Waiting on Wednesday (64) – This is Not a Test

This Is Not a Test
Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
To be released: June 2012
Summary (from Goodreads):
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken
cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t
stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring
them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that
doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s
failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give
up. 

As
Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the
apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as
the days crawl by, everyone’s motivations to survive begin to change in
startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s
happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for
life–and death–inside. 

When
everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

This sounds like a really
awesome zombie/apocalypse novel. I am also in love with this cover! There is
something simple, but gorgeous about it. I’ll definitely be checking this book
out next year!
Waiting on Wednesday is a
weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at
Breaking the Spine.

Hurricane Irene

I just wanted to let you all know that I was effected by Hurricane Irene and it is going to have a slight impact on my blogging this week. I am currently without power and Internet and do not know how long that will last. I had stuff that I was going to post this week but did not get the chance to put online so posts will be few. I have one schedule post this week so that might be all there is depending on how quickly I get power and Internet back. Sorry! Hope everyone else who was effected by Irene is okay!

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Shut
Out

Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: September 5,
2011           
Series or Standalone:  Standalone
ISBN: 9780316175562
Format: ARC
Pages: 288
Source: BEA
Websites:

Rating: 4.5 Stars



Shut Out was
a cute, enjoyable read. I picked it up late last night and finished it in
hours. It’s a book that’s great for teenager girls and made me just feel very
happy.

This is Kody Keplinger’s
second book, and I have to say, I enjoyed it a lot more than her first one.
Kody Keplinger has a real talent for capturing the spirit and voice of teens.
Her characters feel like real teenagers and face real problems that many people
confront in high school. One thing I really liked about Shut Out and that I liked about the DUFF was that Kody Keplinger does not shy away from the topic of
sex. Sex is not a taboo in her books. Instead, especially in this book which is
about a sex strike, she in some ways offers a forum for the girls in the book
to discuss the topic of sex which seems to be an out of bound subject for girls
to discuss. I really loved how she handled the topic of sex and the
conversations the girls had about it and each of the girls different feelings,
fears and concerns with sex and the gender roles assigned to it.

I really loved the
characters in this book. Lissa was a great character. I really liked that she
had flaws, including OCD tendencies such as counting. She wasn’t perfect, but
she was very strong. Lissa wanted to do the right thing, she wanted to end a
stupid feud and came up with a very clever way to do it. I loved that she was
someone who actually went out and did something and stuck to it until the end,
no matter what was thrown in her way. Chloe, Lissa’s best friend, was also another
great character. While Chloe is known as a slut or whore at school, she was a
good friend to Lissa, always there supporting her no matter what. And then
there is Cash. Cash the soccer player. Cash was like the perfect boy. He was
devoted to his family and friends, and was a sweet guy. I loved his character
and the interactions between Lissa and Cash. I do have to say I HATED Lissa’s
boyfriend Randy, which is the point, but still, he is a huge tool and I could
tell that from the beginning.

The romance in this book was
so perfect. I loved the relationship between Cash and Lissa. It felt natural
and I loved seeing how it would play out, especially since Lissa has her
boyfriend Randy. I felt that Kody Keplinger handled the romance perfectly.
There were obstacles, banter, heartache and some great kissing scenes. I loved
seeing Lissa’s relationship arcs and her heartache, pain and joy.

Shut Out was
a clever and very enjoyable read. This book just really clicked with me. I felt
it dealt with a serious such as sex, in a not super serious way and it had a
great story that kept me wanting to read more. And then there was some great romance
and romantic tension which I am always a fan of.  I cannot wait to see what Kody Keplinger writes next because
she has a huge talent for writing great novels about teens and I’m sure her
next book will be even better.

Waiting on Wednesday (63) – Dreaming Awake

Dreaming
Awake
Gwen Hayes
Publisher: NAL Trade
To be released: January 3,
2011
Summary (from Goodreads):
She fell for him in a nighttime world. But the time
for dreaming is past—and the here-and-now can be just as fragile their love… 

When
Theia Alderson first encountered a mysterious, handsome boy in her dreams, she
never imagined how finding Haden Black—and falling in love—could change her
life. To save Haden, Theia sacrificed everything. And the dangerous bargain she
made could have lasting repercussions. 

Now
Theia has returned to Serendipity Falls, and she finds herself struggling with
the same deadly hungers that have tortured Haden. When students at their high
school fall prey to a mysterious illness, Theia can’t help but wonder if Haden’s
control is slipping—and how much longer she’ll have a grip on her own. 

