Friday, May 31, 2013

Feature & Follow - Blogger Friends

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! This is a blog hop that allows bloggers to gain new followers and find some awesome new blogs to follow themselves!

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host has a blog that they feature each week!

So, if you're a blogger, come join in on the fun!

Here's today's question -

Q:  What blogger would you most like to meet in real life? Tell us about him or her.

A: I'm relatively new to blogging, but there are a few bloggers who have come by my blog and commented often so I feel like I've gotten to know them a bit (and of course I really appreciate their comments!) - Naomi at Nomi's Paranormal Palace, Eveline over at Eveline's Books and Holly at Holly's Reading Hollow are three that come to mind. 

Feel free to follow me via GFC, but I'd love it if you could also follow me via BlogLovin', email, RSS or even FB (or any combination thereof) just in case GFC disappears for good!  Links are all to the right.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What's Next? - Parallel, Viral Nation, or Pretty Dark Nothing

What's Next? is a weekly meme hosted by Icey Books.  Here's how it works - I show you 3-5 books that I'd like to read soon and you vote on which one I should read next!  Since I'm so indecisive, this is perfect for me!

So...what do you think?

Which one should I read next??

Lauren Miller

Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it's as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.
Viral NationShaunta Grimes

After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.

Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.

When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined… and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever.

Pretty Dark Nothing (Pretty Dark Nothing, #1)
Heather L. Reid

It’s been twenty three days since Quinn has slept for more than minutes at a time. Demons have invaded her dreams, stalking her, and whispering of her death. The lack of sleep and crippling fear are ruining her life. Energy drinks and caffeine pills don’t make a dent. When Quinn dozes off in the school hallway, Aaron, an amnesiac with a psychic ability, accidentally enters her nightmare. The demons are determined to keep them apart, and Aaron from discovering the secret locked away in his memory. Together, they could banish the darkness back to the underworld for good. That is, unless the demons kill them first.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza

Mila 2.0 (MILA 2.0, #1)Title: MILA 2.0
Author: Debra Driza
Publisher:  Katherine Tegen Books 
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Pages: 470, Hardcover
Goodreads Rating: 3.7 stars
My Rating: 3/5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past—that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity-style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.


I had high hopes for MILA 2.0, but I ended up feeling generally underwhelmed.  I think, for me, the lack of real relationships in Mila's life made it hard for me to be invested in her story.  The first part of the story tells of Mila's life after moving to a small town.  There is a boy who Mila is drawn to (Hunter), but we really only see a few interactions with him before Mila is forced to run.  A best friend who turns nasty as soon as Hunter shows more interest in Mila than in her.  A mom who is distant and can't really show Mila any affection.  With these types of characters, it's hard to feel any sort of connection to them - how are we supposed to believe that these are the people who have grounded Mila in humanity and made her truly start to feel?

Then, we have the big reveal.  Mila gets hurt and discovers that she is not made of flesh and bone - she is an android.  She's understandably upset.  She turns to the only person she has in her life that she feels she can talk to - Hunter.  But instead of telling him her immense new secret, she claims that she has a prosthetic arm that she just kind of forgot about in the moment (huh?) and Hunter doesn't bat an eye.  In fact, he never bats an eye during any of this, even when wires and tubes are sticking out of Mila's arm.  I'm not sure if Driza meant for us to feel that Hunter was just a solid rock that Mila could count on or if we were supposed to be suspicious of him (I kind of fell in the latter category).  At any rate, none of it really matters because Mila also discovers that there are government and non-government groups after her and  she is forced to run.  

While on the run, she learns more about herself and her mother suddenly decides not to be distant any more because it was all "worth it" - Mila is truly becoming human.  I was never clear on what made Mila's mother's attitude suddenly change toward her daughter.  From what I could tell, this was just necessary because otherwise Mila wouldn't have been so devoted to her mother and later plot points wouldn't have made a lot of sense.  While on the run, Mila constantly wishes that she could see Hunter again.  But, again, I just didn't feel like they had established enough of a relationship for me to care much about him and her obsession with him just started to feel a little weird.  Yeah, he was her first crush and all, but when you're running for your life, you'd think you'd have more important things to think about.  I wish that Hunter had somehow ended up on the run with them and been part of the action parts of the story so that they would have had more time to form a bond.

