Friday, September 19, 2014

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Release Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: Dorothy Must Die, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.

I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

I've been trained to fight.

And I have a mission.

There was a ton of hype for this book around the time it came out, particularly because the Wicked Witch of the West appeared on the TV show, Once Upon a Time. I wanted to read this one anyway because I’m a HUGE fan of the movie with Judy Garland (“Over the Rainbow” is my jam), and I have read The Wizard of Oz, even though I didn’t continue on with the series and I read the book like a bajillion years ago. Dorothy Must Die did not disappoint– I was really taken by the dark retelling of the classic and found myself enjoying the changes made to familiar characters and the world of Oz.

Okay, so at first, I’ll admit, I hated Amy. She seemed spineless and constantly whined about her life. Yes– she doesn’t seem to have the best life. But seriously, does she need to complain about it all the time? Anyway, thankfully all the whining went down later on in the book and there was some major character change. I must also admit, while I do love the sweet and innocent version of the character, Dorothy was amazing. Horrifying, yes, but what a character. I seriously enjoyed her pigheadedness and general dictator-like stance, so you've got to hand it to her: she knows how to be evil.

I’m really considering reading the rest of the books in the series as well as a re-read of The Wizard of Oz because there are so many characters that apparently exist in the classic that I totally could not remember in this retelling. It would be cool to compare how they are in the original versus how they’re presented in this novel. I’m also looking forward to reading the prequel (or should I say prequels) to this series, No Place Like Oz and The Witch Must Burn. I’m definitely interested to see how Dorothy came back to Oz, as I’d mentioned she’s such an intriguing character in this novel, and how she becomes this tyrannical ruler.

Playfully imagined and wickedly enthralling, Dorothy Must Die was a spiced up return to the yellow brick road and the Emerald City, complete with the original cast like you’ve never – and I repeat, never – seen them before and new characters that must face this brave new Oz. Danielle Paige’s debut is addictive and I can’t wait for more!

If you like this, try...

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 128

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It’s to spotlight upcoming books that I’m DYING to get my hands on!

This week’s WoW is:
Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

October 7, 2014 ● Goodreads

I swear: I just do this meme so I can look at pretty covers. *ehem* Anyway, I loved Jessica Martinez’s Virtuosity (read my review here) and I seriously can’t wait to start this one. Sounds original and thrilling, no?

What are you waiting on?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Perfect Lies by Kiersten White

Perfect Lies by Kiersten White

Release Date: February 18, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: Mind Games, Book 2
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed – thanks Richa (City of Books)!
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

Read my review of Mind Games HERE.

Annie and Fia are ready to fight back.

The sisters have been manipulated and controlled by the Keane Foundation for years, trapped in a never ending battle for survival. Now they have found allies who can help them truly escape. After faking her own death, Annie has joined a group that is plotting to destroy the Foundation. And Fia is working with James Keane to bring his father down from the inside.

But Annie's visions of the future can't show her who to trust in the present. And though James is Fia's first love, Fia knows he's hiding something. The sisters can rely only on each other - but that may not be enough to save them.

I’ve learned from the past: if you see a Kiersten White book, READ IT IMMEDIATELY. I am so in love with her writing style. It’s got a twisted sense of humour, the kind that you giggle at despite it being horrifying and bloody, or so absurdly unrealistic that it just works. Of course after reading Mind Games I’ve been DYING to read the sequel, but I only got to reading Perfect Lies recently. After leaving this lying on my shelf for so long – and this isn’t even my book (sorry Richa!) – I decided to finish this duology, once and for all. Okay, maybe not once and for all, but you know what I mean.

I think my experience with reading this one was slightly hindered due to the fact that it’s been around a year since I’d read the first part of this two-book series. Yeah, so names, places, groups, etc. were totally unrecognizable for me because I had no idea who was who, how the last book left off, and who was on who’s side. It took a little re-reading of my review, other people’s reviews and guessing while reading to get a grasp on previous events and where exactly this book picks up.

