Cover Reveal: The Hit List by Nikki Urang

Written By: Kellie - Mar• 19•14

THE HIT LIST front cover (2)

The blurb: The Los Angeles Conservatory for the Arts is supposed to be a new beginning for Sadie Bryant. Moving across the country is exactly what she needs to escape the gossip surrounding her injury, the devastating betrayal of her ex-partner, and to rebuild her career as a solo dancer.

When the school announces that the annual Fall Showcase, a performance that secures a spot studying in London, will now require each dance to have a partner, Sadie’s fresh start is a nightmare. Now she has to dance with Luke Morrison, the school womanizer with a big ego. Sadie doesn’t know how to trust Luke enough to dance with him after her last partner left her broken, but Luke is determined to change that.

Then, The Hit List comes out. A game of sexual contest where guys get points for all the girls they hook up with—and it seems like every guy at the school is playing.

The girl worth the most points? Sadie.

The details:

Title: The Hit List

Author: Nikki Urang

Genre: NA Contemporary 

Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary

ISBN: print: 9781939392329, ebook: 9781939392312

Release Date: November 11, 2014

Formats: Paper, e-book

Find Nikki Online: Website / Twitter / Goodreads

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Spring TBR List

Written By: Kellie - Mar• 18•14

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish featuring lists of all of our favorite bookish things. This week’s topic is the top books on our TBR list for Spring, which is juuussstt around the corner. I’ve split my list into two parts, the top five new releases for spring that I can’t wait to read, and the top five books that have been out for a while that I’ll finally be reading at some point between the end of March and the end of June.

Top Five New Spring Releases

dorothymustdie graduation day
in the end

1) Dorotyhy Must Die by Danielle Page – This is THE big buzz book right now, and for good reason. What a fantastic concept! I can’t wait to go back to Oz, and I get the feeling that this will be one of those books that everyone is talking about as soon as it comes out.

2) Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau – I’ve been hooked on this series since I first picked up book one at BEA last year, and having reread the first two in 2014 to prepare for the final installment… well, I’m pretty pumped.

3) In The End by Demitria Lunetta – While everyone else was obsessing over The Fifth Wave, this was the sci-fi book I was hooked on. Not only do I love that it’s a duology rather than a trilogy, but the writing, concept and characters of this series are all amazing. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

plus_one_cover the_one_cover

4) Plus One by Elizabeth Fama – Ummm… did you see that cover?!

5) The One by Kiera Cass – I really enjoyed the concept and characters behind The Selection and The Elite and I can’t wait to find out what happens to America and the other Selection girls. There’s also a bit of a topsy turvey love triangle going on, but I’m convinced!!! I finally picked the right side to root for. Yeah, I’ve probably just jinxed it.

 Top Five Books I’m Most Excited to Read This Spring
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night broken_front mech.indd 6) The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – Erica got me this one for Christmas and I STILL haven’t found time to read it, which is slowly killing me. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this series and can’t wait to check it out for myself.

7) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – This will be a reread for me. Sort of. Actually, my goal for before the movie comes out is to listen to the audio book, which I’ve heard good reviews for. I’m both excited and preemptively heartbroken to visit these characters again.

8) Night Broken by Patricia Briggs – Before I loved YA, I loved all things Urban Fantasy. Most of the series I followed over the years have drifted away for me, but this one I will see right through to the end. Patricia Briggs is such an amazing writer and the supernatural world she created is nothing short of epic. Highly recommended.

 

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9 & 10 ) The final books of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor – I’ve read and loved book one but have been holding back on finishing the series until I can enjoy it all together. The reviews I’ve heard for Days of Blood and Starlight have been a little more mixed than I would have liked so I hope by reading these books together I can really appreciate the entirety of this series exactly as intended.

Review: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Written By: Kellie - Mar• 13•14

How I Live Now

Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Publish Date: November 30th, 2004
Source: Purchased
Goodreads

Rating: 4.5/5 – Definitely an unusual read but I’m so glad I decided to give this one a chance.

