Monday, February 21, 2011

Paranormalcy- Kiersten White


"Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. 


Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal."

Summary: I don't usually read books with vampires or werewolves or the like, but I decided to give this one a shot after hearing such rave reviews.

While this book didn't quite live up to those reviews, it was definitely a fun read. One of the things I liked most about this book was how Evie came across as just a normal girl. She wants normal things. Normal friends, a "normal" life, to go to a normal school, and to have a normal boyfriend.

What she does have is a pink taser named Tasey, a best friend who lives in an aquarium, and a problem with a certain faerie named Reth who just won't leave her alone.

Before I read this book I had heard a lot about the two boys vying for Evie's attention- Reth and Lend, and how both of them were great choices. In fact, here is what author Aprilynne Pike says about them on the back cover of the book. "Paranormalcy seduced me. The two sexy paranormals who view for Evie's affections each had their own victory; one won Evie's heart, and the other won mine."

After reading the book I have a slight problem with that. There is nothing wonderful about both boys. Lend is wonderful. I can be a complete sap at times, and I adored how kind and caring he was and I loved every moment of the book that he was in.

Reth on the other hand is crazy. Certainly he's magnetic and attractive, but he also frightens Evie, shows up when and where he isn't wanted, and causes all sorts of trouble. He's not even sexy in a bad boy sort of way. He's a total creeper, in my opinion.

But hey, that's what's great about books. We can judge them and their characters for ourselves.

This book is the first in a trilogy. The second, Supernaturally, will be released in the fall. So if you like books with paranormal characters or fun, sweet romances, check out this first book.

Rating: B

Other Recommended Reads:
Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
The Hourglass Door Series by Lisa Mangum
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (not paranormal, but a cute, fun romance story)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Incarceron- Catherine Fisher

NOTE: Read as part of Dystopian February


"Incarceron is a prison unlike any other: It’s inmates live not only in cells, but also in metal forests, dilapidated cities, and unbounded wilderness. The prison has been sealed for centuries, and only one man, legend says, has ever escaped.

Finn, a seventeen-year-old prison, can’t remember his childhood and believes he came from Outside Incarceron. he’s going to escape, even though most inmates don’t believe that Outside even exists. And then Finn finds a crystal key and through it, a girl named Claudia.

Claudia claims to live Outside — her father is the Warden of Incarceron and she’s doomed to an arranged marriage. If she helps Finn escape, she will need his help in return.

But they don’t realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost far more than they know.


Summary: I've been meaning to read this book for quite some time and when I saw that my local library had a copy I was incredibly excited and checked it out, and I'm so glad I did.

Incarceron is told through two points of view- Finn, a prisoner in Incarceron who is convinced he is from the outside and Claudia, a girl destined to be queen who only wants not to have to marry Casper, the queen's son.

Claudia is from the outside, a world that was once, and secretly still is, incredibly technologically advanced, but is trapped in the past. The 1700s, to be exact. Although everyone knows about the advanced technology, and some of it is secretly used (modern bathrooms, washing machines, etc), by the degree of King Endor, progress has been halted. Thus, the world Claudia inhabits is a world where she must dress in petticoats and fine clothing, observe proper manners and act like the well bred girl she was brought up to be.

This however, does not suit Claudia. From the beginning of the book we see that Claudia, along with her tutor Jared Sapiens, one of the Sapient branch of people who were at the forefront of former technological advancements, will not sit back content as her father controls her future. Thus, when she finds a key that allows her to communicate with Finn, from the prison, she is determined to break him out and change her own destiny.

I loved the setting of Claudia's world. I thought it was fascinating how their society was futuristic but trapped in the past.

Likewise, I loved reading about the scenes in Incarceron. The idea of a prison that is essentially alive is so intriguing and I loved all of the characters that joined Finn as he tried to find out his true identity.

This book was wonderful the entire way through and honestly had some of the best plot twists I have ever read in a book. When large secrets began to be revealed about Incarceron, Finn, and Claudia I thought they were brilliant and I absolutely cannot wait to read the sequel Sapphique.

This is definitely the best book I've read all year and in a very long time.

