Thursday, December 26, 2013

Blog Tour Review: Neverwas

To learn all information about this blog tour, go Here
Neverwas by Kelly Moore, Tucker/Larkin Reed
Series: Amber House #2
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic Press
Genre: YA ? Not sure what to label it
Release date: Jan. 7, 2014
320 pages
What it's about:
"I was sixteen the second time I had my first kiss...."

At the end of AMBER HOUSE, Sarah made a choice that transformed everything--and now she must choose it all again.

Things are very different--better--for Sarah and her family: her Aunt Maggie grew up; her parents are happily married; her grandmother died after a long, productive and respected life. But other things are different too, and not for the better.

After growing up in the free country of the Pacific Northwest, Sarah Parsons has settled in at Amber House, the stately Maryland home that's been in her family for generations. But the world surrounding the House feels deeply wrong to Sarah. It's a place where the colonists lost the 1776 Insurrection, where the American Confederation of States still struggles with segregation, and where Sarah is haunted by echoes of a better world that she knows never existed.

Her friend Jackson shares these visions of a different world--and together, they manage both to remember the way things ought to be, and to plan a daring mission that will reset the universe once again. Sarah must figure out what has changed, and why, and how she can fix it--how she can find her way to another otherwhen.

My thoughts:
This is the second book in the Amber House trilogy. For my review on Amber House, click Here.

It had been about 10 months since I had read Amber House, so smaller details were a little fuzzy for me going into Neverwas. Which is why I was a little confused for the first part of the book. And it took me longer than I care to admit to realize how much had chance in this new world of Sarah's. The history of the United States was a little bit baffling until I figured out what all had changed. When I had read the synopsis for this book, it was a little different than it is now, which is what lead me to be confused.

But once I got my head a little bit more into the book, I really enjoyed it. I always like to read about the House. I love how we got to know Sarah's aunt in this book, and of course Sam. I love Sam and how he has autism and how realistic his character is. I work with children with autism and love to see when books/movies actually have realistic portrayals of people with autism.

While I love the characters, I really adore the house the most. The descriptions, the decorating, the way that it is sort of magical. Which is why I have asked the authors to talk about the house some more and about their favorite rooms.


We are often asked whether Amber House is a real house, and, if not, where the idea for it came from.


  There are houses in North America that have been standing since before the Revolution, and descriptions of some aspects of these were incorporated into the character of Amber House.

 The Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts — built in 1637 — was an influence.  Pictures show how it has been haphazardly added on to over the centuries.  Its mashing-together of different architectural styles is definitely present in Amber House — although, overall, Amber House is certainly more Federal in style.

  Other historic houses that lent some characteristics to Amber House include Bacon's Castle in Surry, Virginia, built in 1665, the oldest brick building in the North America; the eccentric Sleeper-McCann House of Gloucester, Massachusetts, built in 1907 (its "Tower Room" was the inspiration for Sarah's bedroom); Orchard House, the childhood home of Louisa May Alcott; and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, built in 1772.


  Sammy's nautical bedroom is based on my late grandfather's study, which included a captain's desk, a masthead, and a collection of scrimshaw.


  The largest influence, however, was Sarah Winchester's "mystery house." It was a supposedly-haunted mansion nearby the college I attended.  Sarah Winchester was the widow of William Wirt Winchester, a gun magnate responsible for the Winchester rifle.  Sarah believed she was haunted by the souls of those who had died due to the use of her husband's "terrible weapon."  A psychic told Sarah that if she were to move West, she might escape the ghosts that haunted her — and perhaps even escape Death itself.  But the psychic warned her to never stop building — if Sarah did, Sarah would die.  So in 1886, carpenters began work on Sarah's house and this work continued day and night for over forty years.

Sarah was very superstitious, and was fixated with the symbolism of spider webs.  In honor of the Winchester House's influence on the early stages of my story, we wove references to Sarah Winchester's webs throughout the book.  The "Good Mother" spider was inspired by Sarah Winchester's fixation, for example.  And Sarah was named in part for the late Mrs. Winchester.


In a nod to Sarah Winchester's use of web motifs, there are webs throughout Amber House. One of our favorite rooms is the entry, with spider-web-paned windows on either side of the front door.

