Friday, May 31, 2013

Review: The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Evolution of Mara Dyer
Mara Dyer #2

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Publication Date: October 23, 2012

Publisher: Simon & Shuster Books for Young Readers

Genre: Paranormal



Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.
She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.
She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.
In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

My Thoughts: Okay, so my fellow blogger and friend, Jenn, has been trying to get me to read this series for what seems like forever.  For whatever reason, I kept putting it off.  I even bought the first book while it was on sale a while back but it has been sitting on my bookshelf ever since, just collecting dust.  Then, my daughter ran off with my e-reader and I turned to my bookshelf and there it sat.  So, I picked up the first book and I am glad I did.  I was so impressed with the first that I continued on to this novel right after and now I am waiting in stunned anticipation for the third, set to be released in October 2013 last I checked.

This book series is definitely different.  The main character, Mara Dyer, is pretty much certifiable - even when you are in her head since it is first person. She is going through a lot of paranormal stuff, that is true, but she is also pretty insane if you ask me.  There are moments of clarity and I think, "Wow, maybe Mara isn't as crazy as I thought she was after all."  Then she sees or does something else to make me question her sanity all over again.  I know some people may argue this fact (since, really, there is a lot of weird things going on around her as well as this), but sometimes you have to face the facts.  Mara Dyer is, in fact, at least a little nutty.  Despite this (and her hallucinations that are sometimes real, sometimes not) Mara had grown on me.

Noah Shaw is delectable and a trooper, I have to say.  He sticks with Mara through it all.  He believes in her even when she starts to doubt herself.  The fact that he has a supernatural ability like hers (-ish) certainly doesn't hurt him believing in her either.  He is willing to do so much for her it is just incredible.  He is so good and sweet to her and sometimes I think (she does as well) he is the only thing keeping her from going off of the deep end.

This series was strange, but good strange.  Following a first-person narrative when the narrator doesn't always know what is real and what is not and is constantly seeing things to make you question it is something that I am not entirely used to.  Of course, Mara is a little more sane than what I seem to be portraying in this review (although, not much more).

I am really looking forward to the third book in this series (The Retribution of Mara Dyer, due out in October 2013) and I am glad I finally picked it up.  I enjoyed The Evolution of Mara Dyer a little more than The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer so I can only imagine what number three has in store for me.  Loved this book and love this series!

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Author: Amanda Hocking

Publication Date: August 7th, 2012

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal



Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They're the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone's attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs. She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group. Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different. Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.

My Thoughts: I've been wanting to read this ever since I finished the Trylle Trilogy a while ago. Amanda Hocking has an addictive and persuasive writing style. She's really great at luring you in and making you crave for more.

So how suiting for her to write a book about girls who lure you in with their presence and voice. These girls show up in a small town and everyone is simultaneously attracted to them as well as terrified of them. They have a very commanding presence that makes you take notice and hang on their every word, especially those of the male variety. But at the same time, they are confusing everyone and freaking them out. But the former feeling definitely overwhelms the latter.

Introduce the main character Gemma. She's a really level headed, smart, determined and down to earth girl. Her biggest and only vice is water. She lives to swim, to be in the water, and just lives for all things aquatic. She's seriously addicted. She might as well be half fish, it's like she needs swimming to survive. She lives at home with her awkward but supportive dad, and her very controlling and protective older sister, Harper.  Harper is almost like a secondary main character in this story. She plays a really big roll in how everything unfolds, and there were quite a few chapters where we just got to learn about her own background and her own point of view. I really liked that and it was a fun added dynamic that kept the story fresh and the pace fast.

Everything seems pretty great with Gemma's swimming going swimmingly (hehe), and the boy she has a serious crush on just happens to like her back. But then the mysterious trio of girls, that used to be 4 girls, decide to focus in on Gemma. When they start hanging around and demanding her attention, everything gets messed up real fast.Those girls are bad news bears. It's a big old down hill slide from there on in, and it was great.

