Thursday, May 31, 2012

May Wrap-Up and June TBR

Phew!  I can't believe another month has passed so quickly.  While May wasn't the best month for my family, I was still able to get a ton of reading done.

Here are the books I managed to read:
-Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
-Revived by Cat Patrick
-Wither by Lauren DeStefano
-Fever by Lauren DeStefano
-Spectral by Shannon Duffy
-Under the Never Sky by Shannon Duffy
-Arise by Tara Hudson
-In Honor by Jessi Kirby
-Duplicity by Nikki Jefford
-Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker (review to come)

10 books total, same amount as last month.  Not bad.

Here are the books that I will definitely read in June:
-Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham
-Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer
-One Moment by Kristina McBride
-Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

and these are the books I'm hoping to get to (this list may or may not change depending on my mood/ which books I receive throughout the month):
-Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
-Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
-The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
-Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
-Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
-The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

I had to stick with the 10 total, but hopefully I'll be able to read more.  I just had to add some summer reads into the mix, too!

Review: Duplicity by Nikki Jefford

Title: Duplicity (Spellbound #2)
Author: Nikki Jefford
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Paranormal Romance
Release date: May 20th, 2012
Pages: 280 (ebook)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Author
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

If Graylee Perez thought sharing a body with her twin sister was bad, dealing with a duplicate of herself is two times worse. Gray the second doesn’t seem to get that Lee’s boyfriend, Raj McKenna, is off limits. Then there’s the problem of Adrian Montez. He expects one of the Grays to be his. 

 Nearly a year later, the council is onto them for past misdeeds; Lee, along with the rest of the coven, has lost control of her powers; and Gray is being stalked by what looks like the Grim Reaper. 

 If they work together, they may stand a chance of setting things right and making it out alive.

When I first started Duplicity, I thought that there was no way I'd love the book as much as the first in the series, Entangled.  Of course, the more I read of Duplicity, the more I started to fall for these characters all over again.  Nikki Jefford knows how to keep her readers hooked until the very end and this book is no exception.

As the story begins, we're shown this new life of Graylee's.  New body, no Charlene, hardly any complications as one may believe.  She still has her powers, but unfortunately they start to go haywire like all the rest of the witches in town.  With the help of an amulet from Raj's mother, they're able to control Graylee's involuntary disappearances until they get to the bottom of things.  Just when things couldn't get any more confusing, a duplicate of Graylee shows up in Charlene's body.

It took me a while to grasp what was going on.  Here was Lee (the "real" Graylee) in Stacey's body and Gray (the "duplicate") in Charlene's.  There were points where I favored one over the other even though they were technically the same person.  As for the other characters, I found it easy to push Raj to the side.  In the first book, he was my favorite.  Now he's sort of lost his unique touch and become loyal boyfriend to Lee.  Don't get me wrong, a loyal boyfriend is far from a bad thing, but I didn't feel as emotionally attached to his character this time.

Lee and Gray have their share of complications throughout the story too, especially when it comes to Raj and his conflicting feelings; yet when it comes down to it, they're willing to do whatever it takes to save each other.  Like the first book, this story will leave you satisfied, but wanting more.  Duplicity has easily earned a spot on my favorites list, right next to its sister, Entangled.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #25

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by, Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on!

Title: What's Left of Me
Author: Kat Zhang
Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t… 

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

Everything about this book sounds incredible! The plot sounds very intriguing and unique, so I can't wait to finally be able to read it!  What do you think?  Have you added What's Left of Me to your wishlist already?

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

By the way, if you live in the US and like winning boxes of books, enter my one year blogoversary giveaway!  Click here to try your luck!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spellbound Trilogy Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway!

First, I want to thank Nikki Jefford for stopping by my blog this morning!  Her books, Entangled (Spellbound #1) and the recently-released Duplicity (Spellbound #2) are perfect additions to any personal library, even making their ways to my favorites list.

Life is an Open Book 

Thank you to Cheyenne for hosting a stop in the Spellbound Tour. I sent a review request to Chey a week after Entangled was published and she replied back that same day saying she would love to. I can’t tell you what this means to a self-published author releasing their very first title. It’s like, “Hey, I wrote a book. Wanna read it?” Like bloggers don’t hear that 100 times a month!

