Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review: Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: Nobody
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
# Of Pages: 400
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Source: Library
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 2 Hearts



There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That's why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they're young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute's monitoring. But now they've ID'ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can't make the hit. It's as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are--because no one else can really see them.

My Verdict

From the synopsis I was expecting this fast-paced, teenage assassin adventure, but what I found was a slow moving, overly complicated, sci-fi heavy book that failed to deliver.

Nix is a nobody, a person that is looked through rather than at, who will be instantly forgotten, someone who would make the perfect assassin. Nix always completes his mission no questions asked, but when he gets orders to kill sixteen-year-old Claire, he disobeys his orders. Why? She looked at him, not through him, but directly at him. Turns out, Claire’s a nobody too.

I feel like this plot held a lot of potential that fell flat during execution. The existence of the non-human characters like the nobodies, sensors, and nulls, weren’t really explained beyond “some people are born wrong.”

The story is told through the eyes of both Nix and Claire. Having been told he was nothing his whole life, Nix has a pretty degrading thought process, with a mantra of “You are less than air. Less than shadow.” How depressing is that?

Nix and Claire’s relationship was not one I could relate to or care about. I understand that they were supposed to have this deep connection because they were both nobodies, but their attraction to one another was just too hard to fathom. As Nix had his hands around Claire’s neck about to kill her, she was thinking about how much she liked his touch and wished he would kiss her. Um, hello?!? HE’S TRYING TO STRANGLE YOU, or did you miss that part?

For a 400-page book, I felt there wasn’t enough action or even pacing. Most of it went by really slowly and didn’t really do much to further the plotline. I think a significant cut could have been made without losing anything key.

For some unknown reason, I finished this book, though I’m not completely sure why… 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Shuffle Saturdays 3: Your Biggest Mistake

Shuffle Saturdays is hosted by the girls at Pretty In Fiction, where you post a random song from your ipod each week. 

This weeks song is "Your Biggest Mistake" by Ellie Goulding. I recently discovered Ellie's music a few months ago and am currently obsessed. Both her voice and style are very unique and it seems that people either love it or hate it. I LOVE it =D

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review: Witness by Karen Hesse

Title: Witness
Author: Karen Hesse
# Of Pages: 161
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: July 5, 2000
Source: Own
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 2 Hearts



Leanora Sutter. Esther Hirsh. Merlin Van Tornhout. Johnny Reeves . . .

These characters are among the unforgettable cast inhabiting a small Vermont town in 1924. A town that turns against its own when the Ku Klux Klan moves in. No one is safe, especially the two youngest, twelve-year-old Leanora, an African-American girl, and six-year-old Esther, who is Jewish.
In this story of a community on the brink of disaster, told through the haunting and impassioned voices of its inhabitants, Newbery Award winner Karen Hesse takes readers into the hearts and minds of those who bear witness.

My Verdict

It’s always disappointing when you read one book by an author and absolutely love it and then you read another by them and don’t like it. That is pretty much what happened here. I had just read Out of the Dust the night before and was expecting another great book but instead was very disappointed with what I found.

This is a work of historical fiction about a small town in 1924 and how it affects them when the Ku Klux Klan moves into town. Told in five “acts”, the story unfolds before us through the eyes of eleven different characters, each passage told from a different point-of-view. The cast of characters was just too large and hard to keep track of. There was a cast list in the front of the book with pictures of each character, which was nice but I got sick of flipping back and forth between pages every time I couldn’t remember who someone was.  Needless to say this really hindered me from connecting with any of them.

Another thing I didn’t like about switching between such a large number of characters was that their ages ranged from six to sixty-six so one minute your in the head of a six year old with her innocent thoughts and the next minute your in the head of an adult who’s plotting to poison someone.

I apologize for the really negative review but this book just wasn’t for me. I am still planning to read more of Hesse’s work in hopes they will be more like my first experience with her writing, which was the polar opposite of this one. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordlover Wednesday: Mitty

Todays Wordlover Word is...

Mitty (MIT-ee)
Noun- An ordinary, timid person who indulges in daydreams involving great adventures and triumphs.
Earliest Documented Use- 1939
Example- "It was not a Mitty dream. It was no fantasy at all."

Discover more about this word here:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Shuffle Saturdays 2: All Over Me

 Shuffle Saturdays is hosted by the girls at Pretty In Fiction, where you post a random song from your ipod each week. 

