Monday, March 26, 2012

What I've Been Up To: Reading Update/Book Haul

I have been reading some adult fantasy lately (Kim Harrison's The Hollow series to be exact) so haven't had many reviews to write up. I did receive one review copy and went to the library so I figured I do a book haul type thing and talk about what I'm reading now. :D

For Review:

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen


From Library:

Betrayals by Lili St. Crow


Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles (Already Read. Thinking about Review.)


Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford


You Against Me by Jenny Downham



Currently Reading:

1. A Fistful of Charms by Kim Harrison (Adult Urban Fantasay)
2. The Devouring by Simon Holt ( I NEED TO FINISH THIS ALREADY!!!)

--Alexis

What have you been up to in the reading world lately?
Sunday, March 18, 2012

Just Curious (PLEASE COMMENT)

I seem to have fallen into quite the little rut lately. I've been posting some reviews but not much less. So I was wondering what you guys wanted to see more of on the blog! Any comments would be much appreciated.

--Alexis

Review of The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

Title: The Night She Disappeared
Author: April Henry
Release Date: March 13th, 2012
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (In exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: Henry Holt
Pages In This Edition: 240
Rating: 4/5 Stars

On the Cover:



Beyond the Cover:


Summary from Goodreads:

"Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is."

Review:

I would have posted this review on the release date, but I hadn't released it had been moved from its original April release. I got this ARC back in the beginning of February, and read it right away because I simply couldn't wait to pick it up. And that's because April Henry is the kind of author that writes books that scream to be read.

I feel like the mystery genre in YA is kind of lacking. In fact, I don't remember the last time that I read a true crime mystery in YA. I'm not saying that there isn't any around, but not many. And that's exactly what The Night She Disappeared is: a crime mystery. It unfolds like a poisonous flower, and little by little we get to know more about Kayla's kidnapper. Let's just say he isn't the nicest guy around.

The characters in this are amazing. Drew is probably my favorite; he has had really hard time and doesn't try to pretend it hasn't affected him, but he tries to be a good person in spite of what he's been through. He is so muti-layered. It's amazing. And he's gorgeous.

Gabie is going through so much through the course of this novel, I'm not surprised with the emotional conflicts that come up. It's all very believable. She isn't the heroine that shows no fear; she's the one who shows it but still manages to push through it. That makes her even more enviable in my eyes.

As for the plot of the mystery, not much is left to be desired. Henry weaves a great story that I know I will want to read again and again, even if I do now know who the criminal is.

My only complaint (the thing that caused this to be a four star review instead of a five star) is the length of the book. It's just little short for me. I feel like the story could have built up a little more tension before the resolution. Or maybe that's just me wanting more of these characters. Who knows.

--Alexis
Saturday, March 10, 2012

Review of Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

Title: Darker Still
Author: Leanna Renee Hieber
Release Date: November 8th, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Won in Blog Giveaway
Publisher: SourceBooks Fire
Pages In This Edition: 317
Rating: 3/5 Stars

On the Cover:


Beyond the Cover:


Summary from Goodreads:

"I was obsessed.

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I'd ever seen--everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable...utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike.

There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.

I've crossed over into his world within the painting, and I've seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked--bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still."

Review:

When I saw this book on a lot of blogs at the end of last year it had me wanting to read it. But when I found out it was a historical paranormal, I was instantly turned off. Me and historical fiction of any kind usually don't get along. At all. I figured if I was meant to read this book I would some how stumble upon a copy. And then I won it in a giveaway on a blog, so I thought I would give it a try. It had gotten some pretty good reviews, so I thought what the hell.

The beginning for me was the weakest part of the book. Probably the first 100 to 150 pages were very boring to me, and the chaste historical romance not enough to keep my interest. The characters seemed kind of one sided also for a large portion of the book, and I craved more depth. When the romance started to pick up I got more interested, and the ending isn't too bad, so I ended up thinking the book was okay.

My biggest complaint is the lack of action for most of the book. Besides the climax of the story, it was just.... dull I guess. There were large portions where I found my mind wandering. I wanted the mystery part of the book to be a much bigger part then it was, and when the mystery was included I found myself coming to conclusions about what was happening long before the characters in the story did, which I find kind of annoying.

The romance in Darker Still left much to be desired for a lot of the book. I understand this is the 1880's, but I just like a little more recklessness I guess. By the end it was good though, and the romance ended up being a huge reason why I finished the book. I wanted to know where the characters were going.

So I might continue this series to see if the plot picks up the pace in the second volume. Now that the romance has heated up some, maybe it can hold my attention. Over all, this book was okay, and if you like historical (which I don't) you would probably like this a lot more than I did.

--Alexis

P.S. Have you read this? I would be interested in knowing what you thought in the comments.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Review of Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Title: Embrace
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Release Date: March 6th, 2012
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (In exchange for an honest reveiw)
Publisher: SourceBooks Fire
Pages In This Edition: 367
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

On the Cover:


Beyond the Cover:

Summary from Goodreads:

"It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”

Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before.

Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her.

A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden…"

Review:

I saw this book around the blog community and thought "Wow. That looks good. I should put in a request for it." When I did and got sent a copy, I was so excited. And for good reason; this book more than met my expectations. Once I had started it, every moment was just an excuse to go back to reading it, even if I knew I had other things I should have been spending my time on (studying for finals, doing housework, etc..) And that's because Shirvington has created a world that I'm definitely in love with. Head over heels.

The first thing that had me gripped in this book was Lincoln. WOW. Is he hot or what? It's pretty insane, and the chemistry between him and Violet is swoon-worthy. There just something about him that makes you wish you had a carbon copy of him to have as your own. And because one amazingly handsome guy per book wasn't enough, Violet meets Phoenix, a guy who is may be just as hot and amazing as Lincoln. I'm sure some people who read this will be like "Oh great, another YA love triangle. Like I haven't seen that before." But it's alright with me, because seriously, these guys are so great, I would be insulted if I didn't get to spend time with both of them.

And it's not like the romance is the only thing that goes on in the book. The mythology that Shirvington explains is the most explained and interesting of any "angel" book I've read in YA. It is believable and EXPLAINED. It feels like a lot of times authors expect you to know the back-story of their characters without any explanation, but Jessica does a great job of explaining. I really appreciate that. REALLY.

Finally, the plot is something you just can't help but want to flip pages for. It's fast paced and perfectly balanced with great romance. What's not to love? Not much. Except for one scene (I don't want to spoil) that seems to drag a little for my taste. That knocked it down from 5 stars to 4.5. Still, Embrace rocks my socks.

--Alexis
Saturday, March 3, 2012

March TBR

It's time for another round of hope Alexis gets her stuff together and actually reads what is in her TBR! Your host for this? Alexis herself. The odds of this happening? Hopefully greater than they have been the past two months.

Okay, I'm hoping that I can at least read SOME of these books this month. That would be great. And an improvement from last month. So here we go.

The books that I'm hoping to read in the month of March are (with some exceptions of course):

1. The Devouring by Simon Holt

This was on last month's TBR too. I've already started it, so maybe it won't be to hard to finish and get a review posted.

2. The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

I've started this one too. It's a cute middle grade that I'm hoping I'm going to love because it's based on the secret garden. I got an ARC of this about a month ago and the release date was at the end of February, so I really need to get this read.

3. Fated by Alyson Noel
I won this from Early Reviewers on LibraryThing, and even though I haven't received it yet, I know I'm going to get it this month and that I won't be able to stop myself from reading it, so I better just put it on this list. I know it doesn't come out until the end of May, but it just looks so good!

4. Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

I won this a month or so ago and was so excited to receive it. It sounds great and I hope to read it this month!


So those are my top 4 TBR books for March. What are you going to be reading this month? Tell me in the comments or leave a link to your TBR for March and I'll be happy to check it out!

--Alexis

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February Wrap-Up (PS I Failed Again)

This month I told myself that I was actually going to read what I put in my TBR. And this month, yet again, I failed. I don't know how this happened. I had everything set up so that it would go smoothly, and then awesome books just had to make their way into my life and prevent me from going through with my plans.

Well, then. I'll guess I'll have to deal with the fall-out from that. That'll be my problem. Also, on one last negative note. I didn't manage to do many posts in February though I read quite a few books. Again, I would rant about a million things as excuses, but you don't want to hear that. But here's to me saying that I will do better this month!

Now let's get to the books and the links to the ones that I actually managed to review:

Books I read this month:

1. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon V.3 (Best volume yet!)

2. Perfect by Ellen Hopkins (Ellen at her best! I loved it. Hoping for a review in March.)

3. Caged Moon by Rachel Deagan (Check out my 5 star review: here)

4. The Night She Disappeared by April Henry (Release date isn't till April, so I'm holding off my review.)

5. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (Check out my review: here.)

6. The Eternal Smile: Three Stories by Gene Luen Yang  (WEIRD & Good Art)

7. Fruits Basket V. 1 & 2 by Natsuki Takaya (Super cute! Can't wait for more volumes!)

8. Embrace by Jessica Shirvington (EPIC. Review will be up the release date. March 6th.)

Review for books I didn't read this month:

1. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler 

And that's it for me this month. I think 9 books (if you count both volumes of Fruits Basket) is great for the shortest month of the year. The fact that I managed to read zero books from my TBR for this month isn't so great. (Check that out HERE) I'll have my next TBR up in a few days. Hopefully I can think it through and get it right.

What did you read in February? Feel free to let me know or link up your monthly wrap-up.

--Alexis

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Hi my name is Alexis and I'm so excited to be heading to Oregon State University in the fall. I will be majoring in English and hope to become an editor or technical writer in my future.

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With Beyond the Cover, I want to help people interested in YA with a resource to refer to. This blog will be composed of reviews as well as other book related subjects.



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