Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Best of the Bunch Award: November

It is absolutely terrifying that November is over already (seriously, where do these months go???), and that means it’s time for BEST OF THE BUNCH! This is a really fun monthly award ceremony that forces bloggers to pick their favorite book that they read during the month (Uh, did I say force? I meant allows… :P). It was started at Lyrical Reviews, and you can head over here to learn more!

My Best of the Bunch pick for November is…..

By Miranda Kenneally

What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though – she leads them as the captain and quarterback on her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there’s a new guy in town who threatens her starring position on the team… and has her suddenly wishing to be seen as more than just a teammate.

Why I Chose It:

Okay, so this book made me want to go back to high school and attend football games. Which is saying something, because even though I adore READING stories set in high school, they hardly ever make me want to go back there myself. But Catching Jordan is just so fun and adorable and totally realistic. It’s full of happy squeeworthy moments as well as angsty moments and some moments that just make you want to smack yourself on the forehead. I LOVED it.

Whether you’re a huge football fan or not (I’m not, for the record), I’d highly recommend this book. And the best thing is that there are two companion novels on the way, so we get to visit these characters again! :) (Psst... it also comes out tomorrow. :D)

If you’re interested, you can check out my full review here.

What was your favorite book from November? I never say no to a good recommendation. :)

Happy last month of 2011, everybody!

"Waiting On" Wednesday #27

“Waiting on” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights an upcoming release (or releases) that we’re eagerly anticipating.

My picks this week:

Fall From Grace
By: Charles Benoit
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 8, 2012

Grace always has a plan. There’s her plan to get famous, her plan to get rich, and – above all – her plan to have fun.

Sawyer has plenty of plans too. Plans made for him by his mother, his father, his girlfriend. Maybe they aren’t his plans, but they are plans.

When Sawyer meets Grace, he wonders if he should come up with a few plans himself. Plans about what he actually wants to be, plans to speak his own mind for a change, plans to maybe help Grace with a little art theft.

Wait a minute – plans to what?

52 Reasons to Hate My Father
By: Jessica Brody
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
Release Date: July 3, 2012

If she wants to receive her beloved trust fund, every week for the next year, seventeen-year-old Lexi Larrabee must take on a different low-income job. All 52 jobs have been carefully pre-selected by her father himself.

What Lexi doesn’t know is that each job was at one point held by one of the world’s most influential people. The goal is to teach his daughter a few lessons about life, compassion, work ethic, and the value of a hard-earned dollar. If each of these jobs eventually led to wealth and success, at least one of them has to work for Lexi.

Left with no other choice, Lexi grudgingly sets off on her quest, each week being comically presented with a highly undesirable job. All of them are designed to turn Lexi into an entirely different person.

Why I’m Waiting: I picked these two this week because they both just sound like such fun. I’ve been on a huge contemporary kick lately and I can’t wait to continue that on into 2012. I’m super excited to read about these wacky jobs and potential art theft!

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Giveaway: Nightshade by Maryrose Wood

In the right dose, everything is a poison… even love.

It’s giveaway time!!

Today I’m hosting a giveaway to win a signed copy of Nightshade by Maryrose Wood, the second book in The Poison Diaries trilogy. This series is so fun and I can’t wait to find out what happens in the last book. My reviews for the first two will up in a few days, so keep an eye out!

About the book:

Sixteen-year-old Jessamine Luxton is heartbroken. Her true love, Weed, the strange and intriguing young man who came into her life so suddenly, has disappeared.

Jessamine suspects that her own father, Thomas, may have been involved. Thomas was obsessed with poisons and discovering Weed’s secret understanding of dangerous plants. This suspicion and her own growing expertise with poisons have changed her. She is no longer innocent. So when Jessamine learns that Weed is alive and in danger, she will do whatever it takes to be reunited with him, including killing whoever gets in her way.

How to enter:

Step One: Enter the Poison Garden at the Poison Diaries website and find the plant Arum Maculatum. Add it to your poison diary. (You’ll come back to this in a minute.)