About the book: “Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

A riveting and astonishing story. -Goodreads

Thoughts: How I Live Now tells the story of Daisy, an American teenager who is sent to live in England by her incredibly selfish father who is on the brink of building a new family. It’s more convenient for him not to have her there, so he sends her off to a country on the brink of war. Daisy moves in with her aunt (dead mother’s sister) and four cousins and for a while things are pretty idyllic (I didn’t really want that part of the story to end) and then while Daisy’s aunt is at a summit in another country, all hell breaks loose, leaving five teenagers completely on their own in a world that’s about to fall apart.

The two main complaints I’ve seen about this book are about the writing style of the first section and the romantic relationship that Daisy has with Edmund (reminder: her cousin). Daisy and Edmund’s relationship is never something that is portrayed as okay or acceptable. Daisy knows it’s wrong, but with everything else that’s going on, she just doesn’t care. She finds comfort where she can, and basically shuts the rest of the world, and their judgement, out. Their relationship was a side effect of everything else they were going through, including the lack of parental supervision or structure to their lives. It’s also not the primary focus of this story by any stretch, so please don’t let that stop you from picking up this book.

The writing style on the other hand… I loved! Daisy has a VERY teenaged voice and this story is written in the same way that someone might tell a story verbally. It’s hard to explain, and a little hard to adjust to at first but made for such an interesting read. There were no sections of dialogue, just Daisy relaying more or less what someone else said. Her voice also rings very true in that she doesn’t really focus on her own anorexia. It’s never really spelled out (and for a while my eternally optimistic mind wanted to write it off as her just being incredibly thin) because Daisy doesn’t really think that much about it. Seriously, this book is worth

There’s a small magical realism element as well—which again, I was half inclined to write off as the characters intuition and such. Most of Daisy’s cousins have inherent extra abilities. Isaac and Piper have fantastic gifts when it comes to animals, and will actually sit there and just have conversations with their dogs (Daisy doesn’t really go into the specifics of what that might look like), and Edmund is definitely kind of psychic, always knowing exactly what Daisy is thinking.reading for the voice/writing style alone, but of course there are other great qualities to this story as well.

Most of the story though focuses on survival. First on how the characters deal with their only parental figure being away, and then once the war escalates they all have to find new ways to function in their new and always changing situations with and without each other. I found the war elements fascinating as the army starts commandeering farms in order to produce food for the masses while also trying to stay hidden from enemy forces.

How I Live Now is a really quick read and they’ve just made a movie so I absolutely recommend you check this one out. If you’re even a moderately fast reader you can be finished in a day and this story is definitely worth your time.

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Top Ten Tuesday: My top sci-fi books/series!

Written By: Kellie - Mar• 11•14

toptentuesday

 

Top ten Tuesday is a weekly feature posted by The Broke and the Bookish, and as someone with an unending love of lists, I can’t resist. This weeks topic is Top Ten Favorite Books in X Genre, and seeing as I’ve had a great year in sci-fi reading so far, I decided to roll with it.

As usual these books/series aren’t in any specific order, and I’m sure I’ll forget something or other, but here goes. If you’re looking for a great science fiction read (mostly YA), these are my top recommendations!

cress1. The Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer
This amazing series mixes classic fairytales with science fiction. The latest book Cress even goes so far as to put Repunzel in a space station rather than a tower. Awesome. All throughout this series there are epic science fiction elements that give a whole new spin on some of our favorite characters.
Cinder on Goodreads

2. Avalon by Mindee Arnett
Marketed as a YA version of Firefly, I definitely couldn’t resist picking this one up and it didn’t disappoint. This one mixes heists with spaceships and intergalactic crime politics. Umm… yes please! It’s a series as well but I’ve only read book one and the prequel so far, so for now I’ll just include the first book and keep my fingers crossed for even more epic adventures with book two.
Avalon on Goodreads

3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The epitome of ridiculous science fiction. I’ve heard this whole series is awesome but I’ve only read book one so far. This book has a little bit of everything and a whole lot of random that you will not see coming but will absolutely have you laughing out loud. The movie really doesn’t do it justice. I should probably add a reread of book one to my TBR Jar and go from there.
Add The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy to Goodreads