This time round, I liked Annie’s story more than Fia’s. While Mind Games was more centered around Fia, I enjoyed how we got to see more of Annie and how as reader’s we learn more about her character as well. BONUS: there is also some romance that develops! Fia’s story though was just really confusing. I liked the addition of “Pixie”’s character, but my confusion mainly had to do with the fact about the time that the story takes place. IT JUMPS AROUND SO MUCH. In the first book I could take it but with this one I was left dazed, wondering what was going on. As for the love triangle that kind of developed in Mind Games– yeah, that’s gone. Adam barely makes an appearance during the book, which is strange since I remember him having quite a big role in the previous book.

Perfect Lies was a fast read, jam-packed with action, swoon-worthy guys and an ending I did not see coming. While I’m sad to say goodbye to this series, I’m definitely looking forward to more hilarity from Kiersten White. Can’t wait to start Illusions of Fate!

If you like this, try...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Shipwreck Island by S.A. Bodeen

Shipwreck Island by S.A. Bodeen

Release Date: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Series: Shipwreck Island, Book 1
Rated: MG 11+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

Sarah Robinson is deeply troubled in the wake of her dad’s second marriage. She now has to deal with a new stepmom and two stepbrothers, Marco, who is her age, and Nacho, who’s younger. Even though they’ve all moved from Texas to California to start life as a new, blended family, none of the kids seem remotely happy about it.

Sarah’s dad and stepmom then decide to take the whole family on a special vacation in order to break the ice and have everyone get to know one another. They’ll fly to Tahiti, charter a boat, and go sailing for a few days. It’ll be an adventure, right? 

Wrong. Dead wrong.

I had the pleasure of meeting S.A. Bodeen during ALA 2013 (very, very briefly – her book signing line was HUGE), and I really enjoyed her novel, The Raft. I was really taken by the cover illustration when I first found this book on NetGalley. Like any sane person, I am a sucker for amazing covers and I knew that I had to get my hands on this book. Shipwreck Island was a really short read, and while I don’t read that many middle grade books anymore, I still found myself intrigued by the story and left wanting more.

At first, Sarah’s character annoyed me intensely. I mean, she acts all bratty and unfriendly when her new stepmom and stepbrothers move in. However, when I think about it, if I was in Sarah’s shoes, I would TOTALLY act the same way. Sure, I mean after her mom died six years ago, her dad does deserve some happiness, but I know I would be unwilling to move on as well. So, I totally see where she’s coming from. I thought Nacho’s character was adorable, and Marco... well, let’s hope I get around to liking his character more in the next book. Ahab is adorable – and reminds me of my own dog – and I liked John and Yvonna. Great set of characters and I liked the tension that grew between them (particularly with the children), but I also enjoyed how they stuck together during tough situations.

The island – which they call Shipwreck Island (hence the book title) – that they end up stranded on is an interesting setting. Things start to get a little weird, but I’m glad. It reminds me so much of the books I used to read when I was younger and I’m yearning for that adventure-type novel again, where everything is unrealistic and in no way could happen in real life, but you wish it could happen.

I was a little confused by the ending because it cut off so abruptly that I thought the eGalley was wrong or something, but I hope that this continues into multiple books because I’ll be sure to read them. Shipwreck Island was a fun start to what looks like a promising series which middle grade readers will love immensely. Can’t wait to find out what happens next!

If you like this, try...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle

You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle

Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed – thanks Richa (City of Books)!
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

For the rest of the world, the movies are entertainment. For Justine, they're real life.

The premise was simple: five kids, just living their lives. There'd be a new movie about them every five years, starting in kindergarten. But no one could have predicted what the cameras would capture. And no one could have predicted that Justine would be the star.

Now sixteen, Justine doesn't feel like a star anymore. In fact, when she hears the crew has gotten the green light to film Five at Sixteen, all she feels is dread. The kids who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who hardly know one another. And Justine, who was so funny and edgy in the first two movies, feels like a disappointment.