I love that Chey “travels” through books and that she’s not sure what she wants to do with her life. I felt the exact same way at 19.

I’d planned to include an excerpt from Duplicity, but instead I’m going to share one line from the book followed by a personal story. When Lee (Gray the first) is pondering what to do with her life - maybe this, maybe that – she finally comes to the conclusion that:

“Then again, maybe she should finish senior year before she worried about the rest of her life.”

I was at a complete loss after high school (Dimond High Class of 96, Anchorage, AK). All I knew is that I wanted to do something out of the ordinary, which led to Africa. Don’t ask me why, but I became obsessed with going over. Part of it was choosing a place where no one I knew had visited. I wanted it to be my experience alone, not the usual, “When you visit Europe you have to see the___ and go to the ___.”

I found a volunteer project in Kenya and spent the month of February at age 19, living in a mud hut in the middle of nowhere helping build homes through Habitat for Humanity. (This was not an organized project as I’d volunteered with another organization that fell through when I arrived. Luckily there was a Habitat for Humanity office in Nairobi and they were able to come up with something on the spur.)

That month in Kenya was one of the best experiences of my life. The world opened up before me. The first couple days were some of my darkest. I broke down. I felt like the weakest cry baby on the planet. But sometimes you have to break before you can put yourself together again. I became empowered and that feeling has stuck with me ever since.

I returned home a stronger person, but I had even less idea what I wanted to do with my life. What I didn’t realize at the time is that experience in Africa set in motion a string of events I couldn’t foresee – the most import being it was where I decided I wanted to learn French after a kind French family “adopted” me for a couple days.

Learning French would later lead to working in France and meeting the love of my life, Sebastien, which is by far the best thing that has ever happened to me.

 In my journal from Kenya I wrote: “I came here to find myself. Instead, I’ve learned that life is contestant journey of searching and discovering who you are.”

 Enter to win the SPELLBOUND SWAG PACK (International) 

· Evil Eye Amulet and Bracelet: In Duplicity, Gray wears an evil eye pendant, also known as a nazar, to protect herself from a spell that’s causing havoc over the witches and warlocks in her coven. The evil eye (a Turkish amulet) is used for both luck and protection against envy. 

 · Two Headed Quarter: Two Grays are better than none and two heads are better than one, especially when flipping over who gets to choose which movie to watch with a trick coin. Adrian returns in Duplicity and opens a magic shop. 

· Entangled bookmark


About the Author

Nikki Jefford is a third generation Alaskan who found paradise in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands where she is, once more, neighbors with Canada. She has a B.A. in journalism from the University of Alaska Anchorage and was a reporter before returning to her first love: fiction.

After a whirlwind romance in France, Nikki married Sébastien in March 2000. They reside with Cosmo the wonder Westie.

Find her at:

Duplicity Book Trailer

Monday, May 28, 2012

Guest Review: Chey's boyfriend spills his thoughts on The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin

Title: The Darkening Dream
Author: Andy Gavin
Publisher: Mascherato Publishing
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Paranormal/ Dark Fantasy
Release date: December 22, 2011
Pages: 382 (ebook)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: Author
Goodreads | Amazon | Author
1913, Salem, Massachusetts – Sarah Engelmann’s life is full of friends, books, and avoiding the pressure to choose a husband, until an ominous vision and the haunting call of an otherworldly trumpet shake her. When she stumbles across a gruesome corpse, she fears that her vision was more of a premonition. And when she sees the murdered boy moving through the crowd at an amusement park, Sarah is thrust into a dark battle she does not understand.

 With the help of Alex, an attractive Greek immigrant who knows a startling amount about the undead, Sarah sets out to uncover the truth. Their quest takes them to the factory mills of Salem, on a midnight boat ride to spy on an eerie coastal lair, and back, unexpectedly, to their own homes. What can Alex’s elderly, vampire-hunting grandfather and Sarah’s own rabbi father tell them? And what do Sarah’s continuing visions reveal?

No less than Gabriel’s Trumpet, the tool that will announce the End of Days, is at stake, and the forces that have banded to recover it include a 900 year-old vampire, a trio of disgruntled Egyptian gods, and a demon-loving Puritan minister. At the center of this swirling cast is Sarah, who must fight a millennia-old battle against unspeakable forces, knowing the ultimate prize might be herself.

