Monday, November 7, 2011

I Love Him to Pieces by Evonne Tsang & Janina Gorrissen: Review
Posted by Tiffany at 7:13 AM
Title: I Love Him to Pieces
Writer: Evonne Tsang (interview)
Artist: Janina Gorrissen (site)
Published: April 28th, 2011  by Graphic Universe
Pages: 128
Series: My Boyfriend is a Monster #1
Rating: 80%
Synopsis: Can love survive the zombie apocalypse? Maybe Dicey's first chance at a real relationship was dead from the start. She's the star of her high school baseball team, and Jack's the star of the science program. Her idea of a study session includes sleeping in the sun, and his idea of a good game involves dungeons and dice. But opposites start attracting when they're assigned to be partners in a class project. Now an outbreak of a weird infection--it eats your brains and leaves you hungry for more--might not mean just the end of their first date. It might mean the end of everything. Will their relationship fall apart faster than zombies in the Florida sun, or can Dicey and Jack beat the odds and find a happy ending? (Goodreads)

Story Review: 35/50 points

This really felt like two stories. The first was about Dicey and Jack getting to know each other and falling in love. The second was about that love being immediately put to the test by a zombie plague. It was all very cute and fun, but it was just a bit too young for me. The pacing was a bit off: some parts were too slow and then suddenly it was weeks later and things were completely different. I'd recommend it to younger teens and preteens. There was nothing sexual or anything else to make it inappropriate for kids.

Graphics Review: 40/50

I am not a huge fan of black and white comics. It's harder for me to get really absorbed in them because after a while the pages all kind of blur together. However, this was cleanly drawn and very readable. My main complaint was about the facial expressions. Dicey especially kept making this incredibly stupid happy face that made me want to smack her. Other than that, the art was very clear and went well with the story. I would have loved to have seen it in color, though.

Bonus points: 5

I'm adding bonus points here because this would be a great comic for younger readers. A lot of the big comics now have scanty costumes, tons of sex, and tons of cussing- and I'm not complaining about any of these things, but it does make me uncomfortable recommending them to younger readers. It's nice to find a comic that is cute, sweet, short, and fun that I could recommend to a gradeschooler or a teen.

Total Score - 80 points out of 100 possible, or 80%

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Fallen Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood: Review
Posted by Tiffany at 8:48 PM
Title: The Fallen Blade
Author: Jon Courtenay Grimwood (site)
Published: January 27, 2011 by 
Pages: 432
Buy: AmazonBook Depo/ Powell's
Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis: In the depths of night, customs officers board a galley in a harbor and overpower its guards. In the hold they find oil and silver, and a naked boy chained to the bulkhead. Stunningly beautiful but half-starved, the boy has no name. The officers break the boy’s chains to rescue him, but he escapes. 
Venice is at the height of its power. In theory Duke Marco commands. But Marco is a simpleton so his aunt and uncle rule in his stead. They command the seas, tax the colonies, and, like those in power before them, fear assassins better than their own. 
In a side chapel, Marco’s fifteen-year old cousin prays for deliverance from her forced marriage. It is her bad fortune to be there when Mamluk pirates break in to steal a chalice, but it is the Mamluks’ good luck—they kidnap her. 
In the gardens beside the chapel, Atilo, the Duke’s chief assassin, prepares to kill his latest victim. Having cut the man’s throat, he turns back, having heard a noise, and finds a boy crouched over the dying man, drinking blood from the wound. The speed with which the boy dodges a dagger and scales a wall stuns Atilo. And the assassin knows he has to find the boy. 
Not to kill him, but because he’s finally found what he thought he would never find. Someone fit to be his apprentice..

Review: One thing that Grimwood is very good at is setting the scene. I really felt like I was immersed in his alternate Venice. The descriptions ran a bit long sometimes, but they were so well done that I didn't mind. Unfortunately, all of this describing (no doubt the product of extensive research) left little room for character development. I had a good mental image of each character, but no real feel for them. The story was intriguing, I was caught up in all of the political plots and underground goings-on, but at times it dragged. There was some very graphic violence and some scary sexual stuff, but nothing that felt out of place, over the top, or added just for shock value. I'm sure a lot of people were upset by this, but it's not unrealistic for the times. Unfortunately, it felt like the author spent 10 years researching and planning out the plot and setting for the book, but then just threw in some so-so characters. They had so much potential, but the depth just wasn't there. Also, the way thing turned out between Tycho and Giulietta was not very satisfying. You know, just as a side note. Would I read a sequel? Maybe. It might give me a chance to really love the characters. A lot of first books are a bit sparse on character development, especially when they have amazing and detailed plots. However, I'm not sure if there's enough pull there for me to give it another chance. 

