Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Monday, 27 January 2014

20:37 - 6 comments

New Meme Trial..Teaser Tuesdays!


Much like Feature & Follow Fridays this week, I wanted to try a new weekly event called Teaser Tuesdays (hosted by MizB at Should be Reading).  How it works is you open your current read, flip to a random page, and share a quotes from two different pages.  Sounds like fun!  Here's my teaser for this week...

Friday, 24 January 2014

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

09:33 - 4 comments

Of Sea and Stone Cover Reveal!

BOOK & AUTHOR INFO:


Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison
Publication date: February 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis:
All her life, clever Aemi has been a slave in the Village of the Rocks, a place where the sea and sky meet. She’s heard the stories about the fabled People of the Sea, a people who possess unimaginable technology who live below the waves in the dark, secret places of the ocean. But she never dreamed those stories were true.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Friday, 17 January 2014

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

09:25 - 2 comments

Top Ten Tuesdays: 2014 Debuts I'm Excited For


This week on "Top Ten Tuesdays" (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) the topic is 2014 debuts I'm excited for!

1. Defy by Sarah B. Larson

Defy (Defy, #1)

2. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty

3. The Story of Owen by E. K Johnston

The Story of Owen

4. Such Sweet Sorry by Jenny Trout

Such Sweet Sorrow

5. Alienated by Melissa Landers

Alienated (Alienated, #1)

6. Half Bad by Sally Green

Half Bad (Half Life, #1)

7. The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex, #1)

8. Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen  

Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy, #1)

9. Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

Landry Park (Landry Park, #1)

10. Nil by Lynne Matson

Nil


There is my list for this week!  Do you have any debuts that you're looking forward to reading this year?

Subscribe or come back tomorrow for this weeks edition of "Waiting on Wednesday"!

Stay nerdy,
Julia

Monday, 13 January 2014

09:18 - No comments

Book Review: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe


The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant (V, #1)

Title: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant
Author: Joanna Wiebe
Release Date: January 2nd, 2014
Publisher: BenBella Books

Buy the Book: Chapters | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


So many secrets for such a small island. From the moment Anne Merchant arrives at Cania Christy, a boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens, the hushed truths of this strange, unfamiliar land begin calling to her—sometimes as lulling drumbeats in the night, sometimes as piercing shrieks.

One by one, unanswered questions rise. No one will tell her why a line is painted across the island or why she is forbidden to cross it. Her every move—even her performance at the school dance—is graded as part of a competition to become valedictorian, a title that brings rewards no one will talk about. And Anne discovers that the parents of her peers surrender million-dollar possessions to enroll their kids in Cania Christy, leaving her to wonder what her lowly funeral director father could have paid to get her in… and why.

As a beautiful senior struggles to help Anne make sense of this cloak-and-dagger world without breaking the rules that bind him, she must summon the courage to face the impossible truth—and change it—before she and everyone she loves is destroyed by it.

(I received an advance copy from BenBella Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Unfortunately, a little over halfway through, I stopped reading this book. Even though I didn’t finish reading it, I thought I would write a short review based on what I read and explain why I stopped reading.

When I first picked up The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant, I was intrigued by the setting of an exclusive boarding school. I am drawn to books with that kind of environment because in my mind it influences what troubles are going to be set upon the characters, such as the presence of ghosts, the competition for highest grades, the ability of supernatural powers and so on. One of the reasons why I didn’t finish this book is that I didn’t understand what this school was centered on or what it was enforcing. All I really understood was that almost everyone was competing for a scholarship in a way that I had difficulty wrapping my head around.

Basically, all new students are assigned a mentor on their first day at the boarding school. Their new mentor then “looks deep into their soul” just hours after meeting them and produces a skill that they think suits them most. The students must act by the skill they have been assigned and do so with such ferocity that, at the end of the year, whoever embodies it most wins the title of valedictorian and a guaranteed scholarship to the school of his or her choice. In the case of the protagonist, Anne Merchant, the first skill that her mentor comes up with is “seduction”. Then after some arguing on her part, the next thing that her mentor chooses, and what ends up being her skill for the year, is basically “looking deeper into things”. Which, as I kept reading, I realized she embodies as eavesdropping. It is stated at the beginning of the book that she was at the top of her class and was regarded as quite intelligent at her old school. However, this does not seem to be validated at her new school.

