being the outcast of a small town (in more ways than one), but most of all, it deals with grief. I wish that some topics were touched on more (again, this is a short book), but it was never over-bearing. 

Overall: I enjoyed this Elizabeth Scott more than the last couple. It's not my favorite, but I still liked it more than I thought I would. Miracle is an enjoyable story and grief and healing. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Charming Covers [44]: Golden by Jessi Kirby

Charming Covers is a feature here at Book Fanatics where I show off some covers that have recently been revealed/that I've recently found. 

Golden by Jessi Kirby
May 14, 2012

Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost may be a distant relative of Robert Frost, but she has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she's about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a mystery in her lap--one that might be the key to uncovering the truth behind a town tragedy, she decides to take a chance.

I love that how all of Jessi Kirby's covers scream summer. Golden is no different. I like how the gold in it is created by the sun.
I've only read Jessi's debut novel, but I'll probably read anything by her. I still can't believe I've waited so long to read In Honor. Anyway, Golden looks like a really unique and great read!

What do you guys think?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Fathomless (Fairytale Retellings, #3)Fathomless (Fairytale Retellings #3)
Jackson Pearce
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 4, 2012

Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, an Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant--until Celia meets Lo.
Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea--a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid--all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality.
When a handsome boy name Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her...and steal his soul. 

I love Pearce's retellings. They are really unique and fun. Fathomless was no different. Although I didn't like it as much as the first book, Sisters Red, it was still really unique and I quite enjoyed it. 

One thing that I liked about this book was how it stayed true to the story of The Little Mermaid--and not the Disney version. I definitely could draw parallels between this book and the original Hans Christian Anderson story. However, like the previous books in the series, this novel was still unique and brought it's own twists on the classic tale. 

These were not my favorite characters in the series. They were interesting, but a bit lacking. Out of the two (or three) main characters, Celia was definitely my favorite. She felt inferior to her two older (by a few minutes) sisters. I loved how she finally broke out on her own in this book. While Naida and Lo were still interesting characters, I just did not like them as much. I did, however, like learning about their history and how they became who they are.

The common trend between the first two books (besides that they were both retellings) were the Fenris (werewolves). I was really intrigued to see how they would fit into this book. How can you combine mermaids and werewolves? That's bound to be interesting. However, I felt that they were just thrown into the story and really did not have much of a place in this novel. I was disappointed on that end. 

The writing, per usual, was very simple and easy to read. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing. It makes for an easy and quick read. This book does not take long at all to read. 

Overall, while it wasn't my favorite book, I still enjoyed it. There were a few things that didn't live up to my expectations, but overall an enjoyable, quick read. 

(3.5 stars)


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Book Haul and Week in Review (10)

This post is dedicate not only to not only sharing all of the books that I've received this week but also to share the happenings this week on the blog.  This is inspired by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post. Also, the title Book Haul is provided by Katie's Book Blog. 

So, guys, it's been a while. I really need to get into the habit again of doing these posts once a week, not once every three weeks. Anyway, here are (most of) the books that I received over the past few weeks. 

Books Received:

For Review:
Fathomless (Fairytale Retellings, #3)
Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

(for my birthday!)
Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Onyx (Lux, #2)
Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Waiting SkyPushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)
The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin- won from Reading Angel for last month's contemporary challenge winner
Pushing the Limits by Kaite McGarry (so excited to have my own copy!)-won from Book Hounds YA

I also got a couple of Barnes & Noble gift cards, so I'll be utilizing those soon!

(as always, I got myself in trouble at the library)
These are just from this week. I'm not going to go through all of the library books that I've gotten over the past few weeks. 
The Blood Keeper (The Blood Journals, #2)Defiance (Defiance, #1)Starling (Starling, #1) Enshadowed (Nevermore, #2)
The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton
Defiance by C.J. Red
Starling by Leslie Livingston
 Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh
Dreamless (Starcrossed, #2)
Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

Happenings on Book Fanatics:

I don't know if you've noticed, but I got a new design! I'm super happy with the result:

Book reviews:
Dearly Departed by Lia Habel 
What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor

Other posts of interest:

Other than that, it's been a pretty quiet week this week!