PS- The kindle version is only $4.99 right now, check it out.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Review: Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
Posted by Michaela at 5:18 PM

Title: Lockdown
Author: Alexander Gordon Smith
Published: October 27, 2009 by
Farrar Straus Giroux
Pages: 273
Escape from Furnace
Buy: Amazon/ Book Depo
From the publisher through Zeitghost Media
Rating: 2.5/5
Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison. Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden from the eyes of the world. (Goodreads synopsis)

Review: There are tons of glowing reviews of Lockdown on Amazon and Goodreads. I hate to say it, but I don't really agree with most of them.

I don't think I'm really in the target audience for this book.
It would appeal much more to middle-school boys. The main focus points of the book were the movie-like action scenes (which is why it will probably make a good movie), which was a problem for me because I don't care much for books that get you through only based on action.

The premise of the book was interesting - an underground prison for children? Yes, please! But the descriptions of Furnace (and yes, I say "descriptions" because there were about a thousand) were rambling. Halfway through the book, I nearly quit. Yes, I understand that it's a terrible place. Please move the story along.

The characters felt a little one-dimensional to me. None of the characters really had any depth or motivation, except for escaping the prison. Character depth isn't always necessary in young adult books, but you have to have a VERY good plot for me to overlook it. And this book had a dragging and often boring plot. Some things were hard to believe (for instance, where were the guards during all their little adventures?) but I'm sure I would be more open to these if I were younger.

All in all, I would still recommend this book to some of my friends. My younger brother would probably love it. I would like to know what happens next, but I don't want to waste my precious reading time pushing through tons of boring transition scenes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Darkness Falling by Peter Crowther: Review
Posted by Tiffany at 5:43 AM
Title: Darkness Falling
Author: Peter Crowther  
Published: September 27th, 2011 by Angry Robot
Pages: 400
Forever Twilight #1 
Buy: AmazonBook DepoPowell's 
Rating: 4.5/5
It was a typical all-American backwater – until the night the monsters came.
When four employees of KMRT Radio investigate an unearthly light that cuts off communication with the outside world, they discover that something has taken the place of their friends and fellow townfolk, and imbued them with malign intentions. Little do they know, the phenomenon is not unique to the town of Jesman’s Bend… (from Angry Robot's site) Goodreads synopsis gives stuff away, stay away from it!

Review: I knew the second that I read the praise from Steven Erikson in the front of my egalley ("If I'm going to have anyone tell me about the end of the world, it will have to be Peter") that I was going to love this book. If you are a fan of fantasy, then you have probably read something by Erikson. There is nothing I love more than picking up a random book that looks like it has potential and finding the endorsement of an author that I already love. It's like confirmation of my good taste. This book definitely did not disappoint. I'll start off with a warning: there are a few disturbing elements to this book. One of the main characters is a serial killer (yes, the choice of characters is insane and wonderful) and there are allusions to sexual abuse in his past, by his mother. There are probably only a few sentences, no drawn-out graphic scenes, but it is disturbing. Other than that, I didn't really see anything that would make me label it as inappropriate for teens. Now, on to the good stuff! The book focuses on four different characters (one is a set of four characters, actually) and switches back and forth between them. The first is a middle-aged man who is fighting with his wife on a plane because he is ogling other women (and then the other survivors on the plane). The second is a young man who happens to be a serial killer, as he is in the process of killing another girl. The third is a group of people working at a radio station. The fourth is a woman who appears to be completely insane. We get a little bit window of what was going on for each of the people right before the "event" and then follow them as they try to figure out what the heck is going on. I love, love, loved the first third of the book. It was so tense, eerie, creepy. They are wondering around, trying to figure out what has happened, and there are no clues. In fact, there are no feasible theories at all. It's not like most apocalyptic stories where there are choices; nuclear bomb, EMP, germ warfare, invasion. The characters are completely baffled, and so was (am?) I. Just when you think you can't stand the tension anymore, that things can't get any creepier, they do. In fact, they get freaking terrifying. I was reading this in the middle of the day and I was still creeped out. I moved away from the windows, locked the doors, and wished I had a baseball bat. I haven't read a book that scared me this much in years. Probably not since I bought an adult horror anthology when I was about 10 and read through it. (I guess I thought that it would be about as scary as Fear Street. Couldn't sleep for years.) I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was fast-paced and absorbing, but there was one little downside. I didn't like the characters from the radio station. I don't know why, but I just never really connected with them. Maybe it's because they're the only group with nobody "odd"? However, there is plenty of room for character development (two more books, yay!) so maybe they'll grow on me. If you are a fan of apocalyptic stories, horror stories, or amazing combinations of characters stuck together then do yourself a favor and go get this book. I can't put words to how much I enjoyed it, and I can't wait for everyone I know to read it so that I have someone to talk to about it! Also- yes, I know that the cover is cheesy. Please disregard it.

