Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (26)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases for books we can't wait to read.

My pick is Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger!

Goodreads summary:

Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won't Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot--one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this sequel to bestselling author Gail Carriger's YA debut Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail's distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.

My thoughts:

I'm so excited for this!  November can't come fast enough.  I just read the first book in this series, Etiquette & Espionage, this past week.  It was so charming and funny, and I love the steampunk feel to this series. 

Also, is it me or do these books have some of the absolute best titles/covers ever?  I'm obsessed with these gorgeous covers, and I think the titles are so clever.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? 

~ The Bookworm

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Review: Eve by Anna Carey

Goodreads summary:

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

My review:

Eve is not a terrible read, but it is what I like to think of as "meh."  I don't really have any love/hate feelings for it.  I think I'm just getting tired of dystopian novels.  Perhaps if I'd read this book a couple years ago, I'd have enjoyed it more.  But I was annoyed by the extremely naïve main character and the lack of world-building.

The story starts off pretty well.  The letter from Eve's mom at the beginning is very sweet and heartbreaking, and I enjoyed the prologue.  I even highlighted a quote I liked on my Kindle.  However, after the first few chapters, my interest started fading.  I got seriously annoyed with the main character, the shockingly naïve Eve.

Oh, Eve.  Where do I start?  Many reviewers have pointed to this example, and it definitely made me annoyed, too.  In the first quarter of the book, Eve is out in the wild and stumbles across a bear cub, and she thinks it looks like Winnie the Pooh, so she decides to pet it.  Because that's such a smart idea, right?  I just wanted to shake some sense into her.

After that scene, I pretty much lost hope for Eve.  I know it's part of her character - that she was raised to be very innocent and naïve - but I just felt like she didn't have enough strength in her character to make me admire her.  I kept thinking of her as a little girl instead of a teenager, which made the romance really awkward.

Yeah...the romance.  What does Caleb see in Eve?  Thankfully there was no insta-love, but it still didn't make sense for him to fall in love with her.  I also thought Caleb was a bit too perfect at times.  Sure, he's nice and sweet, but...that's all he is.  It made him a very bland character.  And no, I am NOT trying to say that I don't like "good guys," because I much prefer "good guys" to the "bad boy" type.  I just wish he had more of a personality.

There's also the lack of world-building.  I had so many questions I wanted explained, and I found the ending left me unsatisfied.  It felt like hardly anything happened plot-wise.  I've heard that the world-building improves later on in the series, but I don't really think I'm interested enough to pick up the sequel, unless I happen to see it at my library.  I know some of my friends have enjoyed Eve.  It just wasn't a great read for me.

My rating:  2 out of 5 stars

~ The Bookworm

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

ARC Review: Relic by Renee Collins

Goodreads summary:

After a raging fire consumes her town and kills her parents, Maggie Davis is on her own to protect her younger sister and survive best she can in the Colorado town of Burning Mesa. In Maggie’s world, the bones of long-extinct magical creatures such as dragons and sirens are mined and traded for their residual magical elements, and harnessing these relics’ powers allows the user to wield fire, turn invisible, or heal even the worst of injuries.

Working in a local saloon, Maggie befriends the spirited showgirl Adelaide and falls for the roguish cowboy Landon. But when she proves to have a particular skill at harnessing the relics’ powers, Maggie is whisked away to the glamorous hacienda of Álvar Castilla, the wealthy young relic baron who runs Burning Mesa. Though his intentions aren’t always clear, Álvar trains Maggie in the world of relic magic. But when the mysterious fires reappear in their neighboring towns, Maggie must discover who is channeling relic magic for evil before it’s too late.

Relic is a thrilling adventure set in a wholly unique world, and a spell-binding story of love, trust, and the power of good.

My review:

Although I had some minor problems with Relic, I mostly enjoyed it, and I'd recommend it to fantasy fans who are looking for something unique.

What I liked:

Hands down, my absolute favorite thing about Relic is the setting.  How often do you read a YA book - with fantasy elements, no less - set in the West?  It's a creative and enthralling setting, and Collins writes the descriptions of the land very well.  I'm usually not a fan of westerns, but Relic has changed my mind about that! 

Also, the plot held my attention pretty well.  The opening chapters are very gripping and action-packed.  The plot slows down slightly in the middle of the book, when Maggie and her sister are staying at Alvar Castilla's home.  I felt like I was waiting for something to happen, but the plot picks up quickly after that and there are lots more developments.  And there's an awesome little twist at the end that I didn't see coming!