Hello everyone, this is Santi for another guest review, it’s been a while! This time I’m reviewing The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin. First of all, it was written by the creator of CRASH BANDICOOT!  How cool is that?! And second I just want to say that I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many kinds of magic or deities together in a story (outside of Supernatural. Chey and I never miss it). Also the plot involves a lot of twists and it gets weird at some points but I seriously loved it.

The main character, Sarah, was such a wonderful girl. She was so smart she could put everyone to shame but at the same time she showed emotions like everyone else which made her both unreachable and relatable at the same time. Together with her best friend Anne, Anne’s twin brother Sam and the new exotic guy in town, Alexandros, she starts digging deeper into her scary and disturbing dreams to encounter power and creatures beyond her wildest dreams and hopefully put an end to those that seek the destruction of the world as we know it.

The book constantly changes perspectives and that’s always a plus. The author does a really great job at making all of his characters relatable at some level and introduces you to a whole new world each time he speaks from the mind of a new being, be it human, vampire, witch, etc.

 Plot-wise, the story is really complex. A lot of stuff go on at the same time but keeping track of all the events and getting deeper and deeper into the story is what matters, right? This book had tons and tons of action, romance, sex and the aforementioned weirdness that made me cringe and want to keep reading at the same time.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

In My Mailbox #33

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren

-In Honor by Jessi Kirby (find my review here)
(finished copy from Simon & Schuster)

-Duplicity (Spellbound #2) by Nikki Jefford
(ebook from Nikki)

As it turned out, In Honor was the perfect read for what I've been going through recently.  I may be biased because of that, but it really seemed to help me and the story was a lot more fun that you'd imagine.  :)

Thanks for stopping by!  What have you received in your mailbox lately?

By the way, if you live in the US and like winning boxes of books, enter my one year blogoversary giveaway!  
Click here to try your luck!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review: In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Title: In Honor
Author: Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary Romance
Release date: May 8th, 2012
Pages: 240 (Hardcover)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: Won
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

Hours after her brother’s military funeral, Honor opens the last letter Finn ever sent. In her grief, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously decides to go to California to fulfill it.

Honor gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen Rusty in ages, but it’s obvious he is as arrogant and stubborn as ever—not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. Despite Honor’s better judgment, the two set off together on a voyage from Texas to California. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn’s memory—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

In Honor turned out the be so much more than a feel-good summer read.  In this story, we follow Honor, a recent high school graduate, on a road trip from Texas to California.  It's not just an ordinary vacation, either.  She's attempting to fulfill something she feels strongly about before she can move on to her college life.

While reading, I felt like I was in the same boat as Honor because the day before I started the book, my grandmother passed away.  I wasn't sure if I should read this one quite yet or not, but I'm so thankful I decided to.  Not only did it provide me with a heartwarming, inspiring story, but it gave me a few moments to both remember and forget about the pain as I read.  Honor frequently deals with the same along the way; forgetting, the guilt and missing her brother like crazy, and it's actually comforting to be able to relate to.

We learn that Honor's brother, Finn, was one of the few people she could ever count on.  When she receives a delayed letter from him after his death, she decides to take one last road trip in the Impala he spent so much time working on.  She thinks of his urging her to go to California, put her feet in the ocean, and go see the last concert of their favorite singer as a last wish, so she's determined to make it there even though it means missing college orientation.  Only there's one thing she hadn't planned, and that was Rusty, her brother's best friend.  He refused to let her leave alone and thank god he hadn't!  The two run into more than a few difficulties along the way and he ends up being the rock she needed to lean on.