Step Two: Follow The Poison Diaries on Twitter and share the Arum Maculatum plant that you found in the garden (there is a link to do this through your poison diary). Make sure you mention both @poisondiaries AND my name (@andiezohoori) in your tweet.

Example: I found Arum Maculatum in the Poison Garden through @andiezohoori and want to win a signed copy of Nightshade from @poisondiaries!

(But you can write it however you like. :P)

Step Three: ‘Like’ The Poison Diaries on Facebook. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can share the plant Arum Maculatum on your Facebook page. (Again, make sure you mention both Poison Diaries and From A to Z.)

Or you can share the plant on Twitter AND Facebook! Multiple entries are welcome. :)

The contest will end next Monday, December 5th.
Good luck, everyone!

*Thanks so much to Leanne at the Poison Diaries Team for letting me host this giveaway!

Friday, November 25, 2011


TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads!

When You're Not Reading:
What occupies your time when your nose isn't stuck in a book?

It’s been a few months since I participated in TGIF, but when I saw the topic for today I just couldn’t resist! This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, since I’m currently in a very transitional time in my life, so it’s definitely something I can talk about. :D

In terms of a career, I’m currently doing a program with the Smithsonian Institute, living and working at one of their conservation research facilities outside of Washington DC.  I graduated from college in the spring with a biology degree and I’m interested in animal conservation, so this is an awesome program for me and I’m so grateful to be able to do what I do. When I’m not attending guest lectures or going on field trips, I get to work with four amazing species – clouded leopards, red pandas, maned wolves, and cheetahs. So basically, I feed them a lot of rats and pick up a lot of poop (which is often color-coded with glitter, haha). Just kidding, that’s not ALL I do. It’s awesome and I love it, but the program ends in a few weeks, and after that I have no clue what I’ll be doing. Aahh!!

I’m also a huge live music junkie, and I go to concerts all the time (I generally have a two hour driving radius for shows, but I have been known to drive about five hours if it’s a band I really love). Depending on who is playing, I can also sometimes be found helping out behind the merch table. Go to certain shows enough and people will get to know you and start putting you to work! :P Depending on how my luck plays out, there is the possibility that I might get to go on tour with a band in the spring and be a more permanent helper, which I would LOVE. :)

Dancing is also a pretty big part of my life, although these days it usually consists of me just dancing around my room (or getting a group of people together to do informal zumba sessions). I started off as a dance major in college and I’ve never quite been able to let go of it.

Other than those things, I love television and movies (way more than I probably should), and just hanging out with friends and family. However, we all love to travel and we’re spread all over the world most of the time, so it’s really hard to get together with all the people I love. It just makes it that much better when we do see each other though. And then we have lots of stories to catch up on!

This was such a great TGIF topic! It’s fun to get to know bloggers outside of their book activities. Although admittedly, I’m known for carrying a book with me wherever I go even if there’s almost zero percent chance I’ll have the opportunity to read, so reading is never far from my mind. :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Review: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

By: Jodi Meadows
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Genre/Age: YA Fantasy (utopian/dystopian elements)
Pages: 384
Source: ARC from Around the World ARC Tours

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but the citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies – human and creature alike – let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

Jodi Meadows has created a fascinating world in Incarnate, one where there are a finite number of souls that are continuously reincarnated. Can you imagine? Knowing that if you die, you’ll just be reborn in a few years with all your memories intact? Never meeting anyone new; spending thousands and thousands of years with the same people; knowing their personalities and habits as well as you know your own. Each person has specific skills and a certain role in society, and this is just the way it’s always been.

But Ana is new. A newsoul (or nosoul, according to some) who has been kept isolated and treated like a nobody for her entire life. And now she has decided to journey into the city of Heart and try to find answers about why she exists and what will happen to her after she dies.

I think this is such a fascinating way to look at reincarnation, and I loved getting to explore the world of Heart through Ana’s eyes. It did feel like a lot less than one million people existed though (where did they all live?). And the way the reincarnation works has the potential for some pretty weird situations – someone who was your mother in a past life could end up being your child in a future life, or even your lover. It’s so unique and creative, but I still have so many questions about how everything works! I’m really looking forward to more world-building in future books.