At any rate, I won't spoil what happens later in the book, but it does  get much more exciting.  The second half of the book had more plot development and was full of action.  Plus, Mila's character became much more interesting in the second half of the book as she struggled to determine whether she could truly be "human" or not.  All of these things made the second half a much better read than the first.  

Overall, I felt that the book didn't have enough character development, but definitely had a good idea behind it and followed through with that idea well in the second half.  I didn't dislike the book, but I didn't love it either.  I'll still probably check out the sequel to find out what happens to Mila and company.  I'd give this book 3/5 Stars.

Let's Discuss - What do you use for your comments?

Okay, so I have a question for all you more experienced bloggers out there - Do you use a third party tool (like Disqus) for your comments?  If so, what do you use and how well has it been working out for you?

I've been very disappointed to discover that people don't get notified if I reply to their comments.  I always just assumed that if someone left me a comment on my blog and I replied to it, that person would get an email or some type of notification to let them know that I replied.  But, apparently with Blogger's standard comments box, that isn't the case.  This is a big problem as far as I'm concerned!  I mean, let's face it, people aren't so excited about commenting on my posts that they're checking back constantly to see if I've replied.  That's just not realistic.  But, what's the point in replying if the person who made the comment in the first place will never know you did?

So, I definitely would like to use some other type of commenting system, but I'm not sure what to use.  The only one I really know of is Disqus and I've wondered what people thought of it.  I'm a bit worried that people won't bother to comment at all if they feel like they have to register with Disqus in order to do so.  Any thoughts?  Any other solutions out there that I'm missing?

Okay - discuss.  (And if you care to actually see my replies to your comments, for now click on Subscribe by email at the bottom of the post - until I come up with a better solution, that is).

UPDATE: There's a new blog hop over at Oh, Chrys! and The Fiction Conniption called Let's Discuss!  I'm adding my post to this hop!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Teaser Tuesday & Top Ten Tuesday

This is a freebie week at Top Ten Tuesday.  Since I just started participating in Top Ten Tuesday, I thought I'd go back and look at past topics and choose one of those.  This is the one that struck me - Top 10 books I read before I was a blogger.  Since I haven't been blogging for all that long, I thought this one would be easy!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I absolutely loved this book and I'm pretty sure it introduced me to the dystopian genre, so I definitely need to give this one credit.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer - I had to include this book because it got me back into reading.  When I was a kid all the way up into my mid-twenties, I read A LOT.  But, then I had kids and somehow couldn't find the time or the energy to pick up a book.  For a long time, I barely read at all.  But I was a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan and when the second-to-last Twilight movie came out, I finally decided to check the books out and see the movies.  I tore through the entire series, reading one book each day.  After this, I remembered what I was missing out on an got back to reading in earnest!
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb - Nowadays, I mostly read paranormal and dystopian books, but I started out as a true fantasy fan.  One of my absolute favorite fantasy authors of all time is Robin Hobb.  Her world building is absolutely amazing and I am always in awe of her books.  Assassin's Apprentice is the book that started it all!
Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone by J.K. Rowling - Like most people, I fell in love with this series when I read it the first time.  I read it again along with my son as soon as he was old enough.  I'm still working on my 9-year-old daughter to get her to read it too and I'm sure I'll read it again with her.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - This was the ultimate in cool sci-fi books when I was a teenager and I LOVED it!!  Absolutely hilarious!
Delirium by Lauren Oliver - I just loved the concept of this book.  I remember thinking that it was a brilliant analogy - comparing love to an illness.  I especially loved how, even though you were completely against the procedure, you could almost understand why people believed it might be a good idea.  I mean, love sucks sometimes, right?
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken - I remember being blown away by the ending of this book and thinking, "NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa - After reading this book, I just had to go out and read every other book by Julie Kagawa.  The Eternity Cure is one of the next books I will be reading!
Unwind by Neal Shusterman - I absolutely LOVED this book.  Like Delirium, I loved that it presented a social dilemma, but no easy answers.  It made me really think.  Love that!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - I had to include at least one book outside of my normal genre and this book was the one that stuck out to me the most.  Very sad, but an amazing read!


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

~Grab your current read
~Open to a random page
~Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on the page
~BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! ( make sure that what you share doesn't give away to much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
~Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!
- Then go on over to Should be Reading and share your teaser in her comments section!

My teaser today is from a book I'm reading for the Debut Authors Challenge - 
Mila 2.0 (MILA 2.0, #1)

Meanwhile, I couldn't move, couldn't think, couldn't breathe.  I wanted to curl into a ball, but the walls had no give, almost like I'd been entombed with my arms and legs extended.