But these teens have a bond that goes deeper than what's on film. They've all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how it feels to have fans as well as friends. So when this latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to see yourself is through someone else's eyes.

Smart, fresh, and frequently funny, You Look Different in Real Life is a piercing novel about life in an age where the lines between what's personal and what's public aren't always clear.

It’s sad to say that I’ve had this book on my shelf for WAY too long. I borrowed this from one of my best friends and fellow book blogger, Richa (City of Books) – I’m so sorry for keeping this too long! – and unfortunately because there was never a good time, I kept putting off reading it. I HAVE SO MANY REGRETS. This book was amazing. Nay, it was awesome. You Look Different in Real Life had the right amount of humour, emotional trauma and a unique concept that really made this stand out from other contemporaries. 

First of all, the storyline: so original! I mean, contemporaries about movies and TV shows have been done, but something like this, a documentary series that follows five children every five years is pretty amazing. Plus, I don’t think I’ve read anything, other than Secrets of My Hollywood Life, that deals with someone who’s been part of the film business for a while. There was such a good range of characters and such diversity of events that occur throughout the novel, so much that there wasn’t a dry part of the novel for me at least. I would have thought that being followed around with a camera crew would have it’s perks, but after reading this novel, I can definitely see the problems that arise and the consequences that it creates.

Speaking of characters, I loved ALL of them. Seriously. I enjoyed Justine’s humour and personal conflict as she comes to terms with who she is and who she wants to be. I adored Felix’s outgoing personality and the little twist that comes up later on in the novel– his story definitely gets interesting. Nate at first seemed a little cold, but I totally warmed up to his character as he and Justine interact more. Kiera was the only one who I thought was really distant from the four, but her story definitely dominates most of the story and is the undercurrent to the plot. Rory I couldn’t help but feel bad for. However, I also liked that she was okay with being different and accepted herself. I even liked Leslie’s character, because even though she was kind of went Effie-Trinket all over the five kids, like The Hunger Games character she truly cares for the kids.

There is a teeny bit of romance between two of the characters – not gonna mention which two – and while I think it was fine, it didn’t make much sense to me. They haven’t talked for a very long time, and because they suddenly start to open up to each other, that means that they fall in love? Maybe I missed something, but this was the only part that was slightly off-putting. However, the relationships that form between all five of the children is so real– Castle has certainly done an amazing job portraying it!

You Look Different in Real Life was an honest portrayal of what goes on behind the camera lens, and I loved how real and sincere it was. I couldn’t put this one down for a second! Jennifer Castle is an author that will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen's and Elizabeth Scott’s novels, and is a fresh voice in YA that I can’t WAIT to hear more from.

If you like this, try...

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 127

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It’s to spotlight upcoming books that I’m DYING to get my hands on!

This week’s WoW is:
Polaris by Mindee Arnett

**WARNING: may contain spoilers from Avalon**
Following the events of Avalon, Jeth Seagrave and his crew are on the run. Jeth is desperate to find the resources and funding he needs to rescue his mother from an ITA’s research lab and leave this whole galaxy behind for a new life somewhere else. But the ITA is just as desperate, and soon Jeth finds himself pursued by a mysterious figure hell-bent on capturing Jeth and his crew—dead or alive. In a last-ditch effort to save everyone he holds dear, Jeth enters into a bargain with the last person he ever thought he'd see again: Dax Shepherd, the galaxy’s newest and most fearsome crime lord. And he’s not the only one: upon arriving back at Peltraz spaceport for the first time since he witnessed the death of his old employer, Jeth discovers Dax has a new partner: Jeth’s mother, Marian.

This shocking turn of events is only the first in another breathless, action-packed sci-fi adventure rife with danger, love, and betrayal, as Jeth has to once again ask himself how much he’s willing to invest in a morally bankrupt galaxy in the hopes of saving those he cares for.

