Stacking the Shelves (35) - Aug 31st

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.

This is what's on my shelf for upcoming reads:

What books are stacking your shelves??


REVIEW #164: The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey

Title: The 5th Wave
Series: The 5th Wave #1
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: May 24th 2011
Pages: Hardcover, 457 pages
Source: Audiobook from the Library

Summary from Goodreads:
The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

So I always tend to get nervous reading a book with a lot of hype, so I procrastinated reading my copy of The 5th Wave. Then the library got a copy of the audio book and I felt compelled to check it out. I can honestly report, The 5th Wave lived up to the hype. It was full of GREATNESS.

The story is told from multiple POVs with the different story lines weaving together in a beautiful, intense manner that kept my emotions on a roller coaster. The story lines were mostly independent yet had threads connecting them to each other with what seemed perfectly seamless writing. This allowed for each main character to develop and to really connect with the other characters; I was able to see and connect with each character’s journey.

As for the characters, I loved Zombie. He felt so real to me, his actions seemed so honest. Even though he was tough and jaded, Nugget breaks him and gives him the ability to love again. The Nugget-Zombie relationship is one of my favorites! Cassie on the other hand was an extremely stubborn yet strong character. There were a couple points where her stubbornness got annoying but I felt like the situation she was in justified it. The villains/aliens were perfectly creepy; the way they developed the ‘waves’ and method of attacks were dark and evil.

The pacing was spot on; while it did slow in some parts the action would always pick back up full force. I felt like I was holding my breath for the last 50 pages as the POVs switched back and forth between Zombie and Cassie. The ending was excellent, Ahh I could breathe again. Yancey left room for so much more yet there was a great conclusion to this part of Cassie and Zombie’s journey.

The 5th Wave was an easy 5 star book. I highly recommend it if you are looking for an apocalyptic, alien invasion fast paced action story. (Caveat: There is some violence, a little cursing, and some intense imagery) Audiobook wise, it is now ranking as one of my top 3 favorite audiobooks. The narration was fantastic, it was so easy to keep track of the changing POVs and quickly sink into the crazy war they were facing.


Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor #1) by Jennifer McGowan

Title: Maid of Secrets
Series: Maids of Honor #1
Author: Jennifer McGowan
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Pages: 416, Hardcover
Source: ARC obtained from trading

Summary from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Meg Fellowes is a wry, resourceful thief forced to join an elite group of female spies in Queen Elizabeth’s Court. There she must solve a murder, save the Crown, and resist the one thing that will become her greatest freedom–and her deadliest peril.

For Meg and her fellow spies are not alone in their pursuit of the murderer who stalks Windsor Castle.

A young, mysterious Spanish courtier, Count Rafe de Martine, appears at every turn in the dark and scandal-filled corridors of the Queen’s summer palace. And though secrets and danger are Meg’s stock-in-trade, she’s never bargained on falling in love…


I really enjoyed Maid of Secrets. But rather than me tell you, in so many words, that the plot was engaging and the characters were likably unalike, I thought I’d take a different approach. Using my powers of table-making, I laid out what Maid of Secrets IS (nifty adjectives that I’d use to describe this book), and what Maid of Secrets HAS (plot elements that might appeal to you). The result….


Now if a line item appeals to you, indicate as such with a (mental) check mark. There is a total possible score of 20 (i.e. you like everything in the table). And here is how you may interpret your score.

I myself am on a big spy kick and I always love books that take place in the past, especially those with an opulent setting. Really this book was perfect for me and I’d easily recommend this to others.  

Final note: I can draw a parallel between Grave Mercy and Maid of Secrets, and I’d suggest if you liked one that you read the other.


I'm Waiting On Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!

This week I chose...

Title: Where the Stars Still Shine
Author: Trish Doller
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: September 24, 2013

Summary from Goodreads:
Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

This sounds a little like If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch which I LOVED. I also loved Trish Doller's Something Like Normal. And while I'm on a roll, I love Contemporary and this cover. I cannot wait to read this book. 

What are you waiting on?


Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten list is "Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters".