This weeks song is "All Over Me" by Josh Turner. Unfortunately, there's no music video for this song and no good lyric videos either so just kick back and listen to his beautiful baritone voice and fall in love ;)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Book Review: Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

Title: Out of the Dust
Author: Karen Hesse
# Of Pages: 256
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: January 1, 1997
Source: Library
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 5 Hearts


(From Goodreads)

When Billie Jo is just fourteen she must endure heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring.

Written in free verse, this award-winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma's staggering dust storms, and the environmental--and emotional--turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength.

My Verdict

I’ve never had any interest in reading this book. I remember my sister reading it when we were kids but the cover was dull and old looking and I didn’t think it could possibly hold anything in it that I would enjoy. In more recent years, since my love of verse novels, many other verse lovers and authors have talked about how much they love this book, still I hesitated.

I finally decided to look past the boring/ugly cover and read it anyway. Now I can understand what all the fuss was about. Out of the Dust is a well-written, honest look at a young girl’s life during the Great Depression. Broken down by season, the story unfolds over a two-year span and is told in first person narrative by fourteen-year-old Billie Jo.

I picked up this book late one night expecting to read a few pages before bed. Those few pages turned into the whole book. Although it is a rather slow progressing plotline about a family of farmers’ day-to-day life, somehow it kept me enraptured. I think a large part of this was the writing. Hesse writes with an honest, bluntness that is raw, powerful, and emotional.

“But now,
sorrow climbs up our front steps,
big as Texas, and we didn’t even see it coming,
even though it’d been making its way straight for us
all along.

In conclusion, if there is still anyone out there who has been putting off reading this book, don’t wait any longer, read it!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wordlover Wednesday: Brontide

It's time for another segment of "Wait, There's a Word for That!" Where I'll share crazy words for things you never would of dreamed existed. 
So this weeks word is...

Brontide- The low rumbling of distant thunder

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Book News: Free Kindle Book & Cover Reveal

Okay I've got a couple random things to share today.

First up, is that book one of the Mindjack Trilogy, Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn is currently a FREE kindle download. This book has been on my TBR for awhile now and I'm super excited to finally get a copy! I don't know how long it's going to be free so hurry up and get your copy now!!

Book Blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Secondly, author Terry Lynn Johnson revealed the cover of her new middle grade book, Ice Dogs, today and it's a stunner!

Look at it! Gorgeous right? I could stare into that dogs beautiful, blue eyes forever. 

Here's a little about the book:

Victoria Secord, a 14-year-old Alaskan dogsled racer loses her way on a routine outing with her dogs. With food gone and temperatures dropping, her survival and that of her dogs and the mysterious boy she meets in the woods, is entirely up to her.

Here's a little note on the cover designer:

 Cliff Neilsen, is a book illustrator and graphic artist, best known for his sci-fi and fantasy work. He has created a lot of other book covers I'm sure you'd recognize. 
For example:

To check out more of Cliff's work you can look at his portfolio HERE.

Book Review: Shadowlands by Kate Brian

Title: Shadowlands
Author: Kate Brian
# Of Pages: 336
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication Date: January 8th 2013
Source: Library
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 4 Hearts



Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it.  Rory survived … and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection with her father and sister, Darcy, leaving their friends and family without so much as a goodbye.

Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children, but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. But just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?

My Verdict

I’ve never devoured a book of this size so fast in my life! It took me just over four hours, and had me flipping pages like a lunatic.

The action starts right on the first page as the book opens with main character, Rory, being watched by a serial killer. For the first ninety pages or so I was absolutely terrified and almost stopped reading because I wasn’t sure I could handle it. As I was trying to decide whether or not to keep going, I did something I’ve never done before: I read the last page! =O (I know, I know, shame on me!) Anyways, that sealed the deal, I HAD to finish reading.

The chapters from the killer’s perspective SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME! Seeing inside his dark and twisted mind left me with a dark, unsettled feeling that I wasn’t too fond of. Luckily, as the story went on his chapters became far and few between, with the majority of the story told from Rory’s point of view.

While it was both terrifying and riveting, there were also a number of instances that were highly unlikely and plain unbelievable. For example why would the police send you into protective custody without so much as one officer to escort you? Once at said “safe house” why is there no alarm system, body guards, etc. AND if you had just survived an attack by a crazed serial killer, why on earth would you a)  Go out for a jog by yourself b) sneak out in the middle of the night to go to a party! SERIOUSLY?!? Locking herself  in a room and never leaving again would be more realistic, but I guess that would make for a pretty boring book, huh?