The main wing of Amber House was built during the 1700s.  This is an example of what one of the front parlors would look like.

KELLY:  My favorite room to imagine and write about is Fiona's conservatory, built during the Art Deco era.

TUCKER:  My favorite is Sarah's bedroom, a fantasy exaggeration of my own bedroom growing up.

LARKIN:  For me it's a tie between Deirdre's haunted nursery on the third floor, and the hedge maze.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Review: The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry
Published by Square Fish
Genre: YA mystery thriller?
$9.99 (US paperback)
229 pages
What it's about:
What if You were the target of a kidnapper, but the kidnapper got the wrong girl?
Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also delivers pizzas part-time. One night, Kayla, another delivery girl at Pete's Pizza, goes out with an order and never comes back. To Gabie's horror, she learns that the man who called in the fake pizza order had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Was Kayla's fate really meant for Gabie? Obsessed with finding Kayla, Gabie teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete's. Together they set out to prove Kayla isn't dead- AND to find her before she is.

My thoughts:
Hmmm. This one I don't really know how I feel about it. It was good, but not great.

I was in the mood for a really quick, single read. And that's what I got. This book is only about 230 pages, in paperback, and with a big font. I could have easily read it in one sitting if I wouldn't have had to get up in the morning.

This book is about a girl who was kidnapped, but she ended up being the wrong girl. It was a really cool plot, but the characters were a little strange. Gabie, the girl who was supposed to be kidnapped, is just odd. I was never able to connect to her. Actually, I never connected to any of the characters. There wasn't a whole lot to them. That is my major issue with this book. I would have loved to have had more character depth. Gabie, Drew, and Kayla were the main characters and the ones that we get an inside view of. And after finishing the book, I still don't know much about them.

And all the unanswered questions!! Oh man, there are so many of them for me. The whole ending just seemed so rushed. If this book was about 70 pages longer and had more to the characters and the epilogue, it would have been a pretty fantastic book.

My rating: 7/10

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Book Lists

So I have this friend who has an even more severe book buying habit than I do. Didn't think it was possible, but apparently it is. This is the same friend who goes with me to all the book signings and we will just go to bookstores and spend lots of money. A few weeks ago, we were in Portland at a signing when she showed me that she had created an excel sheet of all the books she owns.

I couldn't get that out of my head. I was so jealous of it! What a brilliant idea. All the books you own in one list with all the info you could want on it, so you will always know which ones you own. No more duplicates or wondering which books in a series you own.

For the last week or so, I have been making my own. All my ebooks and bound books, if I have audiobooks for them, if they are signed, what series they are in, the genre, if I have them listed on Goodreads, if I've read them, what I rated them, and when they were released.  All on one list. After about 30 hours of work (literally, and I'm still not finished filling out all the info) it turns out that I have 660 books. Not including duplicates. About half of which I haven't read yet. Yikes.

Anyone else keep lists of books that they own? How many do you own?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published September 10th 2013 by St. Martin's Press
Genre: YA/New Adult contemporary
$18.99 (US Hardback)
433 pages

What it's about:
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? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My thoughts:
This is one of those books that even though it's been a few months since I've borrowed it from my local library and read it, every time I see it out in the wild, I get excited and go "I love that book!" I then have to talk myself out of buying it because I need to buy books that I haven't read before. This always takes a lot of will power on my part because I love this book just that much.

Contemporary books can always be hit or miss with me. I try to avoid the books which are all about a teen trying to gain popularity. I find those lacking imagination for the most part. It really takes a phenomenal plot and writing style for me to love contemporary and Rainbow Rowell has both. This book is right up there with John Green as my favorite YA contemporary books. Yes, to me, it's just that good.

While reading, I was pacing myself. I didn't want to read Fangirl in one sitting because then it would be over. I wouldn't have anymore of Cath and Wren and Simon Snow to read about. I was sucked into this world of college and fandom because I could relate so well. I too am a fangirl and have done all the things Cath has for her fandom, all but write fanfiction. All the characters were so believable. They had flaws, they didn't figure out all their problems, and everything happened over a long enough period of time.

