Wednesday, September 25, 2013

YA Review: Once We Were by Kat Zhang

Title: Once We Were (The Hybrid Chronicles #2)
Author: Kat Zhang
# of Pages: 352
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: September 17th 2013
Source: BEA
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 4 Hearts


"I'm lucky just to be alive"

Eva was never supposed to have survived this long. As the recessive soul, she should have faded away years ago. Instead, she lingers in the body she shares with her sister soul, Addie. When the government discovered the truth, they tried to “cure” the girls, but Eva and Addie escaped before the doctors could strip Eva’s soul away.

Now fugitives, Eva and Addie find shelter with a group of hybrids who run an underground resistance. Surrounded by others like them, the girls learn how to temporarily disappear to give each soul some much-needed privacy. Eva is thrilled at the chance to be alone with Ryan, the boy she’s falling for, but troubled by the growing chasm between her and Addie. Despite clashes over their shared body, both girls are eager to join the rebellion.

Yet as they are drawn deeper into the escalating violence, they start to wonder: How far are they willing to go to fight for hybrid freedom? Faced with uncertainty and incredible danger, their answers may tear them apart forever.

My Verdict  

I was lucky enough to snag a copy of this book at BEA back in June. I hadn't even left Kat Zhangs autograph line yet and I was cracking this puppy open! For the rest of the day, whenever I was waiting in line for something I was reading this book. 

A lot of the time with series, I don't like the sequel, but in this case I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't like it as much as the first but it's still a great continuation of the story and characters we grew attached to in book one. 

In the first book, Eva was fighting for her voice and slowly learning how to take control of their body. Now Addie & Eva slip in and out of control on a regular basis. Their body is just as much Eva's as it is Addies. Now living as part of the Hybrid resistance, Addie & Eva are starting to learn more about their kind. One of the biggest things they learn is how one of them can "sleep" to give the other privacy. This comes in handy for the romantic aspect of things, allowing Eva and Ryan's relationship to grow. However, it also brings about a whole new set of problems when the girls start keeping secrets from each other about how they're using that time. 

In the first book, I liked Eva a lot more than Addie. This time things completely flip-flopped. Eva was driving me nuts and Addie was the one I agreed with (most of the time). There were a few new characters that joined the picture: Sabine, Christoph, and Cordelia, all of which were well written; I just didn't like them. 

Overall this was a very enjoyable sequel that you don't want to miss!! If you haven't read the first book, WHAT'S LEFT OF ME,  go grab a copy, you'll breeze right through it and be back for this one. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

YA Review: If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

Title: If He Had Been With Me
Author: Laura Nowlin
# of Pages: 330
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: April 1st 2013
Source: Library
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 2 Hearts


If he had been with me, he wouldn't have died.

Throughout their whole childhood, Finn and Autumn were inseparable—they finished each other's sentences, they knew just what to say when the other person was hurting. But one incident in middle school puts them in separate social worlds come high school, and Autumn has been happily dating James for the last 2 years. But she's always wondered what if...

The night she's about to get the answer is also one of terrible tragedy.

My Verdict
It's funny how we have certain expectations for a book when we've done nothing but see the cover and read the back cover. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting from this book, but I can say it ended up being nothing like how I imagined. 

The story focuses on best friends, Finny & Autumn, who have known each other since before birth. Seriously, their moms are also best friends and would sit with their pregnant bellies together so the babys could kick each other. Now in highschool, we get to watch as Autumn and Finny's relationship changes, they drift apart and back together again. 

The timeline of this book was very strange. It spans all four years of highschool and also contains many memories of middle school and earlier. So much so that I felt I had know Autumn & Finny their whole lives. 

While the story is about both Finny & Autumn, the focus is more on Autumn and is told from her point of view. She was extremely frustrating, always doing thing's she didn't want to do or saying things she didn't mean. I really disliked her! Finny on the other hand, I loved! I mean how awesome is the name Phineas? Okay I may be biased because of my love for Phineas & Ferb but it just really stood out to me. 

Even though you know how it's going to end from the very first page, it still hits hard when it happens. 
While I didn't care much for the book overall,  I will say that it was very emotional, and quite powerful. I found myself thinking about it for a few nights after I finished, tortured by what had happened and how easily it could have been different had the characters just communicated with one another! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

YA Review: Shadows by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Shadows (Lux #0.5)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
# of Pages: 180
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: February 21st 2012
Source: Purchased
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 4 Hearts


The last thing Dawson Black expected was Bethany Williams. As a Luxen, an alien life form on Earth, human girls are…well, fun. But since the Luxen have to keep their true identities a secret, falling for one would be insane. Dangerous. Tempting. Undeniable.

