Wednesday, March 19, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Enter to win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon GC, or PayPal cash!

We are giving away 2 Kindles!!

The first one is available via the rafflecopter below. The 2nd is available only to bloggers who post about this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter in the rafflecopter.

Kindle Fire HDX 
Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)

Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7".

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)

Or $229 Gift Card (International)

Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)

Giveaway Sponsors:

I Am A Reader
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Bonnie Blythe's Pure Romance
Bella Street's Weird Romance
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Good Choice Reading
Reviews from a Bookworm
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Rae Z. Ryans, Author
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Once Upon a Twilight
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The Cheap Ebook
Luthando Coeur
Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke
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Simple Wyrdings
Tressa's Wishful Endings
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Author Inger Iversen
Author Theresa DaLayne
Where The Broken Lie by Derek Rempfer
Bound 4 Escape
Author Laura Diamond

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Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International).

There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7".

Ends 3/31/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Title: The Archived
Author: Victoria Schwab
Series: Yes. #1
Pages: 321
Genre: Young Adult. Mystery. Fantasy. Paranormal.
Published Date:  January 22, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion
Rating: ☕☕☕☕½
Summary: Goodreads

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

My Thoughts:

First, I have to start this review off with two big thumbs up, and a little party dance thrown into the mix. This story was beautiful and inventive. Schwab's writing style was wonderful and such a joy to read. The only reason I can't give this book a 5/5 star rating is because for me, personally, the beginning of the book was a tad bit slow. It took a couple of chapters for me to become completely engrossed to the point where I couldn't put it down. Seriously, I read the majority of this story in one sitting. I loved it, the plot was intriguing, the characters were very well created, and I always wondered what was going to happen next or how a certain play of events would turn out. Another thing I loved about this book was the fact that I couldn't just guess what would happen, or assume that a specific character was to blame for anything, cause I could never be too sure. The plot twist at the end totally threw me for a loop, though looking back on it I probably should have seen it coming, but I didn't. This story really was so amazing and Schwab's writing style makes me want to pick up a copy of all her books. If only I had The Unbound

(Do NOT read unless you've read the book!!)

Reading the little excerpts of Mac's past with Da was really cool. I liked seeing how she ended up growing into her life as a Keeper and they also helped me understand her personality a lot more. All her little rules and decisions made a bit more sense in the end. Then we move on with Mac and her family moving into the Coronado. It's a gloomy kind of setting because Ben's death is still sort of fresh and plus the Coronado is really old and rundown. Mackenzie's mother and father are clearly trying to keep what they're truly feeling buried down, both for their own and Mac's sake, and vice-versa when in reality everyone is the exact opposite. It's such a sad start but I instantly found myself drawn to the three characters because I could sympathize with their grief. I really enjoyed reading how Mackenzie could so easily lie her way through each situation she needed and no matter what her resolve never wavers. Though I felt bad for her because I could imagine how lonely it must be to have to lie all the time.

I was really happy when Wesley came into the story. His character was so fun and happy that I always found myself smiling whilst reading his dialog. I loved his quick thinking and smart remarks, but I also loved how easy he was able to read Mac. In my opinion, I don't think anyone could understand her better than he can. He's able to teach her things that even Da couldn't do, he can help her connect with her parents a little better; her father adores him after all. And one of the biggest of all in my opinion... Wes is always honest and there for Mac. I actually got irritated at Mac once because she wouldn't just confided in Wes. I knew she could trust him, I knew that she should, but she just kept friggin' avoiding it until it was too late and he had to find out the hard way. Oh, that was a sad moment, it was like I could really feel Wes' hurt. I mean, really, when is he ever not smiling? Hardly ever. Exactly. It also bugged me when she started making out with Owen, but honestly, the guy had me fooled too. I should've guessed it, I really should have, but there was just something about him that I couldn't not believe. It was so deceiving. A complete sociopath if you ask me, his two persona's were entirely different, and he switched between them so easily. It was honestly a bit creepy to me, made me feel like no one can really be trusted. Especially if he's a good looking blonde.  

Okay, now I must discuss the Librarian's for a second. I was so surprised when I found out that they were actually dead. I thought they were just immortal people... not dead people. Roland talked about retiring in a way that sounded like he was going to the Outer and starting life anew, but then I find out what retiring really meant, and then started bawling my little eyes out. As a matter of fact, for a good chunk of the book I had tears falling down my face. But of course, I cry at almost everything. I think my worst moment was when I thought Wes was going to die. That... was bad. I still haven't decided if I like Agatha or not. For some reason I have this gut feeling that tells me no. I'm not certain why though. I also don't know why the Archived felt the need to erase Wesley's mind after the battle. Yeah, yeah I get the whole "secrets keep us safe" bit, but why Wes? It's not like he's a threat. He works with them. I just didn't get that, but it was okay cause Mac told him anyway. Ha! 

This story was brilliant and I'll be so upset if this series doesn't get finished! #TheArchivedNeedsAThirdBook

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephan Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephan Chbosky
Series: No.
Pages: 213 
Genre: Young Adult. Epistolary.
Published Date: February 1, 1999
Publisher: MTV Books/Pocket Books
Rating: ☕☕☕☕☕
Summary: Goodreads

Charlie is a freshman.