And
still the nightmare realm of Under won’t let them go. Someone from Haden’s past
is determined to destroy Theia from the inside out, starting with those closest
to her, forcing Theia to choose between family and friends and a love that may
have been doomed from the start…

I LOVED LOVED LOVED Falling Under and I cannot wait to read
it’s sequel. I cannot wait to see what happens to Theia and Haden in this book.
And I love how the cover fits with the first book so well. I CANNOT WAIT!
Waiting on Wednesday is a
weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at
Breaking the Spine.

Fury by Elizabeth Miles + Giveaway

Fury
Elizabeth Miles
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: August 30,
2011
Series or Standalone: Fury
#1
ISBN: 1442422246
Format: ARC
Pages: 352
Source: BEA
Websites:
Rating: 3 Stars
I really wanted to like this
book a lot more than I actually did. The premise sounded awesome, I mean a
modern retelling of the Furies myth, count me in! Unfortunately, this book was
not what I expected.
Fury for
me was a kind of meh of for me, I did not love it but I did not hate it. There
were certain parts of this book I liked and others that I did not like.
For me, I really liked that
this book focused on a different aspect of mythology. I did not know a lot
about the Furies besides the basics before reading this book. I really like how
Miles used the Furies in this book. And I really liked that the Furies were
targeting the teens for their actions. For one of the main characters in this
book, Chase, we are not really sure what he did to warrant the Furies to target
him and I really liked slowly learning the thing that the Furies deemed bad.
The two main characters for
me were a hit and a miss. I really liked Chase as a character. He had depth and
felt I could understand him more than Em. Chase is one of the poor students at
Ascension High but the star quarterback. He is obsessed acting the right way
and appearing the right way so as to be accept and for me that struck a cord
because that’s what most people try to do in high school. Em on the other hand,
I did not like. Just something about her did not click with me. She seemed at
times incredibly naïve and sometimes just downright stupid. I wanted to slap
her in the face once or twice when she was convinced that her best friends boyfriend
truly loved her. I feel if I liked Em more I would have enjoyed this book a lot
more because a majority of the book is told from her point of view and focuses
on her.
I really liked the first
three-fourths of the book. Elizabeth Miles did a great job building up the
characters and the plot to the turning point when the Furies begin to strike
back. There was this part right at the end of the part two in the book that
literally shocked me. Everything was slowly building up to that and I loved it.
However, for the last quarter of the book, I started to just want the book to
finish already. I think this came partly from my dislike of Em, but I really
did just want the book to hurry up and finish around the last 20 pages.
However, I really did like the ending and am interested to see what will happen
next in the series. Em made a decision that is likely going to have some unforeseen
consequences later.
Fury
really made think about the tagline of this book, “Sometimes sorry isn’t
enough.” The Furies enact retribution for the teens in Ascension for the
actions they committed that they deem wrong. It made me really think about
justice and what deserves punishment. Towards the end of the book, I was not
sure if I viewed the Furies as good or evil. They do something things that can
be viewed as evil and cruel, but so do the people they are punishing. It provides
an interesting dilemma.
I really hope in the sequel
that we see more of the Furies and get to know a bit more about them, because
their characters truly fascinate me. I just hope in the sequel Em is a bit less
annoying to me, or I do not if I will be able to finish it. Overall,
Fury had it’s ups and downs but was
still an okay read. I am definitely intrigued enough by the mythology of it to
pick up the sequel and find out what happens next.

You guys can check out the Fury playlist below. I really like the songs on this playlist!



And now we have some Quickfire Questions answered by Em and Chase from Fury

If the world were to end tomorrow, I would…
Em: Call Zach and tell him how I feel—and Gabby wouldn’t care.
Chase: Rob a bank—just to see what it feels like to have money.

Would you rather be able to hear any conversation or take back anything you say? 
Em: Take things back.
Chase: I’d like to hear what chicks say about me behind my back… so, the first option.

Would you rather go to jail for the rest of your life or get hit by a truck and die on impact?
Em: Die on impact—I wouldn’t want to be alone with my thoughts for the rest of my life.
Chase: Die on impact—I’m too restless to sit around in a cell.

And now it’s GIVEAWAY TIME. Rules are below. Enter to win a SIGNED copy of Fury thanks to the lovely people and Simon and Schuster.

Giveaway Rules:

-Fill out the form below completely

-Open to US residents only

-Must be 13 years or old to enter. If under 13, parental consent is required.