(Page 318)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1)
Title: Warm Bodies
Author: Isaac Marion
Publisher:  Atria
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Pages: 239, Hardcover
Goodreads Rating: 3.99 stars
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse. Just dreams. 

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a burst of vibrant color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that R lives in. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world...

Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead and the blurry line in between.


I picked this book up because I really wanted to read it before I watched the movie, which is coming out on DVD in June.  The first thing that really struck me was that the book was written from the perspective of a zombie!  This was something unexpected and new - I loved getting into R's mind and I thought that this made the book much more interesting and enjoyable than your typical zombie apocalypse novel.  It was often funny to hear R's opinions of his fellow groaning, shuffling zombie "friends."  Who expects to laugh at a zombie novel, right?

I liked R.  I thought that Marion did a great job of creating a character who was detached from human emotion in many ways, but who still strove for that emotion in ways that allowed me to sympathize with him (and to care about what happened to him and others in his world).  In fact, I truly loved the first half of this book because I so loved R's perspective on the world.  

R is relatively comfortable in his mundane, monotonous existence until the day when he eats the brain of a teenage boy named Perry.  For some reason (which is never really explained), R experiences Perry's memories in a much more vivid way than he has ever experienced his victim's memories before.  Because of this, he suddenly feels protective of Perry's girlfriend, Julie.  Instead of eating her, R covers her in zombie blood (to mask her Living smell) and brings her back to the airport zombie community, passing her off as a zombie in order to keep her safe.  While hiding out with R in his airplane home, Julie starts to realize that R is no ordinary zombie.  She even starts to suspect that he might be becoming Living again.

It was during the second half of the book where it honestly started to lose me just a little bit.  Julie makes her way back to the stadium where she has been living with other refugees and R decides to follow her there.  Because of his feelings for Julie, he has become more animated and manages to pose as a Living person.  I understood why Julie liked R, but honestly not why she is so enraptured with him.  And it really seemed odd to me how forgiving everyone was that R ate Perry (including Perry himself, who has conversations with R in his head).  I mean, I know that it's a tough world out there and that R was just doing what he needed to do to survive and all, but I still think that if someone ate my boyfriend I'd be just a little bit upset about it, at least at first.  I don't want to tell too much more about the second half of the book because I don't want to give any spoilers, but I will just say that this half got a bit more philosophical (especially regarding how the zombies were created and how they could be defeated) and that only some of the philosophy made sense to me.

Still, overall I liked this book a lot and I will definitely be looking forward to the movie.  It was unique and engaging and an enjoyable read.  Oh, one more thing that I almost forgot to mention - I had a zombie dream the first night that I started reading this book!  An odd only half-scary sort of zombie dream - I was definitely channeling the Julie character in the dream.  So, I guess the book really got into my subconscious!  3.5/5 Stars.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Giveaway Round-up 5/25/13

I've got a few giveaways on my blog that are ending soon, so I thought I would highlight them.  Plus, I thought I'd let you know about some of the giveaways I've run across recently on other blogs.  There are so many chances to win, I thought I should share!

On My Blog - 
Win a Kindle Fire - Who doesn't want one of these, right?
Win a Fern prize pack - Includes a $25 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of Fern and many more goodies!
Win a $100 Amazon Gift Card - G.P. Ching, author of the Soulkeeper series is offering this awesome giveaway

On Other Blogs - 
May New Release Giveaway Hop - LOTS of blogs are giving you the chance to win a May new release.
Win a Kindle Fire - To celebrate the release of Bound by Prophecy, author Melissa Wright is giving away a Kindle!
The Nocturnal Library - Maja is giving away a book for her birthday!
Win the Complete Hex Hall Series - Enter to win a chance to win the entire series - signed!

I know there are lots, lots more - If you have a giveaway going on, feel free to put a link in my comments.  Go ahead and spread the word!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer Lovin' Read-a-thon

The Summer Lovin’ Readathon is a week-long readathon event hosted by seven independent bloggers! (Oh, Chrys!, Tumbling Books, Effortlessly Reading, Love Life Read, Shelf Addiction, Read Sleep Repeat, and Reviewing Wonderland)

Spend the week reading at your own pace, when and how you want to. There will be daily challenges for awesome prizes and opportunities to get points toward the Grand Prize Packs.