P.S. If you've read this, what did you think? How long will Virgil make it?!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dreamland Giveaway Winner
Posted by Tiffany at 12:01 PM
The winner of our giveaway for Dreamland by Alyson Noel was...

Samantha from Arizona!

Winner has been notified, prize should be on the way soon.
Thanks, everyone, for reading and entering!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen: Comic Review
Posted by Tiffany at 2:15 PM
Title: The Last Dragon
Writer: Jane Yolen (site)
Artist: Rebecca Guay (site)
Published: August 31st, 2011  by Dark Horse
Pages: 144
Rating: 89%
Synopsis: Master storyteller Jane Yolen (Owl Moon, Sword of the Rightful King) and celebrated fantasy artist Rebecca Guay (Swamp Thing, Magic: The Gathering) weave a textured and lyrical tale of adventure, homelands, and heroism the hard way.Two hundred years ago, humans drove the dragons from the islands of May. Now, the last of the dragons rises to wreak havoc anew — with only a healer’s daughter and a kite-flying would-be hero standing in its way. (Goodreads)

Story Review:

Plot - 23/25 points This was very much in the style of classic fairy tales. I love Jane Yolen's writing, from her Dragon Pit series, which was a favorite of mine when I was growing up, to her kids books- which I love reading to my kids. Her style goes well with graphic novels, if a bit wordier than the usual comic. One thing that bothered me: she set if up with the history of the dragons, making me feel sorry for them, but then the dragon was the villain throughout the rest of the story. It seemed like a mixed message.

Voice - 18/25 points The only problem with classic fairy tales is that the voice is a bit detached, flat. I liked the story, but the characters didn't really pop. I didn't get a feel for who was telling the story, or for the characters it focused on.

Graphics Review:

Artwork - 24/25 points This book is so beautiful! I LOVE Rebecca Guay's artwork. I would love to own a few of her prints. The settings were very detailed and gorgeous, putting you right in the story. The style went very well with the story. It looked almost like a series of old stained glass windows, a bit like the beginning scenes in Beauty and the Beast. The only thing that bothered me was the way faces were drawn. They seemed a bit too alien. 

Coloring (or lack thereof) - 22/25 points The kind of washed-out colors made for a beautfiul, antique-feeling setting, but they also made the whole thing kind of run together. I would have liked a few more brilliant colors thrown in.

Bonus points:

This is a great graphic novel for kids, teens, or adults. I'm awarding 2 bonus points because it would make an amazing book for an early reader.

Total Score - 89 points out of 100 possible, or 89%

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sacrifice & Crave by Melinda Metz & Laura J. Burns: Reviews
Posted by Michaela at 11:10 PM
Title: Crave
Author: Laura J. Burns (site) & Melinda Metz (site)
Published: September 21st, 2010 by Simon & Schuster
Pages: 278
Buy: AmazonBook DepoPowell's 
Source: Bought

Rating: 4.5/5
Shay could never do the things her friends could--never try out for sports, never go to parties, never fall in love. Because of the mysterious and incurable blood disorder she was born with, she can barely make it through three days of school a week.
But now, her doctor-turned-stepfather has a brand-new treatment that he thinks will change everything. And it does. As soon as the new blood starts pumping into Shay's veins, she has visions of a different life...Gabriel's life. She sees an orphanage, loss, fangs, blood, and lust that she can't explain.
Is Gabriel real? And if he is, could he really be what she thinks he is?
Review: This book was really hard to put down! It had been a long time since I had found a book that really drew me in like Crave. The main character is unique, too; she has a blood disease that makes her extremely weak. The other characters were kind of boring, however, and some of the dialogue was annoying. The plot line was more than enough to make up for that. 4.5/5 campers.