I could easily keep talking about my love of this book, but I won't because I don't want to bore you. Or spoilers. I will end this review with saying that Rainbow Rowell has now earned her spot on my "automatic buy" list. I will now read whatever she is writing and I will definitely be rereading Fangirl some point in the future.

My rating: 10/10

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Been gone too long

Today I had the sudden urge to write, which is something that hasn't happened all year. 2013 has been a crazy, amazing, hectic mess for me. I was able to go to Disneyland in January, a Western Caribbean cruise in March, and now I have three different jobs, all of which are working with special needs children. To say that I haven't had much time to read or write is an understatement. If I hit 100 books this year, that will be a miracle.
But I miss my blog. I miss finding out about different books that are out or coming out soon, or just surfing random blogs. I'm hoping to find more time for my blog in the next couple of weeks.

Because I have been gone for so many months, I don't expect many to read this post. I am okay with that. I just wanted to write for myself. But I would like to know if anyone has any fun memes they do for their blog that have come about while I was away? I used to love Top Ten Tuesday but the topics are ones I have done so many times recently and just aren't  catching my attention at the moment. If you could leave me a comment with the names of the memes, that would be fantastic.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday- Auto-buy authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish

This weeks topic is Top Ten Authors That I'd Put On My Auto-Buy List (basically an auto-buy list is no questions love this author so much that no matter what they wrote next you'd buy regardless of genre or subject matter)

I have a lot of these type authors and some authors I feel are given. Like JK Rowling, ext. so I will not put those authors on the list. Besides that, these are in no order.

1. Jodi Meadows:
I absolutely adore Incarnate and Asunder, and will read anything this woman writes.

2. John Green:
I have the biggest fan girl crush on John. Oh man. And if he ever writes anything like TFIOS again, I don't think my heart can take it. haha.

3. Jennifer L. Armentrout:
So this one is new for me. I read the Lux series and adored it and since then I've bought all her other books. But I do have to admit, none of her other books come close to being as good as the Lux books.

4. Cassandra Clare:
So help me Cassie, if you kill Jem... *shakes fist*

5. Stephanie Perkins:
Who else is tired of waiting for Isla?

6. Veronica Roth:
Come on Divergent #3! When are we at least going to get a title and a cover???

7. Stacey Kade:
I really liked her Ghost and the Goth books and I'm definitely looking foward to The Rules when it comes out.

8. Isaac Marion:
So far he just has the one book out, but my love of Warm Bodies (both book and movie) knows no end. I also keep up with his blog and find it hilarious most of the time. Whatever this guy writes, I will try and get my hands on it.

9. Kiersten White:
Love love love Kiersten's books. Paranormalcy being the best by far. I'm really excited to meet her in two weeks :)

10. CC Hunter:
The Shadow Falls books are so funny and yet they keep me guessing. I'm never possitive about what is going to happen and I love that. When books can keep me guessing, they automatically get higher ratings.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: Asunder

Asunder by Jodie Meadows
Series: Incarnate #2
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA fantasy
$17.99 (US hardback)
416 pages
What it's about:

Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Incarnate trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.

My thoughts:

This waiting a whole year in between each book is killing me. I absolutely adore these books. By far some of the most interesting and thought provoking books I've ever read. Because everyone in this world has been reincarnated over and over for over 5,000 years, it leaves a lot of questions to be asked. If everyone has been born both male and female multiple times, do they really have gender roles? And if you have been the brother, sister, mother, father to multiple people, how do you act around everyone? And romantic relationships. So complicated in this place. How would you get used to being born into different bodies and sexes each time, and having your lover do the same thing? Would you still be attracted to them? How do you deal with that?

And now we have even more questions to ask. Will there be more Newsouls? How will everyone react to that? Will Newsouls be reincarnated? Why are the sylphs dancing and singing? (This I found hilarious because I picture sylphs looking like Dementors and picturing dementors dancing and singing is insanely funny) And then there is Ana. Is she going to be able to fit into Heart? Can she figure out what Janan is up to? Is she going to be able to tell Sam that she loves him? So many questions that I needed answers to.

Incarnate and Asunder are definitely some of my favorite books out there. I love the world that Meadows has created. It's beautiful and strange and unique and I adore it.

