Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: The One by Kiera Cass

The One was everything I was hoping for and then some.  The selection is down to the final four and America finally decided to fight for Maxon, which I would have been doing from the very beginning.  Maxon is one of my favorite fictional males and I couldn't understand why America still doubted him.  

At the beginning of the book the remaining members of the selection were still out for blood.  They didn't trust each other and the possibility of lasting friendships was almost certainly out of the question.  After a few events, things slowly began to change.  Some characters such as the King will never change, but I was very surprised by Celeste and Kriss.  Celeste was not the heartless snob I always thought she was and Kriss had been keeping a secret that I never would have anticipated.

The rebels are still out for change and attacks against the palace and the royal family are always a possibility.  Violence is escalating withing the casts, but America and Maxon soon learn that one of the groups of rebels may actually be on their side.

I thoroughly enjoyed this series and can't wait to see what Kiera will be working on next.

Here is the brief Goodreads overview for her next series:

" A new series by Kiera Cass, author of The Selection. In the as-yet-untitled YA romance, which was pitched as Matched meets Never Let Me Go, children trained in academies to be perfect friends can be purchased by the wealthy as companions, and a forbidden romance ensues."

There is an additional Selection series novella scheduled to be released this winter about Queen Amberly, which I'm anxiously anticipating.  I would also love a short story that provides a little more detail on what happens after The One.  A glimpse at what life is like for Maxon, his princess, and the people of Illea a few years into the future would be an excellent way of capping of this exceptional series.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Queen by Kiera Cass

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.  

The Queen by Kiera Cass
Release Date: December 2, 2014

I'm reading The One this week, so I thought it was only fitting to select The Queen this week.  I have enjoyed her interactions with America and the Elite so far in The One and look forward to reading more about her character.

The Queen (The Selection, #0.4)Goodreads Overview: 

Before America Singer’s story began, another girl came to the palace to compete for the hand of a different prince….

Don’t miss this digital original novella set in the captivating world of Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series. This prequel story takes place before the events of The Selection and is told from the point of view of Prince Maxon’s mother, Amberly. Discover a whole new Selection with this inside look at how Maxon’s parents met—and how an ordinary girl named Amberly became a beloved queen.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

This series has been on my TBR list since December of 2011, but for some reason it never made it to the top of the list.  I always loved the cover with the bright red dress and the swirling smoke...or clouds...I was never sure which.  (I'm not going to spoil it for you, but you will learn what the smoke is pretty late in the book).

Nikki Beckett's mother was killed by a drunk driver prior to the start of the book.  The depression and sense of loss combined with her insecurities about her relationship with Jack pushed her towards Cole.  He had a mysterious way of taking away all of her pain.

She later learns that Cole is an Everliving and uses human emotions as his source of energy.  He feeds on her for 100 years, which equates to 6 months in human time.  This time period is referred to as "the feed".  She should have wasted away to virtually nothing, but for some reason she survived.  Now Cole believes the two of them can rule the underworld.  The only problem is Nikki's love for Jack never diminished.  She refuses to go with Cole to the Everneath and returns to the surface for her last six months with Jack and her family.    

 At first I was a Cole supporter and thought the two of them would make a great couple.  That was before I met Jack.  Once I could see Jack and Nikki's love and devotion to one another it was clear that they belonged together.  They began researching mythology with the hope of finding a way to free Nikki.  With time running out, they need to work quickly or they could lose each other forever.  

Everneath was an excellent debut novel for Brodi.  I was captivated from the very beginning and didn't feel like the story lagged at any point.  Brodi added a unique twist at the end that I did not see coming until very late in the story.  It set up the second book beautifully and left the reader anxiously anticipating Everbound, which is the second book in the series.  Without this change in direction, I don't think there would have been much of a plot line remaining.

I will give you advance warning.  DO NOT read the synopsis for Everbound until you have already finished reading Everneath.  There is a large spoiler revealed in the synopsis and I was a little upset when I read it. I don't think I will read the synopsis for a book further along in a series ever again.  I have heard other bloggers complain about this, but this is the first time I have experienced it first hand.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Marathon Monday: The Glo Run

Last Friday was my first race of the season.  I ran in the Columbus, OH Glo Run.  If you haven't seen one of these events, the race starts dark.  There are several tunnels that you run through that are all lit up and most of the runners wear glow necklaces and anything else that glows.  Here is a short video that my husband took from inside one of the tunnels.  Preston and two of his friends are cheering on the right hand side.

Here is a picture of my son and I before the race.  He thought he was super cool with his glow glasses.

Here is our team: The Dublin Sole Sisters

I had a PR (personal record) for my 5K.  I finished in 28:58.5 with a 9:34 pace.  The distance on  my watch was only 3.03 miles instead of 3.1, but I still would have been under my personal best of 29:40 even if I ran a full 3.1 miles.