 The Fault In Our Stars: Augustus Waters
Siege & Storm: Sturmhond
Harry Potter: Hermione (and every character for that matter)
Vampire Academy/Bloodlines: Adrian Ivashkov
Graceling: Po

Jessica Darling Series: Bridget and Percy
Beautiful Creatures : Link
 The Revenants Series: Jules
The Ward: Aven
Cinder: Iko

What are your top ten?

ARC REVIEW #162: All Our Yesterdays (Cassandra Chronicles #1) by Cristin Terrill

Title: All Our Yesterdays
Author: Cristin Terrill
Series: Cassandra Chronicles #1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: September 3rd 2013
Pages: Hardcover, 368 pages
Source: ARC obtained at BEA

Summary from Goodreads:
"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

All Our Yesterdays was a whirlwind of a book. The story was here, there, everywhere. It was so full of action, surprise, confusion, and science it was hard not to just read the entire book in one sitting.

The story is told from both Em’s and Miranda’s point-of-view (I *heart* Dual POV so I was quite excited to find that out). Em is trying to save humanity with help from Finn meanwhile Miranda is trying to tell her best friend she is in love with him. Each girl is on a different journey, each journey getting more complicated as the story progresses.  I am trying to keep this as spoiler free as possible so, sorry about the vagueness. 

Every detail in the book was perfect which made this complex story that much better.  There were times when I had to re-read parts, it is not a story that I would call an easy read.  All Our Yesterdays has tiny details that can be easily missed if you are not paying attention.  Those little bits show how much time and thought were put into making this book fantastic and so well done.

The romance and friendship was strong giving the characters the courage they needed.  I thought the internal struggle Em has between her old friend and the doctor was realistic, bringing to life the character's emotions.  I highly recommend this book. All Our Yesterdays was a crazy, fun and intense read with a great ending.  I look forward to Terrill's next book.


UPDATE: All Work and No Play Makes Nicole A Dull Girl

Hello lovely readers,

I just wanted to provide a quick update on some exciting (and scary) changes happening in my life. As of tomorrow, I am officially starting school part time! For the next two years (including summers sadly) I will be taking classes two nights a week in Philly. This is in addition to my full time job and existing 2 hour commute. SO, suffice it to say, I will be pretty busy.

How will this change impact this blog? I’m not really sure. I will most definitely still be reading, but in all likelihood I will be reading a lot less since I now have to share my reading time with class time/schoolwork. But one thing is for sure, I will definitely still be reading and blogging. I am not going anywhere! Audiobooks will be my new best friend. :D

And obviously Ashley is still going to be around. So between the two of us, I am hoping you don’t see TOO much a difference. My best guess is that maybe instead of 4 reviews a week (which we currently post) you will see maybe 2 on average. Maybe more, maybe less, depending on what life throws our way. But since some find posting every day a bit much anyway, maybe this will be a good break for all of us!

Also, I may be slower responding to comments and visiting other blogs. I typically do bloggish things over the weekend (I am not an everyday-er) so maybe this won’t change much but only time will tell.

So wish me luck! I am excited but also very, very nervous. In case you wonder where I’ve gone any given week I am probably just drowning in work.


Stacking the Shelves (34) - August 24

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.

I am going on vacation to London :)  If you have any recommendations, leave me a comment!

 I am bringing my kindle with me so this week's StS is all e-books! 
This is what's on my shelf for upcoming reads:

 What books are stacking your shelves??


ARC REVIEW #161: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Dream Thieves
Series: The Raven Cycle #2
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Pages: 448, Hardcover
Source: ARC obtained at BEA

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

Maggie Stiefvater’s books have secured a place in my heart as well as on my shelf for all of my reader days. She has proven herself to be both extremely talented and wonderfully unique in her storytelling. And I am completely won over by everything she writes.

The Dream Thieves is a fantastic continuation of the story introduced in The Raven Boys. Gansey, Ronan, Adam, Noah and Blue are still stirring up trouble in Henrietta in their search for Glendower but this is no longer the main focus of the story. Ronan dropped quite the bomb at the end of TRB and therefore the attention has shifted to him and his story.