Ana is a fantastic character, and although initially she has very low self-esteem and is apologetic for her feelings and actions, she also has incredible inner strength and bravery as well as being smart and curious and resourceful. This unlikely combination of qualities makes for a really interesting and enjoyable narrator.

Ana’s growth throughout the novel is also due in part to Sam. Oh, lovely lovely Sam. Sam, who is so wonderfully sweet and caring, and slowly makes Ana believe that she’s worth something after a life of being told she’s nothing. It’s beautiful watching the two of them interact and seeing Ana’s gradual transformation.

The development of their relationship is also incredibly sweet and lovely, and it happens so delightfully slowly. It was natural. I’ve never been a huge fan of the insta-romance that we see so often in YA novels, and Incarnate definitely has the slow burn that I love. Things just continue to build and build between Ana and Sam until you’re dying for them to just kiss already.

The dialogue was a bit choppy at times, and it was often difficult to tell who was saying what, though this could be because I was reading an unfinished advanced copy. I also felt like the ending was a little bit rushed and not intense enough. Which just makes me want the next book to come out even faster, but I think that more could have been done with the ending of this one instead of leaving so many questions unanswered. Regardless, I’m seriously looking forward to the rest of the series and I can’t wait to journey back to Heart and visit Sam and Ana again.

With captivating mythology, a brilliant heroine, and a wonderfully sweet romance, Incarnate is an entrancing novel and definitely not one to miss. I absolutely devoured it; you’re not going to want to put it down!

*Also, how gorgeous is that cover?! LOVE it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #26

“Waiting on” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights an upcoming release (or releases) that we’re eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week:

The Waiting Sky
By: Lara Zielin
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: August 2, 2012

Seventeen-year-old Jane can’t quite face her mother’s alcoholism even though it sucks to spend all her time and energy keeping them afloat – making sure her mom gets to work, that the bills are paid when there’s money to pay them, and that no one knows her mom is so messed up. But when Jane’s mom drives drunk almost killing both them and Jane’s best friend, Jane can no longer deny her mom is spiraling out of control. Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left years ago to go to college. A summer away with him and his tornado chasing buddies may just provide the time and space she needs to figure out whether her life still includes her mother.

Why I’m Waiting: This book sounds so awesome. I love that Jane is dealing with such a serious issue – it has the potential for some really gut-wrenching scenes. Plus, I love sibling stories, so the fact that she goes off to spend the summer with her older brother makes me really happy. (And his tornado-chasing buddies, can’t forget the possibility of a love interest! :P) ALSO. Tornado chasing? SO COOL. I’ve always kind of had this secret desire to be a storm chaser, so the fact that there’s a YA book about it is fantaaaaastic. And the cover is GORGEOUS. I love how the tornado in a jar echoes catching fireflies in a jar when you’re a kid. Especially because she’s dealing with such awful mom problems. Aaaahhh I can’t wait for this one!!

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Was Interviewed!

So about a month ago I did an interview for Kristi from The Story Siren for her “Building a Better Blog” post series. She wanted thoughts from bloggers who had been blogging for six months or less (a milestone that I just realized I passed a week ago, wow!) and I happily volunteered.

And although I thought I was doing a good job of checking her blog regularly, I just realized that the post with the interviews went up a couple of weeks ago! Haha, clearly I’ve been spacing.

Anyway, if you’re interested, you can read my answers (as well as the responses from nine other “newbie” bloggers) here.

Happy Monday, everyone! :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In My Mailbox #23

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren that gives bloggers the opportunity to showcase the books they’ve received that week. You can learn more about it here.

For Review:

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (from Around the World ARC Tours)

Wander Dust by Michelle Warren (from Michelle for the Wander Dust blog tour)

Nightshade (The Poison Diaries 2) by Maryrose Wood (from publisher)

From Netgalley:

Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey
Obsidian (A Lux Novel, Book 1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

What goodies did you get this week?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Blog Tour: Touch by Jus Accardo (Review)

Today the Touch blog tour is stopping by From A to Z and I'm so glad to be able to share this awesome new series with you. Check out all the stops here and find out how to be entered to win the giveaway!

