This was one of those really big titles at ALA midwinter this year, and I was super excited to get my hands on it because I really enjoyed the books that Margaret had co-written with Kami Garcia. When I read the back of the book I was really excited because the premise sounded really entertaining. Although when I finally dug into what was INSIDE I was slightly less than impressed. I'm not sure WHAT, but it felt like something was missing, not in terms of the writing (someone joked that it was another author), but more in terms of plot or character. I can't put my finger on it specifically, so I can't tell you what it was that put me off, but it just didn't seem like it was all that if could have been. If I HAD to put it into words I would say it was a combination of how unknown the aliens were, although that was probably on purpose, but put it together with the fact that I was expecting a little more action,and maybe some more romance that MIGHT be what didn't do it for me. Now, don't get me wrong, it was an okay book, enjoyable, interesting, original, if not somewhat confusing. The concept was really great, and I loved all of the little top secret communications before/after each chapter because it was different. In my opinion there is a very fine line between giving the reader too much information and giving them not enough, and in this case Margaret didn't, in my opinion, give us enough information. As a whole the novel was enjoyable but not something that I would consider a must buy book. It may appeal to those of you who enjoyed Margaret's first novels as well as people who are looking for an alien novel geared towards a YA audience that's more about secrets than the fear of an invasion. I'll probably pick up the sequel when it comes out, but it won't be at the top of my list.
Out May 7, 2013
4/5 dust spirits
*Thank you to Little, Brown for providing me with an ARC (via ALA midwinter) in return for an honest review.
Two years ago I stumbled upon Suzanne's third published novel, A Need So Beautiful, and I fell in love. The story was original and so achingly beautiful I knew I would pretty much read anything this author wrote, so when I heard about this book I was hooked. Again Suzanne came up with a truly original idea and again she packed an emotional punch with just her words. This book, it's fiction in most senses of the word, and if I HAD to pick a category to place this novel in I would chose sci-fi, but it really doesn't fit in one place. There's SO much truth in this novel despite it being mostly made up, and to me that makes it even more amazing that it already was. Sloane lives in a world where suicide is a disease and teenagers are killing themselves at an alarming rate. The only thing that works to save these kids is The Program, but it's not what it seems. Having gone through some of these things myself, some of the feelings, I understood what Sloane was going through and that the emotions were real. You know when you read a book and you're in sock about how it makes you feel? This, for me, was one of THOSE books. The premise itself was horrifying and intriguing and somewhat tempting. It also brought so many questions into my mind. The main one being if you take away a person's memories are they still the same person? Personally I fell in love with this novel the moment I started it, and I can't wait to see what happens next. I'm also now positive that it's impossible for Suzanne to write a book that doesn't make me feel ALL the things. This is a book that I think everyone should read, but I will warn you that it's intense, so be careful about how fast you read it and maybe have something fluffy to read if things get to real.
Out April 30, 2013
5/5 dust spirits
Thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing me with an ARC in return for an honest review.
Back in January I went to ALA Midwinter and I picked up some extra ARCs for you guys to help spread the word about them, but seeing as I hate going to the post office I haven't done as many giveaways as I planed to. But since it's almost May here's another one. Most of these area already out, and for the ones that are I can't guarantee that they will get to you before the release date, but it is free to you if you win. Starting today THREE of you will win at LEAST one of the ARCs shown below. The first place winner will get two of their choice, and the second and third place winners will get one. Due to money problems I can only open this contest to the US and Canada, unless you have a relative or someone who I could mail the book to you who lives in the US. I hope you understand. I love ALL of my followers but money is tight because of some plumbing problems we've had recently.
Last year I read Elizabeth's debut novel Unraveling and I thought it was an outstanding novel. It was really one of the first YA sci-fi novels that I had come across, because while there are dystopian novels and paranormal novels Liz really kept her novel in the science category. Every now and again a book comes along that's really different, not in terms of style but in terms of the idea. Having finished the first book I twitter-attacked Liz, asking her if there was going to be a sequel, and when she said yes I was ecstatic. Now that I've finished the second one I can say that it does indeed live up to the first one. Although it's not by any means the same book, which can sometimes happen with sequels, and I was just as thrilled with the heart-pounding action and sneaky twists and turns. Janelle continued to be a strong character, and she is really someone who is a good role model for people of any age and gender. There are moments in a story when things could turn out perfectly and every problem was solved with little to no effort, but Liz isn't one of those authors, so she does take risks, just like she did in her first book, and that makes it even better. Liz keeps up with the little X-File undertone, which means it will appeal to fans of the show. I think it will also appeal to fans of Doctor Who and any of those movies or that are along the lines of taking down a corrupt force in the world. There's also some FBI stuff going on in there, so that makes it fun too. Personally I COULD see Liz writing another novel with these characters, but I don't think she has any plans for that in the future, so while I would love to see Janelle and the gang back in action I will also check out anything else she writes, because she manages to leave me guessing until the last minute, and her characters are nothing to scoff at when it comes to courage.