4. The Sky Chasers Series by Amy Kathleen Ryan
While everyone else was obsessing about the Across the Universe Trilogy, this was my teens on a spaceship book of choice. In this universe there are two massive, generational ships headed from Earth to a new life with very different situations and philosophical outlooks. Love triangles, politics and space travel! Oh my!
Add Glow to Goodreads

5. Earth Girl by Janet Edwards
This book is still set on Earth and focuses more on the technology of the future than space adventures. Jarra is one in a thousand. A girl born without the immune system needed to leave Earth. She grew up hearing that she was less than everyone else who lives on Earth’s many colonies. Cool technology plus an interesting archeology twist, and for the most part I really enjoyed the characters. Book two went completely off the rails for me, but I’d still recommend reading this one.
Add Earth Girl to Goodreads

6. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
A different kind of sci-fi from most of this list so far. Time travel! This was a really great story with an incredible premise and great characters. I’m not even sure how to explain it, just read it!
Add All Our Yesterdays to Goodreads

7. In the After by Demitiria Lunetta
While The 5th Wave didn’t quite do it for me, I loovvveedd In The After which has a similar premise. Amy and Baby are alone and trying to survive in a world overrun by monsterous alien type creatures. Their sisterly relationship and the systems they’ve built to survive were enough to draw me in, and then the plot kept me completely hooked. Loved it and I can’t wait to read the final installment!
Add In the After to Goodreads

8.  These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Looovvveeeeee! I read this one fairly recently but it’s definitely worthy of this list and I can’t wait to read this again. Someone told me this was like Titanic in space, which made me pick it up but that was really only the beginning. With only two characters playing major roles in this story we got to know the both really well which was a nice change of pace. Then throw in some crazy outer space adventures and you’ve got a new favorite of mine.
Add These Broken Stars to Goodreads

Looking over my read shelf on Goodreads (which only covers the last few years) I can’t seem to come up with another two to round out this list. For the longest time I used to say that I loved watching science fiction and reading fantasy (although I would definitely watch fantasy as well!) because most of the science fiction I was finding was too dense for my taste. With this new boom in YA science fiction, that is definitely changing so maybe I can really flesh this list out with another year or so of reading.

Review: Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau

Written By: Kellie - Mar• 09•14

independent study

Series: The Testing, #2
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: January 7th, 2014
Source: ARC
Goodreads

Rating: 4/5 – Surprise, surprise! Even better than the first one!

About the bookIn the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her. – Goodreads

Thoughts: Independent Study is book two of The Testing trilogy, which I’ve heard hailed as the next Hunger Games on more than one occasion. While I definitely wouldn’t go quite that far with my praise, I’m really enjoying this series and can’t wait to see how it concludes.

After the events of book one Cia has had most of her memories erased. She doesn’t remember the testing process she went through, the friends she lost or the things she has had to do. All she was able to salvage is a recording device filled with whispers alluding to some pretty horrible things. In the time between books one and two, she mostly tries to ignore it as she goes through the pre-University courses she’s been assigned to but always looking for clues about what might be true and how much danger she’s really in.

This is one of those books that I really can’t go too far into explaining without giving away too much of the plot. I will say that the title references an internship and Cia gets the best of the best which puts her in a great position to learn more about what’s really going on around her and to get a better feel for the political landscape of the world she lives in. I can’t get enough of dystopian books that actually let you see the political side of things—why people are doing these horrible things, the challenges people have to deal with, general political intrigue. All that fun stuff.

I also really enjoyed Cia’s personal arc through this book. It’s easy to see how she’s growing and changing and how she gets through the moments where she feels like she should just give up or keep her head down. She’s not a superhuman, super problem solving, superhero. She’s a girl who is trying to create a future for herself and the people she loves. She’s also willing to accept help along the way which is a big bonus. Got to love a plot that is actually complex enough to require more than one teenager to try and fix things.

If you enjoyed book one then have no fear, you can expect a similar ride with the second book in this series, and then some.

