Blind Spot Blog Tour (Review + Giveaway)

"It's a story about how sometimes we fail to see things that are right in front of us."

Since You've Been Gone (Review)

"fabulous, wonderful, endearing, amazing story"

Dissected by Megan Bostic (Blog Tour)

"Powerful & Thought Provoking"

In Honor by Jessi Kirby (Review)

"This is going on my favorites shelf and I will probably reread it again in the future."

Blog Tour: Hungry by H.A. Swain (Review + Giveaway)

"Hungry is a captivating and thought-provoking story set in a fascinating world."

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (Review))

"All-in-all, a perfect summer read and you should totally pick up these books, if you haven't already!"

The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle (Review)

"The Edge of Falling is a beautifully told story, both in plot and writing."

Hexed by Michelle Krys (Review)

"Hexed was just the thing that I needed to get back into the reading world."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Falls The Shadow by Stefanie Gaither (Review)

Genre:
Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Publication.Date  September 16th 2014
Pages:352
Published By:  Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers
AuthorStefanie Gaither

Falls The Shadow on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:


When Cate Benson was a kid, her sister, Violet, died. Two hours after the funeral, Cate’s family picked up Violet’s replacement. Like nothing had happened. Because Cate’s parents are among those who decided to give their children a sort of immortality—by cloning them at birth—which means this new Violet has the same smile. The same perfect face. Thanks to advancements in mind-uploading technology, she even has all of the same memories as the girl she replaced.

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.

At least, that’s what the paparazzi and the anti-cloning protestors want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that. She’s used to defending her sister, too. But Violet has vanished, and when Cate sets out to find her, she ends up in the line of fire instead. Because Cate is getting dangerously close to secrets that will rock the foundation of everything she thought was true.

In a thrilling debut, Stefanie Gaither takes readers on a nail-biting ride through a future that looks frighteningly similar to our own time and asks: how far are you willing to go to keep your family together?

(Goodreads)

What should you say to someone you’d known your whole life but were just now meeting for the first time?
And that’s the part that I don’t like thinking about: knowing that there’s a stronger, physically superior version of me just waiting around for me to die.
It’s amazing how you can believe your life is so awful, but then something worse comes along, and suddenly you’d give anything to just have that normal, awful life back.




    Catelyn and Violet were both cloned at birth, their clones raised in a 'controlled environment'. Their parents made copies of their daughters to be on the 'safe side', to have replacements just in case something bad happened to one of them. To be able to swipe a possible tragedy under a rug and pretend it never happened. But a tragedy did happen and Catelyn's older sister got sick and died. And then the replacement took her place, picking up exactly where the other girl left off, with all her memories downloaded neatly to her cloned brain. And life went on. 

But when you want to play God, you need to be prepared for the consequences. And there are bound to be many. 

     Bland writing style, dialogues that are not situation-appropriate, bumpy pacing and narration relying solely on telling instead of showing, Falls The Shadow left me very dissatisfied and sad about its wasted potential. Top it all off with unmemorable, flat characters and what you get is a book that threatens (and, sadly, succeeds) to put you to sleep. 

     Cloning, DNA manipulation and stem cell research are hot and highly intriguing topics, and they are like a shiny treasure chest of ideas for authors interested in exploring darker Science Fiction themes. There is just so much potential there, so many angles one could approach these subjects on, so much depth and food for thought. And after a really promising and exciting prologue, I really believed the author would take these subjects and shape them into a great, interesting story. But though the idea behind the story wasn't bad, the execution of it was lacking in so many areas, the book was rather painful to read. And it pains me to admit that, I actually had to force myself to keep turning pages.

     The first third of the story serves no purpose other than providing a back story to the conflict. We learn next to nothing about the characters and their personalities (other that that Catelyn is "an invisible wallflower" and Violet is a troublemaker and kind of rebel), we have no idea what is the core of the plot line, we witness no significant action. And worst of all, even the backstory is served in a really bad and boring fashion - in form of a long monologue. The science is missing from this Science Fiction book, the ideas thrown at us have no scientific grounding. They seem purely fictional and it's hard to take them seriously. 

     There isn't a whole lot of action in this book. Instead, the pages are filled mostly with dialogues between Catelyn, Jaxton and Seth. Dialogues that are very juvenile and really kind of pointless. Whatever action is thrown into the mix is too little, too uninteresting and too far between to help move the plot along. That would have been fine if the book had some substance, something to keep the reader engaged on either intellectual or emotional level, but there really isn't anything there. I didn't care one bit about any of the characters, least of all Violet (the clone), who is, for the most part, talked about and not present in person. The conflict between those pro and anti cloning movement took the backseat to silly teenage interactions. And, most of all, the moral and ethical aspects of cloning itself weren't explored at all.

     Overall, while certainly readable, Falls The Shadow is rather forgettable and uninspired. It's not the worst Science Fiction I have ever read, but it isn't really a story I'll be thinking about or returning to in the future. It's merely pleasant enough to kill a few hours on a long Fall evening.