I loved that the book was packed with honesty, adventure and a some much-needed hilarity.  Without giving anything away, I'm going to say that the ending was absolutely perfect for me.  Although the topic of the book is very painful and heartbreaking, it turned out to be surprisingly uplifting.  Here's this girl who's at a rough time in her life just trying to make the best out of bad situation.  I can't blame her at all for trying to get away for a while, and even though she realizes that the trip was about so much more than a concert, she still accomplishes what she set out to do.  Overall, I found In Honor to be an extremely touching book that was able to keep a smile on my face throughout many of the chapters.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review: Arise by Tara Hudson

Title: Arise (Hereafter #2)
Author: Tara Hudson
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Paranormal Romance
Release date: June 5th, 2012
Pages: 404 (ARC)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Author
Amelia—still caught between life and death—must fight for every moment of her relationship with the human boy Joshua. They can hardly even kiss without Amelia accidentally dematerializing. Looking for answers, they go to visit some of Joshua’s Seer relatives in New Orleans. But even in a city so famously steeped in the supernatural, Amelia ends up with more questions than answers…and becomes increasingly convinced that she and Joshua can never have a future together.Wandering through the French Quarter, Amelia meets other in-between ghosts, and begins to seriously consider joining them. And then she meets Gabrielle. Somehow, against impossible odds, Gaby has found a way to live a sort of half-life...a half-life for which Amelia would pay any price. Torn between two worlds, Amelia must choose carefully, before the evil spirits of the netherworld choose for her.

While Hereafter still stands as my favorite in the series, Arise had its good points.  In this much-anticipated sequel (for me, at least), we find out that Amelia still has a lot more on her plate than we left her with.  She's faced with the largest decision she's ever had to make in this afterlife.  When she is faced with that decision, she feels as though she must get out of town and luckily, she's able to hitch a ride with Joshua's family to New Orleans for Christmas vacation.

Ahh, New Orleans.  The setting is my favorite part of the book and while reading, I blissfully took in all it had to offer; from the beignets to the voodoo, even imagining a few Cajun accents.  Though I haven't been able to travel there myself, I was able to imagine it through Amelia's eyes.  When Joshua finds a way he thinks will help her rid her recent troubles, he surprises her with a trip to a nearby voodoo shop and even though the woman shoos them away, they meet a girl around their age that is willing to help.

Although Gabrielle turns Amelia's life upside down with her voodoo, she does her best to guide her down the right path and eventually become more of a friend than Amelia can ever remember having.  Gaby was completely honest and helpful from the beginning, which was admirable.  She's not even as different from Amelia as you might think upon meeting her.  It's easy for me to say that out of all of the characters introduced in this story, she was my favorite.

Arise turned out to be fast-paced, intriguing, yet just a little short of certain things I loved about Hereafter.   In this story, aside from being tracked down by the demons, Amelia must learn to deal with her unresolved feelings, her new abilities and a group of dangerous Seers that have a few dark secrets of their own.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #24

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by, Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on!

Title: Lucid
Author: Adrienne Stoltz & Ron Bass
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill

What if you could dream your way into a different life? What if you could choose to live that life forever?

 Sloane and Maggie have never met. Sloane is a straight-A student with a big and loving family. Maggie lives a glamorously independent life as an up-and-coming actress in New York. The two girls couldn't be more different--except for one thing. They share a secret that they can't tell a soul. At night, they dream that they're each other.

 The deeper they're pulled into the promise of their own lives, the more their worlds begin to blur dangerously together. Before long, Sloane and Maggie can no longer tell which life is real and which is just a dream. They realize that eventually they will have to choose one life to wake up to, or risk spiraling into insanity. But that means giving up one world, one love, and one self, forever.

Woah! I really hope this book ends up being as incredible as the summary makes it sound!  What do you guys think?  Seem like your type of book?

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

By the way, if you live in the US and like winning boxes of books, enter my one year blogoversary giveaway!  Click here to try your luck!
If you're international, you don't have to feel left out!  I still have my giveaway of Anna and the French Kiss and a signed copy of The International Kissing Club open until midnight tonight!
Click here to enter. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Title: Under the Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Dystopian / Romance
Release date: January 3rd, 2012
Pages: 384 (ARC)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Won
Goodreads | Amazon | Author
Since she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered. This was worse.

 Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive.

 A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

Under the Never Sky is the kind of book that will leave you begging for more.  With its surprising twists and incredibly determined characters, it's definitely a book you won't want to put down.  As many of you may know, I'm more of a contemporary romance kind of girl, but this story alone made me want to rethink my favorite genre.  Veronica Rossi did everything perfectly, from the description to the pace; the story was pleasing from start to finish.

