Friday, October 31, 2014

H A P P Y   H A L L O W E E N ! ! !

Did you read any good, scary books this October? We set ourselves some goals, while also providing some recommendations, and this post is where we see how we did all month. You can see how much progress we made on our Spooky TBRs below, as well as check out our reviews for the ones we did get to. =)

April's Spooky TBR
The Coldest Girl in ColdtownGirl of Nightmares (Anna #2)Rot and Ruin (Benny Imura #1)The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)Born WickedUnspokenBeware the WildThe BargainingThe Fall

April's Progress:

3 / 9

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (Review)
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Mulberry
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Review)
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker
The Bargaining by Carly Anne West
The Fall by Bethany Griffin (Review)

So there you have it. A total fail. I had high hopes, but I didn't do nearly as good with this list as I did with my summer list. I blame the new job for everything! lol. I'm happy with the three I did finish though. If you could see how behind I am on reading, you'd be proud of me too! :)

Jen's Spooky TBR

Jen's Progress:

9 / 15

Chaos by Sarah Fine (review)
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (review)
Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan (review)
This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
In the After Light by Alexandra Bracken
Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake
Lailah by Nikki Kelly (review)
Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini (review)
Creed by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie
Suspicion by Alexandra Monir
Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (review soon)
Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick (review)
Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios (review soon)
The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas (review)

I knew I wouldn't be able to get to all of these, especially In the After Light which only just released this week. But I think I did pretty okay, all things considered. I was looking at my Fall TBR, and I think I have a real shot at finishing all of those books before the end of November. And I did read/listen to one ghost story that wasn't on my list, but it was a total waste of my time. Oh, well...

What spooky books did you read this month? Also, we were thinking of doing something similar for Christmas...have any recs for us? I can only think of a few Christmas-themed books, and at least one of those would be a re-read for me. :D

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Title: Sublime
Author: Christina Lauren
Narrator(s): Elizabeth Louise, Cal Wembly
Series:  n/a
Length: 8 hrs 2 mins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Source: audiobook received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads
True love may mean certain death in a ghostly affair of risk and passion from New York Times bestselling duo Christina Lauren, authors of Beautiful Bastard. Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of Shatter Me calls Sublime “a beautiful, haunting read".

When Lucy walks out of a frozen forest, wearing only a silk dress and sandals, she isn’t sure how she got there. But when she sees Colin, she knows for sure that she’s here for him.

Colin has never been captivated by a girl the way he is by Lucy. With each passing day their lives intertwine, and even as Lucy begins to remember more of her life—and her death—neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it is. And when Colin finds a way to physically be with Lucy, taking himself to the brink of death where his reality and Lucy’s overlap, the joy of being together for those brief stolen moments drowns out everything in the outside world. But some lines weren’t meant to be crossed…

A ranty, snarky, SPOILERY review follows. Read at your own peril.

I wasn't interested in reading this writing duo's Beautiful Bastard series because erotica really isn't my thing, so I don't honestly know what made me think I'd like their foray into young adult. Well, besides the fact that I do have a lot of Goodreads friends who seem to like this pair's work, so I thought, Maybe this will be more my speed, and I can still see what all the fuss is about without venturing into that territory.

And it starts off fine, with a character that doesn't know who or what she is, only that once she sees Colin, she knows she's here for him. Their romance went from 0-to-90 in no time, and that's with Lucy revealing that she's a ghost and Colin discovering that he couldn't physically touch her without causing her some discomfort. Insta-love: boo. Romantic complications: intriguing.

