Enter to win a Signed/Personalized copy of Fever by Lauren DeStefano here

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is the meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It features a new blog every week along with a book related question to promote blogs and new followers. I'm not sure what the question is exactly, if its read and loved or read and didn't like so I'm answering both...

What is the best cover of a book you read and didn't like?

It would probably be the cover for Entwined by Heather Dixon. I think the cover is absolutely gorgeous and would hang it on the wall as beautiful book art, but the story itself just didn't do it for me. It was a retelling of the 12 dancing princesses and just lacked the spark or pizzaz to make it stand out. If you're going to retell a fairy tale you need to do something AMAZING to make it stand out, otherwise its just going to be the original plot with a different cover and title.

What is the best cover of a book you read and loved?

This one was so much harder to answer because so many of my favorite books have such gorgeous covers! I think some of my favorites would be...

Dirty Little Secret

Dirty Little Secret is a meme hosted by the lovely ladies at Under the Covers! I haven't participated in such a long time (I'm a total slacker) but to go along with the Book Confessions from this week's TTT I've joined in on this week's discussion:

Book Abuse! What's the worse thing you've done to a book.

I'm definitely a reformed book abuser. I'm so ashamed to say that I used to dog-ear pages and bend the spines of my books. I was lazy and normally lost any store bought book mark, but now I use whatever is in sight to mark my pages- receipts, post it notes, business cards- you name it I've probably used it. 

More recently though, I accidentally almost destroyed my copy of Defiance by C.J. Redwine. During the summer my favorite spot to read is at my pool in any sort of float so I can work on my tan and TBR list. This normally results in some pages being smudged with tanning oil or frayed edges of covers from my hands being wet, but nothing too substantial. However, while reading Defiance I accidentally dropped the book into the float with me! I recovered quickly, but not before the edges of all the pages got soaked. The book dried, but now its really lumpy and crinkly, but still readable!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cover Reveal: Slated by Teri Terry

Slated (Slated #1) by Terri Terry
Published: May 3, 2012 by Orchard Books
Pages: 448
My Review

Here is the new US version of Slated's cover. Its similar to the UK version, except it has the added city sky line at the bottom. I personally like the UK version a little more for its simplicity which relates really well to the book. 

I received Slated for review back in May and was floored by this book and gave it a resounding 5 star review. It's incredibly written with such thought provoking and original story lines that will engross any reader. I loved the concept of this book, Kyla was an amazing MC, and I'm desperate for its sequel Fractured which is expected to be released in May of 2013. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Title: Something Strange and Deadly
Author: Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #2
Published: July 24, 2012 by Harper Collins

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

A Copy of this Book was Provided by the Publisher for Review

My Review:

Something Strange and Deadly tells the thrilling tale of a zombie outbreak during the Victorian time period of Philadelphia integrating a cool mixture of the walking dead and proper etiquette. Eleanor is a teenage girl burdened with the responsibilities of taking over her household after her brother strangely disappears and her mother overspends the families diminishing funds. While dodging unwanted suitors and trying to keep her family afloat, Eleanor makes it her purpose to find out what has happened to her brother and how the newly undead zombies are involved.

Eleanor's character was fiercely independent and quite a rebel for her time period, which I adored. I love the strong female protagonist, especially those with vulnerabilities. For Eleanor its her loyalty to her family and need to protect them. It made her easy to relate to and enjoyable to read. Even better...she's not a swooner and doesn't fall all over her suitors.

The premise of the story reminded me a lot of Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel. The charm and propriety of the Victorian Era meets the grittiness and horror of a zombie invasion. Its a very thrilling concept that I believe Dennard was able to deliver. The majority of the book was shrouded in mystery after Eleanor's mother hosts a seance party with local socialites in an attempt to impress while contacting her late husband. Instead, a shadow monster is released who wreaks all sorts of havoc on Eleanor and her peers. I loved the introduction of the Shadow Hunters and their part throughout the story. They were the life of the book, especially witty and sarcastic Daniel who definitely knows how to challenge Eleanor. The feistiness in their budding relationship was perfectly done!