I liked most of the characters in Relic, especially the minor characters.  Maggie got on my nerves here and there, but I really liked her little sister Ella and her friend Adelaide.  I thought Alvar Castilla to be very stereotypical at first, but he turned into a rather fascinating character with hidden layers to him.

What I didn't like:

I did get annoyed with Maggie sometimes.  I like that she thinks things through and is very practical, but she makes some foolish decisions that I didn't like.  For example, staying at Castilla's house and letting herself get swept away in a life of luxury.  It didn't really fit her "sensible" character and I got irritated with her at times.

And I wasn't crazy about Landon, the love interest.  He seemed too much like your typical YA love interest to me: he's a bit of a "bad boy," but of course he has a sweet side and immediately falls in love with the heroine.  So I just wasn't really a fan of the romance. 

Another small issue is Maggie's sister Ella.  Great character, and I loved the relationship between the two, but I wish she'd had more development.  Maggie was always going on about how much she loved Ella and wanted to take care of her, but Ella was never really in enough of the scenes.  I would've liked her character to have a bigger role.

Still, these are just little things I noticed, and for the most part Relic is an entertaining story with a brilliant setting and creative fantasy elements.  I can't wait to read more of this author's work!

My rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

~ The Bookworm

Monday, July 22, 2013

Recent Cover Reveals!

Just a round-up of some recent cover reveals I'm really excited about!  I've included the release dates below each cover.

- Wings by Elizabeth Richards (no pub date announced yet)

- See Me by Wendy Higgins releases October 1, 2013

- Three by Kristen Simmons releases February 11, 2014

- Enders by Lissa Price releases January 7, 2014

- Panic by Lauren Oliver releases March 4, 2014

What do you think of these covers?  My favorite is Wings, but I really love them all - except I'm not crazy about Enders.  It's a great cover except for the girl's bangs...they just look awful, at least to me.  Which cover is your favorite?

~ The Bookworm

Friday, July 19, 2013

ARC Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Goodreads summary:

"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

My review:

The summary is absolutely right when it says that this book is brilliantly plotted.  This book is so full of action and twists.  I loved it.  I can't remember the last time I read a book that was so fast-paced and addicting.  THIS is how you write time travel.  Oh, and the Shakespeare reference in the title is just plain awesome.

The characters.  Oh my word, they were so great and well-developed.  Em is a girl who will stop at nothing to fix the past, and I was rooting for her the whole time.  It's hard to say a lot about her without spoiling the story, but I love how she's both tough and vulnerable.  As for Marina (the younger version of Em), she could be quite annoying at times, but the author clearly wrote her character that way on purpose - it's necessary to the story for Marina to be a little spoiled and irritating.  Once I realized this, I began to enjoy her character's role more.

And Finn!  I totally fell in love with him.  He's seriously such a great guy and it just breaks your heart that Marina/Em takes so long to notice it.  I love how he's so sweet and supportive, and his ironic sense of humor had me smiling nonstop.  And James - whoa.  Again, I can't say much because that would mean some major spoilers, but he is such a fascinating character.  You are a bit curious about him at first, then you end up simultaneously pitying and hating him.  Loved his character arc.

The truly is brilliant.  I added this book to my "mindblowing" shelf on Goodreads, and it definitely deserves it.  So many time travel stories have a weak storyline and lots of plot holes, but All Our Yesterdays has a strong, well-thought-out plot that is executed perfectly.  It plays out just like an action movie, (except with way more character development than we usually get in action movies, haha), and I was blown away by the surprising twists.  I was literally clutching my Kindle to my face during the last quarter of the book - that's how anxious I was to know what happened.  I probably looked something like this:

Would I recommend All Our Yesterdays?  Absolutely, and especially for fans of action movies.  This time travel book sticks out with its addicting plot and fantastic characterization.  I adored this and will definitely be reading more of Terrill's future work.  This debut is one you do not want to miss!

*Thanks to Netgalley for giving me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars

~ The Bookworm

Thursday, July 18, 2013

ARC Review: A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris

Goodreads summary:

Alessandra D’Angeli is in need of an adventure. Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, who visited her for a magical week and dazzled her with tales of the future, Alessandra is lost. Until the stars hear her plea.