Here's where things get interesting weird. Completely by accident, they discover that putting Colin at the brink of death lets him hover between this world and...well, whatever lies after. While he's in the in-between, he and Lucy can make physical contact. The places there "relationship" couldn't go before are suddenly possible and they're ready to explore them. Even though they've known each other mere weeks and she's a freaking ghost. Whatever, teenagers have done crazier things, right? /sarcasm

So, the pair calls on Colin's best bud to help them continually test the limits and leave Colin in this in-between state for as long as possible before true death sets in. They do so by recreating the same circumstances under which they discovered this miracle that very first time: dropping Colin into a frozen-over lake -- the very lake Lucy actually haunts -- and inducing hypothermia. Oh, they take precautions to make sure Colin always returns, but really, this is just about the dumbest idea I've ever heard. I get that both Colin and Jay are adrenaline junkies, but realistically, who would go to such lengths just to be able to touch his girlfriend? Move on, buddy.

With all the attention on these two gettin' it on -- and the fact that the authors write erotica for a living -- you'd have thought that when it finally does happen, it'd be more than just a fade-to-black sex scene. I don't have a problem with sex in YA, as long as it's not gratuitous and it's portrayed realistically. Nothing about this story was realistic, though, so I guess I should have expected this.

Going into this story, I knew it was unlikely I'd get a HEA. A ghost and a real, live boy, falling in love? Yeah, that's never going to work out. Not in any good way, anyway. Since everything else in this book was so utterly wrong, it shouldn't have surprised me that Colin made one final, stupid last-ditch attempt to be with his ghost girl by throwing himself back into that frozen lake. Without anyone knowing. And without any aide. This boy's survival instincts are seriously on the fritz. But the "walkers" like Lucy were known to take people with them, so maybe it was more Lucy's influence than the fault of Colin and all his risk-taking. It was clear to me that Lucy was draining a bit of Colin's life force each time they met in that overlap between their worlds, and so maybe some of his sanity left with it. I don't think it went to Lucy, though, because I'm pretty sure she was convinced that she was becoming less of a ghost because of Colin's presence in her afterlife, not because of anything she might be doing to him, whether intentional or not.

Pretty much, this book is only getting a star because I listened to the audio, and it features the voice of Elizabeth Louise for Lucy's chapters and Cal Wembley for Colin's. Louise has repeatedly lent her voice to one of my favorite new adult series, and considering what she had to work with, I thought she did a fair job on this audiobook. Cal Wembly sounded an awful lot like Kirby Heyborne, and when I did some research, I found both names listed as narrators for this book-- somewhere, but I can't find the link now that I'm trying to write up my review. Either way, I wouldn't be surprised if he were one and the same, as a lot of narrators have pseudonyms they record under based on the genre or type of book they're recording. When I first started listening to audiobooks, I couldn't stand Cal/Kirby, but his voice has really grown on me. But maybe it's those first stories that I initially disliked because I discovered that, as Colin, I found Cal's narration a bit annoying. That's a good sign that Cal becomes the character, but it doesn't bode well for the overall experience. Still, I probably wouldn't have even finished this book had I been reading a physical copy, so there's that.

I've read a story like this before, and I had a much better experience with that one than I did here. If you're curious, it's Hereafter by Tara Hudson. Mind you, that link takes you to my review, one of the very first ones I ever wrote here on the blog, and by my reviewing standards now, I'd probably only rate the book three stars. That's still much better than Sublime rates, though. And Hereafter's premise revolves around more than endangering one's life for sex -- like, saving a boy's life. Imagine that.

GIF it to me straight:
I don't even...what the...what the hell did I just read?!?

About the author:

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates/brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced seven New York Times bestselling novels. Their books have been translated into 22 languages. (Some of these books have kissing. Some of these books have A LOT of kissing.)

Find Christina & Lauren:

Website | Christina Twitter Lauren TwitterGoodreads

Title: In Her Wake
Author: K.A. Tucker
Narrator(s): Sebastian York
Series:  Ten Tiny Breaths, book #0.5
Length: 3 hrs 53 mins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Source: audiobook received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads
Before you knew him as Trent in Ten Tiny Breaths, he was Cole Reynolds—and he had it all. Until one night when he makes a fatal, wrong decision…and loses everything.