And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

My Thoughts:

Oh, how can I explain the many feels that practically ripped my heart into pieces? This book was beautiful, real, and insightful. I loved... almost all the characters. Those who have read this book know a few --who shall remain nameless in this section of the review-- that just make you want to slap them with the book. But alas, that's not possible.

One thing I really enjoyed about this book was how many great quotes where in it. A lot of the quotes I was drawn to felt very relatable to myself and I could appreciate them a whole lot more. A lot of the problems Charlie has to face are things most of us have, or will eventually, experience in our lifetimes. They're not uncommon. Friendship, love, and self-understanding are all things every single person in the world has to go through at one point, but personally, I was intrigued with how Charlie handled his situations.  From pretty much the first letter I fell in love with him, his sweet and caring disposition just made me wish I could hug him. 

I believe Chbosky created a wonderful piece of literature and some beguiling characters. The entire time I was either smiling or crying or seething with mild irritation. I don't think I ever really felt bored while I was reading, although the book was kind of a slow read, but not a bad slow. I really do love this book and I'm sad it's over, but I'm sure it won't be very long until I pick it up again.

(Do NOT read unless you've read the book!!)

I'm not sure I can express in quite the right words how much this book has affected me. I can't stop thinking about it even after I put it down. There were so many things to think about within this story. Charlie is what drew me in first. He starts off his first letter with, "Dear friend, I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn't try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have." In my mind, that was an odd beginning to a letter, specifically to someone that he apparently doesn't even really know? I was left to assume the the letters were sent to myself, as if I were getting them in the mail as I read each one and that made me feel a lot closer to the story than I would have expected. It didn't take me long to realize how secluded Charlie was the majority of the time, and it made me sad, because he preferred the company of others. Another thing that didn't take me very long to realize was how sensitive he is. Charlie's thought process amazed me. It seemed like he hardly ever thought about himself when he could help it. Probably would be a prodigy in abnegation if he lived in that universe. No matter how he felt, whenever someone near him was in a bad mood or having a difficult day, seeing the other person unhappy would make Charlie upset. A great example of this, in my opinion, is his relationship with Mary Elizabeth. I'm not sure if Charlie ever once had actual 'feelings' for the girl and as they dated it seemed as though he started disliking her more and more as time passed. Or there's Patrick even. After that big fight with Brad in the school cafeteria, and every night he would kiss Charlie as some kind of pain soother, Sam asked Charlie why he let Patrick do it and all he said was, "I was just trying to be a friend" like his feelings were never factored into the equation. There were sometimes however, when I felt like he just over-analyzed things way too much. Like with his math homework.

I was happy when Patrick and Sam were around. Even though it broke my heart while Charlie was fighting with his feelings for Sam; I believe they were very beneficial to helping Charlie. Well... almost. They did A LOT of drugs and alcohol that year. But I loved how they never got caught with it, even when Charlie ended up going to the hospital on that snowy new years night. Even so, it is impossible to deny, after having read the whole story, that the pair definitely left a hugely positive mark on Charlie's life. They kept him grounded, they gave him hope, and a purpose for living. I'm not saying he didn't love his family, nor am I saying his family didn't love him, but they certainly didn't understand him enough to be able to help until the end. With his father's distance, his mother's quietness, his brother's absence, and his sister's bitchiness, no one ever really tries to understand or even deal with Charlie a majority of the time. That was something that irritated me about his family more than anything. They could be so cold but then so kind too. It got a smidge confusing. But Sam and Patrick were able to connect with Charlie in a way that nobody else was able and I think that's what helped him in the end. 

Now, I need to take a moment to talk about Aunt Helen. I'll just start from the beginning. Charlie only ever talks about how much he cared about his Aunt. How she was his favorite person in the world and how she made him feel extra special because she gave him two presents on his birthday instead of one. At first she seemed like a nice woman and for Charlie's sake I was sorry when I found out that she had died. I also felt bad for her when I found out the 'bad thing' that happened. But does that bad thing really give her any excuse when she turns around.... and does the same friggin' thing to her own nephew!? Her sister's baby boy, every weekend when they would go out on those date nights, while living under their house for supportive reasons. In an instant Aunt Helen, in my opinion, lost all credibility. But of course, Charlie has to step in a second later and make me think about who's really to blame. Aunt Helen? Her dad? The family friend? It's really all too complicated a situation that has no happy side to it in the end. The ending of the book, however, had me crying many tears of joy. I loved how I could really tell the change his time in the hospital had over him. The positive effect his realization gave to him. Obviously, he's not 100% okay. It's possible that he may still end up having some bad days, but his outlook on life is much less gloomy. He sums it up very well in one of my favorite quotes saying, "So, if this does end up being my last letter, please believe that things are good with me, and even when they're not, they will be soon enough." Brilliant.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book Review: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Title: The Rithmatist
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series: Yes. #1
Pages: 374
Genre: Fantasy. Mystery. Young Adult. Sci-Fi.
Published Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Summary: Goodreads

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings — merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing — kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery — one that will change Rithmatics — and their world — forever.

Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson brings his unique brand of epic storytelling to the teen audience with an engrossing tale of danger and suspense—the first of a series. With his trademark skills in world-building, Sanderson has created a magic system that is so inventive and detailed that that readers who appreciate games of strategy and tactics just may want to bring Rithmatics to life in our world.

My Thoughts:

Going into this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had seen a review on the book, but I had no knowledge of what the story would be about. I did know, however, the Brandon Sanderson was a highly respected author, which made me very curious about his writing style, and obviously I was not disappointed. In the beginning, the powers over chalk kind of threw me off, a couple of times I had to sit down an imagine how these horrifying little chalk drawings could cause so much havoc. The longer I sat and considered it, the more horrific it sounded-- there's really no true way to fight back. If your not another Rithmatist that is. The idea sent chills down my spine and Sanderson's descriptions of some of the chalking's attacks were capable of making the hairs on my neck stand up.

Another aspect I loved about this book was the fact that the setting resided in a Steampunk era. The world building was phenomenal and rich. I can really appreciate the thought process that must've gone into creating this story. Sanderson's writing has a way of always keeping you on your toes. Just as you think you've figured out exactly how certain events are going to play out... everything suddenly takes a turn in a different direction. I had such a fun time reading this book and I even fell for quite a few of the characters. I also loved the plot twists at the end and how Brandon tied everything together. I can't wait for the second book! He needs to work on it!!

(Do NOT read unless you've read the book!!) 

Alright, in the beginning we are introduced to a boy named Joel. He's young, lazy, and passionate about Rithmatists. He doesn't really fit in anywhere and his friend's are practically non-existent. Apart from Micheal and Davis whom, personally, I don't consider really counting as "friends". Joel is lonely and that made me feel bad for him-- I felt as though I was easily able to connect with him. In the very first chapter we're introduced to Nalizar and Fitch. Right off the back I think I can safely safe that Nalizar was on my sh** list. He's arrogant, pompous, and his 'better-than-anyone' attitude made me want to introduce my fist to his face. But he's a fictional character and I didn't want to hurt my hand. 
Though If I had to chance to hit him, I would gladly take it. 
Fitch, on the other hand, made me feel very sad. This jerk basically just walked into the campus and took Fitch's job, leaving the poor man with almost nothing. It wasn't fair and it made me hate Nalizar even more. The whole time I kept thinking to myself: Is Fitch really just going to let this P.O.S. walk in like he owns the friggin' place? Is Fitch really that much of a pushover? That was probably the only thing that irritated me about his personality. 

Next, we're introduced to Melody, whom I adore with every fiber of my being. She's supposed to be this really dramatically annoying character,  but every time she was having one of her 'fits' all I could do was laugh. "My life, is a tragedy!" This was probably her favorite thing to say, or at least 'tragedy' was, and each time she would purposely make a big scene of herself. The thing I loved about her was the fact she was the most honest and open character in the book. I never had to be suspicious or unsure about her and that was refreshing. Another thing I really enjoyed about Melody was her character development. When she is first introduced, Rithmatics is the last thing she cares or even worries about-- she is far too busy drawing her unicorns-- and then later throughout the book you can see that she actually starts to enjoy her studies after she starts grasping some of the basics. I believe that she does a lot of growing up through this book and in the end she helps save the lives of all the Rithmatist students. Oh, and her brother of course; that was a shocker, wasn't expecting that at the end either.

Almost through the entire book I though the "Kidnapper" was Exton. I was sure of it. Nothing really could have persuaded me otherwise. I knew there was something strange with Nalizar but it was hard to think that he was actually part of the whole scheme. But closer to the end, when an arrest was made against Exton, I wasn't satisfied. Just like Joel, I knew something wasn't quite right. Some things just didn't fit, but I could figure out just what those things were either. It was almost frustrating. When I found out that the entire time, Harding was actually the culprit I was flabbergasted, the total shift of events kept me on the edge of my seat for the rest of the story. I felt as though I had been played; Harding was our friend! At least I thought he was!! One thing was for certain however... Nalizar was not to be trusted completely. I was fooled at first by his little trickery of the 'defeated hero' and as Joel was accusing Nalizar I didn't quite understand about what... until I did. Oh, the twists just kept going and going. That pompous little do****, never gets caught of course, but Melody and Joel with all of their awesome-ness foiled his plan in the end. 

Okay, can we just talk about that ending for a moment. I think it was brilliant. Melody and Joel are up against impossible odds. Joel is a non-Rithmatist, Melody is a noob who's circles aren't up to par with what they should be, and there's about forty or so competitors. 40 against 2 are pretty sad odds. From the beginning of the fight there seems like no hope at all, but as the melee continues.. not only do the two hold their ground, but they start winning. They are surrounded on all sides, completely outnumbered, and they concur in the end. It's beautiful. I found myself jumping up and down in my seat as I was reading. It was so intense. Surrounded by Nalizar's elitist and still able to kick some major butt. Now he knows he better not overlook them again. Except I'm not 100% positive that's such a great thing. A brilliant end to a brilliant story. I don't have enough words to express how much I enjoyed this book. I MUST continue this series!!!!