January 20, 2015 ● Goodreads

I think this one definitely prompts a re-read of Avalon! I really enjoyed the first book in this duology, but I am utterly useless when it comes to remembering events in books that I’d read a while ago. Anyway, I know that I definitely enjoyed the first book so I can’t wait!

What are you waiting on?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Don’t Touch Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository B&N Kobo iTunes
Goodreads Website

A powerful story of a girl who is afraid to touch another person’s skin, until the boy auditioning for Hamlet opposite her Ophelia gives her a reason to overcome her fears.

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good.

Caddie can’t stop thinking that if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, her parents might get back together... which is why she wears full-length gloves to school and covers every inch of her skin.

It seems harmless at first, but Caddie’s obsession soon threatens her ambitions as an actress. She desperately wants to play Ophelia in her school’s production of Hamlet. But that would mean touching Peter, who’s auditioning for the title role—and kissing him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn't sure she's brave enough to let herself fall.

Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson, this debut novel from Rachel M. Wilson is a moving story of a talented girl who's fighting an increasingly severe anxiety disorder, and the friends and family who stand by her.

To be honest when I first saw the cover I thought this was going to be a paranormal. Probably something along the lines of a girl who can’t touch people because things will happen to them– kind of a Shatter Me-esque vibe. However, when I finally read the premise, I realised that no, it was actually a contemporary and sounded a lot more like Kissing Doorknobs (a book I haven’t read yet but is also about a severe anxiety disorder). I enjoyed Don’t Touch immensely. I’m a theatre geek, love Hamlet and the amazing combination of a serious issue with more than a few instances that were absolutely hilarious, I was completely taken by this book.

While I didn’t exactly get why on earth Caddie wouldn’t let anyone touch her on a rational level, obviously that attributes to the fact that I don’t have any experience whatsoever with anxiety disorder nor do I know anyone with it. It was really an interesting experience to read about though. Especially since Caddie’s character is really passionate about theatre, the lack of physical contact she has with anyone is astounding and becomes quite the focal point for the story. Of course, I fell in love with Peter. How could I not? While I was kind of feeling iffy about Mandy’s character and commitment to friendship with Caddie, Peter was a constant figure throughout Caddie’s struggle despite him not knowing what’s going on. I loved the chemistry they both had, on and off stage, and it’s quite the roller coaster of emotions that this relationship goes through for sure.

I liked how Hamlet was interweaved into the novel. How much the characters reflect the character’s they play in the book (haha! A play within a book... interesting parallel, no?). How much Ophelia there is in Caddie and how much both characters reflect one another is a fascinating aspect you see developing in the book. The intertextuality, from the Acts to the constant repetition of lines from Hamlet to the image of Ophelia falling– beautifully done.

Don’t Touch was gorgeously enthralling. The horrifying reality of how one girl’s problems threaten to take over her life was a wake-up call, and in the end left me feeling numb and struck by how out of control a disorder can become. A powerful debut, Wilson is an author to look out for.

If you like this, try...

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Rachel M. Wilson is the author of the contemporary YA, DON'T TOUCH, forthcoming from HarperTeen, Sep. 2, 2014. 

She graduated from Northwestern University and holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Rachel grew up in Birmingham, AL, and she currently writes, acts, and teaches in Chicago, IL.

Website Goodreads Twitter Facebook Tumblr Instagram

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Giveaway time!

Enter to win...

Win (1) signed hardback of Don't Touch + Caddie's evening gloves

Enter via the Rafflecopter below

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Click on the tour banner at the top of the post or on the button below to follow the rest of the tour!

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Thank you so much to FFBC Blog Tours for having me along on the tour!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 126

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It’s to spotlight on upcoming books that I’m DYING to get my hands on!

This week’s WoW is:
Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass

If you want more, you have to give less.

That’s the secret to dating in high school. By giving as little as they expect to get in return, seventeen-year-old Aubrey Housing and her three best friends have made it to the second semester of their senior year heartbreak-free. And it’s all thanks to a few simple rules: don’t commit, don’t be needy, and don’t give away your heart.

