Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (12)

IMM is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's all about the incredible books we've recently gotten through the library, for review, won in a contest, bought, any way we got the books.

*All links go to Amazon

EonHourglassPassion ((Fallen))Uncommon Criminals (A Heist Society Novel)But I Love Him

EonHourglassPassionUncommon CriminalsBut I Love Him

Rage (Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Book 2)AwakenBorn UglyThe Divided Realms: The DarkeningFins Are Forever
RageAwakenBorn UglyThe Divided Realms: The DarkeningFins Are Forever

I'm sooo excited for these! There are some good debuts and sequels here that I can't wait to read. All of these covers are also cool. You should expect many reviews in the following weeks which is perfect for August's Ultimate Reviewer's Challenge!

How about your books? What did you get in your mailbox? Feel free to leave a link!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Review: Wither

Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)

Author: Lauren DeStefano
Pages: 358
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing
Source: Library
Challenge: Debut Author Challenge
Synopsis: 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 Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

Buy the Book (Amazon)

Wither is an amazing story. It hooks you in so naturally and I could have easily read it in one sitting unintentionally, except that I had to eat breakfast.

Lauren DeStefano writes very very well. There's always detail that's tied in naturally to the plot. She knows how to hook readers in, and her story is very easily explained. Her world was detailed and made a lot of sense, for the most part. There are some parts that don't seem realistic but I trust Lauren DeStefano to give more information in future novels so everything makes more sense. Reading Wither was like stepping into a new world and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The concept of Wither is very original. Dying at the age of 20 or 25 is horrific. It's like barely living. It gives lots of room for an interesting plot and Lauren's world is unforgettable. Little stuff like parties, House Governors and orphanages paved my view of this strange world. I loved these little touches!

The most important part of Wither is the characters. Sometimes the story is or may seem a bit slow- there aren't that many significant events that happen. That's because during those parts, Rhine is discovering more and more about her new life. This way of telling a story means that Rhine and the other characters need to be amazing and they were.

Every character was very distinct. I feel like I know Cecily, Lindon, Rhine, and Jenna very well. Every character had a backstory. My favorite characters based on complexity were Lindon and Jenna. There is way more to them than meets the eye.

Overall, Wither is really good. You've probably heard it numerous times but I'll say it again. A good, must read. If you haven't read Wither yet, you're in for a treat. 4.5 stars,

**** &1/2 *

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Thoughts: Book Social Networking Sites

Look to the side bar of almost every blog and you'll find they're listed on a social networking site. Twitter and Facebook being the most common. 

There are book networking sites too. After some (rather lazy) searching, I found four networking sites just for books. 

1. Goodreads. Goodreads is the site most common. It's kind of like Facebook for books and I have an account on this site. I like it because it's easy to use and there are lots of opinions so it's a huge community. There are many reviews. 

2. Library Thing is a useful resource for cataloging books. It looks to be a bit more professional than Goodreads and I find there's a smaller community there. I had a brief account here and then decided it wasn't for me. They have good things like the Early Reviewers books. 

3. Shelfari is another site site owned by Amazon. I don't have an account there so I don't know what that means but from my experience, Shelfari has pretty cool graphics. It calls itself an "encyclopedia for book lovers" so there aren't as many reviews as Goodreads. It is my second favourite of the sites I'm listing though. 

4. ANobii firstly has a cool name (it's Latin for bookworm). The graphics on this site are good, but it doesn't seem to have a large quantity of reviews. It's a nice looking site though so I haven't heard or seen much about it. 

My question(s) to you, lovely blog reader, is/are which sites do you have an account on? Why? What are your experiences with these sites? Which is your favourite?

Oh, and if you leave a user name for Goodreads or Twitter I'll be sure to friend/follow you. Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: Virals


Author: Kathy Reichs
Pages: 448
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Library
Synopsis: Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends they're a pack. They are Virals.

Buy the Book (Amazon)

Virals is one of the most original books I've ever read! There is so much action, a bit of science, and the typical girl issues.

The first thing I noticed about Virals is the writing style. There's detail but it's matched with wit. There is very clear voice in the writing, and sometimes it's abrupt to prove a point. It makes every word interesting to read.

Tory is a great protagonist. Smart, but pretty. She is strong but has a vulnerable side. She clearly has issues but deals with them and isn't battered and damaged. She's so complicated that she's real. Her friendship with the others makes sense and I like her as a character and person so much that I'd totally be friends with her if she were real. She has crazy fun and slightly dangerous schemes and is a total take charge character. I'm not going to forget about Tory Brennan anytime soon.

One thing that made Virals great were all the details. The plot was very carefully thought of. Little details like various student's religion, Whitney's attitude and the librarian. The idea was original and everything that happened was part of a greater scheme. Some parts were outrageous but given parts from the other story, they made at least a little sense.

My one not really problem but comment was that these students were obviously super smart, so when they talked science and explained things, they talked a bit like textbooks for that one second explaining stuff. I'm pretty young and was completely thrown off by that point. I would have enjoyed better, more teen-ish explanations but since they're apparently geniuses, it may be just me.