I was actually disappointed when I read that part because up to that point I was enjoying it. I thought that some of the characters had intriguing personalities and I really valued that Anne had been trying her hardest to set herself up for a university scholarship. She seems like a smart, interesting, and independent girl. I just thought that this was overruled as the story progressed. Perhaps this changes or is addressed after I stopped reading. Unfortunately, this book wasn’t for me.


Because I didn't finish The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant, I'm not going to give it a final rating.

Is The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant on your to-read list this winter?

Subscribe or check back tomorrow for "Top Ten Tuesdays"!

Stay nerdy,
Julia

Friday, 10 January 2014

22:45 - 4 comments

Stacking the Shelves (Week 10)

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"Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly event hosted by Tynga's Reviews that highlights which books are new on ones bookshelf for that week.  Here is what this week has brought to mine!

Backward Compatible: A Geek Love StoryThe Mark of the Dragonfly
Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2)I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban


Backwards Compatible by Sarah Daltry & Pete Clark (received from SDE Press, LLC through NetGalley) Review to come! 

The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson (received from Random House Children's through NetGalley) Review to come! 

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor (purchased)

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (purchased)

What's new on your shelf this week?

Subscribe or check back next week for my review on The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe on Monday.

Stay nerdy,
Julia

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

16:16 - No comments

Book Blitz: Darkness Watching by Emma L. Adams

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Darkness Watching
by Emma L Adams
Release Date: 10th October 2013
Publisher: Curiosity Quills
Genre: Urban fantasy/paranormal
Target Audience: Upper YA/New Adult

Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere - little knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.


All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is. 

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be...
If you are a blogger and would like to request a review copy of Darkness Watching, click HERE!

Read an excerpt!

So much for being the amazing Oxford candidate.
No dark spaces waited for us around the assembly hall this time. Mr Darton stood barring the door to make sure no one sneaked in to get a look at the exam papers. I raced through quotations in my head, praying to the gods of exams that the right question would come up. Avoiding a panic attack would be nice, too.
Breathe. I didn't want a repeat of the interview. The word fiasco came to mind when I thought of the day after the demons came, when I'd sat before the stereotypically grey-bearded distinguished professor of literature and, intelligently, said, "I like, um, reading."
Thirty minutes of nonsensical rambling later, I'd left the interview room and walked right through a dark space that looked as though it had been torn out of the universe. A patch of air, densely black yet somehow transparent, so I could see through to the other side, where people walked along the corridor, talking, completely oblivious to the darkness.
Only I could see it.
And before I could even gather my thoughts, a pair of violet eyes stated at me from the blackness.
I cracked. I screamed my head off and ran.
"I think you made quite an impression," said Mum, after I'd calmed down. "Not everyone runs screaming out of their interview."
"Ha-freaking-ha," I said sourly. Hardly the impression I'd hoped for―Ashlyn the lunatic as opposed to Ashlyn the knowledgeable literary critic.
The next day, my parents frog-marched me to the doctor's for anxiety medication.
Like medication would make a difference. No prescribed medicine could cure fear of the dark. Or demons.
The fear never really went away, for all that I treated the demons like a minor annoyance. I'd chosen that over giving into insanity and locking myself away. Slowly, I'd adjusted to their staring eyes, like people who went on those reality TV shows must adjust to cameras being there all the time.
A reality TV show is a pretty good comparison. The demons watched me like a fascinating performance, just for them. Everywhere: at school, in the street, at the shops. Dark shapes would appear and I'd be greeted by cold violet eyes and a chill that went bone-deep. But they'd never tried to harm me. Hell, I didn't even know if they could. They just watched me curiously, as if my seeing them astonished them as much as it did me. After a while, I grew sick of it and stared back. I was bravest in my room, where they couldn't get to me. Sometimes, when I was alone in the house, I felt that prickling sensation along my spine and just knew that when I looked up, I'd see one, outside my window. But they never came inside, oddly enough; it contradicted their other behaviour because they had no physical substance, if the OED experiment proved anything. I assumed they could materialise anywhere at all. They appeared inside the school building all the time. Strange that they left my house alone, but not something to complain about. The idea of creepy eyes watching me in the shower―well, I'd almost rather have one of those nightmares.
Sometimes, like today, I spoke to them, like a five-year-old conversing with imaginary friends. Albeit vicious ones who refused to let me be. Insulting them brought no satisfaction; it was like swearing at my laptop when it stalled, like hurling insults at the wind.
The clock's ticking brought me back to the present. Shit, how do I have only five minutes left? I pushed my hand to its limits, pen racing down the page, but the stubborn hand of the clock ticked on relentlessly. I wished it would stop.
The clock's hand stopped.
Holy shit.
I glanced from side to side. Did I do that? Impossible.
The old school's clock broke down, that was all. People couldn't do things like that.
People couldn't.
I looked around frantically, searching for any sign of a demon. Any shadow could be a dark space, right?
Don't be an idiot―finish your answer!
I scribbled the end to my final paragraph, splattering ink everywhere.
A minute later, Mr Darton said to our deputy head, Mrs Cathers, "I make it half past the hour. Do you?"
The two exchanged whispers. I heard the clock mentioned. I can't have done that. There's only so much weird I can see in one day.