I have to admit that when it ended I was still really confused and unsure of what was going on. After scouring Goodreads for spoilers, I sat there in shock when I found out the truth. So if you’re like me and finish the book not knowing what happened, email me and I’ll let you know ;) 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations . . . 

You have won an ebook of Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent!
Thanks so much to everyone for entering =)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Shuffle Saturdays 1: Brick By Boring Brick

I've decided to join a new weekly meme called Shuffle Saturdays, which is hosted by the girls at Pretty In Fiction, where you post a random song from your ipod each week. 

This weeks song is "Brick By Boring Brick" by Paramore.
I'm a huge Paramore fan, their music is great, but honestly this video totally creeps me out!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Book Review: Sisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill

Title: Sisters of Glass
Author: Stephanie Hemphill
# Of Pages: 160
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: March 27th 2012
Source: Library
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 4 Hearts



Maria is the younger daughter of an esteemed family on the island of Murano, the traditional home for Venetian glassmakers. Though she longs to be a glassblower herself, glassblowing is not for daughters—that is her brother's work. Maria has only one duty to perform for her family: before her father died, he insisted that she be married into the nobility, even though her older sister, Giovanna, should rightfully have that role. Not only is Giovanna older, she's prettier, more graceful, and everyone loves her.

Maria would like nothing more than to allow her beautiful sister, who is far more able and willing to attract a noble husband, to take over this role for her. But they cannot circumvent their father's wishes. And when a new young glassblower arrives to help the family business and Maria finds herself drawn to him, the web of conflicting emotions grows even more tangled.

My Verdict

Stephanie Hemphill writes a unique and captivating story about a family of glassblowers in 15th Century Venice. The story focuses on sisters Giovanna and Maria and their strained relationship.

Maria and Giovanna live on the island of Murano, famous for it’s glassmaking. Maria grew up helping the family business by mixing batches of glass, helping out in the furnace, and dreaming of someday becoming a blower. Traditionally, it is the eldest daughter who marries into nobility but Maria’s father specifically ordered that she be the one to marry into nobility right before his death. This causes her elder sister Giovanna to become resentful of Maria.

“ Giovanna shoots me
only a sideways glance
as I lace into my new green dress.

I want to scream,
‘I will trade positions,’
that I Desire to polish glass
and stoke the fires
and see the creation of crystal,
like I was permitted to do
when I was a little girl.

But I promised Father
on his deathbed that I would
honor his first and greatest wish for me.
I just did not know I would
lose my sister even before
I lose my Murano.

Now 15 years old, Maria is forbidden from working with the glass she loves so much to stay indoors brushing her hair, and wearing fancy dresses, while her family tries to find her the perfect suitor. But when a young man comes to work for the family Maria starts to fall in love, but not with her suitor. 

“ To follow the head,
or the heart,
this is the question
that rips me apart.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, the writing was great, the story interesting (I really enjoyed learning about the art of glassblowing!) and I liked the main character, Maria, but something was missing that kept me from loving it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wordlover Wednesday: Micawber

Todays Wordlover Word is...

Micawber (mih-KAW-buhr)
Noun- An eternal optimist
Earliest documented use- 1852
Example- "As the shadow work-and-pensions secretary, David Willetts, said yesterday, he takes the Mr. Micawber approach to economics: something will turn up"

Discover more about this word here:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Book Review: Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Title: Hysteria
Author: Megan Miranda
# Of Pages: 336
Publisher: Walker Children’s
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Source: NetGalley
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 5 Hearts


(From Goodreads)

Mallory's life is falling apart. Her boyfriend was stabbed. He bled to death in her kitchen. Mallory was the one who stabbed him. But she can't remember what happened that night. She only remembers the fear . . .

When Mallory's parents send her away to a boarding school, she thinks she can escape the gossip and the threats. But someone, or something, has followed her. There's the hand that touches her shoulder when she's drifting off to sleep. A voice whispering her name. And everyone knows what happened. So when a pupil is found dead, Mallory's name is on their lips. Her past can be forgotten but it's never gone. Can Mallory live with that?