I guess that sounds weird. But I just really enjoy a book that never gets boring and keeps the energy and interest high. It's not easy to find fault in a book that keeps your turning the pages relentlessly. Amanda hocking and peaked my wonder yet again by taking on a brand new fantasy element. I think she pretty much mastered it and I really liked her take on these fantastical beings. I will definitely be reading more into the series!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (68)

Waiting on Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly awaiting.


Author: Amanda Hocking

Expected Publication Date: June 4th 2013



With Penn and Lexi determined to kill Gemma and replace her with another siren, Gemma's life is in grave danger...unless she can break the curse before it's too late. With the help of Harper and Daniel, she'll delve deep into her enemies' mythical past--and their darkest secrets. It's her only hope of saving everything she holds dear: her family, her life, and her relationship with Alex--the only guy she's ever loved.

My Thoughts: I've only read the first one in the series, but I really really enjoyed it so I am definitely looking forward to this awesome release :).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (64)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by  MizB at Should Be Reading

To Participate you:
-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two 'teaser' sentences from somewhere on that page

This week's teaser comes from:


Author: Amanda Hocking



"You're a truly beautiful girl," Lexi commented once she'd stopped laughing. She leaned in closer to her, resting her hand on Gemma's leg, and stared at her. "You know that right?"

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this start of a new series by Amanda Hocking! It was a great, quick and easy read and I will have a review posted for it this Thursday :). Can't wait for book #2.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross

The Girl with the Iron Touch
(Steampunk Chronicles #3)

Author: Kady Cross

Publication Date: May 28, 2013

Publisher: HarperTEEN

Genre: Steampunk



In 1897 London, something not quite human is about to awaken

When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What's left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons—or forfeit her friends' lives.

With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, the young duke's sanity is close to the breaking point. Seeking help, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. When Jack kisses her, Finley must finally confront her true feelings for him...and for Griffin.

Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily, from Whitechapel's desolate alleyways to Mayfair's elegant mansions. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine.

To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist's ultimate creation—an automaton more human than machine. And if she's to have any chance at triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn't know she has....

My Thoughts: Oh my gosh! I was so excited to read this book because I love Emily! She has always been one of my favourite characters in the series, so having a book that is more focused on her was awesome! I was not at all disappointed by The Girl with the Iron Touch. It is another great addition to the Steampunk Chronicles. There is so much that's going on and it really wrapped things up nicely in the end, although there was still a little bit of a question since The Machinist still hasn't really been beaten forever.

All of my favourite characters are there, along with a new one to join the team. Finley and Griffin are working more on their relationship (since she picked him, I don't know what the synopsis is talking about because I don't remember a kiss between Jack and Finley in this book). Sam had something important to tell Emily, but she was kidnapped. She's being forced to do something evil for The Machinist, and she would rather die. Dandy finally gets someone too, much to Finley's jealousy, even though she picked Griffin.

There is quite a bit going on and more on the romance side of things, since everything has to be wrapped up in the end. There is still a lot of action though, so don't worry if you're not a fan of a lot of romance. I really enjoyed almost everything about this book and I'm a bit sad that it's supposed to be the last one. I could always use more Dandy, he's just awesome and we still don't really know much about him, luckily there is a novella about him that is supposed to be out soon. So I'll have to look forward to that.

The book is well written, it's very easy to lose yourself in the story. I really like Kady Cross' writing style and the multiple narrators so the reader isn't left in the dark about half of what goes on. I'm going to be looking forward to more from her!

*A copy was provided for review by the publisher and NetGalley*

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Owl Post (53)

Owl Post is a weekly feature at Owl Read It where we let you know what new books we got in the past week, as well as recap reviews posted during the week. It is inspired by  The Story Siren's In My Mailbox Meme.

Jenn's Haul:
No new books for me this week!