Rating: A+

Other Recommended Books:
The Maze Runner by James Dashner (If you really enjoyed Finn's part of the book)
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
A Great and Terrible Beauty Series by Libba Bray (If you really enjoyed Claudia's part of the book)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Am Number Four- Pittacus Lore


"We may be walking past you right now.

We are watching as you read this.

We may be in your city, your town.

We are living anonymously.

We are waiting for the day when

We will find each other.

We will make our last stand together—if

We win,

We are saved, and

You are saved as well.

If we lose, all is lost."

Summary: As a baby Number 4, or John Smith as he's now going by, left his wartorn dying planet of Lorien for Earth along with eight other children and their adult guardians. Pursued to Earth by the Mogadorians who destroyed their first planet, all nine children must remain alive- the fate of the world depends on it.

Bound together by a bond that allows the children to be killed by the Mogadorians only in the order of their numbers, John Smith is next in line to die. Numbers 1, 2 and 3 are dead.

He is number 4.

I've been wanting to read this book for awhile. I had heard only good things about it, and I have been dying to see the movie.

The book didn't quite live up to my expectations. While I enjoyed the actual plot and the action scenes, I felt that the relationship development, at least in regards to John and girlfriend/love interest Sarah, was very much lacking. However, as this is not primarily a romance novel but more of an action one, I think it was something I could sort of, but not completely overlook.

I think this book will adapt well to a movie form, although I think in order to maintain a level of interest throughout the movie I expect a lot of changes from the original book. This book reminded me of a cross between the tv shows Heroes and Smallville, with the main character John gaining some really cool powers throughout the book.

Though this is not a favorite book, I am excited for both the movie and the next book which will be called The Power of Six.

Rating: B

Other Recommended Books:
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Gone Series by Michael Grant
Elder's Game by Orson Scott Card
Pendragon Series by D. J. MacHale

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bumped (ARC)- Megan McCafferty

Read as part of Dystopian February.


"When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents must pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they search for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty comes a strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood—in a future that is eerily believable."


So if you have been following my blog, you'll know that I posted about a contest for an Advanced Reader's Copy of Bumped by Megan McCafferty, which I can now say I was lucky enough to have won. Thanks so much to Megan McCafferty, HarperCollins Publishers and the host of the wonderful contest over at

I received the book in the mail today and read it all so here are my thoughts.

Now, I read a lot of dystopian novels. Dystopian lit, especially YA Dystopian books are my absolute favorite. Generally however, they involve corrupt governments or large plans of rebellion, and Bumped is not like that at all. Bumped is a book that could almost take place today if a virus struck that made almost everyone over the age of 18 infertile.

In this book a pro-pregnancy culture arises. Teens if they are lucky enough can score a contract to give birth to babies in exchange for a fully paid college tuition, or a car, or a 6 figure bonus. Those who are less lucky become amateurs, getting pregnant and taking bids after the baby is born.

The two narrators of this story, Melody and Harmony begin from very different places. Melody has been raised to be the perfect surrogate, Harmony has been raised in a church community which condemns such acts.

While I wasn't always a huge fan of  how preachy Harmony was, I liked seeing her own secrets and thoughts revealed as the story went on. I also liked seeing Melody's transition from perfect daughter and surrogate to a teen who wants to take control of her own life.

As I am not a fan of shows like 16 and Pregnant or Teen Mom, I was perhaps a little less interested in reading about all the pregnancy aspects of this book. However, I did enjoy the character growth and interaction and thinking about my own views on teen pregnancy.

Definitely an interesting read. I'll be excited to read the sequel when it is released.

Bumped will be released on April 26, 2011.

Rating: B+

Other Recommended Reads:
The Declaration Trilogy by Gemma Malley
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Matched by Ally Condie

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Replacement- Brenna Yovanoff


"Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. 

He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world. 

Mackie would give anything to live among us. He just wants to play bass guitar and find out more about an oddly intriguing girl named Tate.

 But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs."

Summary: I have honestly never read anything like this book. When I first saw the cover I knew I wanted to read it, which is slightly strange as I don't usually like anything remotely creepy. However this book is the exception to that rule.