What did you guys get this week?


Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: Dearly Departed by Lia Habel

Dearly Departed
Lia Habel
Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: September 29, 2011

A classic romance, suspense thriller, rip-roaring adventure, and macabre comedy all at once, Dearly, Departed redefines the concept of undying love. 
The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria--a high-tech nation modeled on the mores of an antique era. Sixteen-year-old Nora Dearly is far more interested in her country's political unrest than in silly debutante balls. But the death of her beloved parents leaves Nora at the mercy of a social-climbing aunt who plans to marry off her niece for money. To Nora, no fate could be more horrible--until she's nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses. Now she's suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting a fatal virus that raises the dead. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble...and thoroughly deceased. But like the rest of his special undead unit, Bram has been enabled by luck and modern science to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there's no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire. 

I should not have waited so long to read Dearly Departed. I really liked this book. It was so creative, had awesome characters (one in particular), and was addicting. And it had zombies, which already made it awesome. 

I'm not going to lie, it took a while for me to warm up to Nora. She just wasn't my favorite character. In the beginning she just seemed spoiled and naive to me. But as I got see her in more situations throughout the book. And I loved how snarky she could be at times. 

I completely misjudged Pamela. When she was first introduced I figured she was a character who was really spoiled, completely ignorant, and would not play a vital role in this book. For whatever reason, I kept this image of her for a long time. I finally realized that she wasn't as bad as I originally thought of her. However, I do wish more of the focus on the book was put on Nora and Bram. 

Which brings me to my next point. Bram. Bram is my absolute favorite. He was so sweet, not just for a  zombie but just as a person. He was also really loyal, and... I just loved him. My favorite character, by far. 

This world combined two of my favorite things... steam-punk and Victorian. I was a little apprehensive about this combination. It seemed like a good idea, but would it play out? Yes, I really liked this world. It wasn't the most well-developed and riveting future world out there, but it was still interesting and creative.

And of course... the zombies. These are not like your typical brain-eating zombies. They have feelings and thoughts. In the book, they liken themselves to vampires, which is a pretty accurate description, except they have a need to eat flesh instead of drink blood. Most fight the need, but not all. Overall, this  was a very interesting twist on zombies. 

This book didn't suck me in from the first page. But in a fairly short time (about 40 pages) I was addicted. From then on I couldn't put the book down. The book may be over 400 pages, but I wanted more by the end. 

Dearly, Departed was just a great read. It was a perfect mixture of action, romance, and, of course, zombies.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Charming Covers [43]: With All My Soul

Charming Covers is a feature here at Book Fanatics where I show off some covers that have recently been revealed/that I've recently found. 

With All My Soul (Soul Screamers, #7)
With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent
April 1, 2013

The seventh and final book in the Soul Screamers Series. 

Yay! There's a cover. You don't know how much I love this series. It's one of my favorite series. I'm both excited to return to this world again and sad since it is the last book in the series. All I have to say is it better have a lot of Tod in it!
I wasn't sure about the gold coloring in this one since the others have been so bright. But I read on Rachel's blog that she personally requested that the dress on this book be silver or gold, so I'm glad she got her wish (I mean, it is her book and all). And, she said that this dress is actually (unlike the others) in the book, and that makes me happy, too. 