The balance of romance and action in this book was also impeccable. There were some great adrenaline scenes and some twists in the story line that kept the mystery surrounding Eleanor's brother's disappearance alive. There wasn't an overwhelming amount of romance, which hopefully means that Dennard is building up the romantic tension for the reader in future books! I also felt the zombies could have been a bit scarier, they weren't the gory flesh eating zombies I was initially picturing, but more like mindless corpses who felt more robotic than zombified. However, the ending of the book definitely kicks up the thrill factor and leaves the door wide open for this series. 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Book Confessions

1. I am a recovering dog-earer. It's true! In the past I used to dog ear my books like crazy. I know, its so bad, but I never thought about how it hurts the book- I just didn't want to lose my spot. Now I grab whatever is in reach to use as a bookmark: receipts, post it note, bills...whatever works!

2. I read all of the Harry Potter books out loud. After I started the Harry Potter series and became obsessed with them, I had to share them with my sister. Only problem, at the time she really couldn't read (she wasn't dumb, just young). So I started to read them out loud to her. By the time Deathly Hallows was released my sister could read fine (I think she was in middle school) but it was such a tradition that I still read it out loud to her. 

3. I've named my future children after favorite book characters. So I'm not anywhere near ready to be planning for babies, but in my mind I've got baby names picked out already from some of my favorite books. 

4. I talked about my Blog in my last job interview. One of the questions HR asked me was what I liked to do in my spare time and immediately I said read. That then broke out into a full on discussion on my book blog and how I review books online which was a great confidence booster during the interview. 

5. I don't have a library card. I cringed writing this last one. I moved to this town in the middle of high school and never got around to getting one. Then I went off to college where I had a library on campus. Now that I'm back home again I have no excuse! I tend to just buy the books I want because I have no patience, but a library card would save me a lot of money!

6. I LOVE reading the acknowledgements section of books. Even though I have no idea who most of the people are that the author is thanking, I still love reading them. It's like a little window into the genius behind the book and who was a part of making the book a reality.

7. The majority of Classics bore me. In high school I took an AP literature class which sounded amazing at the time, but turned out to be a nightmare. When I'm forced to read a book I tend to like it even less. I enjoyed a few, such as Pride and Prejudice and Frankenstein, but dragged my feet through To the Lighthouse, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Grapes of Wrath...

8. I sometimes get embarrassed when in the YA section of stores. I look like an Olympic power walker when going to the book store. I normally go with a set book in mind, stalk the shelves for it, and then leave. I'm very self conscious of people judging me over my taste in books, especially when they spot a 23 year old standing next to a 13 year old looking at the same books.

9. I used to cheat with coupons. I used to have a Border's Reward card and get coupons in my email. Anytime I got a coupon I'd print out two and make my sister use one so I could get discounts on two books. Then when I was in college, I used to borrow my friend's B&N card to get the better price because I was too cheap to pay for my own card. Do you know how dumb I looked trying to recite her home phone number at the register?

10. I own a Kindle but hardly use it. I was so psyched when the Kindle first came out thinking I'd load tons of great books on it to take anywhere. However, I can't quit physical books. Even if the Kindle price is cheaper I'll buy the book. Its so gratifying to see my shelves fill up and have books stacked everywhere!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Follow Friday

Follow Friday time! Follow Friday is hosted by the lovely ladies at Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. The meme promotes new blog followings along with featuring a book related question. This week's question is:

Worst cover? What is the worst cover of a book you've read and loved?

I received Kevin's Point of View from the author, Del Shannon, back when I first started Lost Amongst the Shelves. It was actually my first physical book I received for review. I was a little skeptical at first, especially with the cartoon doodles on the cover (I mean, there's a kid with no neck and a naked butt)...but this book is HILARIOUS! The two main characters reminded me a lot of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the trouble they get into is laugh out loud worthy. Such a fun and enjoyable read across all age groups that the cover just doesn't do it justice.

Leave me a comment below with links to your FF and I'll be sure to return the favor!

The Unquiet by Jennine Garsee

Title: The Unquiet
Author: Jeanine Garsee
Published: July 17, 2012 by Bloomsbury

Sixteen-year-old Rinn Jacobs has secrets: One, she’s bipolar. Two, she killed her grandmother.

After a suicide attempt, and now her parents' separation, Rinn and her mom move from California to the rural Ohio town where her mother grew up. Back on her medications and hoping to stay well, Rinn settles into her new home, undaunted by the fact that the previous owner hanged herself in Rinn's bedroom. At school, her classmates believe the school pool is haunted by Annaliese, a girl who drowned there. But when a reckless séance goes awry, and terrible things start happening to her new friends—yet not to her—Rinn is determined to find out why she can’t be "touched" by Annaliese...or if Annaliese even exists.