-One entry per person. Multiple entries will be deleted

-Ends September 1, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (62) – Spell Bound

Spell Bound

Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Hyperion
Book CH
To be released: March
13, 2012
Summary (from Goodreads):
Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the
Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination
of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers
enchanted. 

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary
magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie
is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a
family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what
Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an
epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to
stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident. 

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers
back before it’s too late?

I cannot wait for this book. I loved Hex Hall and Demonglass and I cannot wait to see how this series ends, especially with how
Demonglass ended. I cannot wait to see the final twists and turns that Rachel
Hawkins has in store for us.
Waiting on
Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is
hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Dark Souls by Paula Morris + Giveaway

Dark
Souls

Paula Morris
Publisher: Point
Release Date: August 1, 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 9780545251327
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 292
Source: Big Honcho Media
Websites:
Rating: 3 Stars

I have to admit, Dark Souls is one of those really hard
books to review because I did not love it and I did not hate it. My thoughts
are somewhere in the middle and that is always the hardest to describe.
Dark Souls was
an interesting read. And I know, interesting is the best word, but really, I
cannot think of another word. I really liked how Paula Morris set up the story
and introduced us to the world of ghosts. While this book involves seeing
ghosts, it did feel like a paranormal novel. The ghosts were just part of
Miranda’s life, something she sees after witnessing the death of her best
friend in a car accident. I really liked how Paula Morris explained the reason
for why Miranda can see ghosts, and why any other person who sees ghosts
actually sees them. There was no paranormal explanation, more of an emotional
one which I really liked.
Something about this book
made me keep reading it. I was indifferent to the plot of the book, but I did
want to keep reading to find out what will happen and what was up with the
mysterious Nick and the ghosts in York. I was not on the edge of my seat or
anything while I was reading, I was merely reading just to move the plot along.
One thing that I really did
like about this book was the writing. Paula Morris gives really amazing
descriptions. Her descriptions of York were beautiful and really helped to
establish the setting of the novel. While I was reading, I was tempted by her
descriptions to actually look up the places were the novel takes place and was
amazed at how accurate her descriptions were.
Another thing I really liked
was the relationship between Miranda and her brother Rob. Rob was in the driver
in the car accident which killed Miranda’s friend and he is carrying around
some emotional baggage like Miranda. I really liked that you could tell Miranda
and Rob really cared for each other and I loved their conversations with each
other because they really felt like actual brother and sister and you can tell
they cared for each other.
While I liked the
relationship between Miranda and Rob, the relationship between Miranda and Nick
just did not work for me. Something about it just did not work for me. I’m not
sure what it really is, if it was the character of Nick himself or just there
interactions, but something fell flat. Nick was an intriguing character on his
own, but Miranda and him together just did not work.
I felt that Dark Souls was missing that special
something that makes me really like a book. I don’t know what that special
something really is, it’s different for each book, but this one just was
missing it. It did not click for me. Don’t get me wrong the book was good,
nothing I really did not like but it just did not blow me away. And sometimes
that happens with books.

Thanks to Big Honcho Media I have TWO copies of Dark Souls to giveaway. Here’s a bit more about the book:

Miranda Tennant arrives in York with a terrible, tragic secret. She is eager to lose herself amid the quaint shops, hoping she won’t run into the many ghosts who supposedly roam the cobblestone streets. Then she meets Nick, an intense, dark-eyed boy who knows all of York’s hidden places and histories. Miranda wonders if Nick is falling for her, but she is distracted by another boy — one even more handsome and mysterious than Nick. He lives in the house across from Miranda and seems desperate to send her some sort of message. Could this boy be one of York’s haunted souls?

Soon, Miranda realizes that something dangerous — and deadly — is being planned. And she may have to face the darkest part of herself in order to unravel the mystery — and find redemption.

Photo Credit: Robert Trathan

About the Author:

Paula Morris is the author of Ruined, and has published several novels for adults in her native New Zealand. She has lived in a number of cities around the world, including York, England. She now lives in Glasgow, Scotland, and teaches creative writing at the University of Stirling. Visit her online at www.paula-morris.com.

Paula Morris will also be featured on the This Is Teen Facebook page for Dark Souls so make sure to check it out!

Giveaway Rules:
 -Fill out the form below completely
-Open to US residents only
-Must be 13 years or old to enter. If under 13, parental consent is required.
-One entry per person. Multiple entries will be deleted
-Ends September 1, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (61) – A Beautiful Evil

A Beautiful Evil
Kelly Keaton
Publisher: Simon Pulse
To be released: February 21,
2012
Summary (from Goodreads):
A power she can’t deny. A destiny she’s determined to
fight. 