When a drunken night out at a Michigan State college party results in the death of six people, Cole must come to terms with his part in the tragedy. Normally, he’d be able to lean on his best friends—the ones who have been in his life since he could barely walk. Only, they’re gone. Worse, there’s the shattered body of a sixteen-year-old girl lying somewhere in a hospital bed, her entire life ripped from her because of a case of beer and a set of keys.

Everyone assures him that they know it wasn’t intentional, and yet he can’t ignore the weight of their gazes, the whispers behind his back. Nor can he shake the all-consuming guilt he feels every time he thinks of that girl who won’t so much as allow him near her hospital room to apologize. As the months go by and the shame and loneliness festers, Cole begins to lose his grip on what once was important—college, his girlfriend, his future. His life. It’s not until Cole hits rock-bottom that he can begin to see another way out of his personal hell: forgiveness.

And there’s only one person who can give that to him…

I am really going to miss this series. I've listened to every single book on audio, and these narrators have really become favorites for this genre. This is one of my favorite new adult series, too. So, when I had the opportunity to review the audio for Trent's story, the final -- or first, depending on how you look at it -- chapter in the Ten Tiny Breaths series, I had to jump on it.

Sebastian York is a fabulous narrator. I've only heard a few of his performances, but he has such a masculine presence, one that you won't easily forget. His voice is so deep and so seductive that it's hard to believe that he's not speaking directly to you, just for you. Bringing him back to portray Trent in this novella was the best idea. He just brings such a depth to Trent's character, a forlornness that I don't think was exactly visible the first time we met his character in Ten Tiny Breaths.

Honestly, if I didn't know the story already, I might have immediately written Cole's character off for his stalker tendencies and inability to move on, to put distance between himself and those he hurt. But I do know the situation and how things turned out -- and the fact that he owns up to a lot of what he does in this novella -- so I can forgive him. Also, seeking aide from Dr. Stainer goes along way for his character. I've missed seeing that guy in the last couple of books.

I don't know if I could pick a favorite book in this series. It's solid through and through, and the narration just made each book that much better. I'm going to miss these characters and all of their drama and also their happily ever afters. But I just might miss Trent most of all.

GIF it to me straight:

In Her Wake (Ten Tiny Breaths, #0.5)Ten Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths, #1)One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths, #2)Four Seconds to Lose (Ten Tiny Breaths, #3)Five Ways to Fall (Ten Tiny Breaths, #4)

About the author:

Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

Find K.A.:

Website | Blog | TwitterFacebookGoodreads

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Title: Black Ice
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Narrator(s): Jenna Lamia
Series:  n/a
Length: 11 hrs 20 mins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Source: audiobook received from publisher, galley from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads
Sometimes danger is hard to see... until it’s too late.

Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn't prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there... and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target.

But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?

BLACK ICE is New York Times bestselling author Becca Fitzpatrick’s riveting romantic thriller set against the treacherous backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. Falling in love should never be this dangerous…

The Hush, Hush series was one of the first series I picked up after I started reading YA regularly, and while I admit that I enjoyed the story at the time, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I would not have the same experience were I to re-read those books. I actually never finished the series because I was rather upset when a fourth book was announced for a series that was originally only planned for three books. (Even back then, I hated being duped into buying more books in order to get the full story I was promised.)

But I was intrigued by the premise for Black Ice: the mountaintop survival story, the kidnapping aspect, and how any of this was going to result in some sort of romance. Unfortunately, as with the author's other series, I found that this story revolved too much around the possible romantic entanglements and spent much less time on the survival portion of the novel than I would have liked. I figured some sort of Stockholm Syndrome-type relationship was going to develop, and I wasn't wrong. But did both potential love interests have to be such forceful, chauvinistic neanderthals? One ex-boyfriend and one kidnapper...I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised. And after my previous experience with this author's work, I'm not really. Honestly, I might have been more inclined toward the romantic aspect of the story had it not been for that epilogue, though.