Bethany can’t deny the immediate connection between her and Dawson. And even though boys aren’t a complication she wants, she can’t stay away from him. Still, whenever they lock eyes, she’s drawn in. Captivated. Lured. Loved.

Dawson is keeping a secret that will change her existence…and put her life in jeopardy. But even he can’t stop risking everything for one human girl. Or from a fate that is as unavoidable as love itself.

My Verdict

Normally the novellas released as in-between parts of a series are really short, so I was pleasantly surprised by how long this was! I seriously paid $3.99 for a "novella" once that was literally 20 pages, so when this one kept going on and on I felt like I had won the lottery.

I was so excited to get to know more about Dawson, Bethany, and their relationship before all the crap hit the fan. Dawson was so sweet and adorable, the complete polar opposite of his twin brother Daemon. It also made it so much sadder seeing how he was before and knowing how he is after, when he's an empty shell haunted by all he's been through. Bethany was actually totally different than expected. Now I don't know if it was just me being stupid but I thought Bethany was a blonde?? At least that's how I always pictured her, with pin straight blonde hair and kind of mousy. I never felt like I knew Bethany from reading the other books. Dawson was so in love with her but she just seemed so blah.  I enjoyed getting her POV and seeing that she was just as much in love with Dawson as he was with her. 

Overall, this was a great addition to the Lux Series and I'm hoping there are some more novellas to come!! Maybe one about the Thompson siblings? 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Shuffle Saturdays 19: Counting Stars

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

I'm absolutely loving the new One Republic album NATIVE. It's one of those rare albums where I like every single song. Counting Stars is one of the best!

*Beware this video contains one creepy crocodile/alligator that seems to be smiling evilly =/

More One Republic:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

YA Review: The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

Title: The Hallowed Ones
Author: Laura Bickle
# of Pages: 320 
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: September 25th 2012
Source: Purchased
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 4 Hearts


If your home was the last safe place on earth, would you let a stranger in? 

In this captivating thriller, an Amish settlement is the last safe haven in a world plagued by an unspeakable horror…

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers are free to experience non-Amish culture before officially joining the church. But before Rumspringa arrives, Katie’s safe world starts to crumble. It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields, followed by rumors of massive unrest and the disappearance of huge numbers of people all over the world. Something is out there...and it is making a killing.

Unsure why they haven’t yet been attacked, the Amish Elders make a decree: No one goes outside their community, and no one is allowed in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the boundary of their land, she can’t leave him to die. She refuses to submit to the Elder’s rule and secretly brings the stranger into her community—but what else is she bringing in with him?

My Verdict

I have so many feelings raging inside me on this one! It was suspenseful, it was terrifying, it was gruesome, it was hopeful, it was... truly unique! I knew little about the plot going in except it was about an Amish girl and possibly the end of the world.

The story is about Katie, an Amish girl with a large heart, and strong opinions both of which lead her into a lot of trouble throughout the book. I really loved Katie. She was so genuine; I loved that unlike others in her community who followed the words of the Elders so blindly, Katie actually thought about things. She always had good intentions in mind, and did what she believed to be right in her heart.

I always find it fascinating to read about the Amish culture. While there is so much outside influence in this story, we still get to learn a lot about traditional Amish practices and beliefs. In other books about the Amish that I've read, the language they use really grated on my nerves, but besides the use of "ja" the author didn't make it seem like gibberish.

Major violence warning on this one!! Honestly I would say 18+ the gore is so bad. I had seen it called suspense, not horror, so I wasn't expecting the amount of blood and guts that I got but Make. No. Mistake. this is horror! There was A LOT of blood and gore and let me tell you the author sparred no details. Literally, the most disgusting things I've ever read. Even when I tried to skim over passages, there was so much detail and it went on for so long, I ended up reading things I wish I hadn't. This was definitely the biggest downfall of the book in my eyes. I just don't see why the author had to be so graphic.

Overall, I loved the mystery, suspense, and romance that The Hallowed Ones provided. But the bloody violence is not easily ignored. Let's just say I'm both excited and terrified of reading the next book in the series.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Book News: September Releases!