When
Ari first arrived in the dilapidated city of New 2, all she wanted was to
figure out who she was. But what she discovered was beyond her worst nightmare.
Ari can already sense the evil growing inside her—a power the goddess Athena
will stop at nothing to possess. 

Desperate
to hold on to her humanity and protect her loved ones, Ari must fight back. But
Athena’s playing mind games, not just with Ari but with those she cares about
most. And Athena has a very special plan for the brooding and sexy Sebastian. 

Ari
is determined to defeat Athena, but time is running out. With no other options,
Ari must unleash the very thing she’s afraid of: herself.

I really liked Darkness Becomes Her and cannot wait to
see where the next book in the series takes us. This is definitely a great
series that reimagines mythology!
Waiting on Wednesday is a
weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at
Breaking the Spine.

Bargains and Betrayals by Shannon Delany

Bargains
and Betrayals

Shannon Delany
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Griffin
Release Date: August 16,
2011
Series or Standalone:  13 to Life #3
ISBN:  9780312609160
Format: ARC
Pages: 307
Websites:
Rating: 5 Stars
I just want to start out by
warning you this is a long review but I do not care because I have a lot to say
about this wonderful little book. It’s also completely free of spoilers from
previous books and this book. And it’s a long review filled with lots of love.
I did not think it was
possible for me to love the 13 to Life series anymore than I already did, but Bargains and Betrayals proves I can love
it even more. And boy, do I love it. I have previously reviewed both 13 to Life and Secrets and Shadows here on the blog and have confessed my love for
them, but Bargains and Betrayals blew
me away. Everything about Bargains and
Betrayals
was spot on: the writing, the characters, the story. Everything.
So initially I was a bit
worried about this book because Shannon Delany decided to do something a little
different in the third book in this series which was to tell the story from
both Jessie’s and Alexi’s point of view. Up until this book, the story had been
told only from Jessie’s point of view so this switched worried me a bit.
However, as I was reading, I realized this decision worked perfectly. It was
really interesting to learn more about Alexi and see a different perspective on
the story. There was a lot about Alexi that I did not know about before this
book but I learned through his point of view. One thing that Shannon Delany was
really good at was deciding when to switch between the point of views of the
two characters. Every time the story jumped from Jessie to Alexi or vice versa,
it made perfect sense and the story continued to flow as one. I really hope
that Shannon Delany continues utilizing multiple point of view in future books
in this series because it really adds to the writing and the story. And I would
really like a book that has Max’s perspective, but that’s just cause I love
Max.
Shannon Delany’s writing in
this book was her best yet. I feel like the writing in this book was the strongest
it has been in the series. Shannon Delany was able to balance the really
serious scenes with some hilarity which I always love. But seriously, this book
had so many beautifully written in lines and phrases that I was in love. I
actually have a list of them because they were just perfect. One of my favorite
quotes in the entire book was “Sometimes are hearts should rule our heads.” It
just really describes the feeling of the book for me and was such a great line
in the scene. I definitely feel like that as this series has gone on the
writing has gotten stronger in each book and truly, the writing was the best in
this book so far. It flowed perfectly and had some really heart breaking scenes
and lines.
Bargains and Betrayals was one of those books that I was very emotionally
invested in. So much, that at points I was yelling at the book because I did
not want characters to do something that I knew they were going to do anyways.
I was very into this book, so into that I found myself talking to (in a good,
not crazy way). Which leads me to the story. The stakes were definitely the
highest they have been for Jess and Pietr and the Rusakovas. I’m going to keep
this spoiler free for previous books, but if you know what happened in Secrets and Shadows I bet you can figure
out why. A lot of what happened in Bargains
and Betrayals
I seriously did not see coming. I should have know from the
title that there would be huge bargains and huge betrayals, but seriously, I
did not think some of those bargains would ever occur, nor some of those
betrayals. This book changes everything for the characters. A lot of things
happen that will have a huge impact on their lives in the following books. I
really want to talk about some huge spoilery things in the book, but will hold
back because you need to experience them on your own. The story will keep you
on the edge of your seat and even have you yelling at some of the character’s
choices.
One of my favorite things in
this book was the character development. Jessie, Pietr, Alexi, Max, Kat, Amy,
Derek, Sarah, Wanda, and Leon have come so far since 13 to Life and there growth is really apparent in this book. Pietr
and Jessie have come so far. They are drastically different people because of
what occurs in Bargains and Betrayals. I
really like the people Jess and Pietr have become. I love how both of them are
willing to put those they love first. New depth has been added to the
characters in this book. I just want to say, I still love the same characters,
like Jessie, Pietr, Max, Kat and Alexi but my hatred for some characters * cough * Derek * cough * grew even more. I
felt like some of the decisions the characters made in this book really will
define them in coming books and change who they are.
Also,
I really need to talk about Pietr and Jess’s relationship in this book. It was
perfect. Seriously, this is what their relationship should have been from the
beginning. Jess and Pietr truly care for each other and I felt their
relationship really shows that. When you see what each of them risks for the
other, what they give up for each other, it tugs at your heartstrings. Also,
there was a certain scene in this book that was done perfectly and made me
extremely happy and you will definitely know what it is when you read it.
Now,
I have to sit back and wait until Destiny
and Deception
comes out. And once again, the wait is going to be torturous
because of the ending. Shannon Delany really knows how to write an ending that
leaves you wanting more. When I got to the ending of this book, I did not
realize there was no more pages left and then burst out “What?” because it just
another killer ending. I want Destiny and
Deception
now to find out what happens next!
Bargains and Betrayals is by far the best book in
the 13 to Life series. If you haven’t
read this series I HIGHLY recommend you pick it up and read it. Each book gets
better and better and I cannot wait to see where Shannon Delany takes the story
next in Destiny and Deception.