Reviews of DARKNESS WATCHING:
"Emma is an amazing writer. She has become one of my favorites. I couldn’t put Darkness Watching down." - Diane at A Creative Mind

"Darkness Watching provides an original world that is fully complete and from a teens POV. It was dark and entertaining and sometimes teen books don’t go full out, this one did. The world building was truly strong in this novel." - Lexi at 
Book Bliss

"Like good books should, Darkness Watching left me pondering the story after I'd finished reading AND left me wanting more. Adams built a strong world for readers to be immersed. But the regular world retained full realism. Normal every day teen situations felt completely believable." - Erin at 
Erin Albert Books

I have to say, I didn’t see the ending coming! ... the final showdown left me speechless (You will have to read it!)" - Julia at Never Judge a Book by its Movie

"This was entertaining from the start...I didn’t want to put it down, and fans of urban fantasies I think will enjoy this. Darkness Watching was definitely worth the read." - Jenea at Books Live Forever

"This book is unique, fun and interesting. I kept wondering what was going to happen next...I felt that this book was well written and It was hard to put this book down once I started. " -Jessica at Eat Sleep Read

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About the Author
Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy and paranormal for young adults. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also wrote various novels and short stories. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, she can usually be found in front of her writing desk, creating weird and wonderful alternative worlds. Her debut novel The Puppet Spell, published in January 2013 by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, inspired by her lifelong love of the fantastical, mythology, and video games. Emma also writes supernatural fantasy novels for older teens and adults. Her next book, Darkness Watching, is the first in the upper-YA/New Adult Darkworld series, and was published in October 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press.

Author Links:



***GIVEAWAY***
$10 Amazon gift card (INT)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:
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Is Darkness Watching on your to-read shelf? Its definitely on mine! Have you read it already? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Subscribe or check back tomorrow for a cover reveal!

Stay nerdy,
Julia 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

22:43 - 2 comments

Waiting on Wednesday: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

“Waiting on Wednesday” is weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that highlights books that people can't wait to get their hands on. Here is mine for this week!

This week, the book that I am counting down the days for is Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Expected Publication: January 28th, 2014 from Balzer & Bray

Is anyone else excited for Cruel Beauty?

Subscribe or check back tomorrow for a special book blitz on Darkness Watching by Emma L. Adams and a cover reveal on Friday!

Stay nerdy,
Julia

09:27 - 1 comment

Top Ten Tuesdays: My Bookish Resolutions


This week on "Top Ten Tuesdays" (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) the topic is My Bookish Resolutions!

1. Start writing more ideas down on paper rather than my phone.
2. To visit the library/local bookstore more often rather than just ordering my books online.
3. To reach my 80% feedback goal on NetGalley
4. To post a book review every week
5. To gain 40 new followers this year
6. To read over 50 books
7. To write half of my book and...
8. Complete NaNoWriMo this year (my first time trying)!
9. Write for at least an hour a day
10. Gift/recommend more books to people

There is my list for this week!  Do you have any resolutions this year?