Mackie Doyle is a character who isn't normal. He isn't human, he's from belowground, a castoff placed into a crib of a murdered baby as a replacement. He was supposed to die, but instead he lives, thanks a great deal to his loving older sister Emma.

I found this cast of characters, especially Mackie, to be charming. Mackie is a little creepy if you didn't know him, but he is a sweet, caring kid who absolutely loves his older sister Emma. He is portrayed to the town as a sort of a rebel. His father is a minister, but because he can't step foot on hallowed ground, Mackie has never been inside the church.

Something I found interesting about the book is the way the town sort of knows that every 7 years a child is sacrificed for prosperity and they just let it happen. It isn't directly talked about and no one, until Tate speaks out, mentions that the children who are buried in their town aren't really the children everyone knew and loved.

While the plot of this story was not very complex, the characters were fun to read about and really grew on me. I thought the plot was incredibly unique and managed to make things that are creepy and ugly become really beautiful, especially with Mackie, who doesn't really belong with the ugly, dead (or perhaps undead) creatures from below the slag heap.

One last general note about the story. For those of you looking for a genuinely creepy story that will give you nightmares, this really isn't it. Some parts of the story are rather creepy but in a very light sort of way. The fact that I could read it without ever becoming freaked out is a good indicator of this as I hate all things frightening.

Rating: A-

Other Recommended Books:
Cirque du Freak Series by Darren Shan
The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Contest- Other Words for Love

Hey everyone, here's a contest you can enter for a signed hardcover copy of Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal that you can check out here!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Delirium- Lauren Oliver

Note: I read this as part of Dystopian February


"Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn't understand that once love--the deliria--blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold.

Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she'll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: she falls in love."

Review: When I first heard of this book, it sounded to me like a cross between Matched by Ally Condie, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and the Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, three of my all time favorite dystopian novels. Obviously that meant I had to have it the day it was released.

When the book begins, Lena is a strict rule follower. She's afraid, terrified even, of what would happen if she listens to forbidden music, breaks curfew, or even of talking to an uncured boy. Her best friend Hana is less concerned with all this, and she's really the one, along with a boy named Alex, who becomes the main love interest in the story, who draws Lena into an unknown rebellious world.

I really loved a lot of things about this story. I thought that Lauren Oliver was great at descriptions. Her choice of adjectives or the way she'd portray a moment in the story really appealed to me. I also loved how every chapter began with a quote from books in Lena's life, about love and the cure and various other things.

My only complaint about the story is that Alex and Lena's romance seemed to go from almost nothing, with Lena still afraid of everything really, to an instantaneous connection after an event in the story. Although that didn't even feel as rushed as I might be making it seem.

I absolutely adored this book and cannot wait for books 2 and 3, Pandemonium and Requiem, which are to be released in February of 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Rating: A

Other Recommended Books:
Matched by Ally Condie
Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld
The Giver by Lois Lowry

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Conspiracy of Kings- Megan Whalen Turner

Warning: Spoilers for previous books in series.


"Sophos, under the guidance of yet another tutor, practices his swordplay and strategizes escape scenarios should his father's villa come under attack. How would he save his mother? His sisters? Himself? Could he reach the horses in time? Where would he go? But nothing prepares him for the day armed men, silent as thieves, swarm the villa courtyard ready to kill, to capture, to kidnap. Sophos, the heir to the throne of Sounis, disappears without a trace.

In Attolia, Eugenides, the new and unlikely king, has never stopped wondering what happened to Sophos. Nor has the Queen of Eddis. They send spies. They pay informants. They appeal to the gods. But as time goes by, it becomes less and less certain that they will ever see their friend alive again.

Across the small peninsula battles are fought, bribes are offered, and conspiracies are set in motion. Darkening the horizon, the Mede Empire threatens, always, from across the sea. And Sophos, anonymous and alone, bides his time. Sophos, drawing on his memories of Gen, Pol, the magus—and Eddis—sets out on an adventure that will change all of their lives forever."

Summary: I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. When I finished reading The Thief, and heard that there was going to be a book featuring Sophos, I became incredibly excited because he had become one of my favorite characters in the novel.