My Verdict

Fracture, Megan’s Miranda’s first book was one of my favorite reads of 2012. Needless to say I was pretty flipping excited to get my hands on a copy of Hysteria before it’s release thanks to NetGalley! I know one thing for sure, Megan definitely knows how to write a psychological thriller!

I recommend setting aside a large chunk of time to read this book because once you start you’re not gonna want to stop. The book pulls you in from the very first chapter and never lets you go. Every moment I wasn’t reading this book I was thinking about it. All morning at work I thought about what had happened, what was going to happen, and wishing I was reading at that moment.

At first I didn’t think it was really all that suspenseful, but don’t worry, it gets there! Boy does it get there. I had so many scenerios swirling around in my head as I tried to put all the missing pieces together.

I think I’ve said before how much I love books that are set at boarding schools, they just hold so much potential. This one takes place at Monroe Prep, a boarding school set in the New Hampshire wilderness. I liked the setting, thinking back there wasn’t anything special about it but it fit the story perfectly, which is all that really matters.

A quick peek at the characters and relationships:

  • Mallory was a likable main character, you sympathized with her from the very beginning and wanted to see her happy.
  • Colleen, Mallory’s best friend, there was just something about her I didn’t like. There relationship was a little weird at times but okay for the most part.
  • Time to talk about the love interest. Sigh…. Reid is officially one of my favorite book boyfriends of all time. He is so sweet, caring, protective, genuine, and trusting you couldn’t help but fall in love with him! 
As for objectionable content there was a decent number of F words used throughout the book. For some reason they surprised me every time. Something about the way they were used just didn’t seem to fit the characters or situation.

Overall, this was a heart-pounding, mind-twisting book that I thoroughly enjoyed!  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Book News: February Releases!

It's February 1st, which means it's time to talk about all the amazing books that will be coming out this month. Here are the ones I'm excited for! 

Coming February 5th . . . 

Tahereh Mafi

tick, tick, tick, tick, tick
it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.

Ally Carter

Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it’s that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting—or stealing—whatever they want.

No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale’s family, all bets are off when money is on the line. When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother’s billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there’s no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won’t let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother’s will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company’s fortune. So instead of being the heir—this time, Hale might be the mark.

Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt. To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she’s willing to save her boyfriend’s company if it means losing the boy.

Megan Miranda

Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others.

Marissa Meyer

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Coming February 19th . . . 

Kiersten White

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways… or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

Kathryn Fitzmaurice

Des·tin·y: |destinē/
(noun) The hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate.

Eleven-year-old Emily Elizabeth Davis has been told for her entire life that her destiny is to become a poet, just like her famous namesake, Emily Dickinson. But Emily doesn’t even really like poetry, and she has a secret career ambition that she suspects her English-professor mother will frown on. Then a seeming tragedy strikes: just after discovering that it contains an important family secret, she accidentally loses the special copy of Emily Dickinson’s poetry that was given to her at birth. As Emily and her friends search for the lost book in used bookstores and thrift shops all across town, Emily’s understanding of destiny begins to unravel and then rewrite itself in a marvelous new way.

Coming February 26th . . . 

Elsie Chapman

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

Patrick Carman

In 2051, some teens have a “pulse,” the power to move objects with their minds. Compulsively readable, with thrilling action scenes and a tender love story.

The year is 2051, and the world is still recognizable. With the help of her mysterious classmate Dylan Gilmore, Faith Daniels discovers that she can move objects with her mind. This telekinetic ability is called a “pulse,” and Dylan has the talent, too.

In riveting action scenes, Faith demonstrates her ability to use her pulse against a group of telekinesis masters so powerful they will flatten their enemies by uprooting street lights, moving boulders, and changing the course of a hurtling hammer so that it becomes a deadly weapon. But even with great talent, the mind—and the heart—can be difficult to control. If Faith wants to join forces with Dylan and save the world, she’ll have to harness the power of both.

Robin Benway

Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.

Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover.

Which February release are you most excited for?

Novels in Verse Reading Challenge: February Linky & Giveaway!

This month I have a small giveaway to do. Many thanks to Cathy Ostlere who sent me these lovely autographed bookmarks for you guys! Have you read Cathy's young adult, verse novel Karma yet? If not you should! I read it as part of the challenge last year, you can check out my review HERE. 
So how this is going to work is that the first three people (participating in the challenge) to link up a review this month will each win a signed bookmark =D