Come back tomorrow for this weeks edition of "Waiting on Wednesday"!

Stay nerdy,
Julia

Friday, 3 January 2014

22:50 - 4 comments

Stacking the Shelves (Week 9)

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"Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly event hosted by Tynga's Reviews that highlights which books are new on ones bookshelf for that week.  Here is what this week has brought to mine!

Dominion (Guardian Angels, #1)
Defy (Defy, #1)Endless

Dominion by Melody Manful (received from the author) I will be posting an interview with Melody Manful along with my review, so subscribe and/or check back soon!

Defy by Sara B. Larson (received from Scholastic Press through NetGalley) (review to come)

Endless by Amanda Gray (received from IBPA through NetGalley) (review to come)

What's new on your shelf this week?

Come back next week for my review on The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe on Monday.

Stay nerdy,
Julia

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

14:25 - No comments

Book Review: Impostor by Susanne Winnacker


Impostor (Variants, #1)

Title: Impostor
Author: Susanne Winnacker
Release Date: January 2nd, 2014
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books

Buy the Book: Chapters | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Tessa is a Variant with extraordinary abilities. She could be a hero, but all she wants to do is fall in love ...

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she's spent the last two years with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. There she trains with other Variants, such as long-term crush Alec, who each have their own extraordinary ability.

When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again. Tessa hates everything about being an impostor - the stress, the danger, the deceit - but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she'd do anything to keep.

Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

(I received an advance copy from Hachette Children’s Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Impostor, by Susanne Winnacker, centers on the detective adventures of Tessa, a girl with the ability to change her appearance into someone else. She is sent on a mission to investigate a murder by a group of people with unique powers like hers. Her task is to transform into the recently murdered teenage victim named Madison and pose as her to find the person who killed Madison and two other people.

I was immediately intrigued by this storyline, it starts strong and continues so throughout. I love the idea of having a group of people, each with unique powers, come together to form an organization dedicated to solving crimes, like the Avengers in a way. The book opens with Tessa training at the organization that she has called her home. Winnacker describes the setting of this book so well, I was able to picture it with ease. She also describes the relationships and character dynamics with a strong and clear voice. Her writing style is straight forward and to the point. However, I wish she had elaborated on the supporting characters at the organization. Nevertheless, said supporting characters only appear at the beginning of the book and they don’t have much of an effect on the remainder of the novel where she enters Madison’s high school life. The plot then begins to thicken and more characters are introduced.

I haven’t read many books with a high school setting, however, I really like this one. Experiencing it through the commentary of an outsider who has never been in that kind of environment, but having to act like she has grown up around it, was a really fun twist. I love how Tessa tries to figure out how to be a “normal” teenager while trying to catch a murderer. However, much like the supporting character at the organization, I felt that Madison’s friends could have used a little bit more development. A large portion of the book is spent with Tessa trying to cope and fit into Madison’s former life. Since I really liked the supporting characters at the high school, I wanted to read more about them.

When the murderer is revealed I was actually quite surprised to find out who he/she is. The entire ending sequence caught me off guard and I really enjoyed reading it. I also love how strong Tessa is while the ending unfolds. To me, she really proves herself as a hero in that sequence.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I would have liked to have read more about the supporting characters and their personalities. Perhaps Winnacker will touch on some of the returning characters more in the next installment. I look forward to reading Tessa’s next mystery and how she handles it. I would recommend this book to someone who is a fan of contemporary novels, but with a twist of mystery.

I give Impostor by Susanne Winnacker 3 out of 5 stars. 

Is Impostor on your to-read list this winter?

Come back on Saturday for this weeks edition of Stacking the Shelves!

Hope everyone is having a happy new year!

Stay nerdy,
Julia 

11:53 - No comments

Waiting on Wednesday: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

“Waiting on Wednesday” is weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that highlights books that people can't wait to get their hands on. Here is mine for this week!

This week, the book that I am counting down the days for is A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

A Mad, Wicked Folly

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.
            
After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?

Expected Publication: January 23rd, 2014 from Viking Juvenile

Is anyone else excited for A Mad, Wicked Folly?

Come back on Saturday for "Stacking the Shelves"!

Hope everyone has a happy new year!!

Stay nerdy,
Julia