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February Recap and March TBR Jar Picks

Written By: Kellie - Mar• 07•14

how i live nowSo February was an… interesting month for reading. I barely got a chance to read much of anything for the first 2/3rds of the month, and then once my vacation hit I made up for lost time a little but still ended up behind where I wanted to be. Still, as of today my total for the year is 20 books (2 books ahead of schedule) so I won’t beat myself too much for going off the rails on only me second month of my TBR jar challenge. First, my TBR jar picks for last month. This did not go according to plan AT ALL!

The Other Normals – This was a DNF for me. I read about 1/5th of the book and had to give it up because there were so many other books I had with me on vacation that I would rather be reading.
The Darkest Minds – I’m about halfway through now but I can’t find my copy ANYWHERE. I know it’s in my house, but I have no idea where. So since I couldn’t find it to bring with me to Mexico I didn’t manage to finish it by the end of the month.
The Dwarves How I Live NowThe Dwarves ended up being a much heavier book than I thought it was. Since I was trying to pack light, I pulled a book early for March to switch it with and ended up reading How I Live Now instead, which I loved and will be reviewing soon!

For March I’ll only be reading two books because I have a lot of work reading to do as well and the two books I will be reading are both on the large side. They are… The Dwarves and The Diviners. Heh, that actually sounds like a pretty good book by combining those two together.

the dwarves the diviners

Review: Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

Written By: Kellie - Mar• 01•14

elusion

Series: Elusion, #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publish Date: March 18th, 2014
Source: ARC
Goodreads

Rating: 3/5 – A thought provoking take on the direction that virtual reality technology can go and some of the side effects that go with it.

About the book: Soon, Elusion® will change the world and life as we know it.

A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, visor and wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications—or consequences—of real life.

Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father’s unexpected death, Regan can’t bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality.

Still, when there are rumors of trouble in Elusion—accusations that it’s addictive and dangerous— Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty…a decision that will affect the lives of millions.

Suspense, thrills, and romance fuel this near-future story about the seductive nature of a perfect virtual world, and how far one girl will go to uncover the truth behind the illusions. – Goodreads

Thoughts: Trust me when I say that I am very much looking forward to the evolution of virtual reality technology. I am counting on one day being able to walk the halls of Hogwarts without leaving my living room. I know that Star Trek’s holodec’s are a long shot (I mean, how can they walk infinitely in any direction in a tiny room! It doesn’t make any sense) What we’re more likely to see is headsets and motion control sensors, which hey, I’d be pretty okay with oo. Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam looks into some of the repreccusions of this kind of technology and the ways it could be handled and how it might be exploited. The world building is a lot of fun in this one, creating a gritty and futuristic version of Earth. Pollution is everywhere and Detroit is well, what you’d expect. But being included in the trials for Elusion has real potential to turn the city around. Elusion is a virtual reality technology that also seems to have some sort of euphoria effect as well as some pretty severe side effects (after coming out, it takes a while to be able to function again). So no surprises when we learn that things might not be entirely what they seem.

Regan’s father invented Elusion, but after his death the program was taken over by Regan’s best friend, Patrick. When things start to go wrong and people are accusing Elusion of being dangerous, Patrick starts getting a little squirrely which sends up some red flags.  While the world building was great, the plot lacked some oomph from me. You’ll probably be able to see some of the twists coming, but that doesn’t mean Elusion isn’t worth your time. It’s more of a mystery than anything else as you try to figure out who is telling the truth and who is just being paranoid. I did find some of the accusations against Elusion to be kind of silly though since the people getting into trouble were hacking the system and using it in ways it wasn’t designed for which seems a little unfair to me, but maybe I’m missing something.

Anyways, if you’re looking for sci-fi that gets away from spaceships and dystopia, you should absolutely check this one out!

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Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Written By: Kellie - Feb• 27•14

cress

Series: The Lunar Chronicles, #3
Publisher:   Feiwel & Friends
Publish Date: February 4th, 2014
Source: ARC
Goodreads

Rating: 5/5 – Quite possibly my favorite book so far in this already awesome series!

About the book: Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can. – Goodreads

Thoughts: I love this series so much! Wouldn’t these books make an amazing TV show? I would so love to see all of these characters every week. Anyways, this was a great read and I would highly, highly recommend this series to anyone who loves fairytales and/or sci-fi.