Title: Sacrifice
 Published: September 20th, 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Pages: 256
Buy: AmazonBook DepoPowell's 
Source: GalleyGrab

Rating: 3/5
Synopsis: Gabriel and Shay are convinced that they can make their relationship work. Knowing that Shay is half-vampire, Gabriel thinks that his coven will embrace her as one of their own, but instead they view her as an abomination, a thing that doesn’t belong in either world. And they want her dead. Now Gabriel must make the ultimate decision - watch his love be killed by his coven or defy the people closest to him, the people he has spent centuries with to save her. (Goodreads)

Review: I was expecting tons from this book. I had already fallen in love with Crave and was expecting a similar adventure in Sacrifice. I was quite let down. It was a good book, but it wasn't as exciting as the first book. It was a slow read and I found myself easily distracted from the story. There wasn't a lot of action. And the silly characters seemed to stand out more, probably because I wasn't taken in by the plot. I would definitely read the sequel if you're dying to find out what happens (which I was!), but don't go in expecting perfection. 3/5 campers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld: Review
Posted by Tiffany at 9:23 PM
Title: Goliath
Author: Scott Westerfeld (site)
Published: September 20th, 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Pages: 560
Buy: AmazonBook DepoPowell's 
Source: GalleyGrab

Rating: 4.5/5
Alek and Deryn are on the last leg of their round-the-world quest to end World War I, reclaim Alek’s throne as prince of Austria, and finally fall in love. The first two objectives are complicated by the fact that their ship, the Leviathan, continues to detour farther away from the heart of the war (and crown). And the love thing would be a lot easier if Alek knew Deryn was a girl. (She has to pose as a boy in order to serve in the British Air Service.) And if they weren’t technically enemies.
The tension thickens as the Leviathan steams toward New York City with a homicidal lunatic on board: secrets suddenly unravel, characters reappear, and nothing is at it seems in this thunderous conclusion to Scott Westerfeld’s brilliant trilogy.

Review: I love Scott Westerfeld. Peeps was amazing (seriously, everyone, this series is tragically underappreciated), Uglies was wonderful, and his MG steampunk trilogy has been one of my favorite reads lately. The strange mix of history and crazy genetic mutations, steampunk, girls posing as boys to become bad-a airman, and princes who know a thing or two about mechanics (be still, my heart!) was so addictive that I'm sad to see the end of the trilogy. I LOVE this world. The story was great, the characters were great, but the world was amazing. It's World War 1- but the dividing issue is very different. Some countries believe in using genetic mutation, hybrid creature-airships (insane, right?) and basically biologically enhanced creatures in place of machinery. The other side thinks that those hybrids are an abomination, going for awesome steampunk machinery. The battles between these two types of aircraft (also between machine walkers and giant fighting animals) were so great- it's almost hard to wrap your mind around how very different this world is.

The only thing that kept me from putting this on my list of all-time favorites was the voice. It was (appropriately) a bit young for me. One of Westerfeld's strengths as a writer is being able to adapt his series perfectly for the intended age group. Some people make YA sound too adult, some people make it sound too young. He has managed to make three different series in three different age groups, all of them pitch-perfect. (Peeps may be older YA, but it feels like adult.) Yes, I know that he's got six series, but I've only read three (so far). I love his writing! This latest series had amazing illustrations by Keith Thompson. I am dying  to get some of the prints available on his site. It was so much easier to picture the crazy creatures and contraptions in this series after I got a look at some of Thompson's pictures.

The writing was fantastic, the world was unique and amazing, and the artwork was to die for. Go read this series!

Monday, September 19, 2011

All These Things I've Done: Giveaway Winner!
Posted by Tiffany at 9:01 AM
The winner of our giveaway for All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin is....

Patricia M from Tucson!

Congrats! Prize is being shipped out by the publisher.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst
Posted by Tiffany at 12:50 PM
Title: Drink, Slay, Love
Author: Sarah Beth Durst (site)
Published: September 13th, 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 320
Buy: AmazonBook DepoPowell's 
Source: GalleyGrab

Rating: 3.5/5
Synopsis: Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops. 

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do? (Goodreads)

Review: I didn't realize until I was looking at the author's site (to see if there was going to be a sequel to DSL) that this is not my first book by Durst. Last year I read a wonderful book called Into the Wild about a girl whose mother is a character who escaped from a fairy tale. This is trouble enough, but as the book begins we learn that the fairy tale wants its characters back. Julie has to try and rescue her mom and save the city while trying to keep from getting sucked into one of the fairy tales around her. I loved this book! I think I read it right before I started blogging and never got around to reviewing it. I would love to go on and on here, but my point is this- already a fan of Durst. 