I apologize for the extremely LONG post but there are a lot of amazing books coming out this month and  I couldn't bear to leave any of them out! 


The Outside by Laura Bickle

After a plague of vampires was unleashed in the world, Katie was kicked out of the safe haven of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. She enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two friends and a horse by her side

And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can they be trusted, and are they even people at all?

In this sequel to The Hallowed Ones, it's up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to sacrifice in return?

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

"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.

Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton

Kari plunges into the world of espionage on a mission to save her parents while trying to impress the guy she’s been in love with forever.

When sixteen-year-old Kari’s dad sends her an unexpected text, she and her brother immediately go into hiding. Because when your parents are superspies and your dad declares a Code Black, it can only mean something bad. Very bad.

Kari soon discovers that her parents have been disavowed and declared traitors, and she’s determined to clear their names. Breaking into the Agency seems like a reasonable plan, especially with the help of a team that includes her longtime crush, Luke, as well as her two best friends—an expert hacker with attitude and a master martial artist—and Luke’s popular, vindictive twin sister. Oh, and a new guy, who’s as cute as he is complicated…

Leap of Faith by Jamie Blair

Leah Kurtz has finally found a place to call home, a town where she and baby Addy can live in peace, far from the drug-infested place she grew up. Chris is one of the best parts of her new life, the only person who’s ever made her feel safe. And now that she’s found him, there’s no way she can tell the truth:

Her real name is Faith, not Leah. She’s seventeen, not nineteen. And the baby isn’t hers—Faith kidnapped her.

Faith’s history catches up with her when a cop starts asking questions and Chris’s aunt spots her picture in the newspaper. She knows it’s time to run again, but if Faith leaves, she’ll lose Chris. If Chris is in love with a lie, though, did Faith ever really have him in the first place?

The 100 by Kass Morgan

No one has set foot on Earth in centuries -- until now.

Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth's radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents -- considered expendable by society -- are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life...or it could be a suicide mission.

CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she's haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor's son, came to Earth for the girl he loves -- but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind's last hope.


Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


United We Spy (Gallagher Girls #6) by Ally Carter

Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.

Once We Were (The Hybrid Chronicles #2) by Kat Zhang

In this riveting sequel to What's Left of Me, Eva and Addie struggle to share their body as they clash over romance and join the fight for hybrid freedom. With a powerful voice, an intense sibling relationship, and a sweet romance against the odds, this second novel in the Hybrid Chronicles is perfect for fans of Ally Condie, Lauren Oliver, and Scott Westerfeld.

Addie and Eva escaped imprisonment at a horrific psychiatric hospital. Now they should be safe, living among an underground hybrid movement. But safety is starting to feel constricting. Faced with the possibility of being in hiding forever, the girls are eager to help bring about change—now. The answer seems to lie within a splinter group willing to go to extremes for hybrid freedom, but as Addie and Eva fall ever deeper into their plans, what they thought was the solution to their problems just might be the thing that destroys everything—including their bond to each other.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, Leila Sales' THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts

A novel about the end of days full of surprising beginnings

The world is living in the shadow of oncoming disaster. An asteroid is set to strike the earth in just one week’s time; catastrophe is unavoidable. The question isn’t how to save the world—the question is, what to do with the time that's left? Against this stark backdrop, three island teens wrestle with intertwining stories of love, friendship and family—all with the ultimate stakes at hand.


Find Me by Romily Bernard

“Find Me.”

These are the words written on Tessa Waye’s diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa’s just been found . . . dead.

Wick has the right computer-hacking skills for the job, but little interest in this perverse game of hide-and-seek. Until her sister Lily is the next target.

Then Griff, trailer-park boy next door and fellow hacker, shows up, intent on helping Wick. Is a happy ending possible with the threat of Wick’s deadbeat dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around Wick instead, and a killer taunting her at every step?

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare.

But she’s going to find this killer no matter what.

Because it just got personal.

What book are you most excited for this month?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September is for Sequels Giveaway Hop

I'm excited to take part in my first ever giveaway hop SEPTEMBER IS FOR SEQUELS

This is what's up for grabs ^^^
 ARC of Rose Under Fire, the sequel to Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein!

Enter Below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hop along to any of the following blogs for more chances to win!

Novels in Verse Reading Challenge: September Linky List!

Can't believe it's already September! Oh, where did the Summer go?!?!
Link up your September verse novel reviews below =)