So when smoking-hot Nathan Diggs transfers to Lincoln High, it shouldn’t be a big deal. At least that’s what Aubrey tells herself. But Nathan’s new-boy charm, his kindness, and his disarming honesty throw Aubrey off her game and put her in danger of breaking the most important rule of all: Don’t fall in love.

December 31, 2014 ● Goodreads

This one sounds like a cute contemporary. Definitely looking forward to the blooming romance between the two characters as well as the personal conflict that I’m sure will develop.

What are you waiting on?

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams

The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams

Release Date: June 2, 2010
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

Evie's not sure why she started lying to the girls at school about her friendship with Jonah, her fellow paper route employee. Jonah is older, a college dropout with broad shoulders, a streak of scarlet in his hair, and mystery in his eyes. More than anything, Evie just wants something to happen, so she invents a nonexistent romance out of a crush. But when Jonah discovers a body in the woods—a girl Evie knew when she was little—Evie's lies grow more complicated. As Evie hunts down the killer, she comes to find that her lies are the only things she can trust. Readers will churn through the pages of Katie Williams's suspenseful debut novel and feel the chill of goosebumps in its wake.

First off, I’m kind of jealous, because I saw the hardcover, and it looks absolutely GORGEOUS. The trees covering the title page? I NEED to get my hands on it soon. Anyway... this one took a little bit of time getting into, but when I did, I couldn’t stop. The Space Between Trees, other than the slow beginning and the somewhat anticlimactic end, was an interesting exploration of death and friendship, how one event can change a person’s life. I’d heard of Katie Williams’ books before, but I’d never read any of them until now. Absent sounds a little bit like this one, and should have the same brilliant creepy atmosphere, so now I’m dying to read it!

I hate to say this, but I found Evie’s character really annoying. I know, I wish I didn’t. It would have made this book a lot more enjoyable. I think it’s also why it took me a while to get into this one: her character’s voice stuck out so much during the first ten pages or so, and it sounded SO childish for a sixteen year old, so I was kind of put-off by the narrative voice. I really liked Hadley’s character though. Even though normally I don’t take a liking to the overly-confident-acting-older-than-the-actually-are-in-the-most-annoying-way type of people, I could actually stand her character because she seemed REAL.

What I enjoyed was the different relationships that grow in this novel, and I particularly liked the interaction between Evie and Mr. McCabe. Instead of a book that solely focused on the death of Zabet, I was pleasantly surprised that the plot actually looked at other things, with the murder running as an undercurrent to the novel. Obviously, the main plot is trying to find out who murdered Zabet, but the events throughout the book didn’t actually have much to do directly with it. However, as I mentioned before, I didn’t like the ending. It felt a little flat after the build up and suspense that I felt when reading the book. I was really hoping for a lot more!

Katie Williams’ is an author I’m definitely going to be on the look out for. Her debut is a moving story not only about murder and the death of a friend, but about friendship, truth and growing up. The Space Between Trees was fresh, real and beautifully written.

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Sasha from Pansing for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

If you like this, try...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 125

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It’s to spotlight upcoming books that I’m DYING to get my hands on!

This week’s WoW is:
The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard

In Beacon Heights, Washington, five girls—Ava, Caitlin, Mackenzie, Julie, and Parker—know that you don’t have to be good to be perfect. At first the girls think they have nothing in common, until they realize that they all hate Nolan Hotchkiss, who’s done terrible things to each of them. They come up with the perfect way to kill him—a hypothetical murder, of course. It’s just a joke...until Nolan turns up dead, in exactly the way they planned. Only, they didn’t do it. And unless they find the real killer, their perfect lives will come crashing down around them.

October 7, 2014 ● Goodreads

I’m a huge fan of the Pretty Little Liars series but I stopped reading at book 10 because it dragged on too long (stopping at book 8 would have been perfect!!). However, Sara Shepard truly is a master at deadly twists and suspense so I’m SO in for this book! Can’t wait :D

What are you waiting on?