September 2013 Recap

Nicole Read

Ashley Read

Nicole's Favorite 

Ashley's Favorite 

Nicole's Challenge 

Debut Author Challenge

2013 Sequel Challenge

Contemporary Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge

Ashley's Challenge 

Debut Author Challenge

Paranormal Reading Challenge

Dystopia Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge

Stacking the Shelves (39) - Sept 28th

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: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Title: Of Beast and Beauty
Author: Stacey Jay
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: July 23rd 2013
Pages: Hardcover, 391 pages
Source: Bought

Summary from Goodreads:
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...
In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

Of Beast and Beauty is a captivatingly dark story that has traces of the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast. I would not exactly call this a re-telling it is more of a fable in which the reader can draw some parallels to the classic. Either way I LOVED it!

The first couple pages are more of an origin story that leads into the main story line. I am not going to lie, the first couple pages were a bit confusing to me and discouraged me a little. Do not fret, the story all makes sense. The city of Yuan and those banished to the desert have been cursed and the only way for the curse to break is for a Smooth Skin to fall in love with a Monstrous beast.

Obviously the parallels are there but the story of Isra and Gem is so dark and different that it had me flying through the pages. The relationship between Gem and Isra is gradual; Gem was captured by Isra’s soldiers and his at her bidding. They slowly evolve from captor/captive to something more. The other relationships in the story were developed in a way that made you care for the good characters and just hate the evil ones.

Besides the fantastic love story, the world building was so well done and the descriptive writing painted the domed city and the barren dessert in such a haunting manner. There is a substantial amount fantasy/magic elements in the story like the magic roses, monstrous traits, and beastly desert people so just be aware!

I would highly recommend this book if you are in the mood for a darker fantasy more legend driven variation to the classic Beauty and the Beast. The love story is perfect, the relationships and characters are multi-dimensional and well developed, and it is a fast read!  It is a bit different though :)


REVIEW: Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Title: Charm & Strange
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Pages: 224, Hardcover
Source: Library

When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . .

Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself.

He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.

He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable.

Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present.

Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.

Umm... I really have no idea what I just read. 

So in High School English was my least favorite class (I didn't take a single English class in College). I am really not a fan of interpreting literature because I am not good at it. For as much as I love to read, I need the writing to be pretty straight forward. I can appreciate when writing sounds nice and poetic, but the more profound the writing gets, or the less obvious the message is, the more likely it is to go right over my head. As such is the case with Charm & Strange.

I have no idea if Drew is a wolf or if he is traumatized (so I am hoping that this isn't a spoiler, since I have no idea what it is I am spoiling). That's how confused I am. I mean, I think I have an idea. But I still feel like there is so much I am missing.  I have no clue what to make of this book. It was bizarre. All strange, no charm. 

No, that's not entirely true. For as dumbfounded as I am, I was still enjoying myself while reading this one. Maybe because I like puzzles? But this was like a puzzle where you get to the end and realize you're missing one piece. But you still had fun along the way so you pretty much just shrug and move on. Yes, that is an accurate analogy. 

I imagine for those that are better at this than me (aka, all of you) you will find this book perplexing, unique, and stimulating. Stephanie Kuehn definitely did something here. I just don't know what it is. 

In truth, I am being a little facetious here. I am not completely at a loss, just a little confused and I have a lot of questions. It is true though that I am not sure what the ending means. It's like those open ended movies - up to interpretation. (PS: I HATE THOSE)

This is a fast read. A different read. And an interesting read. Drew will be sure to draw you in with his story and keep hold of you until you reach the end. I think this is a good choice if you are looking for a change of pace, or a total mind f*&k. 


I'm Waiting On Broken by CJ Lyons

“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: Broken
Author: CJ Lyons
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: November 5, 2013

Summary from Goodreads:
The only thing fifteen-year-old Scarlet Killian has ever wanted is a chance at a normal life. Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, she has never taken the school bus. Or giggled with friends during lunch. Or spied on a crush out of the corner of her eye. So when her parents offer her three days to prove she can survive high school, Scarlet knows her time is now... or never. Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with every slammed locker and every sideways glance in the hallway. But this high school is far from normal. And finding out the truth might just kill Scarlet before her heart does.