Meghan's Haul:
I got two things to share this week :) I got my mother's day book in the mail and I also received a super awesome signed bookmark from A.M Hargrove! :D

(the Penguin Drop Cap Collection Edition)

Kristal's Haul:
Nothing this week. All of my new release books are coming out on Tuesday so hopefully I will have a bit of a haul then :)

Reviews from this week:


What new reads did you get this week?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Review: The Iron Queen by Kaitlin Bevis

The Iron Queen
Daughters of Zeus #3

Author: Kaitlin Bevis

Publication Date: May 17, 2013

Publisher: Musa Publishing

Genre: Mythology

Thank You Kaitlin Bevis for the review copy!



Life is hell for Persephone. Zeus will stop at nothing to gain access to the living realm and the Underworld, and as the only living god with a right to both, Persephone’s in trouble. Captured and tortured beyond the limits of her resolve, Persephone must find the power to stand against Zeus. But will she be strong enough?

Meanwhile, Hades contemplates desperate measures to rescue his queen. Persephone never thought of herself as dangerous, but there’s a reason gods never marry for love. A being with the power to destroy all of creation shouldn’t place more value in one individual than the rest of the planet. But Hades...Hades would break the world for her.

To save the world and stop both Hades and Zeus, Persephone must make a difficult choice. One that may cost her everything.

My Thoughts:  This is one of my favourite book series.  Hades and Persephone have recently become one of my favourite mythological couples to read about and this series really hits it home.  The last novel (Daughter of Earth and Sky) left off on a MAJOR cliffhanger, so I was really anxious to get my hands on this one and as soon as I did, I didn't put it back down.

Persephone has been through a lot in the past couple of books, but this one definitely pushes her to limits that  she is not entirely sure that she can endure.  After being captured by Zeus, she is tortured endlessly as he tries to gain access to not only her mother's realm, but the Underworld as well.  Meanwhile, Hades is hell-bent (get it? pun intended) on rescuing his wife from Zeus' clutches and is willing to do whatever it takes.

I love Persephone.  In the first book (aptly entitled Persephone) she was brave, but really naive.  Not that her naivety was entirely her fault since she had been kept in the dark her whole life about her birthright and the fact that she was, in fact, a goddess.  Her naivety also got her into dangerous and harmful situations that has carried on up until The Iron Queen.  She is slowly learning from her mistakes and in this novel we certainly get a major look at how powerful a goddess Persephone will turn out to be when as she grows.  She is definitely a force to be reckoned with by the end of the novel and I was thoroughly impressed with her transformation (as is everyone else involved).

I wish I had seen more of Hades.  He was in the novel plenty, don't get me wrong, but I just love him so much I wanted more of him.  It actually makes me want to go back and reread the entire series just to get my Hades fix (in fact, I think I will do that).  He is just so... Hades.  He didn't hesitate to put everything on hold and do everything within his power to track down and save Persephone pretty much the moment she was taken.

I sorely missed the Underworld as Hades was, for the most part, on Earth for this novel.  I missed all of the Underworld characters that I loved (Cassandra in particular, although she did make an appearance) and the realm itself.

All in all, I read this novel pretty much in one sitting like the previous two.  I do not have enough praise for this series, it is fantabulous.  If you love mythology and you haven't yet picked this one up I suggest you do, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: Specials by Scott Westerfeld


Author: Scott Westerfeld

Publication Date: May 3rd, 2011

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre: YA/Dystopia



"Special Circumstances": The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor -- frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary. And now she's been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid. The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more. Still, it's easy to tune that out -- until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.

My Thoughts: The ending to the previous book, Pretties, left us with a mega cliff hanger. You can find my review for it here. Luckily, Specials picks up very shortly after where Pretties left off!

As per usual, Tally's world is in a spin of madness and constant change. She presently finds herself exactly where she has never wanted to be. She is now a member of the Specials. Which are like the rest of the pretties, only cruel and hard, and made to be used as weapons. Her and her, now friend again, Shay are members of a special division and are made as a pet project by the ever evil and maniacal Dr. Cable.

So once again, Tally is brainwashed into believing that this is exactly where she wants to be. But she is fortunate enough to have people who are willing to fight to get the real Tally back. Although this time it definitely proves to be the biggest and hardest fight yet. There was a lot of loss and sadness and violence in this book compared to the others. I found it to be darker and more matured and even more harsh than the previous two.