Ronan is such an intriguing character that I was thrilled to learn that this book would be largely from his perspective. And I feel like readers benefit a lot from this. TDT explores a whole new side of Henrietta such that the world, the characters and the story really develop in this second book. Stiefvater definitely took more risks this time around, but I feel like they paid off in the end.

Typical of Stiefvater’s style, this book is carefully constructed, intricately detailed and elegantly presented. It is not a ‘fast-read’ but a literary work of art to be appreciated. The characters she gives us are wonderful. I really feel for all of them in some way and I am deeply invested in each of their stories. The setting is magical and rich and really projects a fitting atmosphere for the story to unfold. And the story itself, if anything else, is pleasantly original. You have not read anything else like it, I promise you.

As much as I loved this book, it did not WOW me as much as TRB did. I think this was because it contained fewer surprises. And the ending did not pack the same punch as TRB. However, I do not want to do a disservice to this book because it was still wonderful and far superior to the average YA read. I really loved it.

I am very curious to see where Stiefvater will take the third book. The ending to TDT is open ended enough that really anything is possible. But I have no doubt that it will be as enjoyable as the first two.

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas

Title: The Burning Sky
Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Author: Sherry Thomas
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Pages: 464, Hardcover
Source: ARC obtained from BEA

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to revenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.


The Burning Sky is SO GOOD that you cannot help but spontaneously shout out declarations of love for it. You will be SO WILD with emotion that you will lose control of your ability to think and act rationally. SO CONSUMED by this book you will be that all sense of time and responsibility will be like a whisper on the wind.  The Burning Sky is literally un-put-down-able and unforgettable. (I am getting pretty good at these dramatic intros)

Iolanthe Seaborne rivals the fiercest of characters – think Celaena Sardothien. While not yet as deadly, her strength of will, defiance, bravery, loyalty, ability to hold her own, and sheer adaptability, places her among the finest. Yet she is extremely relatable in her doubt, frustration, fear, stubbornness, and tendency for self-preservation. She is sure to win your heart, as she has easily won mine. I felt her triumphs, her struggles and her slights. Not to mention, it was extremely enjoyable watching her play the part of a boy. A role she conquered with tenacity and whit that speaks volumes to her personality and charm. Hands down she is a new favorite.
"'My Latin is fine. It's my Greek that's as ghastly as your lovemaking,' she retorted. The boys howled, including Titus, who laughed out of sheer shock-and relief. She was good. Brilliant, in fact."
Titus’ character was the perfect complement to Iolanthe’s. On the outside he was all hard edges, arrogance and reckless abandon. He was focused and ruthless, careful and controlled. But underneath it all he was just a boy that was given too much responsibility at too young an age. He was resolute in his love for his kingdom and his people. His actions were driven by an unwavering moral obligation to do what was right even at the greatest cost to himself. He was intelligent, devoted and dangerous.

I loved the progression of their relationship – from half-hearted rivals, to fragile companions, to loyal friends with the possibility of more. The journey they took together was a fantastic one full of ups and downs, action and suspense, mystery and intrigue. They ran, hid, chased, practiced, played, planned, and fought together. They made a wonderful pair.

This story was seriously OVERFLOWING with adventure. From the first chapter this book takes off and doesn’t slow down for a second. Awesome characters and fabulous setting aside, this plot was engaging. Seriously powerful people are after Iolanthe. Titus is protecting her but he has his own agenda and his own dangers.  Iolanthe hides in plain sight AS A BOY. And there is magic. I mean there is just so much to love about this story I could write a similarly lengthy novel just talking about it. Love love love.

THIS WORLD! HOLY SMOKES I LOVED IT! The attention to detail paid by Sherry Thomas is noteworthy. Her imagination is without bounds. This place was full of endless possibilities and promise. It was magical and exciting but dangerous and unpredictable. To give you a little taste of what to expect (without spoiling anything) there is a book that you can enter that contains a world of its own where you can train and learn about magic. There are different places that are modeled after fairy tales where you can go and battle dragons and other magical beasts. It was like being in a video game, but cooler. This was fantasy at it's prime.