Overall, a great read. So much fun and while I wasn't 100% hooked, I do have to admit this is a really cool story. I can totally imagine it as a movie. Definitely something to check out but it's not really a light read. 4.5 stars,

**** & 1/2 *

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Trailer: Shatter Me

I hadn't heard of this one but since seeing the trailer I'm really interested in it. The idea looks pretty cool but scary. What do you think?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cover Wars Hallowed vs. Swear

Cover Wars is a fun little feature all about fighting for the title of most beautiful cover. It's a peaceful battle and the whole point is to showcase the gorgeous covers. If you know of a beautiful cover that could be used in an upcoming battle, leave a comment and I'll check it out. :)

Last week's battle was between Hallowed and A Million Suns. For the second time, Hallowed won. Can Hallowed win again? This week's challenger is Swear, the sequel to Swoon by Nina Malkin. It's a gorgeous cover so the fight will be close. Who will win? That's all up to you. Yes, you! Your votes can make or break a winner. It's all up to you to vote on the poll on the right. Easy as that.

Hallowed (Unearthly, #2)vsSwear (Swoon, #2)

Ready, set, VOTE! And may the best cover win.

Song of the Week: The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga

I love this song. It's the kind of song that just picks me up and makes me want to dance on the railings and stuff. It's catchy, has a cool beat, and is singable. It's been stuck in my head all of this week. What do you think of it?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Review: The Berlin Boxing Club

The Berlin Boxing Club

Author: Robert Sharenow
Pages: 416
Publisher: Harper Collins
Source: Review Copy (Thank you so much!)
Synopsis: Fourteen-year-old Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But to the bullies at his school in Naziera Berlin, it doesn't matter that Karl has never set foot in a synagogue or that his family doesn't practice religion. Demoralized by relentless attacks on a heritage he doesn't accept as his own, Karl longs to prove his worth to everyone around him.

So when Max Schmeling, champion boxer and German national hero, makes a deal with Karl's father to give Karl boxing lessons, Karl sees it as the perfect chance to reinvent himself. A skilled cartoonist, Karl has never had an interest in boxing, but as Max becomes the mentor Karl never had, Karl soon finds both his boxing skills and his art flourishing.

But when Nazi violence against Jews escalates, Karl must take on a new role: protector of his family. Karl longs to ask his new mentor for help, but with Max's fame growing, he is forced to associate with Hitler and other Nazi elites, leaving Karl to wonder where his hero's sympathies truly lie. Can Karl balance his dream of boxing greatness with his obligation to keep his family out of harm's way?

The Berlin Boxing Club was another great story of survival in Nazi Germany. This story was of a boy, Karl who was passionate about both boxing and cartoons.

Karl was a real character. He was a good kid but he wasn't an outward hero. He wasn't an active rebel either, he just wanted to live his life in peace. Early on, Karl made questionable decisions that I wasn't happy with. In fact, it made me wonder how much courage Karl really had. Karl did progress as the story went on, but that theme of courage/cowardice remained. In the end, the fact that Karl made mistakes that he felt ashamed of early on and made redeeming decisions in the end made him a fantastic character.

As I said there was a strong theme of courage and cowardice. All of the characters in this story displayed both. I was angry at specific characters for acting a certain way but I have no right to be. These people were pushed to their limits. They were trapped and everything they did was for one goal- survival. It was rare to find someone who ignored the survival instinct and instead focued on compassion but when those people did turn up, they were the heroes.

The Berlin Boxing Club is another book that has the readability factor. I couldn't help wanting to read more of Karl and I was flipping pages quickly devouring the story. There was a fair mention to comics and I loved the little sketches that were between pages and an overall awesome addition to the story. I wasn't ever bored but I often wondered where the story was going and what would happen to the characters. The ending was bittersweet but I liked it.

Ultimately, The Berlin Boxing Club showcases the best and worst of humanity in a time when both were given a chance to shine. It's the story of another fighter and I'd recommend this to anyone who even remotely enjoyed The Book Thief by Markus Zusak among other books. A great read, 4.5 stars,

**** & 1/2 *

In My Mailbox (11)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's all about the awesome new books we got during the past week. I love the books I've been recently reading...

*All links go to Amazon this time.

ForgottenHavenThe Vampire StalkerThe Girl in the Steel Corset (The Steampunk Chronicles)
Haunting VioletLove, Inc. (Love Inc - Trilogy)NightspellPink
StarcrossedAshes, AshesHereafterThe Running Dream
Saving FrancescaUnraveled (Harlequin Teen)The Demon's Surrender (Demon's Lexicon)Kiss Me Kill Me (Scarlett Wakefield Series)

Needless to say this is the most AWESOME IMM ever. Look at these books! ☺I'm so super excited but a little scared of how long it will take to read them. You can expect many reviews though.

So what did you get in your mailbox? Leave a link and thanks for visiting!

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