My rating: 10/10

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Review: Amber House

Amber House by Kelly Moore, and Tucker and Larkin Reed
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books
Genre: YA
$17.99 (US hardback)
368 pages
What it's about:
"I was sixteen the first time my grandmother died . . ."

Sarah Parsons has never seen Amber House, the grand Maryland estate that's been in her family for three centuries. She's never walked its hedge maze nor found its secret chambers; she's never glimpsed the shades that haunt it, nor hunted for lost diamonds in its walls.

But all of that is about to change. After her grandmother passes away, Sarah and her friend Jackson decide to search for the diamonds--and the house comes alive. She discovers that she can see visions of the house's past, like the eighteenth-century sea captain who hid the jewels, or the glamorous great-grandmother driven mad by grief. She grows closer to both Jackson and a young man named Richard Hathaway, whose family histories are each deeply entwined with her own. But when the visions start to threaten the person she holds most dear, Sarah must do everything she can to get to the bottom of the house's secrets, and stop the course of history before it is cemented forever.

My thoughts:
This was one of those books that when I finished it, I hopped on facebook and wrote this:

Just finished reading one of those books that leaves you going "wtf just happened??? What did I just read! I need the next book right now!" *goes onto Goodreads to see when next book comes out* "December?!?!? But I need it now! Hey look, the author lives in Oregon... maybe I should pay her a visit..." hahaha
This book. Man, this book. It was pretty cool. Amber House is this crazy big house with all these rooms being added on throughout hundreds of years, always owned by the same family. And all the women in this family have this gift to see what has happened in this house throughout history. Touch something and it's like you are back in time, watching it all happen.
That really was the best part of the book. Seeing all the different things that happened in Amber house. Sure the characters were pretty likable (oh man is Sam adorable!) but it was all about the plot. Very interesting and different. I can't wait to get my hands on the second book.
My rating: 8/10

Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: Obsidian

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by Entangled Teen
Genre: YA sci-fi
$9.99 (US paperback)
361 pages
What it's about:

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.

My thoughts:
I've seen these books around for a while, how could I not? They are always shoved in my face. But because they are about aliens, I was avoiding reading them. Then last week I noticed that my library has ordered copies of all of Jennifer L. Armentrout's books and decided to put a hold on Obsidian. I was also iffy about reading it cause I'm a little tired on the whole super-hott-but-complete-douche main guy. But when my copy came in from the library and I noticed that the average Goodreads rating is over 4.50, I decided to read it.


For starters, I adored Katy. Maybe it's because she is an obsessive book blogger and completely normal, or maybe it was because she was hilarious. I just adored her. Katy knew that Daemon's looks is what fueled a lot of her attraction to him and wasn't fooled by it. Yet she was. How can you not do what Daemon asks? The only thing about Katy that I can't stand is how she is trying to prove that she is equal with Daemon all the time. Okay, I get it, you don't like feeling weak, but come on, he has super powers. You just aren't equal to him when it comes to fighting bad guys.

This was one of those series that honestly, the plot isn't fantastic, and the writing could be better, yet the book is like literary crack. Once you start reading, you have to keep going. I read the first three books in the series in a matter of three or four days. I could not get enough. I would have to say that it felt like a mix of Twilight and Mortal Instruments. Has a relationship between a human girl and a super hott, paranormal boy. It's a bad romance, but you adore the boy because he is so hott and cocky and just can't help yourself.

My rating: 9/10

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review: Splintered

Splintered by A.G. Howard
Published by Amulet Books
Genre: YA fantasy
$17.99 (US hardback)
384 pages

What it's about:
Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

My thoughts:
I have finally found a redone Alice in Wonderland that I liked! I never thought that this day would come. It makes me happy that someone was actually able to mix the odd Caroll Wonderland with a bit of their own and actually have it work.

At first, Splintered was a little slow. I remember thinking "wow, how am I only on page 40??" and thinking it would never pick up. Then all of the sudden, it did. Alyssa started seeing things and hearing voices and the weirdness of Wonderland was finally there and didn't stop till the end.