Like I said, I can go on and on. Just count the number of times I said 'love' in this review for a good estimate of my LOVE for it. (hint: the answer is 8 - not counting the last one)


BLOG TOUR {Review #159 & Giveaway}: Relic by Renee Collins

Welcome to our stop on the blog tour for Relic by Renee Collins hosted by Jaime and Rachel of Rockstar Book Tours. You can follow the rest of the tour here. And don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of Relic and set of almanac pages! Thanks for stopping by! :D

Title: Relic
Author: Renee Collins
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Pages: 400
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads

After a raging fire consumes her town and kills her parents, Maggie Davis is on her own to protect her younger sister and survive best she can in the Colorado town of Burning Mesa. In Maggie’s world, the bones of long-extinct magical creatures such as dragons and sirens are mined and traded for their residual magical elements, and harnessing these relics’ powers allows the user to wield fire, turn invisible, or heal even the worst of injuries.

Working in a local saloon, Maggie befriends the spirited showgirl Adelaide and falls for the roguish cowboy Landon. But when she proves to have a particular skill at harnessing the relics’ powers, Maggie is whisked away to the glamorous hacienda of Álvar Castilla, the wealthy young relic baron who runs Burning Mesa. Though his intentions aren’t always clear, Álvar trains Maggie in the world of relic magic. But when the mysterious fires reappear in their neighboring towns, Maggie must discover who is channeling relic magic for evil before it’s too late.

Relic is a thrilling adventure set in a wholly unique world, and a spell-binding story of love, trust, and the power of good.

Relic offers readers an irresistible mystery, an inspiring heroine and a pleasantly unusual world. Renee Collins triggered all the right emotions to keep my attention and leave me wanting more.

Relic begins with tragedy and I was instantly captured by the gravity of the situation. From the very beginning readers are plagued with the question of who is starting these unnatural fires that are destroying whole towns and for what purpose. And while I might not brag about my powers of perception, Renee Collins kept me guessing until the end. But the clues are all there for the talented mystery solver, steadily given and carefully woven throughout the story. I had one of those "ahhhh, I see" moments when the culprit was revealed. In the meantime, I enjoyed trying to figure out who that was.

In the beginning, circumstance forces Maggie to be incredibly brave and strong and I sympathized with her immediately. But she quickly earned more than just my sympathies. She proved herself time and time again to be a selfless, capable, and surprisingly clever young lady. But as a young heroine she lacked confidence and power. Yet these struggles are what made her relatable and believable as a character. She is definitely someone I see readers looking up to.

There is a romance in this story but it is not a dominating plot element, just a nice complement. It might feel a bit insta-love-y to some but I didn't really get that impression since it wasn't a huge focus. The love interest is actually one of the many interesting secondary characters. Renee Collins does a good job of building up the other characters in the story and having each of them have their own story. I am sure many readers, like myself, will be moved by Adelaide's story. I wanted to solve all her problems, and kick many a butt.

The setting for the story was more Wild Wild West than fantasy. In fact, I would consider it fantasy-light so if you aren't a big reader of fantasy I would not let that deter you. The fantasy element is mostly captured in the history and presence of relics. I myself, as a huge fantasy-lover, was fascinated by the relics. I found the fact that the bones of mythical beasts, long since extinct, could harness power and transfer that power to the user to be both a unique and welcome concept. I actually wish there was more attention paid to them in the story. They do play a critical role, and Maggie herself has a connection to them, but I  could have explored this idea endlessly.

It did take some time for me to become fully invested in the story. It's one of those books that sneaks up on you and you don't realize how bad you've got it until you've got it bad. But Relic is a worthwhile read and I urge readers to continue with the story if they begin to feel the same sentiment. Coming out of this book, my dominating thought is "I hope there is a sequel." Great debut, Renee Collins.

About Renee: 

Renee Collins graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in History, and currently lives with her family in the shadow of the Colorado red-rock cliffs, thugh she hasn't unearthed a relic. Yet. Relic is her first novel.



A signed copy of RELIC and a printed signed set of RELIC almanac pages. US Only 
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