Drink, Slay, Love was very different from Into the Wild. However, one of my favorite aspects of Julie's tale was present in Pearl's as well- irreverence. This is a very fun story, a strange mix of scary and silly. The vampires are remorseless, murderous, and evil. Pearl's nonchalant attitude toward violence and the whole people are livestock was somehow funny and casual, although her family leaned more toward terrifying. Even after she begins to change, there is a detachment and moral ambiguity that were amusing. The story moves quickly, there aren't really any lulls. Some of the plot twists were just plain absurd, but it fit in well with the odd/crazy/silly vibe of the story. I liked the characters, but I can't say that I really came to love them. It was a fun ride and I'll definitely pick up whatever Durst puts out next, but I won't be up nights wondering what is going to become of Pearl.
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout + Dark Territory by J. Gabriel Gates
Posted by Tiffany at 5:50 AM
Why hasn't anyone else noticed this?

I know The Tracks isn't getting a ton of buzz on the blogosphere, but I've definitely seen it at the local book store. I wish they would at least check to see if any books in the same genre or at the very least published in the same summer had used the same stock photo. Dark Territory just came out in July, for pete's sake! I commented on one blog, but when I realized that there were about 20 in my google reader who had posted the new cover, I decided to just post. Seriously, there have got to be enough stock photos out there to go around.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dreamland by Alson Noel: Giveaway + Trailer
Posted by Tiffany at 1:57 PM
Title: Dreamland
Author: Alyson Noel (site) (FB)
Publisher: Macmillan
Series: Riley Bloom #3
Synopsis: Riley’s finding that the afterlife can be a lonely place when all you do is focus on work. So she goes to the place where dreams happen, hoping to find a way to contact her sister, Ever. She meets the director, who tells her about the two ways to send dreams. As a Dream Jumper, a person can jump into a dreamer’s dream, share a message, and participate. As a Dreamweaver, an entire dream can be created in a studio and sent to the dreamer. But Dreamweaving was outlawed decades ago, and the studio was boarded up. Thinking it’s her only way to reach out to her sister, Riley goes in search of the old studio. There she finds a ghost boy, who’s been creating and sending nightmares to people for years. In order to stop him and reach out to Ever, Riley is going to have to confront and overcome her own fears.

Giveaway! Same as usual: open to anyone that Book Depo ships to. If an int'l entrant wins, I will ship them a book and select a second (US) winner to receive the copy from the publisher. This giveaway ends on September 26th and winners will be emailed/ announced the next day. Just fill out the form to enter!

The Shadowing: The Hunted by Adam Slater: Review
Posted by Tiffany at 1:46 PM
Title: The Shadowing: Hunted
Author: Adam Slater 
Published: September 13th, 2011 by EgmontUSA
Pages: 208
Buy: AmazonBook DepoPowell's 
Series: The Shadowing #1
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4.75/5

Once every century, the barrier between the human world and the demon realm begins to break down. Creatures gather, anxiously waiting to cross the divide, to bring death and destruction from their world to ours. This time is called The Shadowing. 

Callum Scott has always known that there is a supernatural world out there—he’s seen ghosts for as long as he can remember. Lately, he’s had visions of children being brutally murdered by a terrifying creature. Then the visions start coming true, and Callum realizes that he’s being hunted, too.
Driven by a dark destiny, he must stand against the demons that threaten our world.
And The Shadowing is almost here. . . . (Goodreads)

Review: I have to admit that I went into this one with low expectations. Teen who can see ghosts- it's been done to death. However, I knew from the first page that The Shadowing was bringing something new to the table. For starters: Callum is a very different king of character, a modern take on the classic Good Guy/Hero. He is a fairly serious boy who lives in a tiny cottage with his grandmother and tends to avoid relationships, ever since he was ostracized as a child for seeing ghosts. He doesn't try to help the ghosts cross over and they don't stare at him longingly. These ghosts seem to be completely unaware of his existence. We get glimpses of these ghosts throughout the story, but they aren't the main feature. Something is hunting children across the UK, killing them and devouring their eyes. Callum begins to have terrifying visions and senses something dark coming his way. The way these monsters are described is wonderfully creepy. I was genuinely scared (silly me, reading a story like this at night) by the thing stalking Callum and the descriptions of the killings and the ghosts around town were equally gruesome and scary. This was, overall, a very scary book. There isn't a lot of comedic relief or a romance blossoming to take your mind off of it, either. I loved this book! It was impossible to put down, short enough to read in one day, and full of action. The covers (especially the older one) are a bit cheesy and the Title:Subtitle format is a bit 90s, but don't be put off by that. This is a great story, with plenty of potential to be a great series. I can't wait to read the second book!