Though I'm newer to the dystopian genre than many, there are some I've read that just take place in the future, but I loved that Under the Never Sky took place in a different world completely.  Aria's people reside in pods where they've managed to get rid of disease, pain, and even clothing stains.  Anything that has no use is destroyed, which is an interesting thought.  They grow up listening to the horror stories about the world beyond the pods, otherwise known as The Death Shop.  When Aria gets thrown into it, her hope for survival is slim, but with the help of Perry, Aria learns what it's like to struggle for the first time in her life.

Its very rare for one book to hold my interest in every single one of the chapters, but that's exactly what this book was able to do.  The excitement was constant.  One thing that I need to mention is Rossi's breathtaking example of romance.  Nothing was rushed and there were even times where I thought I'd never see a spark between Aria and Perry, but when things did start to develop, I even got a few butterflies in my stomach.  Sometimes slow is better and this story proves it.

Needless to say, this is one of my favorites (if not my number one) of the year.  The ideas of each of the outsiders having a certain heightened sense was awesome and the action that took place was jaw-dropping at certain points.  Under the Never Sky is romantic, heartbreaking, perfectly-paced, slightly morbid and highly recommended for anyone who loves to be wowed.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Love in Bloom Giveaway Hop

Welcome!  Thanks to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Portrait of a Book for hosting this giveaway hop.

I've promised another international giveaway soon, so here it is!  :)

Giveaway info
-Open Internationally
-Giveaway runs from May 18th to the 23rd
-Winner must reply within 72 hours or I'll be forced to choose someone else
-You do not have to be a follower, but following will give you extra points

*One lucky winner will receive a package containing two contemporary romances and a handful of random signed swag!  Which books will I be giving away, you ask?  Well...

One paperback copy of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
One SIGNED ARC of The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #23

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by, Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on! 

Title: The Blessed
Author: Tonya Hurley
Release Date: September 25th, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Brooklyn teens Lucy, Cecelia and Agnes find themselves in the emergency room at Perpetual Help Hospital at the lowest point in their lives. Lucy, the superficial party girl; Cecelia, a drop out rock chick; and Agnes, a hopeless romantic. All rebels running from their lives and themselves, plagued by broken hearts and broken dreams. Enter Sebastian. Mysterious, compelling, seductive. He seems to bring each of them what they long for...

But in the battle for his heart, will they lose their souls?

Everything about this book just screams my name. I can't wait to find out more!
Plus, that cover totally reminds me of Amanda Seyfried.  I like!

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

By the way, if you live in the US and like winning boxes of books, enter my one year blogoversary giveaway!  Click here to try your luck!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cover Reveal: Protecting Truth by Michelle Warren

I'm excited to help spread the word and reveal the cover of Protecting Truth (The Seraphina Parrish Trilogy #2) by Michelle Warren.  If you haven't heard of the first book in the series, have no fear!  I will add a little summary of it below.

Ever since her sixteenth birthday, strange things keep happening to Seraphina Parrish.

 The Lady in Black… burns Sera’s memories.
 Unexplainable Premonitions… catapult her to other cities.
 The Grungy Gang… wants to kill her.
 And a beautiful, mysterious boy… stalks her.

 But when Sera moves to Chicago, and her aunt reveals their family connection to a centuries old, secret society, she is immediately thrust into an unbelievable fantasy world, leading her on a quest to unravel the mysteries that plague her. In the end, their meanings crash into an epic struggle of loyalty and betrayal, and she’ll be forced to choose between the boy who has stolen her heart and the thing she desires most. 

Here's the exciting part!

Ahh, look how beautiful it is!  So far there isn't a summary or release date that I can share with you guys, but there's even more exciting news!