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor

What I Didn't SayWhat I Didn't Say 
Keary Taylor
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release Date: April 30, 2012

Getting drunk homecoming night your senior year is never a good idea, but Jake Hayes never expected it all to end with a car crash and a t-post embedded in his throat. 
His biggest regret about it all? What he never said to Samantha Shay. He's been in love with her for years and never had the guts to tell her. Now it's too late. Because after that night, Jake will never be able to talk again.
When Jake returns to his small island home, population 5,000, he'll have to learn how to deal with being mute. He also finds that his family isn't limited to his six brothers and sisters, that sometimes an entire island is watching out for you. And when he gets the chance to spend more time with Samantha, she'll help him learn that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Maybe, if she'll let him, Jake will finally tell her what he didn't say before, even if he can't actually say it.

Despite the content and the topic of this book, it wasn't a real emotional read. Sure, it had it's moments, but there wasn't any real tear-jerking or emotion-provoking moments. It was mostly just a cute novel and love story. 

Jake was an overall sweetheart. He's had to recover from the tragedy of losing his voice. He has been to scared to tell Sam that he's loved her for years. After he loses his voice, he will never have the chance now. Jake goes through numerous tests throughout the book, and not just losing his voice. His loyalty, love, and character are tested. In the end, I really enjoyed watching Jake grow. 

This book had an interesting cast of characters. There were quite a few (Jake has several siblings) and they brought many a laugh throughout the novel. Sam... wasn't my favorite. I grew to like her but there were a few hiccups along the way. I also really enjoyed Jake's friends. They were the ones who brought up most the laughs. And one of my favorite characters was Jake's sister, Jordan. She was sweet and loyal to Jake. 

The theme of this book is pretty obvious. It all but states it (actually, I think it does state it once or twice). No matter how bad things are, they can always be worse. It's what you do in those situations that matter. 

One thing that bothered me about this book was the errors. I found several grammar and spelling errors while reading this book. There weren't enough to take away from the story or to make me hate this book or anything, but they did get on my nerves. 

Overall, this a quick and entertaining read. I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped, but it was still enjoyable. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Design!

So yeah, guys. If you haven't noticed I have gotten a new blog design. 

It's about time! I didn't realize how crappy my old design was until I got this one.

I love it so much! Like I said so much better than my old design. And I have the lovely Julianna at Dreamless Designs to thank for doing my new design!

I wanted something romantic because that pretty much describes me and hopefully my blog. The green represents birth and the pink represents love, so the idea is the birth of new love (Julianna came up with that.)

What do you guys think?


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bloggiesta: I'm Participating!

Hey everyone! So I decided that I'm going to participate in Bloggiesta this go around!

Bloggiesta is hosted by There's a Book and It's All About Books. To sign up or for more information visit here!

This fall Bloggiesta is from September 28-30. This is my first time participating and I've very excited!

Are you participating?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review: A Need so Beautiful by Suzanne Young

A Need So Beautiful (A Need So Beautiful, #1)A Need so Beautiful (A Need so Beautiful #1)
Suzanne Young
Publisher: Balzar & Bray
Release Date: June 1, 2011

We all want to be remembered. Charlotte's destiny is to be Forgotten...
Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.
But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become--her mark on this earth, her very existence--is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.
Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny--no matter how dark the consequences.
I definitely should not have waited so long to read this book. I've heard great things about it, but for whatever reason I didn't pick this book book up until recently. 

One of my favorite things about this book is how beautiful was. Just everything about it--the prose and the feeling that the book gave off--was gorgeous and I loved it. I thought that this aspect was really unique and it added to the novel. 

Charlotte was a really unique character. I admit, it took a while for me to warm up to her, but once I did, I loved her. She was such a flawed and complex character. She had a destiny she can't control that she wants no part of. She was selfish and in this case I completely understood why. This is part of what made her such a great character--she was flawed but relatable and an overall lovable character. 

This is a story that sucks the reader in and doesn't let go.I will admit, I didn't get sucked in right away. It took a few pages but once I got into the book, I couldn't stop reading. From the short length and addicting quality, it is very easy to read this book in one sitting. It's kind of hard not to. 

This book is an overall gorgeous read. One good thing about me waiting so long to jump on the bandwagon is that I don't have to wait to read the sequel!