By: Jus Accardo
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Genre/Age: YA Paranormal
Pages: 251
Source: ARC

When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss of her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home.

Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy – and her father’s “law firm” – than she realized.

Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation – an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons – his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe.

A secret Kale will kill to protect.

From the first page, Touch is a nonstop, action-packed paranormal adventure that will have you on the edge of your seat and unable to put it down. The writing is fast-paced and engaging, and almost before you process what just happened you’ll be swept away again into the story to learn something new.

I don’t generally read many “action” novels and I absolutely appreciated this change of pace. It felt a bit like X-Men and Heroes had been splashed onto the page and mixed with a little something extra to create this awesome YA paranormal romance novel and I loved it. Superpowers? Check. Evil organization? Check. Love story? Check. Secrets, lies, and betrayals? Check. All the ingredients are there and Jus Accardo definitely does not disappoint.

Dez is an awesome female lead. She’s spunky and feisty and brave, but she’s also down-to-earth and chill. She’s the kind of person I’d love to be friends with in real life. And Kale is also pretty adorable. As a prisoner his whole life he’s incredibly na├»ve and completely clueless about everything in the real world, and some of his interactions with Dez were hilarious. Their romance is sweet, but I do wish that it had progressed a little more gradually. Part of this is because I like my romances to be slow in general, but in this case I think my main issue is that Kale seems so juvenile because of his innocence, I didn’t really understand why Dez fell for him so quickly. I’m definitely eager to see Kale in future books after he’s gained some street smarts. ;)

Touch is an exciting start to a great new series, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next. If you love paranormal romance, or even just a nonstop thrilling adventure, you don’t want to miss this book!

*Thanks so much to Jus Accardo and Trisha Wolfe at YA Bound for letting me be a part of this blog tour!

Find Jus Accardo:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Blog Tour: Destined by Jessie Harrell (Review & Giveaway)

I’m so excited to be today’s stop on the Destined blog tour! Check out my review of Destined below and then don’t forget to read the bottom of the post to find out how to enter the giveaway and win your own copy!

By: Jessie Harrell
Publisher: Mae Day Publishing
Release Date: November 17, 2011
Genre/Age: YA Mythology
Pages: 260
Source: ARC from author

When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girls in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear.

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she’s come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.

Destined is a fresh and heartachingly romantic retelling of the Cupid & Pysche myth from debut novelist, Jessie Harrell.

I’ll just say it straight up, I ADORE Greek mythology and retellings. Ever since sixth grade when we had our mythology unit and I made ambrosia and dressed up as Artemis and learned how to sing the Greek alphabet, something just clicked. So I was incredibly excited when I heard about Destined, and I’m thrilled to be able to report that it is an AWESOME retelling of the Pysche and Cupid myth.

That said, it is absolutely not necessary to be familiar with the Psyche and Cupid myth or even the Greek gods in general for you to understand and love this story. Jessie does a great job of making it enjoyable for those who know the myth as well as those who are stepping into the world for the first time.

And what a world it is! Jessie’s descriptions are beautiful, and she’s fantastic at creating the setting and making the reader feel like they are there. I could picture mortals wandering through olive trees with the hot Greek sun beating down on them just as easily as I saw gods just lounging around drinking ambrosia. (And then I started looking up plane tickets to Greece. :P)

While the setting is undeniably ancient Greece, there is also a modern slant to the story that I loved. It was so fun to have some of my favorite Greek gods speaking in modern phrases. Hearing Hermes say, “I’m just giving you a reality check, man.” made me laugh out loud.

Jessie has a very engaging writing style and I found myself speeding through the novel, hopeful and eager for Pysche to get her happy ending. She and Eros definitely have several obstacles to overcome, but isn’t that the way all the best love stories happen? And Pysche is a great character to root for. She’s caring, stubborn, and strong, and she’s just trying to deal with what has been destined for her. Oh, and Eros isn’t bad either. :) (Can I have a hot Greek god, Jessie? Kay, thanks.)