     On a side note, if you're looking for a good Science Fiction novel revolving around the subject of DNA manipulation and "growing" humans in laboratories, I recommend The Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell or Lost Girl by Sangu Mandana. They are both more thought-provoking takes on the ethical and moral aspects of cloning, as well as what it means to be human.


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Top Ten Tuesday: In with the New

Top 10 Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and The Bookish

"New" Unread Series

Most of you know about my goal to finish/catch up the series I'm currently in them middle of before starting new series. These select series are the ones that I'm most excited to start once I accomplish this goal. I chose series where the first book was published after October 21, 2012 - so two years or newer.

  
    
  

Have you read any of these yet? Which ones should I move to the top of my TBR pile? Which new series are you looking forward to starting? Be sure to leave me a link to your list!
  
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little and a HUGE Pre-Order Giveaway!


On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.


Trailer:




Giveaway:

Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. See below for full details on how to enter. TO ENTER:
  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to forbiddengiveaway@gmail.com.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.
PRIZES:


(1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER: 1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB -- choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt)
2. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson
3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White
4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt
5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf
6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
9. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured) 10. Set of
10 Book Club Cards 11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)






(1) SECOND PLACE WINNER:
1. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson
2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
5. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)










(13) RUNNERS-UP WINNERS:
1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
2. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the book:


Preorder: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

 In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.
Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.
With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.
Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

About the author:


 Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. You can visit her online at www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com.


Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto (ARC Review)


Series:
The Ghost House Saga #1
Genre:
Young Adult, Paranormal, Ghosts
Publication.Date:August 26, 2014
Pages:320 (eARC)
Published By:  Harlequin Teen
Website:Alexandra Adornetto 

Ghost House on Goodreads
My review copy:
Provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:



From the New York Times bestselling author of Halo comes the start of a beautiful and powerful new series.

After the loss of her mother, Chloe Kennedy starts seeing the ghosts that haunted her as a young girl again. Spending time at her grandmother's country estate in the south of England is her chance to get away from her grief and the spirits that haunt her. Until she meets a mysterious stranger…

Alexander Reade is 157 years dead, with secrets darker than the lake surrounding Grange Hall and a lifelike presence that draws Chloe more strongly than any ghost before. But the bond between them awakens the vengeful spirit of Alexander's past love, Isobel. And she will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who threatens to take him from her.

To stop Isobel, Chloe must push her developing abilities to their most dangerous limits, even if it means losing Alex forever… and giving the hungry dead a chance to claim her for their own. (Goodreads)



Quotes obtained from ARC copy and are subject to change
I could feel the walls I'd built to keep the ghosts out starting to crumble. They were slipping through the cracks. My grief had made me weak, and I didn't have the strength to rebuild by inner fortress. There was no room for anything other than the overwhelming ache of missing my mother.
Some realizations are too devastating for tears.
You couldn't hide from the dead and you couldn't keep secrets from them. They saw everything.
At least I finally had an answer to my question. Where did our loved ones go after death? They didn't go anywhere. They stayed right where you left them, because you carried them with you. They were a part of you, like a tattoo. Trying to forget them was like trying to forget you had legs.


I love ghosts. I love ghost stories. I love stories about people who can see and interact with ghosts. Unfortunately, this is not a "waking up in the middle of the night because the ghosts are going to get me" story. This is just your typical paranormal teen romance.

Ghost House starts with the untimely death of Chloe and Rory's mother. After having not seen ghosts for years, Chloe begins seeing them again after her mom's death, whose funeral we begin the story on. Not long after said funeral, Chloe's grandmother decides she and her 12-year-old brother should go back to Hampshire with her for a change of scenery.

Almost immediately, Chloe encounters the ghost of Alexander Reade and he is the most beautiful thing she has every laid eyes on. If you've read my reviews before, you know how I feel about instalove. Nine times out of ten, it's a deal breaker for me. I didn't immediately close the book because it doesn't start out as instalove, but as a crush. Something innocent that everybody goes through. However, just a few short days and minimal encounters later . . . L-O-V-E to the max. A delayed instalove if you will. At one point she even states that she'd "been waiting all my life for Alexander Reade to show up." Slow your roll, kid.

Now Joe was a love interest I could get behind - and he had a lot going for him: 1) British 2) Nice guy 3) Good with animals, especially horses 4) Great with Rory 5) Has flesh and a pulse. But no, she goes for the dead guy whose crazy, also very dead, girlfriend is out to get Chloe for unknown reasons. 

I found myself to just be . . . underwhelmed. Plot, dialogue, descriptions, characters. All relatively underwhelming. There were interesting aspects (the flashbacks into the history of Alexander and Isobel, for instance), I was intrigued as to what Isobel's deal was, and on occasion Chloe's narrative pulled me into the story. Unfortunately, the bad outweighed the good and I was unable to get fully enriched  in the story.

However, I can see younger readers enjoying this book. I envision giving it to my 16-year-old cousin and her thoroughly enjoying the book and hankering to get her hands on the next two. Also, I think I would have enjoyed this back when I was a Twilight fan (and if you are a Twilight fan I don't mean anything bad by this, I'm merely making a comparison). For me, the book just felt been there, done that, don't wanna go back. I am just not the right audience for this book and there's nothing wrong with that.




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