Out April 23, 2013
5/5 dust spirits
*Thanks to Harper Teen for providing me with an ARC (from ALA Mid Winter) in return for an honest review.
I asked Disney Hyperion for two ARCs when I emailed them quite a few months ago, this one and The Archived, but because this one came out much later it got pushed to the bottom of the pile over and over again. Now that I've finally gotten to it I'm not quite sure what took me so long to read any of Stacey's books, especially since I have her first series. When I first heard about this novel I was really excited, because it sounded awesome, and I was not disappointed with it. Stacey crafts a plot that's fresh and really hits the nail on the head with the dual POV. Sometimes dual POV can hinder a story, but I truly believe that in this instance it helps further the story along and makes it stronger overall. There were times when I was a little angry with Zane, but I can see why he is the way he is, and he does seem to evolve over the course of the novel which is a huge plus. Ariane also evolves, which is impressive because it's the first book in a series, but I can already see how she's changing. It sort of reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in a way of tone, only more X Files in terms of the paranormal part. There are little twists and turns that even I didn't see coming, although maybe I should have because after the fact they were a little obvious (but isn't that how it always works?). I can see this series going in one of two ways, so I'm eager to see where Stacey ends up going with it, which means I will have to pick up the next book. Overall I was very pleased with the end result and I would recommend this to people who are looking for a quick read that is equal parts fun and thought provoking.
Out April 23, 2013
4.5/5 dust spirits
*Thank you to Disney Hyperion for sending me an ARC in return for an honest review.
I've had Smith's second novel, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, since it came out but I hadn't gotten around to reading it, but when I heard about this book I knew I had to get it. I went to one of my local bookstores last weekend and saw it on the shelf, so while I was waiting I decided to start it. I ended up about 80 pages in by the time I had to go, so I decided that I needed to buy it so I could finish it. By the time I went to bed I had read about 100 more pages, give or take, and despite the large pile of ARCs I have that need to be read I chose to finish up this book. You may not know this, but along with horror movies I love a good romance novel (is that weird? I think that's kinda weird), so this sounded like it was right up my ally. And besides, what's better than a love story that starts on accident over the Internet in this day and age? To answer that question, pretty much nothing. I could RELATE to this novel. No, I don't live in the middle-of-nowhere-Maine, and I'm not a teen movie star that lives in LA but that connection you can have with someone that's too far away to reach you but is your same age, I know about that. That's basically the Internet. There's just something so amazing about how you can get to know someone across the country, or the world, better than you can know the person sitting next to you in one of your classes (if it's a good thing or not is debatable). This book really takes that idea, adds that whirlwind romance, and a secret or two, then mixes it all up. Bake at 210 degrees for 45 minutes and you have a fluffy romance novel that makes you feel all smiley. The one thing that I was slightly disappointed with was the fact that it wasn't entirely wrapped up, but then again, LIFE isn't really ever wrapped up until you die, so that makes a lot of sense (that doesn't make it any less grrr-inducing though). I have no doubt that fans of Stephanie Perkins will enjoy this novel, and I now know that I need to look into reading Smith's other novels sooner rather than later.
A few years ago I read Kim's debut novel, The Body Finder, and when I finished it I was hooked. Then I found out that Kim is semi-local and I was thrilled because how cool is it when one of your favorite authors lives in the same state as you!? Basically I've been reading all of her books and going to as many events of hers as I can since I learned about her, so when I got an early copy of the next (I REFUSE to believe it's the last) book in her first series I was beyond elated. Having just finished it I can say that the fourth installment of the series does not disappoint. There are those book series that you read and love, so when you dive into a new book it's like coming home, and for me this is one of those books. Now, I'm not positive, because I don't have the other books on me at the moment, but I'm pretty sure that this one has the most "chapters" from the killer's POV than the previous ones, which to me made it that much better. There might be people who criticize Kim for some of the detailed images she puts in her books, but seeing as I love that kind of stuff it makes me happy that she doesn't shy away from the gross stuff like some authors do when it comes to the YA genre. Although there are some dark scenes in the novels Kim adds some light to even the darkest scenes with her cast of characters that readers have come to love so much over the past four years. Although Kim has said this is the last book in the series I refuse to believe that, because there are things that Kim left open-ended, and even some new threads that could be picked up on in another story. My hope is that she decides to continue with the characters, even if it's just in little short stories or e-novellas, because I will be sad to see them go, and I know I'm not the only one. But for the time being I will admit that although ambiguous the ending was good, and I was very happy with how the book turned out. If you've read the previous Body Finder books this is a must, and if you haven't I'm not quite sure what's stopping you.
Out April 16, 2013
5/5 dust spirits
*Thank You to Harper Teen for providing me with an ARC in return for an honest review.