One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing, Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating—and infuriatingly handsome—surfer Austin Michaels. Austin challenges everything she believes in…and introduces her to a world filled with possibility.

With the clock ticking, Less knows she must live every moment of her modern life while she still can. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything she’s come to love?

My review:

A Tale of Two Centuries is such a delightful read!  I love Rachel Harris's books.  They're light and fluffy, and yet they also have such well-developed characters and storylines.  Plus, there's time travel!  It doesn't get much better than that. :)

Less is an amazing heroine.  She's very sweet and kindhearted, and I felt so bad for her as she struggles to adjust to living in the modern world.  And I love the friendship between her and Cat - I love how they both come from such different lives and yet they're so close to each other.  And Austin!  Eep!  He and Less were so cute, and I loved watching their relationship grow.

But A Tale of Two Centuries isn't just about romance.  I also enjoyed the way it deals with important decisions in Less's life as she tries to figure out where she belongs - the modern world, or the world that she's lived in all her life.  And the ending is so very perfect and satisfying.  I was hooked until the very last page!

I'd recommend this book for anyone looking for an addictive summer read.  I'm so excited there's going to be a third book in this series!

Favorite quote: "I have learned that our world is filled with two kinds of people: old souls, and people who were born before their time."

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars

~ The Bookworm

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Broke and Bookish.  Each week, a new list topic is posted, and book bloggers fill in their choices.  This week's topic is "Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition."

My Top Ten, in no particular order:

1. Megan Whalen Turner.  Her books are my all-time favorites, and I'm so sad that they're not more well-known.  Seriously, she is one of the BEST fantasy writers ever.  When I finished one of her books, The King of Attolia, I loved it so much that I immediately reread it upon finishing it.  She's that good.

2. Lisa T. Bergren.  I'm absolutely in love with her River of Time series, and I really wish more people knew about it!  It's a great blend of historical fiction and time travel, and so much fun!

3. Sarah Strohmeyer.  Her contemporary books are just the cutest ever.  They're perfect for a light summer read.  You definitely don't want to miss out on this author's books.

4. Rachel Harris.  I freakin' love Rachel Harris's books!  They're such a delight to read, and they have it all: swoon-worthy boys, smart heroines, time travel, lots of LOL moments, snappy dialogue, and fast-paced plots.  I could go on, but need I say more?  She's awesome!

5. Jennifer L. Armentrout.  Actually, JLA is pretty popular in the blogging world.  But her work is published by publishing companies that aren't majorly well-known, so most bookstores never even have her books in stock.  Which is sad, because she's insanely talented and one of my favorite writers ever.

6. Brigid Kemmerer.  I love how she writes such original paranormal books, and her stories are always unputdownable and filled with swoony guys and action-packed plots.  Really, her books are much better than most paranormal fiction being published nowadays.

7. Rae Carson.  I adore her Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy.  So inventive and detailed for YA fantasy.  I wish more people would take the time to read her books - they're fantastic.

8. Jessica Day George.  Another fantasy writer, I've been in love with Jessica's books since I was 11 or 12.  I can't even count how many times I've read them - I know I've read a couple of them at least 5 or 6 times.  If you like fairytale retellings, definitely check out her books.

9. Jenny B. Jones.  I'm convinced that this author can write about anything and make me laugh.  Seriously, her books are so funny.  She has the most hilarious sense of humor and all her characters are really relatable.  Great contemporary writer.

10. Eva Ibbotson.  Most people have never even heard of Eva Ibbotson, but her books are some of my favorite historical fiction ever.  (They're great for Downton Abbey fans, by the way!)  She writes such gorgeous prose and her books are just a joy to read. 

Okay, this was a looong list - guess I tend to ramble. :) What's on your TTT today?  Feel free to leave a comment with a link to your blog!

~ The Bookworm

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (3)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Here's my haul for the week!

Books I bought:
- How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer
- Winter's Kiss by Jennifer Echols and Catherine Hapka

Books I got from the library:
- Everafter by Elizabeth Chandler
- Golden by Jessi Kirby
- Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
- The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos

I am so excited about my haul for this week!  I haven't read any yet, but they're all books I've been dying to read for quite some time!  Any ideas on what I should read first?!

What books did you get?  Leave a link to your StS in the comments!

~ The Bookworm

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Goodreads summary:

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.