Book three of The Lunar Chronicles introduces a new character… who is obviously Cress. Cress has spent a good chunk of her life locked away in a satellite (where she is a super hacker, working for the bad guys) but she’s still all kinds of awesome. Quite possibly my new favorite as she was a very relateable character for me. All your old favorites are back for this new installment too, including lots of Kai who I definitely missed during book two. Cress also has a bit of her own romantic plot which I’m not totally sold on yet, but I won’t give it away, so you can draw your own conclusions. The person who was lacking a little in this one was Scarlet, which I was alright with. That spaceship was getting kind of crowded anyway. Overall, I think Marissa Meyer did a great job of weaving the various characters and plotlines together. I don’t want this series to ever end.

For the first time ever, I can’t wait for Winter!

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Promo: Enduring Chaos by Catherine Fitzsimmons

Written By: Kellie - Feb• 20•14

enduring chaos

Series: Sisters of Chaos, #1
Author: Catherine Fitzsimmons
Publisher: Brain Lag
Published: November 29th

About the book: Cursed with fearsome eyes and a dangerous gift, any chance of Damian Sires having an ordinary life was dashed the moment she was born. All her life, she has hidden her abnormalities and fought for acceptance behind the shadow of a veil and her respected merchant father.

When Damian’s power spirals out of control and casts her out alone into the world, she finds herself caught up in plots as old as the gods themselves. Bitter exiles, deposed nobility, clandestine knights, and a divine being with an ancient grudge all close in on the unstable power radiating from Damian.

Desperate to keep that power contained, she sets out with mysterious allies in an attempt to find someone who can help her in a world that fears magic. Yet the source of Damian’s ability is far more deadly than she imagined. – Goodreads

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Review: Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci

Written By: Kellie - Feb• 10•14

tin star

Series: Tin Star, #1
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publish Date: February 25th, 2014
Source: ARC
Goodreads

Rating: 4/5 – A surprise sci-fi hit that I didn’t see coming but will definitely be reading again.

About the book: On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist’s leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station.

When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula’s desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind. - Goodreads

Thoughts: I hadn’t heard about Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci until I was offered an ARC but I am so, so glad I read this book! I’ve always considered myself someone who likes sci-fi in my tv and movies, and fantasy in my books. Lately, I’m starting to think I just haven’t been reading the right sci-fi books. I really loved this one! Tin Star was able to offer the kind of sci-fi you don’t see on the big/small screen with complex aliens that are nothing like human beings, leaving the main character Tula to navigate a completely alien world.

Tula is abandoned by her people on a remote space station that is inhabited entirely by species that are nothing like us. She’s left for dead and has absolutely nothing to her name so things aren’t easy. The book, while fairly short, spans years, and it’s so interesting to see her learn how to survive in her new surroundings and deal with being literally the only human being for a good portion of the book. She’s a really great character and I can’t think of anyone I’ve read about who is quite like her. She isn’t your typical YA heroine by any stretch–she keeps to herself, she’s cautious and because of the situation she’s put in has to look at everything from an entirely different angle than I would. It was really fun to read!

I suspect the style of writing in this one wont sit with everyone. It’s a little choppy at times, although I thought it fit with the story. My only real criticism is that the writing was (only at times) way too tell-y. One line in particular actually made me do a double take, “Everything was so much larger and more interconnected than I thought it was.” Keep in mind that I read an ARC, so this might not be in the final version but it was hard not to raise my eyebrows at that one. Let me figure out for myself how the big picture connects rather than pointing out how great the plotting was.

The plot itself was interesting. At times it was a little slow, but I still really enjoyed it. I did find the romantic element to be a little forced (in one instance at least, something that came closer to the end was actually a great surprise, but I can’t talk about it without giving too much away). I suspected some of the plot twists but still really enjoyed how all of the pieces came together, and I really can’t wait to see what the next book brings and what the over all arc of the series will be.

Highly recommend for someone looking for a great science fiction read that comes with everything from aliens to intergalactic politics to a rickity old space station.

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