Destined is a fun and entertaining adventure through mythical Greece and I loved every minute of it.
It will definitely indulge your inner Greek goddess (or god!). :P 

Find Jessie Harrell:


All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with your email address and you’ll be automatically entered to win an e-copy of Destined. The contest will be open for 48 hours from the time of the post, and then Jessie will use to select a winner. Easy peasy!

GIVEAWAY UPDATE: Congrats to E. Bakers, who was selected by to win the e-copy of Destined! Jessie will be emailing you!

And for everyone who didn't win, don't forget to visit the other stops on the Destined official blog tour for more chances to win copies of Destined and other fun goodies!

Cover Reveal: Battle Scars by Cesya MaRae Cuono

It's cover reveal time! Today is the reveal for Battle Scars, the second book in the Elemental series by Cesya MaRae Cuono, and I'm thrilled to be a part of it! I really enjoyed Elemental Reality (read my review) and I can't wait to read this next installment, which is set to release in late 2012.

Here is the teaser summary for Battle Scars, and it's not too spoilery, so don't worry if you haven't read Elemental Reality yet (although if you want to stay completely clueless you might want to skip it :P):

How do you carry on fighting for your family when you're left scarred and broken? When your dreams are plagued by nightmares, how do you strengthen the armor needed to protect yourself again? Callie's been defeated by the loss of her entire family. With the help of old and new friends, will she build her battle armor up and fight the evil hands of the Demons who threaten to destroy her new home? Or will her battle scars leave her too broken and empty to fight?

And of course, the cover!!!

What do you think? Overall I prefer the first cover (because it's seriously just absolutely stunning), but this one is definitely very pretty. Those wings look so luxurious and soft! And I love the light on the girl, although I wish her hair wasn't covering her face so much. The title looks so cool too - almost like it's glowing.

Thoughts? Love it? Hate it?

Here are the two covers together, just for fun:

So much shiny goodness!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

By: Julianna Baggott
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: February 8, 2012
Genre/Age: Dystopian (with steampunk elements)*
Pages: 448
Source: ARC from Around the World ARC Tours

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters…

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost – how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers… to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash…

There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss – maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feelings that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive. Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Pure is a gorgeous dystopian novel, set just a few years after a nuclear explosion in the United States. The population is divided into Pures and Wretches; Pures live in the Dome and remain “intact” and unblemished, while Wretches were exposed to the detonation and now have various mutations. Pressia is one of the Wretches; Partridge is a Pure who has ventured outside the Dome. Neither of them is prepared for what happens when they meet.

Baggott’s world-building is absolutely fantastic, and the setting she has created feels so real and gritty. You can almost feel the ash settling around you as you read. The idea behind the story is also so unique and interesting. The people who were outside the Dome at the time of the Detonations all fused in some way to something they were touching at the time, which makes for a fascinating cast of characters. Mothers who were holding children are now permanently attached, people have animals or other objects embedded in them, some people even fused with the earth. Pressia herself has a doll head instead of a hand. Each time we met someone new I was eager to see what their mutation was going to be, and I loved the creativity of each one.

Pure is mostly told through the alternating perspectives of Pressia and Partridge, but there are also chapters told from the point of view of various other characters. Though potentially confusing, this assortment of perspective serves to flesh out the story even more and I really enjoyed getting to learn things and see the world through other viewpoints.

At just under 450 pages, Pure is a pretty hefty book and the pace is fairly slow-moving. While in some ways this helped to create the tone of the story, I also feel like a quarter of it probably could have been cut out and nothing would have been lost storywise. The plot is interesting enough that I wasn't ever really bored, it’s just not edge-of-your-seat thrilling the way some dystopian novels are; it feels like more of a meandering journey. I’ll admit that I’m hoping for the pace to pick up in the next book.

With a gorgeous setting, intriguing characters, and a unique steampunk dystopian twist, Pure is a fantastic look into a United States of the future, and I can’t wait to read more.