Not much time is spent in Tally's city this time. We spend most of in outside and far away from the borders. Everything is changing, and rapidly thanks to a city that chooses not to uphold the same laws of division and beauty as Tally's. As a member of the specials it is Tally's duty to take out this new threat. And she sets out to do just that, but everything changes once you are out in the wild. Tally encounters many people and events that change her outlook and have her questioning her orders and her choices. But even with these developments it is increasingly hard to get by what she has been programmed to believe.

Things seem to be heading in the direction I was ultimately cheering for, but I am sad about what had to happen for it to go that way. I was surprised by so many things throughout the course of the story. And I have to say that that is one thing I do really love about this series. Is you can never ever predict what is going to happen next. There are so many twists and turns and surprise developments, it keeps you on your toes and keeps the pages turning.

I would recommend this series for sure. Especially to any Dystopia fans, I think you would definitely enjoy it!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (63)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by  MizB at Should Be Reading

To Participate you:
-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two 'teaser' sentences from somewhere on that page

This week's teaser comes from:

Great Expectations

Author: Charles Dickens



Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlaying our hard hearts.

My Thoughts: I am enjoying this book more than I tend to enjoy old classics :). It's a fun read so far!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: Will Sparrow's Road

Will Sparrow's Road

Author: Karen Cushman

Publication Date: November 1, 2012

Publisher: Clarion Books

Genre: Historical Fiction / Middle Grade



In his thirteenth year, Will Sparrow, liar and thief, becomes a runaway. On the road, he encounters a series of con artists—a pickpocket, a tooth puller, a pig trainer, a conjurer—and learns that others are more adept than he at lying and thieving. Then he reluctantly joins a traveling troupe of "oddities," including a dwarf and a cat-faced girl, holding himself apart from the "monsters" and resolving to be on guard against further deceptions. At last Will is forced to understand that appearances are misleading and that he has been his own worst deceiver. The rowdy world of market fairs in Elizabethan England is the colorful backdrop for Newbery medalist Cushman's new comic masterpiece.

My Thoughts: So this was an okay read, normally I'm pretty happy with any middle grade books that I read but this one is one that's most likely not going to stick with me. I'm not really sure. The writing was good, the story was good but something was missing for me to give it that push that would make me remember it forever. The story seemed a bit predictable maybe? I can't really put my finger on it.

Like I said though, I did enjoy the story. Will was an amusing kid who managed to survive alone on the road for quite a while in a time where everyone would either chase him away of try to catch him and sell him. Even his own father sold him.

So while this was well written and the story was interesting enough for me to read it, it was still missing something to make it stand out. It wasn't as unique as it could be. I'm sure it would be enjoyed much more by a younger audience, like it's intended for. It is still a good read that I liked though.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Owl Post (52)

Owl Post is a weekly feature at Owl Read It where we let you know what new books we got in the past week as well as recap reviews posted during the week. It is inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox Theme.

Jenn's Haul:
I got really spoiled this week! I got a new laptop for Mother's Day, and I got to buy some new books! Yhe last for awhile it seems. I'm now on a book buying ban, but I have lots to read, so that's okay!

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
What Happened to Forever by Sarah Dessen
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen

Meghan's Haul:
No books for me this week, but I do have one on the way that my hubby ordered me for mother's day :) Hopefully I'll have it to share next week!

Kristal's Haul:
I got a wonderful book this week provided by Kaitlin Bevis for review:

The Iron Queen (Daughters of Zeus, #3)

Reviews from this week:

What new reads did you get this week?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Review: Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins

Sweet Peril
The Sweet Trilogy #2

Author: Wendy Higgins

Publication Date: April 30, 2013

Publisher: Harper Teen

Genre: Fantasy/Mythology (Angels/Demons)



Anna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things. 

Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind. 

When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?