P.S. This is the second amazing book I've read by Egmont USA lately (Ashes was so good!), definitely going to see what else they have going on.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hades Giveaway Winners!
Posted by Tiffany at 10:04 AM
Using, the winner of Hades by Alexandra Adornetto was....

Carol T. of South Africa!

Since the winner was international, I'll be sending her a copy and the publisher will be sending a copy to....

Donna S. of St Louis, MO!

Congrats, guys! Emails have been sent and prizes should be on their way soon. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Shelter by Harlan Coben: Review
Posted by Tiffany at 8:51 PM
Title: Shelter
Author: Harlan Coben (site)
Published: September 6th, 2011 by Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 288
Buy: AmazonBook DepoPowell's 
Series: Mickey Bolitar #1
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: Mickey Bolitar's year can't get much worse. After witnessing his father's death and sending his mom to rehab, he's forced to live with his estranged uncle Myron and switch high schools.

A new school comes with new friends and new enemies, and lucky for Mickey, it also comes with a great new girlfriend, Ashley. For a while, it seems like Mickey's train-wreck of a life is finally improving - until Ashley vanishes without a trace. Unwilling to let another person walk out of his life, Mickey follows Ashley's trail into a seedy underworld that reveals that this seemingly sweet, shy girl isn't who she claimed to be. And neither was Mickey's father. Soon, Mickey learns about a conspiracy so shocking that it makes high school drama seem like a luxury - and leaves him questioning everything about the life he thought he knew.

First introduced to readers in Harlan Coben's latest adult novel, Live Wire, Mickey Bolitar is as quick-witted and clever as his uncle Myron, and eager to go to any length to save the people he cares about. With this new series, Coben introduces an entirely new generation of fans to the masterful plotting and wry humor that have made him an award-winning, internationally bestselling, and beloved author.(Goodreads)

Review: I want to preface this review with one statement: I am not a fan of thrillers or mysteries. In fact, I avoid them like the plague. This could be because they all seem to have old ladies or aging detectives for main characters. I'm really not sure where my aversion to them originated. I looked askance at the ads for Shelter for a long time before I broke down and requested it. I have no idea what made me decide to try it- maybe because it's a famous author trying out YA? Maybe because the main character seemed pretty bad-a? I'm not sure why, but I am  sure that I made the right decision. Shelter was a great book- exciting, impossible to figure out, and full of great characters. It's been a long time since I've read anything with a plot that stumped me to this degree. I would get vague ideas about what might be going on, but it wasn't until the very end that things were explained- and definitely not everything. The best part? The explanation is crazy. It opens up a whole new world of questions and possibilities. I can't wait to see where things go. This was one of those books that is impossible to put down. There is no down time. Things are always happening. Every time I stepped away from the book (was forced to take a break), I spent the whole time wondering about what would happen next. It really got into my head. Even now, I can't quite shake Mickey and his world from my thoughts. I'm even thinking about picking up one of Coben's adult books- and that would be a pretty big step for me. You would think that a thriller would be entirely plot-driven, but the characters weren't just there to be swept away by what was going on. They were fully fleshed-out and just as important as the story itself. Mickey is one of my favorite YA male characters to date. He's very realistic, more of a guy's guy than a lot of the male characters out there. I loved his refusal to put up with nonsense and drama. I'm really hoping that this series goes on for a long time. There is so much potential for character development, so many different directions the story could go in.

In short, this was a great book! If you're not a big fan of thrillers (or even a thriller newbie like me), this is a great place to start. Beware- you won't be able to put it down. Start it when you can afford to spend the entire day absorbed in Mickey's world.
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin: Giveaway + Trailer
Posted by Tiffany at 11:08 AM
Title: All These Things I've Done
Author: Gabrielle Zevin (site)(FB)
Publisher: Macmillan (book site)
Synopsis: In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidentally poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family. (goodreads)

I have heard nothing but great things about this book and I can't wait to read it! Scroll down for a chance to win a copy.

This giveaway is open to anyone that Book Depo ships to. The publisher is offering a copy to people with US addresses only, so if picks an Int'l winner, I will send them a copy and the publisher will send a second US winner a copy. No need to follow, although I'll love you forever if you do! GIVEAWAY ENDS SEPTMEBER 18TH. Form below:

Thanks to Tara at Zeitghost Media and Macmillan for providing the giveaway copy.