I've been seeing a lot of "If you  love Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, you'll love this." and to that, I say "no." Just, no. I personally very much disliked Burton's version of AIW, I found it dull and none of the characters had any personalities, even Johnny. While Splintered had some of the darkness of Burton's AIW, it had a lot more too it. The characters had more depth to them and were even more odd. Howard's interpretation of the characters was very clever, I particularly liked the Mad Hatter and the Caterpillar.

I want to keep rambling on about how much I adored this book. This Wonderland was so bizarre and creative. While I was sad that some of my favorite characters didn't really play a part in this book (like Tweedle Dee and Dum and the Cheshire Cat), I loved the new characters and all the variations of the old ones. The twists and turns of the plot kept me guessing and was always one step ahead of me. Completely enjoyable.

My rating: 9/10
Just for the slow beginning.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sam Claflin is Finnick!

I woke up this morning (okay, it was 11am, so not really morning...) and checked my facebook and lookie what I saw!!

OMG! Finnick!!!!!! I could not be more excited for Sam as Finnick. He says in the article that they did indeed do the sugar cube scene and that he was in a fishnet. *fans self* can't wait. Now to stalk my mailman until he brings me my copy of this so it can go on my wall. If you don't have a EW subscription, you really should get one. It's only like, $25 a year and you get a copy each week. It's awesome.

Here is the article: Look, it's Finnick!


Here is another picture from Catching Fire that I found on Entertainment Weekly's fb page.

Now I'm off to go watch Sam Claflin movies.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Review: Sacrifice

Sacrifice by Cayla Kluver
Series: Legacy #3
Published by Harliquen Teen
Genre: YA
$9.99 (US paperback)
438 pages
What it's about:

This is not the time for the fight to end. Now is when the fight will begin. This is the time to regain what has been lost.Alera

Queen of a fallen kingdom, secretly in love with the enemy.


Daughter of a murdered father, rebel with a cause.

One lives behind the former Hytanican palace walls and walks the razor's edge to keep the fragile peace in her beloved homeland. The other slips through the war-torn streets, seeking retribution for her family's tragedy, following whispers of insurgency.

Both face choices that will separate them from those they cannot help but love. As their stories intertwine, a conspiracy ignites that may end in slavery or death—or lead to freedom anew, if only each can face what must be sacrificed.

My thoughts:
*sigh* Where to start?
Well I guess I'll start off with saying that because this is the third and final book in the series, there will be references to the first two books and therefore, there will be spoilers to those two.

This book was one of my most anticipated books of the year. I fell madly in love with Legacy and Allegiance and very much wanted to know how it was going to end. Yet when I started reading the book, I was having a hard time caring about any of it. I don't know if it was me being grouchy or if the two person perspective changed the mood of the book and I didn't like it, either way this whole thing didn't really work for me. I am completely bummed out by that.

I've always been team Narian. Matter of fact, I absolutely can't stand Steldor. Never could. I found him obnoxious, pig headed, and so full of himself that I always wanted to just shake him and vent. Not to mention he has a horrible temper he can't control at all. This still never really changed for me. And while I really do like Narian, I wish we could have seen more of him. I find him smart and caring and couldn't help but feel that if Alera's dad would have let her marry Narian instead of Steldor in the first place, everything that happened in book two could have been avoided. So I was just frustrated there.
Also, while I liked how independent the new girl whose head we are in every other chapter, Shaselle, was, I couldn't handle her stupidity. Every time she had a smart thought flit through her head, she'd go "well, I should do this and my instincts said I should, but instead I'm going to do the exact opposite!" While I thought her love story was cute and I was happy for her, just ugh. I dunno.

I feel like the feminist in me overruled most logic and emotions I had in the book as well. I remember thinking "oh the horrors of Cokyeri! What a terrible place!" in the first two books, while in this one I actually sort of liked them. Well, sorta... I like how they have women leaders and their kingdom is well educated and well run. Disliked how they were also sexiest. But like I said, I think the feminist in me liked them more than I liked the Hytanicans. So the whole book was frustrating for that reason as well.

Ugh. This book just didn't do it for me. I'm disappointed that Alera didn't do more, disappointed that there isn't an epilogue, and lastly disappointed in how the whole book just sort of dragged. It wasn't exciting like the others and the ending seemed forced. Disappointing end to what I thought was a fantastic trilogy.

My rating: 6/10