But this high school is far from normal. And finding out the truth might just kill Scarlet before her heart does." I must know what this is referring to! So mysterious. And three days is not a lot of time for Scarlet to figure out anything so this must be a packed book (or extend beyond three days). Regardless, I am excited to read this one. And not to forget, this cover is beautiful! 

What are you waiting on?


Top Ten Best Sequels Ever

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten list is "Top Ten Best Sequels Ever".

1. Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi Ashton
2. Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas
3. Kinslayer (The Lotus War #2) by Jay Kristoff
4. The Dream  Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
5. Froi of the Exiles (The Lumatere Chronicles #2) by Melina Marchetta
6. Deception (Defiance #2) by C.J. Redwine
7. Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
8. Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2) by Veronica Rossi
9. Girl of Nightmares (Anna Dressed in Blood #2) by Kendare Blake
10. The Dead-Tossed Waves ( Forest of Hands and Teeth #2) by Carrie Ryan

What are your top ten?

ARC REVIEW #172: Deception (Defiance #2) by C.J. Redwine

Title: Deception
Series: Defiance #2
Author: C.J. Redwine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: August 27th 2013
Pages: Paperback, 480 pages
Source: Traded on YA Book Exchange

Summary from Goodreads:
Baalboden has been ravaged. The brutal Commander's whereabouts are unknown. And Rachel, grief stricken over her father's death, needs Logan more than ever. With their ragged group of survivors struggling to forge a future, it's up to Logan to become the leader they need—with Rachel by his side. Under constant threat from rival Carrington's army, who is after the device that controls the Cursed One, the group decides to abandon the ruins of their home and take their chances in the Wasteland.

But soon their problems intensify tenfold: someone—possibly inside their ranks—is sabotaging the survivors, picking them off one by one. The chaos and uncertainty of each day puts unbearable strain on Rachel and Logan, and it isn't long before they feel their love splintering. Even worse, as it becomes clear that the Commander will stop at nothing to destroy them, the band of survivors begins to question whether the price of freedom may be too great—and whether, hunted by their enemies and the murderous traitor in their midst, they can make it out of the Wasteland alive.

In this daring sequel to Defiance, with the world they once loved forever destroyed, Rachel and Logan must decide between a life on the run and standing their ground to fight.

Oh my goodness, I thoroughly enjoyed Deception.  The story starts off right where the first book left us.  Rachel and Logan are left with a ruined city, the Cursed One still alive, and their old leader still free.  Logan has become the leader of the survivors, trying to lead them to safety and secure alliances.  

I loved Defiance, so I was hoping Deception did not suffer from middle book syndrome and I can easily say it did not.  My only small dislike was the ending.  It was clear it was left for the next book to pick up right where this one ended but it was so abrupt.  This is how I felt.

But, back to the awesome-ness that is this series.  The romance is perfect, it is slow building and plays a larger role in this book yet never overpowers or becomes too much.  Redwine continues to develop the lies and deception that the brutal Commander perpetuated. The characters evolve and grow; while I cannot exactly relate to them or the environment they are in, the characters are easy to root for and understand all the complex sides to their personalities.   Redwine drops some serious drama in the last pages that I was not expecting at all which is always a bonus!  So between the powerful love story, continually developing characters, and frequent battle scenes I was flying through the pages.

Overall Deception was solid 4.5 stars!  Even though I can appreciate and understand why this book ended the way it did, super intense cliff hangers are not my favorite.  I totally feel left hanging and now I have to wait!!!   Logan and Rachel's journey was so action filled with beautifully crafted lies being exposed along the way leaving the reader to enjoy a crazy fun read that keeps you guessing.  


Stacking The Shelves (38) - Sept 21st

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??

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