For a limited time, you can get an ebook of Wander Dust at Amazon or Barnes & Noble for 99 cents!  I've made it easy for you to just click and buy, so what are you waiting for???  :)

Still interested?
Add Wander Dust to your Goodreads
Follow Michelle on Twitter
Like Michelle's page on Facebook
Watch the Wander Dust trailer on YouTube
or visit the Wander Dust Trilogy website

Have you read Wander Dust?  What are your thoughts?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Blog Tour Review: Spectral by Shannon Duffy

Title: Spectral
Author: Shannon Duffy
Publisher: Tribute Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Paranormal
Release date: April 10th, 2012
Pages: 242 (ebook)
Rating: 3 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Author
Convinced she’s a part of the witness protection program, sixteen-year-old Jewel Rose is shuffled around the globe with her family like a pack of traveling gypsies. After arriving at lucky home twenty-seven, she stumbles upon a mysterious boy with magical powers claiming to be her guardian . . . and warning of imminent danger. Despite the obvious sparks between them, Jewel discovers a relationship is forbidden, and the more she learns about dark, brooding Roman, she begins to question who she can even believe—the family who raised her, or the supposed sworn protector who claims they’ve been lying to her all along.

 As she struggles to uncover who her family has really been running from, she is forced to hide her birthmark that reveals who she is. With new realities surfacing, unexplained powers appearing, and two tempting boys vying for her heart, Jewel battles to learn who she can trust in an ever growing sea of lies, hoping she’ll make it through her seventeenth birthday alive.

Spectral, with each of its chapters filled with page-turning mystery and witchcraft, ended up being completely different than what I was expecting after reading the first few pages.  As the story develops, the reader will start to feel more sympathy towards Jewel, our heroine in disguise.  At the young age of sixteen, she's spent her life being hauled from place to place.  Not only does that make it extremely difficult to make friends, she never quite feels like she's on the same page as the rest of her family.  Though loyal and obedient, Jewel will be the one to open Pandora's box and learn all of the secrets that have been kept from her throughout her lifetime.

Even though I mostly enjoyed Jewel as a character, something irked me about her that I can't quite put my finger on.  The only time I really felt like she deserved a bit of admiration was towards the end of the book, which happened to by my favorite bit.  The other characters were interesting as well, but there was also something keeping me from getting emotionally invested in them, which ultimately made a majority of the story mediocre.  If I had to choose a favorite, I'd say swoon-worthy Roman turned out to be a lot more sincere than the reader is originally lead to believe.

What I did love the most about Spectral was the plot.  I felt that it was very well-planned and still intriguing enough to keep me going even though the characters weren't always to my liking.  Without giving away the ending, I will say that I wasn't able to accurately predict anything that happened.  Even though some tiny clues are revealed earlier on in the story, I couldn't believe that Jewel had uncovered the biggest secret imaginable, making it difficult for her to trust absolutely everyone.

Shannon Duffy's idea of witches and their clans captivated me, and by the end of the book, my head was spinning with the thought of each person in each clan having one unique power rather than the idea of magic that most of us have in our minds.  Overall, Spectral was an interesting, attention-grabbing read filled with dark secrets and multiple life or death situations that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

In My Mailbox #32

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren

My family and I have had a rough couple of weeks, but receiving books never fails to put a smile on my face.  I couldn't be more thankful to those who send them to me.  :)

-Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
(ARC from Jessi @ Reading in the Corner)

-The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee
-Beautiful Lies by Jessica Warman
(Netgalley ebooks from Bloomsbury)

Thanks for stopping by!  What have you received in your mailbox lately?

By the way, if you live in the US and like winning boxes of books, enter my one year blogoversary giveaway!  
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Friday, May 11, 2012

Review: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Fever
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Dystopian/ Romance
Release date: February 21st, 2012
Pages: 341 (Hardcover)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Won
Goodreads | Amazon | Author
Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary.

In this suspenseful sequel to Wither, we find out what it's like for Rhine to get another bittersweet taste of the little freedom she's given while she makes her way back to Manhattan in search of her brother.  Fever is filled with more adventure, more characters, and more disturbing scenes that will keep you turning the pages in anticipation.

Though a majority of Wither took place in Housemaster Vaughn's mansion and we saw it as no more than a prison to the girls, Fever took a different approach.  Here are Rhine and Gabriel, attempting to make their way back across the country to live freely for the next few years.  They're no longer trapped and they've proven that giving up gets you nowhere.  Unfortunately, as soon as they leave, they're faced with more evil.

When Rhine was a little girl, her dad told her stories of carnivals, cotton candy and ferris wheels; they seemed like magic until she accidentally steps foot in this one.  A first generation they call Madame gathers girls, dresses them up and renames them different colors of the rainbow then sells them to any man that wants to leave behind a little loneliness for the night.  Madame made my skin crawl as much as Vaughn did.  They both used people in horrible ways for their own profit.  When Rhine and Gabriel are finally able to escape, they have a little more on their shoulders than when they left the mansion.

