25 February 2013

ARC Review: Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman

Release Date: February 26th, 2013
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Angry Robot

Something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath’s secret mirror city.

The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is assigned with the task of finding him with no one to help but a dislocated soul and a mad sorcerer.
There is a witness but his memories have been bound by magical chains only the enemy can break. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the ally Max needs.
But can she be trusted? And why does she want to give up eternal youth and the life of privilege she’s been born into?
This is a hard review for me to write. I have such mixed thoughts about this novel and they vary between really good and really bad. Newman is a very creative person because Between Two Thorns certainly is a very original novel. The problem is while this is a very good thing, it was also a bit too strange for me to wrap my head around the world-building and background.

While I found the world-building very strange because of the many different worlds (Exilium, where the Fae live, Mundanus, and the Nether where the Fae-touched live), the plot was entertaining enough for me not to give up on this novel. I also found the connection between these different worlds to be a bit complicated to understand. The author does leave everything for us readers to find out for ourselves, this can be a good or a bad thing. In my case it was rather bad. But while these things did bother me, I really liked the whole mystery in the novel and how the different characters got to interact with each other.

Now to the characters. I didn`t feel any great connection to any of them. I could compare this novel to a crime novel because the plot is what makes this novel great and not the characters.

Overall I enjoyed reading this novel because it was something completely new and original. There were somethings that really could have been better, like how the author could have given us more details and explanations about the different worlds. Nevertheless the story and the outcome were really enjoyable. I´m a bit surprised that this novel is just the start of a series, for me it could have worked as a standalone despite the slight cliffhanger in the end. I do want to see how this story will develop further in the next installment.

Big thanks to Angry Robot for providing me with a copy of Between Two Thorns for review!

20 February 2013

Blog Tour: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett & Giveaway!

Release Date: March 5th, 2013
Hardcover: 367 Pages
Publisher: Tor Teen
Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.
Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder. Then Eli’s dream comes true.
Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.
This cover is just gorgeous (I just had to say this)! And the story is just as good. The author gives these well-known fantasy creatures a new spin and despite a somewhat unoriginal plot (lonely girl in a boarding school...), I was very entertained. Many twists and turns were surprising and even amusing. I had a great time reading this novel and I think the next one will be even more fun.

The story sets a pleasant pace and nothing feels rushed or too slow. I really liked how the romance developed, it wasn't an "insta-love" and it's not even obvious to us readers how everything will turn out since this book is the first in a series. The plot gives us a somewhat deja-vu vibe but this book shines brighter for me because of the Nightmares. I'm not sure why but I was fascinated by them. After a few pages, I was sold and couldn't put it down anymore.

The characters were something special to me. I really, really liked Dusty. She is witty, ironic and a great main character. Eli was a surprise since I expected the romance to be completely different. So I also really enjoyed him as a character. Dusty's mother was a captivating character, as well. I wasn't sure until the last page if she was or wasn't bad after all. Needless to say, the characters were a good aspect of this novel.

Overall I completely enjoyed reading The Nightmare Affair. Even though there were some unfavorable aspects, I was more than ready to forget them and get to the end of the novel. I was certainly entertained throughout the novel and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun paranormal read!

Giveaway: Here is your chance to win a copy of The Nightmare Affair, and it's INTERNATIONAL!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

18 February 2013

ARC Review: Mind Games by Kiersten White

Release Date: February 19th, 2013
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen

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.
A great start to a promising new paranormal trilogy. Mind Games starts with a captivating way of alternating the narrator between Fia and Annie. We get to know each of them well and also to know why everything turned out this way. I really enjoyed this mix and was rather anxious to start each chapter.

The story starts rather sudden but in an exciting way. At first I thought the romance was going to be that kind of "insta-love" but after reading more in the novel, we get to know Fia and her special power and it's easy to understand why things feel a bit "rushed". I found the rhythm of the plot to be positively different: it was steady throughout the novel. The concept and world building were amazingly done and I was surprised that I enjoyed so much yet another novel about teenager with special supernatural powers. Nevertheless I would have enjoyed to know more about this special school and the Lerner group, what are their plans? Since this is a trilogy, I guess I'll have to be patient.