My review:

I actually didn't start reading Sarah Dessen books until this summer.  The Moon and More is my second novel by her (the first being Along for the Ride) and I completely loved it.  I've already checked out several more of her books from my library.  Her books are the perfect mix of lighthearted and thoughtful.

I've noticed several other people remarking about this, and it's oh-so-true: Dessen has an amazing ability to create heroines we can relate to.  None of Dessen's heroines are brave and tough like, say, Katniss Everdeen or Tris Prior.  Instead, they're quiet, introverted characters who are trying to figure out what they want in life.  I love this, because although I love characters like Katniss, in reality I'm very shy and introverted.  So I really appreciate how Dessen's heroines are so relatable.

Can I just squeal over how well-developed all the characters in this story are?  Because DANG.  These characters all had their own little quirks and were constantly surprising me with their character arcs.  I loved Emaline's mother and the advice she gives Emaline.  I loved how Emaline knows the difference between what makes a father and what makes a dad.  I loved the adorable relationship between Emaline and her little half-brother.  All the relationships in this book are so complex, realistic, and well-done.

Now I know why people gush over Sarah Dessen.  Aside from the amazing cast of characters she creates, there's also the lovely thought-provoking quotes.  There were so many passages and lines I wanted to highlight and reread.  It's like Dessen has captured all the questions spinning in a teenage girl's mind, added a sweet summery setting, mixed in unexpected characters and dialogue, and the end result is the perfect summer book.  What more can I say?  Sarah Dessen's books are a must-read.

If there was anything I had to criticize, it's that at first, there seems to almost be too many characters.  I know I got confused a few times keeping track of them, but it's only in the beginning.  After that, everything flows fine.  And the ending?  I love how things are resolved.  It's unexpected yet so very fitting.  I can't wait to read more of Dessen's work!

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars

~ The Bookworm

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (25)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to read.

My pick is Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout!

Goodreads summary:

Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?

And will they even be together?

My thoughts:

GAH, I have so much love for this series!  Seriously, JLA is pretty much my all-time favorite author, and I am dying to get this book in my hands.  And the cover...oh my word. *swoons over Daemon*

What's your WOW this week?

~ The Bookworm

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best/Worst Book to Movie Adaptations

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Broke and Bookish.  Each week, a new list topic is posted, and book bloggers fill in their choices.  This week's topic is "Top Ten Best/Worst Book to Movie Adaptations."

My Top Ten (five best are first, and then the five worst):


1. Hunger Games.  I was so blown away by the movie.  I was shocked by what an amazing job they did at keeping it close to the book.  The acting, setting, was all there.  Everything I'd hoped it would be and more.

2. Pride & Prejudice.  I'm talking the Keira Knightley version here.  *ducks from any flying missiles* I KNOW, the BBC miniseries is waaay better at sticking to all the book's details, but I just love the version with Keira.  She's exactly how I imagine Elizabeth.

3. Lord of the Rings.  This is pretty much the only case in which I actually prefer the movies to the books.  I dearly love the series and have read it twice, but it's just so slow.  Love the movies.

4. Jane Eyre.  I like both the 2006 and 2011 adaptations - they're both very faithful to the details of the book and the acting is jaw-droppingly good.

5. Chronicles of Narnia.  The first one is best, and the second and third are still okay, even though they greatly differ from the books.  But, despite the fact that the movies are a lot different, they still capture the spirit of the books, so I like them.


6. Percy Jackson.  I have to admit, this movie is like a guilty pleasure of mine.  Yes, it's nothing like the book and every time I watch it, I get annoyed at everything they messed up.  Yet it's still such a fun movie.  Definitely a love/hate relationship.

7. Beastly.  Again, this was extremely different from the book, yet it's still entertaining in its own way.  It could've been a lot better, but I still enjoyed it.

8. Inkheart.  What was up with this?  Nothing like the book.  And let's face it, Brendan Fraser's acting is absolutely awful.

9. Eragon.  I have to admit I never finished the book because I found it boring, but I decided to see the movie out of curiosity.  Ugh.  Terrible acting and so many ridiculously cheesy moments.

10. Ella Enchanted.  This movie was an absolute nightmare, considering how what a classic and childhood favorite of mine the book is.  The only thing that made me able to sit through it was Anne Hathaway, and even then her acting isn't so great in this movie.

What movies are on your TTT today?

~ The Bookworm