I loved every bit of this story.  The new characters were interesting and memorable and Rhine's determination is larger than ever.  Though the readers are all rooting for her, I think most of us are able to see how naive she was.  Although she was able to escape the mansion, the outside world is no better.  The images that the author was able to put in my head are still difficult to shake out.  Though this may not be my favorite series of books, I'll keep reading purely for Lauren DeStefano's brilliant writing.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #22

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by, Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on!

Title: Burn for Burn
Author: Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The start of a brand-new young adult trilogy about three very different girls who overcome their differences and band together to seek revenge on those who have wronged them, uncovering a supernatural secret about what brought them together and why in the process. Each book will rotate back and forth between the perspectives of all three characters.

Ooh, even with just that little description, the story sounds dramatic and full of twists.  Can't wait to start this series, especially since I know that Jenny and Siobhan are great contemporary authors.

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

By the way, if you live in the US and like winning boxes of books, enter my one year blogoversary giveaway!  Click here to try your luck!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

One Year Blogoversary Giveaway!

(Peter Pan has nothing to do with this giveaway, but this pic is sweet!)

A year ago today I decided to throw myself into the world of blogging.  It's hard to believe it's been that long, but it has and I'm here to celebrate my blogoversary with you by giving away an awesome box of Young Adult books!

Unfortunately, because of the cost, I can only afford shipping to the United States.  I know I have quite a few of international followers, therefore I'm planning on holding another international giveaway very soon!

I'm not going to tell you which books are in the box (unless you really hate surprises and threaten me to tell you), but I can say that they're all there because I already have copies of those books.  I'd say that the box will be filled with 9 or 10 books that were all released in 2011, except for one (AWESOME) 2012 ARC.

Giveaway info
-Open to US only
-Ends on June 16th, 2012 (My 20th birthday!  :D)
-Winner must reply within 72 hours or I'll be forced to choose someone else

Good luck and thanks for sticking with me for all these months!

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Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Wither
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Dystopian/ Romance
Release date: March 22nd, 2011
Pages: 358 (ARC)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Won
Goodreads | Amazon | Author
What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden’s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

Lauren DeStefano takes you on a journey into the future, where lives are way too short due to genetic engineering.  Scientists first thought that they could get rid of the possibility of disease or defects in their children, but little did they know, their children would die in twenty to twenty-five years due to these changes.  In this story, you will learn about the lives of these children and the heartbreak they go through over the short period of their lifetimes.

Rhine Ellery is just a sixteen year old girl who is taken from her home in order to become another one of the brides in a polygamous marriage.  This is how the "first generations", or the people who were born before the genetic engineering, make sure these women reproduce and keep the population going until they are able to find a cure.  Though Rhine has become quite fond of her sister wives, she still has her heart set on getting back to her twin brother, Rowan.  Even if reuniting doesn't seem possible, she never loses her determination.

Even with the luxurious lifestyle Rhine has been thrown into, it's not enough to keep her from trying to escape.  The mansion is nothing but a reminder that their lives are short and once they're gone, there will be nothing left.  I found this entire story to be intriguing and more depressing than most of the books I'm used to reading.  The characters were all very believable, but I'd have to say that Cecily was the most upsetting.  She's only a thirteen-year-old girl forced into marriage and child birth.  She was raised in an orphanage and her only dream was to be a wife, with no other hopes or ideas of what life was like in the real world.

With all of this, you may think that Linden, the husband, is the villain of the story.  I can surely tell you that he's not.  He's a lot more understanding and caring than you may believe within the first few chapters.  Actually, I grew quite fond of him once I learned more about him and I think that most readers will, too.

Lauren DeStefano did an incredible job with her first novel.  The beautiful writing and disturbing descriptions really made Wither into a book that many who read will fall in love with.  The characters were all driven by something and the story shows the meaning of life hidden behind a horrible world full of some truly horrible people.  I just had to pick up the sequel, Fever, after finishing this one, just to see what disturbing twists and turns the author would add this time.