As if that weren’t enough – the week will end with a 24-hr marathon readathon! Twitter parties, mini-challenges, games, prizes given EVERY HOUR, and more chances to get points toward the Grand Prize Packs.

Sign-ups will be open through July 6th. I’m in, are you?!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Feature & Follow - 150 Weeks Old!!

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! This is a blog hop that allows bloggers to gain new followers and find some awesome new blogs to follow themselves!

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host has a blog that they feature each week!

So, if you're a blogger, come join in on the fun!

Here's today's question -

Q:  The #FF is 150 weeks old! And we want to hear from you! What would you change about the hop? What do you like about it? Or just suggest a question to be used for next week!

A: Well, I've only been doing FF for a couple of weeks now, so I'm not really sure that I'm qualified to suggest any changes.  I'm loving it so far!  
And any questions I would suggest would probably have been done at some point during your last 150 weeks, but I'll give it a try!  How about, "What is the longest book you've ever read?"  Or, "What's the worst book you've ever read?"  (I know that one sounds a little mean, but they can't all be fantastic, right?  I think it would be interesting to see.)

Feel free to follow me via GFC, but I'd love it if you could also follow me via BlogLovin', email, RSS or even FB (or any combination thereof) just in case GFC disappears for good!  Links are all to the right.

Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

The Program (The Program, #1)Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Pages: 408, Hardcover
Goodreads Rating: 3.93 stars
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.


Wow, I really LOVED this book!  It was just so incredibly well-written and thought-provoking.  Sloane lives in a world where teen suicide has become so common that the government has resorted to a radical treatment - The Program.  From the very beginning, this book had me hooked.  I loved the emotional turmoil that Sloane felt.  She and her friends live in constant fear of being taken away to The Program.  Any sign of weakness or sadness can get you sent there and when you come back, you are a shell of your former self, devoid of the memories that you previously cherished.  But, in a world filled with death and loss, who wouldn't feel a bit depressed?  Really, I'm pretty sure I would be going crazy in these circumstances!  This is the catch-22 that made the book so incredibly interesting to me.

I absolutely loved the first section of the book.  I actually think it was favorite part.  In this section, Sloane tries to avoid The Program and we really get to love her, her boyfriend James and her best friend Miller.  I felt like the relationships were all very genuine and I was rooting for these characters - and terrified for them at the same time.  I also loved that there were no true "bad guys" in the first section of the book.  You could kind of see both sides of the issue as far as The Program went - I mean, if kids are killing themselves by the thousands, you'd want to do something about it, right?  You could also relate to the parents who send their kids to The Program feeling like it was their only hope to keep their child alive.  Even Sloane herself can see their point of view - she just doesn't like the solution.  I love books like this - books that really make you think about how society could get to a certain point and what you would do in a given situation.

During the second section of the book, Sloane is in The Program, where she slowly realizes what's being taken from her and fights to keep it.  To her surprise, she makes a friend and ally while she's there - Realm, who would like Sloane to be more than just a friend.  In the last section of the book, Sloane is released from the program and struggles to "stay cured" and to make sense of her life without key memories.  Can she fight her way back to who she once was?

Now, I have read a few reviews that don't like the way that mental illness is portrayed in this book and I can understand their viewpoint.  There isn't solid reasoning given to explain why erasing one's memories actually cures the teens so that they no longer want to commit suicide.  It makes sense if the desire to commit suicide simply comes from responding to depressing circumstances (which does seem to be the case for many of the characters), but not if it is an actual mental illness (which it also seems to be in some cases - like with Sloane's best friend Lacey who seemed to have no specific triggers or depressing circumstances before her suicide attempt).  So, I can understand the frustration, especially if someone has dealt with real-life mental illness.  Still, I used a little bit of suspension of disbelief when it came to exactly how they were being cured (I just assumed the drugs they were being given did more than simply remove memories) and focused more on the psychological and character-driven aspects of the book - from those perspectives, it was excellent.  One very minor issue that I did have with the book was the very end (just before the epilogue).  I felt like the ending was suddenly rushed a bit in order to get us to the next book.  It was all just a little too conveniently set up for Sloane.

Overall, I loved this book and am eagerly awaiting the next one in the series!  4.5/5 Stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided by Pulseit (with no requirement for a review, but of course I had to post one!), no other compensation was given and my review was not affected in any way, all opinions are my own***

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review: The Undesirable by S. Celi

The Undesirable (Undesirable, #1)Title: The Undesirable
Author: S. Celi
Publisher:  Kindle Direct Publishing
Release Date: January 28, 2013
Pages: 210, eBook
Goodreads Rating: 3.95 stars
My Rating: 3/5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: What if everything you knew turned out to be a lie?