With the help of Nate Brenner, the hunky “farmer boy” she’s rapidly falling for, Rinn devises a dangerous plan to uncover the truth. Soon reality and fantasy meld into one, till Rinn finds it nearly impossible to tell the difference. When a malevolent force threatens the lives of everyone she cares about--not to mention her own--she can't help wondering: who should she really be afraid of?

Annaliese? Or herself?

My Review:

The Unquiet is by far one of the most spine-tingling, nerve racking, chilling book I have EVER read! It is so difficult to portray such a creeptastic level of scary in books because the writer has to rely on the reader's imagination, but The Unquiet has definitely delivered!

The story centers around Rinn, a teenager suffering from Bipolar disorder who has a very compelling past. Upon moving to her mom's childhood town, Rinn learns that her new house and new school has some dark secrets that quickly take root in Rinn. Her main focus becomes the school's ghost, Annaliese,  who is much closer to Rinn than anyone would suspect. The story spirals into one of the most eerie books of this year while Rinn and her friends try to unearth Annaliese's secrets in order to save one another.

Garsee's ability to give the reader goosebumps while reading is one of my favorite parts of this book. The story has some mind-blowing twists that will really mess with not only Rinn's perspective on reality but the reader's as well. When Rinn comes off her medication, allowing the entire wrath of Annelise in, reality is warped. You're constantly questioning, "did that really just happen or was it Rinn's mind?", which makes the story horrifyingly addicting. There are some imaginative scenes, mostly centering around the school's pool, that are just so perfectly written that surpasses any horror movie.

While the plot is amazingly developed, the characters are equally engaging. Rinn is definitely likable with such a vulnerability that makes you love her and a past that gives her an edge. Nate is that lovable boy next door that adds the perfect balance of romance to this thriller. Together, with their friends, there is a great sense of balance with this book.

I cannot gush enough about the amazingness of this book. I was up till the early morning finishing this story and was completely blown by its ending. I LITERALLY got chills finishing The Unquiet and recommend this book to anyone who is up for a great scare!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Drain You by M. Beth Bloom

Title: Drain You
Author: M. Beth Bloom
Published: July 24, 2012 by Harper Collins

Quinlan Lacey's life is a red carpet of weird fashions, hip bands, random parties, and chilling by the pool with her on-and-off BFF Libby. There's also her boring job (minimum wage), a crushed-out coworker (way too interested), her summer plans (nada), and her parents (totally clueless). Then one night she meets gorgeous James, and Quinn's whole world turns crazy, Technicolor, 3-D, fireworks, whatever.

But with good comes bad and unfortunately, Quinn's new romance brings with it some majorly evil baggage. Now, to make things right, she has to do a lot of things wrong (breaking and entering, kidnapping, lying, you name it).

There's normal, and then there's paranormal, and neither are Quinlan's cup of Diet Coke. Staying sane, cool, in love, and alive isn't so easy breezy.

A Copy of this Book was Provided by the Publisher for Review

My Review:

Drain You is the average take of paranormal vampires meets teenage angst without any real flare or originality. While reading Drain You I couldn't help thinking that I've heard this story before...namely Twilight. 

The premise of Drain You revolves around Quinn and her need to be different. I appreciate the break from the cookie-cutter MC, but most of the time Quinn comes across as trying too hard to be original, which in my opinion defeats the purpose. She's got a bit of an edgy attitude which was amusing, but for some reason I couldn't connect with her. The majority of my issue lied with her overpowering independence which completely clashed with her neediness once she met the absolutely gorgeous vampire James. It felt like there was a switch in character the second James enters the story which was disappointing.

I also couldn't get past page after page of cliches. The biggest 'no-no' for me was the insta-love. I can never believe a romance when both characters just fall head over heels within the first few pages. I need development and challenges to make me root for them, but when love comes so easily (and then almost instantly followed by sex) I just lose interest. For Quinn and James their obsession for one another was a little nauseating, and very reminiscent of Bella and Edward.

Along with the insta-love there was the underdeveloped love triangle in which Quinn's best friend Morgan had absolutely no chance. There was the odd family of gorgeously ostracized vampires (again very Cullenish) as well as the melodramatic best friend Libby who is completely helpless and just as obsessive as Quinn. Overall, I couldn't help looking for Twilight similarities while reading Drain You. Unfortunately, this vampire book just didn't bring the needed spark to be a stand out book and fell completely flat for me.