My Thoughts: I have been waiting for this book since I read the last one, which was on it's release date.  I can't say how happy I was to finally have it in my hands and wasted no time jumping into the book.  Safe to say, once this one was open it was one that was not put down until it was finished.

Anna is a lot different than when we met her in the first book.  After discovering her true heritage, she is now monitored by demon whisperers - things that report to her father and all of the other dukes whether or not she is doing her job.  So, Anna is forced to adapt.  No longer is she the goody-two-shoes from the beginning of Sweet Evil; however, even with the noticeable changes the reader can still find so much of the old Anna.  I found myself torn between the new Anna and the old Anna a lot but as she came to a happy medium I think I did with her as well.

Kaiden is just as infuriatingly sexy, mysterious and bad-boyish.  I just love him to pieces  especially as this book hit the middle and towards the end.  Just thinking about him makes me all giggly, despite my rocky start with him at the beginning of this book (he is just infuriating to me [and Anna] at the beginning).

I almost liked the plot of Sweet Peril more than I did Sweet Evil.  It was full of action, romance, heartbreak and all of the things that make up good books and good movies.  This was one that I could not put down for even a second and I am already looking forward to the next novel in this series.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Darkest Light by Hiromoi Goto

Darkest Light

Author: Hiromi Goto

Publication Date: January 31st, 2012

Publisher: Razorbill

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror



Adopted as an infant, Gee has been kept ignorant of his troubled past. Now, at sixteen, he is a loner both despised and feared by his classmates. Dark feelings slowly grow inside him, but as he struggles to control them, his past catches up with him. Abandoning his adoptive grandmother and the place he has called home, Gee is compelled to travel to Half World, one of the Three Realms all living things must pass through. Fractured at one time, the Realms of the Flesh, Spirit and Half World have been reunited, but they are at risk: their fate rests on Gee's own journey of self-discovery. With two unlikely companions, a heartless cat and a self-destructive Neo Goth girl, Gee must fight the monstrous and the horrific and, most difficult of all, he must overcome his own propensity for evil.

My Thoughts: The struggle to keep the balance between the three realms continues in this sequel to Half World. For which you can find my review here. This time though we see little to none of Melanie. She is out of the picture pretty much and instead, this time around we are following Baby G.

Only, Baby G isn't a baby anymore, he's a teenage boy. Gee knows there is some dark mystery behind where he came from, but has not even the slightest clue just how dark it is. His "Popo" or pseudo grandmother has raised him and taken care of him and has kept many deep and dark secrets. But the secrets are forced out when beings from the Half World enter the Flesh World to reclaim him and bring him back home. That's when Gee realizes that nothing is as it seems. And there are reasons he has always felt like an outsider and never fit in or ever had any friends. Gee has a past that downright terrifies him, but he has no choice to but to face it head on if things are to be set right and the balance between the three realms restored.

I enjoyed following Gee much more so than I did Melanie. He had a lot more character depth. He was a lot more cynical, brave and forthright. Where as at times I found Melanie to be whiny and a little too childish. The evil and shadows that Gee has to conquer are astounding, and the strength required to  get through is almost unattainable. He luckily managed to make a friend just before his epic journey into the Half World began. But at times she is more than a burden than an aid. But I loved her as well. She was not afraid to kick some serious butt and to tell it like she sees it. She was very independent and courageous. Together they made quite a pair, ravaging there way through the Half World.

The visuals in this story are so vivid and bright. Even though Half World itself is supposed to be all grey tones, the imagery still shines through and  I think I would do some pretty terrible things to see this made into a graphic novel. There are a few random illustrations throughout, but they never pick the really gory and scary things that I wanted to see. They were easy enough to imagine in my own mind, enough to give me shivers and goosebumps.

I would recommend this story to any and all fantasy fans, or fans of Asian culture or Asian style story telling. But if you have never given that kind of thing a try, I think this series is an excellent place to start! But I will warn you in advance, this book is not afraid to get disgusting, evil and twisted. But it also creates hope and light among this dark moments. It's a fantastic, adventurous, terrifying read and I definitely think you should give it a try!