*Just a note about the age range for Pure, I’ve seen it marketed as Young Adult in some places but not in others, so I’m not exactly sure how to classify it. It’s definitely appropriate for the young adult age range, and the main characters are teenagers, but the tone of the story feels more like an adult novel than young adult. Not trying to put anybody off reading it, I just wanted to point it out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #25

“Waiting on” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights an upcoming release (or releases) that we’re eagerly anticipating.

My picks this week:

Darkness Before Dawn
By: JA London
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 29, 2012

This electrifying new trilogy blends the best of paranormal and dystopian storytelling in a world where the war is over. And the vampires won.

Humans huddle in their walled cities, supplying blood in exchange for safety. But not even that is guaranteed. Dawn has lost her entire family and now reluctantly serves as the delegate to Lord Valentine, the most powerful vampire for miles. It isn’t until she meets Victor, Valentine’s son, that she realizes not all vampires are monsters…

Darkness Before Dawn is a fresh new story with captivating characters, unexpected plot twists, a fascinating setting, and a compelling voice. Written under the name JA London by a talented mother-son team, the trilogy is perfect for fans of True Blood and the House of Night and Morganville Vampires series.

Why I’m Waiting: The main reason that I’m excited for this is because JA London is a pseudonym for Rachel Hawthorne/Jade Parker/Lorraine Heath, who I LOVE. I’m a huge fan of her contemporaries especially, so I’m really excited to see what she does with a paranormal dystopian setting.

By: AC Gaughen
Publisher: Walker & Co
Release Date: February 14, 2012


Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance. Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in. It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin – whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her – that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

Why I’m Waiting: A Robin Hood story with a female twist? YES PLEASE. I adore Robin Hood retellings and this one sounds so fantastic. Although I do wonder where Maid Marian is. I feel like she’d probably have something to say about Scarlet going after Robin. :P

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Review: Legend by Marie Lu

By: Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Genre/Age: YA Dystopian
Pages: 336
Source: ARC from Around the World ARC Tours

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

Legend is told through the alternating viewpoints of our two narrators: June and Day. June was born into a privileged family, got a perfect score on her Trial, and is set to become the military’s next star, though she does have a bit of a rebellious streak. Day is from the slums and is the nation’s most infamous criminal, living his life in secret and on the run. When June is sent to capture Day and their lives collide, secrets are revealed and they begin to question everything they thought they knew.

I love the dual narration; June and Day are excellent windows into the world that Marie Lu has created. Their voices are distinct and equally engaging, and I was never bored with either of their stories. I quickly became invested in both of their lives – their love and protection of their families, their struggles with their places in society, and their desire for justice. They’re both brave and intelligent and incredibly kickass, and I loved watching their relationship evolve as they met and got to know each other.

Lu’s writing pulls you into the world immediately, and with such a gritty and intense story this can be absolutely heartbreaking. June’s brother, for example. Even though I knew from the summary on the back of the book that he was going to die, it was still heart wrenching when it happened, and June’s few flashbacks throughout the novel only served to make me miss Metias more. Legend doesn’t shy away from violence and death, but it also has softer, more emotional moments, and the combination makes for a brilliant read.

One small issue that I did have with Legend was the incredible ease with which June and Day were both able to do everything. Their special skills and abilities seemed a bit too simple and perfect, and I would have liked them to need to try at least a little bit. While I could definitely relate to them emotionally, they felt somewhat superhuman otherwise, especially considering they’re both only fifteen years old, and there was no real explanation for why they were both so amazingly skilled.

Legend’s plot is pretty much the standard dystopian fare, but it’s done well and it is fast-paced and engrossing. The world is an intriguing one, although I would have liked more backstory explaining how the Republic and the Colonies came about. This is the first in a series though, so I’m hoping we’ll get more of those explanations in the sequels.