But I digress. As a psychological thriller, this story worked for me. I did predict pretty early on who was the good guy, who was the bad guy, and who was the even worse guy. But the way in which the author unveils each character, shows his true side and his motivations, was kind of clever and entertaining. I only wish the females in this story had been half as clever. Britt semi-redeems herself along the way, but I don't think there was ever hope for her friend Korbie. These girls make bad decision after bad decision and pretty much live in complete denial of real life. Thinking they were ready to survive a backpacking trip, let alone a snowstorm on a mountain, was really a bit far-fetched. Britt does show that she at least prepared for their trip here and there along the way, but I wish she'd trusted her instincts a little more when it came to all those men.

I'm really glad that this book was a stand-alone, at least. I enjoyed the audiobook narration, so I might have pushed myself to continue if it were to become a series, just for that fact. One of the stars in my rating is for the narration alone. I've heard Jenna Lamia narrate a few YA novels over the years, and I think she does a great job of portraying these young characters. For one, she actually sounds like a teenager. Her voice definitely conveys the youthfulness necessary to sound like a character in a YA novel. I can think of many examples where that wasn't the case and it was a detriment to my listening experience. And she didn't do that thing that a lot of females -- in general, not just narrators -- do to make their voice deep enough to portray a male character. You know, where you drop your chin into your chest and try to make your voice sound as deep and manly as possible, but all you end up sounding like is a fraud. The male equivalent would be using an unnaturally high voice to portray female characters. Both are equally annoying and seem like rookie mistakes when narrating an audiobook. I'm glad that this wasn't an aspect I had to deal with in this audiobook, especially since there were other areas that I wasn't necessarily impressed with.

Black Ice had its problems, but I found it entertaining enough to keep me listening, even if it was mostly to prove my theory correct. I don't think I'll ever find a favorite among this author's work, but I'm not completely opposed to it, either.

GIF it to me straight:
How about y'all worry a little less about hugging and a little more about surviving that snowstorm? 

About the author:

Becca Fitzpatrick grew up reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden with a flashlight under the covers. She graduated college with a degree in health, which she promptly abandoned for storytelling. When not writing, she's most likely prowling sale racks for reject shoes, running, or watching crime dramas on TV. She is the author of the bestselling HUSH, HUSH Saga. Her new book BLACK ICE arrives in bookstores everywhere October 7, 2014.

Find Becca:

Website | Twitter FacebookGoodreads

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's WoW selections are...

's Pick:

Title: Heat of the Moment
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Series: A Moment of Truth Book 1
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: May 12th, 2015

Add to Goodreads
Each book in this paperback original series is told from the perspective of a different girl–Lyla, Aven, and Quinn–former best friends who wrote emails to their future selves back in freshman year about one thing they hope to accomplish before they graduate. When the emails get delivered on the first morning of their senior trip all three girls will spend the next three days trying to keep the promises they made to themselves four years ago. While each book follow’s one girl’s life-changing adventure, you have to read them all to get the whole story, including why they’re no longer friends and whether they can get their friendship back on track.

Okay, so that's not technically this books description. Goodreads has nothing on it yet, but I got that blurb from Epic Reads when they did the cover reveal. I liked the last book I read of hers, it was fast and fun. Through to You. So I'm really looking forward to reading these. I love this cover. :)

's Pick:

Title: Illusionarium
Author: Heather Dixon
Series: n/a
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: May 19, 2015

Add to Goodreads
From the author of Entwined, a brilliantly conceived adventure through an alternate London. This sweeping, cinematic tale of an apprentice scientist desperate to save his family—and his world—is The Night Circus meets Pixar.

Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that is breathtaking and wholly original.

Dude, it feels like forever ago since I first discovered the brilliance of Heather Dixon's The Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling, Entwined. I've read it. I've re-read it. I've even borrowed the audio from the library so I could listen to it. It's a favorite, for sure. And I've been waiting and waiting for the author to release something new. And now Illusionarium sounds amazing! The Night Circus meets Pixar? Sign me up! And parallel worlds? I am all over that!

What are you desperately waiting for this Wednesday? Let us know in the comments or share a link to your own WoW post!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...