I really, really liked Fia as a character. She was complex, captivating and strong. I was always looking forward to the chapters focused on her. Annie was a bit of a letdown. Maybe it's only me, but I thought she was kind of in the way the whole novel. But towards the ending her part of the story picked up some pace and she was somewhat entertaining. Adam and James were a nice addition because they are really different from each other yet I thought Adam to be mostly superficially described (always nice and sweet), maybe in the next we will learn more about him. The romance didn't play such a huge role, which I'm grateful for because the plot and Fia were interesting enough without a superfluous love triangle to intrude.

Mind Games was a great start and after its ending I am literaly dying inside to get my hands on the next one. The ending was just that promising. If you are into paranormal novels (a great pick for fans of Shatter Me) with strong characters and a captivating plot, this one is for you.

A huge thanks to Harper Collins UK for providing me with a copy for review!

15 February 2013

For the Love of Swoon Blog Hop

For the Love of Swoon Blog Hop is being hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and The Book Hookup blogs! Do check them out!

Valentine's Day is the perfect day for people with the love of their loves on their sides, but what about the rest of us? We read books, of course. And the best aspect of the book to to make us feel less lonely is the romance. Why have one boyfriend when you can have many book boyfriends, all at once? :)

So here is your chance to win a copy of a book of your choice from The Book Depository! The only catch is that the book has to have something to do with romance. Everything counts!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

11 February 2013

ARC Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Release Date: February 12th, 2013
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.
In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.
First of all, I was totally attracted to the gorgeous cover and secondly, the summary sounds amazing. After reading Pivot Point, I'm so happy that the cover reflects the novel's beautiful writing and its enthralling plot. Pivot Point exceeded my expectations and believe me, they were pretty high. Pivot Point is that typical amazing novel that you don't know if you should write a review 30 pages long or just put it simply like this: drop everything tomorrow and go buy this novel, asap!

The plot blew my mind away, seriously. Addison has the ability to see her future, so the each chapter is about the two different paths that Addison can choose in her life: to stay in the compound with her mother and the people with abilities or to go with her father to live among the Norms. This completely original concept was so exciting and extremely enthralling that I couldn't put this book down! Furthermore both paths complemented each other and it was fun being able to see how both paths intertwined.

And then, the characters. It's actually pretty impressive and surprising if I end up liking all characters in a novel. Pivot Point was this impressive and surprising case. Addison was a great main character; she is rather quiet, responsible and a bit timid. She has her own personality and I enjoy when characters are not over the place. Each character had its own personality and I could put myself into everyone's shoes, so they were realistically written as well.

Overall, I just loved Pivot Point. I'm completely sure that it was one of my favorite reads this year, maybe even THE favorite novel in 2013 but it's too early to be able to say this. But I'm certain that anyone will enjoy this fantastic novel which is really original and impossibly captivating! I'm dying to get my hands on the next one!

Huge thanks to HarperCollins for providing me with a copy of Pivot Point for review! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

07 February 2013

ARC Review: Override by Heather Anastasiu

Release Date: February 12th, 2013
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Zoe is free. She has escaped the enslavement of the Community, disconnected from the hardware that had controlled her every thought and emotion, and evaded capture by the Chancellor intent on killing her. She is finally free, but she is far from safe.

Zoe and Adrien hide themselves from detection at the Foundation, an academy that trains teen glitchers to fight in the Resistance movement. Together, Zoe and her new team of superhuman fighters must risk their lives to rescue other glitchers and humans from the Chancellor's control. Challenges abound at every turn, and Adrien, who has become silent, distant, and tormented by his visions of the future, only adds to the growing certainty of defeat. But worst of all, as Zoe's team fights against impossible odds, distrust and betrayal leads to the terrible discovery that their greatest threat could already be lurking behind the safe walls of the Foundation.
I didn't enjoy reading Glitch so much as I thought I would but with Override, the complete opposite happened! I wasn't expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised that upon finishing it, I was eager to have the third book on my hands. Override takes us on a more action-filled ride that pleased me a lot more than its prequel.