Charlotte Walker knows how to live under the rule of The Party. She has managed for 18 years. She helps out her drunken mother and keeps life going at a familiar, steady pace. She doesn’t ask questions, even though she has many of them in her heart.

Fostino Sanchez knows how to live under the rule of The Party, too. For 19 years, he’s worked to be the perfect Party member. He knows what must be done to keep Maxwell Cooper in power, and how find the The Undesirables that threaten to take away everything that matters.

As the months go by, what matters most to Fostino is Charlotte Walker.

While their love blooms, danger comes to Charlotte and Fostino’s small hometown of Harrison Corners, OH. Threats they never knew existed could take away all that they care about. And just when these two teens think they know what will come next, Charlotte learns the truth about a secret she has long suspected.

What Charlotte finds out changes everything. 


THE UNDESIRABLE is Charlotte Walker’s story, from her point of view. It is a thrilling, suspenseful tale of love, curiosity, adversity, and maturity against the backdrop of a futuristic war.

Should Charlotte trust Fostino with what she knows? Can she trust anyone? Will she find it in herself to rise up against terrible odds? What if the ultimate Undesirable is her?


This book was good, but it just didn't quite live up to its potential and the story never really grabbed my interest the way it could have.  The book takes place in a not completely unrealistic future where fear of economic disaster has led to a war with Canada ("Really, Canada?" was my first thought, but it does end up making sense and is explained in the book) and has also led to a dictatorship in the US.  The Party rules with an iron fist and anyone who opposes them is labeled an Undesirable and executed.  Everyone lives in constant fear. Charlotte Walker is just an ordinary girl trying to survive in miserable circumstances.  Fostino Sanchez is the only thing that makes her world a little brighter.  He is a staunch supporter of The Party, but he finds himself breaking rules in order to make sure that Charlotte stays safe.  But there might not be anyone who can keep Charlotte safe once the truth about her identity is revealed - a truth that she didn't even know herself.

It sounds like a recipe for a truly amazing book, right?  Unfortunately, it just fell a little flat for me.  I think the main problem came down to character development.  We got to know Charlotte relatively well, but her relationship with Fostino was just kind of thrown at us. There was no real chemistry between them and I didn't have any connection to Fostino at all.  One minute he is looking at Charlotte from across the schoolyard and the next he is risking his life and spilling The Party's secrets to her.  Sometimes it felt to me like Fostino was just a plot device to feed Charlotte Party information rather than a true love interest.  I think the problem may have simply been that the book was too short and Celi needed a little more time to truly develop the relationship between Fostino and Charlotte.

And then there were some simple flaws in logic that I just couldn't get past.  Like, once The Party found out about Charlotte, why didn't they just kill her right away.  They could have easily ordered her death - they killed people for almost no reason at all - it would have seemed like just another person being labeled an Undesirable.  There could have been a cool rescue scene where the SSR (the rebels) save Charlotte from imminent death.  Instead, we get an implausible "They know who you are, but they're not going to do anything about it yet.  Go break up with your boyfriend and then meet us back here later."  Um, okay.  Oh, and the super-secret rebel group - they identify each other by a tattoo branded onto their stomachs.  Really?  That's the most secret spot you could come up with to hide those?  Hope none of the guys gets hot on a summer day because there will be no going shirtless.  I have a list of these types of things that just bugged me because they were completely illogical (I won't share them all because that would just be rude and nitpicky).

Still, despite some frustrations, overall I did enjoy the book and I will most likely read the next in the series. The idea is good and I hope that the author is able to develop the characters more in the next book.  So, in the end I gave The Undesirable 3/5 Stars.

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights the upcoming releases that we're most looking forward to.  Here are my picks - books that are coming out soon!

Insomnia (The Night Walkers, #1)
J.R. Johannson
Release date: June 8th 2013

It’s been four years since I slept, and I suspect it is killing me. 

Instead of sleeping, Parker Chipp enters the dream of the last person he’s had eye contact with. He spends his nights crushed by other people’s fear and pain, by their disturbing secrets—and Parker can never have dreams of his own. The severe exhaustion is crippling him. If nothing changes, Parker could soon be facing psychosis and even death.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. Parker starts going to bizarre lengths to catch Mia’s eye every day. Everyone at school thinks he’s gone over the edge, even his best friend. And when Mia is threatened by a true stalker, everyone thinks it’s Parker.