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

A Long, Long Sleep

Anna Sheehan
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: August 9, 2011
Series or Standalone:  Standalone
ISBN: 9780763652609
Format: ARC
Pages: 352
Source: BEA
Websites:
Anna Sheehan – Website 
Anna Sheehan – Facebook
A Long, Long Sleep – Candlewick Page 

Rating: 4 Stars
I was really surprised by A Long, Long Sleep. I don’t know what I was expecting from this book when I started reading it, but I was very happy with what this book turned out to be.  A Long, Long Sleepwas a lot more than just a new retelling of Sleeping Beauty, it felt like it’s own new story.
Initially, this book started out a bit slow. I had to set it down and come back to it, but once I picked up again, the story really began to come into it’s own. Around a hundred pages in, I became engrossed by the book. I really wanted to know more about Rose’s past. Rose wakes up 62 years after she was put into stasis by her parents. Everyone she knows has passed away, the world she new has changed. One thing that kept me constantly engaged in reading was the mystery of why she was constantly stass as a child. That was a mystery that I really wanted to learn more about. And I was shocked and sadden when I found the answer.
I felt really bad for Rose, the life she knew has disappeared while she was in stasis. The world has changed, with half the world’s population getting wiped out by disease in the Dark Times and then being rebuilt. Rose awoke to a world were she was an outsider, and a famous outsider at that has inherited basically everything. Initially, I was really annoyed by Rose because she was weak, and self-deprecating. But then I began to see why she was that way and sympathized with her. Over the course of the book, Rose really comes into her own too. Her world has changed, and she too has to change. With the help of Brendan, the boy who awoke her with a kiss, and Otto, a very sweet alien friend, Rose starts to gain self-confidence and self-respect and strength.
When I started this book, I was worried it was going to be a heavy sci-fiction book. However, the sci-fi element was just a platform for the rest of the story. Sure, the book does take place in the future and there are stasis tubes and such, but the sci-fi element of the story isn’t overbearing and provides the basis for a story that is very driven by characters.
The story and the characters really grew on me as I continued reading. I wanted to learn about Rose’s past, about her parents and what happened between her and her boyfriend Xavier. When Rose’s past is finally revealed I was deeply sadden and shocked. I really wanted to give a Rose a hug because her life SUCKED. And if you thought your parents are bad, wait until you learn about Rose’s parents.
I loved how the different plot lines were woven together to reveal the bigger story arc. I loved how the thing that was chasing Rose tied into Rose’s mysterious past and helped reveal answers to bigger questions. And I must say, this book did have a twist that left me shocked and deeply saddened for poor Rose. It was a bittersweet twist I would say.
A Long, Long Sleep is an emotional, unique, new read. The book and the characters grow on you as you continue reading. I really liked the ending, not everything was wrapped up in a neat bow, but enough was wrapped up to leave you satisfied. I really enjoyed this fresh take on a classic fairy tale.