Zoe is outside now, training to be the so-called-leader that she is expected to become. But can she control her powers? The plot revolves a lot around this question and I loved to see how Zoe develops in Override. She is not so naive anymore and is faced with a lot of challenges and obstacles. There were so many things happening in this novel that I certainly couldn't put it down for too long. I found the plot to be a lot more captivating and the twists caught me mostly off guard.

As expected, the characters develop a lot since Glitch and we are also introduced to a lot of new characters. I enjoyed having more great characters to get attached to and they were a great addition to the series, in particular Saminsa and Ginny. Adrien is not so present in this one but I actually enjoyed that, even though he plays a big role throughout the book. Not to mention the Chancellor, she is one crazy woman.

Override was a great non-stop action read with many great twists and turns that will leave you begging for the last installment in this must-read trilogy. With many great new characters and an enthralling plot, Override should certainly be on your to-be-read pile of books!

Huge thanks to St. Martin's Griffin for providing me with a copy of Override for review!

05 February 2013

ARC Review: Hysteria - Megan Miranda

Release Date: February 5th, 2013
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Walker Childrens

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. In another riveting tale of life and death, Megan Miranda's masterful storytelling brings readers along for a ride to the edge of sanity and back again.
A freakish good mystery that will leave you on the edge of your seat! Everything seems to be such a mystery and I couldn't wait to read the next chapter and find out more about the story. To put it simply, I devoured this novel. 

Hysteria will drive you crazy with curiosity. The flashbacks were a new kind of torture for me because mostly they were really short and I had to read so much more to get a new snippet of what happened the night of the murder. I also enjoyed trying to find out what was real and what was caused by the hysteria. Megan Miranda nailed the psychological thriller part of the story.

The characters fell a bit flat for me, though. I couldn't connect with Mallory and I couldn't imagine her doing something as bad as murdering someone. She didn't feel that crazy to me and I still don't know why she didn't escape if she had the chance?! But looking beyond that, she was a nice character that went through something really dramatic and couldn't escape her demons even after changing schools. The romance was a bit lifeless and too sudden. I feel also that I didn't get to know much about the mean girls and that their plot against Jason felt because of it a bit rushed and forced. 

Overall Hysteria was an intriguing read that I couldn't put down. The flashbacks kept me captivated and curious throughout the novel; and Mallory's battle against her trauma was also something refreshingly new in my typical YA reads. The characters could have certainly been better and I would also have liked to know more about Krista, Taryn and Bree (mean girls) because they felt mostly too distant in the plot to me. 

Huge thanks to Bloomsbury UK and Netgalley for providing me with a copy for review!

01 February 2013

ARC Review: A Natural History of Dragons - Marie Brennan

Release Date: February 5th, 2013
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Tor Books

You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .
All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.
Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.
If I had to praise the author for one thing about her novel it would be the beautiful writing and the beautiful images that go perfectly with the book. I really loved the addition of the pictures which made the novel feel a bit more realistic, even though it isn't at all. However I wouldn't recommend this novel to anyone, it certainly feels like a real memoir, whilst being fictional and I'm sure not many are a fan of those.

The story is slow-paced. Nevertheless there are many mysteries to be uncovered throughout the book, everything happens rather slowly. I still found the story interesting and intriguing enough not to give the whole novel up. I had never read such a novel and I was more attracted to the novelty of the book's style.

The characters are fitting to such a story. You make a bigger connection to the main character. A woman who can't live her dreams for not being a man. But she fights for it and in the end becomes a renowned naturalist. But overall I didn't care much about the characters and even Isabella wasn't a character that you feel compelled to like. Her husband was maybe my favorite character in the whole novel.

A Natural History of Dragons is not a novel that will please everybody. It's rather a slow-paced novel and people eager for romance, action and humor won't get much of these. It's an scientific adventure and if you like reading about those, here is a novel for you!

Huge thanks to Tor Books for providing me with a copy in exchange of an honest review!