Suffering blackouts, Parker begins to wonder if he is turning into someone dangerous. What if the monster stalking Mia is him after all?

Branded (A Sinners Series, #1)Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki
Release date: June 28th 2013

Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best. 

Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home. 

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain. 

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me. 
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. 
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Covers

One of the blogs that I follow had a fun meme today that really caught my attention.  It's called Top Ten Tuesday and each week we list a new book-related top ten list.  This week's list is Top Ten Favorite Book Covers (of books that you've read).

Okay, so we all know we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I totally do.  I mean, I LOVE a gorgeous (or just really striking) book cover and the cover illustration is often what grabs my attention enough to pick up a book and read about it.  So, here are my 10 favorites (from looking at my Read list on Goodreads).  If you click on the cover, you will be brought to the book's page on Goodreads.

Splintered (Splintered, #1)  Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)  The Host (The Host, #1)  Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)  UnWholly (Unwind, #2)   Shaman's Crossing (Soldier Son, #1)   The Magician King (The Magicians, #2)  The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)  The Mind Readers (The Mind Readers, #1)  The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: Tracers by Jerome Gilden

Tracers (Timeline,#1)Title: Tracers
Author: Jerome Gilden
Publisher:  Independent
Release Date: March 31, 2012
Pages: 164, eBook
Goodreads Rating: 4.57 stars
My Rating: 1/5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: WARNING: Don’t buy this book if you like sticking with mainstream reading material!

“Imagine being a 19 year old adolescent, who is searching for his parents who seem never to have existed, according to local police, state police, FBI, private investigators." How would that make you feel and what would you do to survive?

Let Jerome Gilden introduce you to Jerry Daniels (19 years old), who used to think he was a normal high school guy and knows he is not crazy, despite other people around him think he is a nut-job who created a set of imaginary parents.

"Yesterday, I graduated from high school; at least I think it was yesterday. I've been losing track of time lately. To tell you the truth, and I swear this is the truth, as crazy as it sounds ... yesterday I went to the future and returned, and I'm really scared by what I've learned."

"I'm no normal teen. I'm the last of the Royalty among a secret race of super-powered humans who are fighting among themselves. War is inevitable. It will affect everyone, even people who don't know there is a war going on ... it will affect you!

"People either want to use me or kill me. For now I'm a Tracer, a guardian of time. My enemies know who I am and where to find me. 'The Dead' are coming, 'la morte', or Morters as they call themselves. They are former Tracers who sacrificed their immortality and the last of their humanity to gain inexplicable powers. They have chosen death as their destiny. They plan to take everything with them."

"Tomorrow ... 'The Dead' and I meet. Tomorrow ... the winner of this war may be decided by what we do, what I do, in our first encounter.

Tomorrow... I will be tested. Tomorrow... I fight for our existence ... and yours."


Okay, I really struggled with whether or not I should even post a review about this book or not.  After all, it's a little, independently published book that most people probably haven't even heard of and, to be frank, I just didn't like it.  But, then I decided that I would have appreciated reading an honest review of the book somewhere so that I wouldn't have bothered with it.  Plus, I had pointed the book out on my FB page when it was free on Amazon because the blurb intrigued me and I thought it would be worth trying out.  I kind of felt like I should let people know what I thought of it since I had mentioned it on FB.  So, here goes...

This book had an intriguing idea behind it and it's obvious that the author put a decent amount of thought into creating the Tracers' mythology. Unfortunately, the writing itself turned out to be extremely amateurish and I just couldn't get past that. The book felt stilted and forced and the author often phrased things in awkward ways.  The whole book felt rushed and the romance elements were extremely cliche.  There was almost NO actual chemistry between the characters, so I didn't care what happened with them.    I got the feeling that the author had read a book on the correct elements to put into a fantasy/adventure novel, but he just didn't know how to turn it into a compelling story.  Several times, I considered just giving up on the book completely (and I probably would have it had been longer), but I HATE to give up on a book - I almost never do - so I thought I would read to the end and find out if the story improved. Unfortunately, it just didn't get much better.

I hate to give any book one star (and especially to discourage a new author), but in this case, I couldn't bring myself to give it any more. 1/5 Stars.