Admittedly, there are a ton of dystopian novels out there these days, but Legend is definitely not one to miss. Beautifully written and captivating, it will leave you waiting desperately for the sequel, wondering what’s next for June and Day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

By: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: December 1, 2011
Genre/Age: YA Contemporary
Pages: 288
Source: ARC from Around the World ARC Tours

What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though – she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her has one of the guys, and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there’s a new guy in town who threatens her starting position… and suddenly she’s hoping he’ll see her as more than just a teammate.

First of all, I just want to say that the description above doesn’t do the book justice at all, or even really give an accurate summary. So expect a lot more when you crack this one open! :) Now, on to the review!

Oh my goodness, I LOVED this book. It’s just pure fun and cuteness and completely enjoyable. And at the same time, it’s not meaningless fluff and actually handles some real issues. Jordan is an awesome character, and she’s dealing with a lot in her life. Yeah, sure, she’s crushing on the cute new player on her team, but she’s also juggling being the female captain of her high school football team, wishing her dad would support her, trying to get college football coaches to take her seriously, and handling somewhat delicate relationships with the other guys on her team as well as opening herself up to the possibility of friendships with other girls.

And in case you couldn’t tell from all that, most of her life revolves around football. Which is totally understandable. I was a dancer and musical theater geek in high school, so I definitely get the whole focus thing. The great thing about Catching Jordan is that even though it is definitely about football, it doesn’t feel overwhelming and the football never takes over. I know next to nothing about football, but I still thoroughly enjoyed every second of this book. It even made me wish I could go back to a high school football game (which is not a normal wish for me, trust me :P).

Hands down, my favorite thing about Catching Jordan was Jordan’s relationship with the rest of the guys on her team. They are so wonderfully protective of her and it is just adorable, and those rare moments when Jordan needs a “girl talk” and tries to go to her guy friends are wonderful and hilarious. Her best friend Sam Henry is a particular favorite of mine. He and Jordan have been friends forever and have such a sweet, comfortable relationship. Watching them together was great fun and left a grin on my face the whole time.

And of course this review wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the love story, right? :D But all I’m going to say is that I LOVED it. It’s sweet and heartbreaking and completely feels like high school. (Which isn’t a bad thing, in this case!)

Catching Jordan is a lovely, realistic portrayal of one girl’s journey through senior year, and it is definitely a book I’ll be rereading when I want an awesome, feel-good, make-me-smile story. This is definitely one you don’t want to miss!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In My Mailbox #22

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren that gives bloggers the opportunity to showcase the books they’ve received that week. You can learn more about it here.

So once again I missed last week, so here is two weeks’ worth of goodies!

For review:

From Around the World ARC Tours:
Legend by Marie Lu
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Pure by Julianna Baggott
(Loved all three of these, and my reviews will be up for all of them within the week!)

From Me, My Shelf And I Book Tours:
Don’t Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala

From Netgalley: (no covers, but links go to Goodreads)

On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Sisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill
Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

What's in your mailbox this week?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #24

“Waiting on” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights an upcoming release (or releases) that we’re eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week:

For Darkness Shows the Stars
By: Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 12, 2012


Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong – the Reduction – decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Eighteen-year-old Luddite Elliot North has always known her place in this caste system. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. But now the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress and threatening Luddite control; Elliot’s estate is floundering; and she’s forced to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentworth – an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she abandoned him.

But Elliot soon discovers her childhood friend carries a secret – one that could change the society in which they live… or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she has lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

Why I’m Waiting: Okay, this book has shot to the very top of my wishlist because it looks sooooo amazing and is chock full of so many things that I love. First of all, it’s a dystopian, bonus points right there. Second, it’s a romance about childhood sweethearts who have been separated for years and then they are reunited and one comes back all cool and mysterious and renowned and he has secrets and you just know there’s going to be lots of awesome angst and longing. Third, it’s a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion!! How cool is that? Fourth, the cover is STUNNING. I'm drooling buckets right now (I made the image super huge so you can all drool with me :P). Fifth, I loooove the title, and sixth, I got to meet Diana Peterfreund when she was touring for Zombies Vs. Unicorns and she is super cool and gorgeous. Basically, I absolutely cannot wait to read this one and I want it now now now. June, hurry up!

What are you waiting on this week?
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