This book is told primarily in first person, through the point of view of Sophos, the reluctant heir to the throne who would rather read than rule a country. When he is kidnapped and forced into slavery, he quickly realizes that he enjoys for once, not having to be the disappointing son and heir to the throne that he has been for years. He almost doesn't want to try and leave.

This story is told basically in three parts, and the first part is Sophos during his time as a slave. I've read other reviews in which readers are upset that there isn't a lot of Eugenides in the story, but I think that even without his playing a large role, this story is still incredible. When Sophos and Eugenides do meet up again for the first time as Attolis and Sounis, I was temporarily disappointed by the awkward and cold exchanges between the two friends. However, as the book went on and I realized the love and friendship both still felt for each other, I loved the book all the more for it. Throughout most of the book the reader can see that Sophos looked up to Eugenides and admires him, and even though Sophos doesn't realize it at first, Eugenides cares greatly about his friend as well.

This was the first book since The Thief where I also really felt Eugenides' old personality shine through. Even though there were moments where you could really see his personality in the past two books, I greatly enjoyed reading the little bits about Eugenides in this book, especially when he talks about when he first knew that he loved Attolia.

I also really enjoyed the scenes between Eddis and Sophos in the book.

Really this book had it all. Action, excitement, secrets, friendship, and romance. I read that there are supposed to be another 2 books after this one, however Turner is known for writing books incredibly slowly. This book came out 4 years after the last one, which came out 6 years after the one before that. I don't know if I can wait that long, but at least I have something to look forward to in the years to come.

Rating: A

Other Recommended Books:
Alanna Quartet by Tamora Pierce
Trickster's Series by Tamora Pierce
Any other series by Tamora Pierce
Farsala Trilogy by Hilari Bell
Fire and Graceling books by Kristin Cashore
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The King of Attolia- Megan Whalen Turner

Warning: Synopsis and Review will likely contain some spoilers for The Thief and The Queen of Attolia, the first 2 books in the series.

Synopsis: "By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides wanted the queen, not the crown, but he finds himself trapped in a web of his own making. Attolia's barons seethe with resentment, the Mede emperor is returning to the attack, and the king is surrounded by the subtle and dangerous intrigue of the Attolian court. 

When a naive young guard expresses his contempt for the king in no uncertain terms, he is dragged by Eugenides into the center of the political maelstrom. Like the king, he cannot escape the difficulties he makes for himself. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king's caprice, but he discovers a reluctant sympathy for Eugenides as he watches the newly crowned king struggle against his fate."


The King of Attolia picks up after The Queen of Attolia leaves off, with Eugenides stepping into his new role as the King of Attolia and husband of the woman he loves, the same woman who cut his arm off in the previous novel.

This book is told in third person, primarily through the point of view of Costis, a young guard. When the books starts off, Costis, along with all of the other guards, really hate Eugenides. They think that he is just a pawn who the queen doesn't care about at all. However as the book goes on, Costis realizes that there is more to the King than a weak man, and more to the relationship between the King and Queen. 

My only complaint about the book is that I wish I had seen a bit more from Eugenides' point of view. Or of his interactions with the Queen, which, when they did appear, were sweet and well written and some of my favorite passages in the novel. 

I really liked how loyal Costis became to the King by the end of the novel, and how Eugenides really has grown from the boy he was in the first book. I think this book rivaled The Thief for my favorite book in the series so far. I really liked the last 1/3 or so of The Queen of Attolia, but I felt the beginning dragged a little. This book however, I felt was much more interesting the entire way through. Now I can't wait to read about Sophos in A Conspiracy of Kings

Rating: A

Other Recommended Books:
Alanna Quartet by Tamora Pierce
Tricksters Series by Tamora Pierce
Any other series by Tamora Pierce
Farsala Trilogy by Hilari Bell
Graceling and Fire books by Kristin Cashore
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

The Queen of Attolia- Megan Whalen Turner

Warning: Synopsis and Review will probably contain some minor spoilers for The Thief



When Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, stole Hamiathes's Gift, the Queen of Attolia lost more than a mythical relic. She lost face. Everyone knew that Eudenides had outwitted and escaped her. To restore her reputation and reassert her power, the Queen of Attolia will go to any length and accept any help that is offered...she will risk her country to execute the perfect revenge.