My next race will be on the Fourth of July in Vermont.  After that race I transition from my 5K training program to my official 1/2 marathon training schedule.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Review: The Hunt by Stacey Kade

The Hunt is the second installment in the Project Paper Doll trilogy.  In the first book, The Rules, we were introduced to Ariane who was created in a lab.  (She is half alien and half human.)  On the surface she looks like a human, but she has some very unique abilities.  Zane is your typical high school boy who happens to be in love with a "hybrid".

At the end of The Rules, Ariane and Zane were on the run.  Ariane's creator, Dr. Jacobs, wants to keep her locked up in the lab because he thinks she is too dangerous to be out in society.  She wants to be free to make her own decisions and live a normal life.  When Ariane discovers there are other hybrids living near Chicago she develops a plan.  She thinks they can stop the challenges between the different labs and earn their freedom if the hybrids can all work together.

On the surface this sounds like a very simple idea, but Laughlin's hybrids (Ford, Nixon, and Carter) are not quite the same as Ariane.  Ariane and Zane run into some difficulty, which turns into a very dangerous situation for everyone involved.

Drs. Laughlin and Jacobs are ruthless and will stop at nothing to win the challenge.  The ending was action packed and Stacey left us with a HUGE cliffhanger.  I was completely shocked by the direction the series appears to be taking, but at the same time I am REALLY excited to read the final book.  I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I think Zane will finally be on an even playing field with the rest of the characters.  The hybrids consider humans to be inferior, which in many ways they are, but Zane has proven his loyalty and may now be able to contribute on a greater scale.

This series is highly entertaining and is not as sci-fi as it may sound.  I'm not usually a fan of sci-fi, but I love all of Stacey's books.  She has a great sense of humor and you can't help but love her characters.  She incorporates paranormal elements into the story, but her books focus more on high school relationships and drama.  Any YA fan will enjoy this series.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Scandal by Sarah Ockler

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.  

Scandal by Sarah Ockler
Release Date: June 17, 2014

I added this book to my TBR list quite some time ago.  Now that the release date is next week and I'm starting to see more reviews... I can't wait to read it.  I still have a few books to read for our Book Nerds Across America read alongs, but hopefully I will be able to get to it this summer.

#scandalGoodreads Overview: 

Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation. 

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love...

Monday, June 9, 2014

Movie Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Meade

I was nervous about seeing this movie in the theater because the trailer looked like Mean Girls. While I'm only three books into the VA series so far... I didn't think the movie would do the books justice, so I waited until it came out on DVD.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the movie.  I think they did an amazing job on the casting.  Dimitri was dead on and Rose, Lissa, and Christian were very close to what I had envisioned as well.
Here is a picture of Danila Kozlovsky and Zoey Deutch as Rose and Dimiti.
Here is a picture of Lucy Fry and Dominic Sherwood as Lissa and Christian.

The only part that I really thought was cheesy was at the beginning when they were defining Dhampirs, Moroi, and Strigoi.  Rather than bringing up the terms in conversation the titles flashed across the screen with one of the characters basically giving a definition.  They also had an exaggerated scene where Lissa was feeding on Rose when they were still out on their own that I thought was a little over the top.  The rest of the movie was how I would have expected everything to flow based upon the books.
If you are a fan of the Vampire Academy series it is definitely worth the time to watch the movie.  I really hope they make the second book, Frost Bite, into a movie so we get the chance to see Adrian Ivashkov's character on the big screen.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Stacking the Shelves at BEA

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, be it physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Tynga publishes her post each Saturday, so be sure to link up your posts and check out what books others have added to their shelves that week.

As part of my 2014 Bookish Goals, I can only pick up 1 new book for every book I finish.  I will try to keep myself honest by sharing the books I finished each week in exchange for the new books I purchased, borrowed, was gifted, etc.  

Prior to my trip to BEA I had 2 credits for additional books according to my challenge.  This is only because I finished Keeping Her by Cora Carmack on my flight to the conference. you can imagine I am now REALLY far in the hole and probably will not be able to catch up by the end of the year.  I will try, but the odds are not in my favor.

Day 1 of BEA

Guy In Real Life by Steve Brezenoff
Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle


I already have pictures with Josephine Angelini, but this was the first time I was able to meet Rececca Serle.  She had to stamp all of her books because, as you can see, she injured her shoulder. flight was late, so Flo was kind enough to wait in line to get my copy of Guy In Real Life.  

Here is a picture of Flo and I at the Kensington party that evening.

Day 2

The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
The Fire Artist by Daisy Whitney
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Even In Paradise by Chelsey Philpot
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Sublime by Christina Lauren
Unmaking Hunter Kennedy by Anne Eliot
Finding It by Cora Carmack
Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols
Unhinged by A.G. Howard
Wait For You by J. Lynn

My top priorities of the day were to get a copy of Landline and to meet Cora Carmack.  I've read three of Cora's books in the past few weeks and was really excited to see that she was signing the final book in the series, Faking It, which is the only book in the Losing It series that I still need to read.  

After reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown I really wanted to meet Holly Black as well.  I then had to schedule the rest of my day around these events and did a remarkable job of getting most of the books on my list.  

To make up for Flo picking up a copy of Guy In Real Life yesterday, I waited in line for Since You've Been Gone and got the copy signed for Flo.  I really would have liked a copy of this book, but she had another commitment and I owed her one.

With Cora Carmack
With A.G. Howard
Holly Black

Day 3

Be With Me by Jennifer Armentrout
The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Day three was very chaotic with Book Con, but I was still able to get all of the books on my list.  Maggie Stiefvater was very sweet and I found out that she is only planning on releasing four books in the Raven Cycle series.  Book three will be released this fall, so we only have one more year to wait for the final installment!!

Flo is one of the admins for Down with the Capital, a Hunger Games fan site, so we had to participate in the Hunger Games trivia session.  Fortunately it was a team effort because I didn't know any of the answers.  I've read the books and seen both of the movies, but the questions were REALLY detailed.  Flo and her other DWTC admin who was in attendance were all stars and won the competition.  They received Book Con t-shirts and a tote bag, but the victory was the real prize.

Cassandra Clare
Maggie Stiefvater

I picked up 20 books over the three days at BEA, which means I have to read 18 books without picking up any additional books just to get back to even for the year.  I will keep track of my progress on my weekly stacking the shelves posts, but it isn't looking good.  There are several books coming out in the next few months that I really want to read and I'm not the fastest reader due to lack of time.

There were a few additional books I would have liked to have gotten, but they overlapped with other signings, so I had to prioritize my list.  Overall the convention was a blast and I look forward to attending again in the future.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Review: Breakable by Tammara Webber

Breakable (Contours of the Heart, #2)

I would like to thank Tammara and her publisher, Penguin Berkley, for the advanced copy of Breakable.  I absolutely LOVED Easy and couldn't wait to read Lucas's story.  

Breakable is told from Lucas's point-of-view with chapters alternated between the past and present.  The "Landon" chapters begin at the time of his Mother's death.  We see what life was like for him through high school up until the time he left for college.  He was struggling with the loss of his mother and did not receive the support he needed from his father or counselors.  We also get to see how his relationship with their long time family friends, the Hellers, developed into the second family he so desperately needed. 

The "Lucas" chapters provide his perspective on the events that took place in Easy.  He really struggled with the moral dilemma of dating a student in a class he was tutoring, but he just couldn't find a way of telling her.  She was the first person he connected with since his mother died and he didn't want to scare her away.

This is an exceptional book and one I would highly recommend to all of my friends.  It is New Adult, so the subject matter is more mature than the YA books I usually read.  Easy was actually my introduction into the world of NA and I absolutely love it.  Cora Carmack is another outstanding NA author that I have discovered.  If you have any other recommendations I would love for you to share them with me.

If you haven't read Easy, I suggest that you read it prior to Breakable.  The books are stand alones, but knowing Jacqueline's story prior to Lucas's will definitely be to your benefit.  They are both exceptional characters and I gave both books 5 out of 5 stars of Goodreads.  If you read one of the books you will definitely want to read both of them, so start with Easy.  

Tammara made a comment that there are a couple of secondary characters she is considering writing about.  At the time I had no idea who she could have been referring to.  Kennedy and Buck were the only real secondary characters in Easy and they were not good options in my opinion.  After reading Breakable I can now see a few characters with potential.  Boyce is my first choice, but Pearl or Melody could be possibilities as well.  If you have read the series, please share your thoughts on possible characters you think she could be referring it.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Keeping Her by Cora Carmack

Keeping Her (Losing It, #1.5)

Keeping Her is a short story that takes place after Losing It. Novellas have a tendency to be okay, but not great.  This is not one of them.  I gave Keeping Her 5 stars and enjoyed it equally as much as Losing It and Faking It. 

The story details Garrick and Bliss's trip to London to visit his family and to celebrate their engagement. This is the first time he has returned to England since he left for college six years earlier.  We get a taste of what life was like for him growing up and Bliss has the opportunity to meet some of his high school friends.  She is very insecure about meeting his Mother and a surprise party throws both of them even further off their game.  Fortunately they are both actors and are willing to play the part to put on a show for his parents and their friends.  

I've had Cora's books on my to-be-read list since October 2013.  Since reading Losing It at the beginning of May I haven't been able to get enough.  I read Faking It and Keeping Her and purchased All Lined Up.  

I was lucky enough to meet Cora at BEA last weekend and picked up a signed copy of Finding It.  She was super sweet and even informed me there is an additional Garrick and Bliss short story on her website that I wasn't aware of. (This is in addition to the one she released as part of the All Lined Up pre-order promotion).  Here is the link to her blog in case you are interested in reading them as well.