Eugenides can steal anything. And he taunts the Queen of Attolia, moving through her strongholds seemingly at will. So Attolia waits, secure in the knowledge that the Thief will slip, that he will haunt her palace one too many times. what price?

When Eugenides finds his small mountain country at war with Attolia, he must steal a man, he must steal a queen, he must steal peace. But his greatest triumph--and his greatest loss--comes in capturing something that the Queen of Attolia thought she had sacrificed long ago..."

Summary: Having just finished The Thief, I immediately moved onto The Queen of Attolia, hoping to be wowed just as I was with the first book. And I was. Only a little bit less.

This book focuses on Eugenides and Eddis after he returns to his homeland. After a scarring incident involving the Queen of Attolia, Eugenides feels as though he has lost his purpose, and much of the novel is spent with him regaining his confidence and skills.

What I love about this book, and about The Thief, is Turner's way of surprising the reader near the end, but not in a way that's completely crazy or unbelievable, just in a "how didn't I see that before?" sort of way. She also is great about showing you a character and making you believe that they don't know a certain bit of information, or don't have involvement in some plan or another, and then completely surprising you with that character's actions later.

The thing I probably disliked the most about this book as compared to The Thief, was the switch from first person to third person. While it allowed the reader to see more of the story other than just Eugenides' point of view, I really had enjoyed his first person perspective in the first novel, and wish that the rest of the series had continued with it.

That being said, I still adored this book, especially the end of it, and am anxious to finish The King of Attolia, the next book in the series.

Rating: A-

Other Recommended Books:
Alanna Quartet by Tamora Pierce
Trickster's Series by Tamora Pierce
Any other series by Tamora Pierce
Farsala Trilogy by Hilari Bell
Graceling and Fire books by Kristin Cashore
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Contest- Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Another contest to tell you all about. This book looks intriguing and this is for an ARC copy of the book so head over to the author's page quickly (the contest ends tomorrow February 2) and enter!

The Thief- Megan Whalen Turner


"The most powerful advisor to the King of Sounis is the magus. He's not a wizard, he's a scholar, an aging solider, not a thief. When he needs something stolen, he pulls a young thief from the King's prison to do the job for him.

Gen is a thief and proud of it. When his bragging lands him behind bars he has one chance to win his freedom-- journey to a neighboring kingdom with the magus, find a legendary stone called Hamiathes's Gift and steal it.

The magus has plans for his King and his country. Gen has plans of his own."

Summary: A few months ago I won a copy of this book from Heather Zundel from a contest she held on her blog after she helped host the YA Fantasy Showdown. Eugenides, the main character in this book, came out the ultimate winner in the showdown and I decided that I needed to read his story. And I'm certainly glad I did!

Eugenides is a skilled thief whose only chance (for now) of escaping the king's prison is to help steal an ancient artifact of sorts. Gen, along with the king's magus, his two apprentices Ambiades and Sophos, and Pol, a soldier, set out on a journey to find and steal the ancient artifact. Although much of the book is simply the group's journey, it is incredibly interesting. I loved Eugenides. I seem to have a particular fondness for thieves in novels, so I suppose he fit in wonderfully with this. I also loved the group dynamic, especially seeing how Eugenides grew from being simply a tool to the magus, to being respected by him and in turn holding respect for his traveling companions.

I was especially fond of Sophos too, who I just found out, stars in his own book in A Conspiracy of Kings, which I cannot wait to read.

This book is a wonderful adventure with many secrets that aren't revealed until the end, and I would highly recommend it. It reminded me a great deal of Tamora Pierce's Alanna quartet and her Trickster's series, as well as the Farsala trilogy by Hilari Bell, both series that I absolutely adore and really suggest everyone reads.

Rating: A

Other Recommended Books:
Alanna Quartet by Tamora Pierce
Trickster's Series by Tamora Pierce
Any other series by Tamora Pierce
Farsala Trilogy by Hilari Bell
Graceling and Fire books by Kristin Cashore
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta