Monday, December 31, 2012

Review: The Repossession by Sam Hawksmoor

The Repossession
Sam Hawksmoor
Series: Repossession #1
Publication date: March 1st 2012
by Hodder Children's Books

34 kids missing. Vanished without a trace.

Believing she is possessed, Genie Magee's mother has imprisoned her all summer encouraged by the sinister Reverend Schneider. Beautiful Rian, love of her life, sets her free, and their escape washes them up at Marshall's remote farmhouse downriver. But why are there newspaper clippings of the missing kids pinned to Marshall's bathroom wall? And should they believe his stories about the experiments at the Fortress, an underground research station nearby?

Genie meets Denis. Missing two years now, but hasn't grown an inch. Rian is haunted by Renée, who insists she's not actually dead. Soon they discover the terrible truth about Reverend Schneider and worse, Genie is next ... and Rian can't do a thing to prevent it.

The Repossession is just the beginning.
*A copy was provided by Hachette Children's Books UK for review purposes*

With all the "same ol'" books I've read this year, it's wonderfully refreshing to come by true originality once in a while. Unlike anything I've read before, The Repossession is one of them. Science fiction in its true form, Sam has written an especially believable, fascinating read, but also one that is quite horrifying when you really stop to think about it. It's mind-blowing in a lot of ways; it makes my skin crawl to even imagine it. It's one of those books that are very long, but even after 500 pages, you're sad that it's over. The lengthy journey is not without activity at all times, even when there's nothing happening; when we're not in the thick of things, the fantastic character development turns these characters and their relationships into something that you want to read. You want to know more about them, see them grow and connect, and see them change into these intelligent individuals who are finding out what secrets lurk in their creepy little out-of-the-way town.

Going into this book, you don't really know what to expect. The synopsis is very vague which is great as it lets the mystery simmer. The mystery which ranges from creepy to spine-chilling, is one that every science fiction nerd will definitely be devouring. It's one that makes you think of the repercussions or such an occurrence. Obviously, I'm being vague for the same reason as the blurb, it's best if you know nothing ahead of time and you get to learn of the town's freakishly dark side along with the characters.

Speaking of characters, this book has such incredible character development. We have two main characters who develop a very unique, though also very realistic, relationship. They're brought together by unusual circumstances and their damaged upbringing, into a relationship that is a true portrayal of young love. It's not dramatic, nor extravagant, it simply is--like real life. Individually, I found myself warming up to both of them immediately. The book is very character oriented, we get to know these people in and out; personalities that manifest distinctly, clear reasoning behind actions--even though they may not always make the best decisions--, compelling voices, likeability, this is exactly what character development should be, always. Even parts where nothing much is happening other than staying hidden and living kept my interest as much as any action packed sequence. Part of the reason is the suspense; the constant slow simmering suspense that leaves you at the edge of your seat, not knowing what to expect whatsoever, but knowing it's coming, and that it's going to be freaky!

If you like science fiction, don't even doubt it, this book is for you! Plus, look! It's a book in blue!

4 Hot Espressos

Happy New Year 2013 Giveaway

I told you this weekend would be great in giveaways, huh? ;) What better way to start New Years with a bang! Thanks to I Am A reader, Not A Writer, and Babs Book Bistro, I am participating in another giveaway hop this holiday season to celebrate 2013!

Dude! I survived the end of the world! It's the least I can do!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top Cuddles of 2012 Giveaway Hop

What other way to start the New Year than a giveaway hosted by some of my fav bloggers over at Cuddlebuggery!

Once you're done entering the giveaway on this post, make sure to stop by the other blogs in the linky for more chances to win!

Xpresso Weekly: Stacking the Shelves (36)

Xpresso Weekly is my edition of Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews featuring the books I got this week, and I also mention blog news/happenings of the past week.

This week at Xpresso Reads
The last post of 2012, lovelies! So exciting! And a new year means a new Xpresso Reads! Stay tuned very shortly for that! ;) It's been pretty quiet review wise lately due to the holidays. I posted my DNF review madness and a few great giveaways are going live this weekend so get ready, folks!


-Blog Tour: Root Bound by Tanya Karen Gough
-Blog Tour: Barbie Girl by Heidi Acosta
-Blog Tour: There Comes A Prophet by David Litwack
-Book Blitz: Obscura Burning by Suzanne van Rooyen
-Book Blitz: Release by Nicole Hadaway 
-Cover Reveal: The Dragon Empire by Heather McCorkle 
-Cover Reveal: Justice by Rhiannon Paille
-Cover Reveal: Raksha by Frankie Rose
-Cover Reveal: Disconnect by Imran Siddiq

Stacking the Shelves

I received for review (Click on cover for Goodreads):
-Sacred by Elana K. Arnold
-The Day I Met Suzie by Chris Higgins

*I big thank you to Simon & Schuster, Random House, and Hachette UK for these pretties!*

Happy New Year, lovelies!! 
Link me up to your book haul post! :) 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fresh Batch (December 30th - January 5th)

Exclusively titled for Xpresso Reads, Fresh Batch features the hottest releases of this upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:
Hannah Moskowitz
Publication date: January 1st 2013
by Simon Pulse

A gritty, romantic modern fairy tale from the author of Break and Gone, Gone, Gone.Be careful what you believe in.

Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.

Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.
Hannah Moskowitz is a YA and MG writer.

She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with too many cats. She's afraid of escalators. Her books feature brothers, sexual ambiguity, and babies. She hates camping and was a very poor Girl Scout. She is an English major at the University of Maryland.

She likes milk more than water. Summer more than winter. Love more than hate.

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 DNF Madness [Part 2]

Welcome to part 2 of 2012 DNF Madness. If you missed part 1, it was posted just yesterday, here! ;) 

The Glimpse
Claire Merle
Publication date: June 7th 2012
by Faber & Faber

In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.

Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society, and as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe.
*A copy was provided by Faber and Faber for review purposes*

I tried to get into this one, halfway through and incredibly bored I deduced that it was clearly not for me. The plot is taking a lot of detours that I find quite pointless, seemingly used as filler material. I don't like the protagonist that much. The world isn't very believable, especially how this is supposedly only a few years in the future. Society could never change this drastically in such a short time, particularly considering how controversial it all is. Along with inconsistent perspective changes and improbable happenings that are simply ridiculous, I could not motivate myself to finish this. It certainly doesn't give anything new and interesting in a year filled with dystopian novels.

Jay Kristoff
Publication date: April 1st 2012
by Arthur A. Levine Books 

Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him, no matter how hopeless the task.

But the mission proves far less impossible, and far more deadly, than anyone expects – and soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country's last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. But trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu soon discover a friendship that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on the brink of collapse. A toxic fuel is slowly choking the land; the omnipotent, machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own dominion. Yukiko has always been uneasy in the shadow of power, when she learns the awful truth of what the Shogun has done, both to her country and to her own family she's determined to do something about it.

Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu plan to make the Shogun pay for his crimes – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?
*A copy was provided by Macmillan for review purposes*

I know a lot of you are glaring at me right now, but this one was not a fun read for me, at all. Having to look up words every 30 seconds, using an annex to keep all the world terms straight (which is an immense pain on an eReader), and being confused as heck because even with all of that, the language is just too foreign... this is not fun, lovelies! Not fun at all! I know the second half is apparently epic and worth studying for 12 hours to get through the beginning, but dude... Sure the heroine is fantastic and strong, and the world may be especially vivid, but if I need a set of Encyclopedias and dictionaries at the ready when I'm reading, no dice! The cover is cool, I'll give you that.

The Treachery of Beautiful Things
Ruth Frances Long
Publication date: August 16th 2012
by Dial Books

A darkly compelling mix of romance, fairy tale, and suspense from a new voice in teen fiction

The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she's lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack's help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she's faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice--and not just her own.
*A copy was provided by Penguin for review purposes*

As some of your know, I'm very picky and hard to please when it comes to fantasy novels. The Treachery of Beautiful Things did not have any of the qualities that keep my interest in this genre. I was finding I didn't care for the characters still at 65% in; the MC is easily swayed and a little too "damsel in distress" for my taste, so I called quits on this on knowing it wouldn't garner more than a 2-star if I forced myself through it. I could see those who are big fans of fantasies/fairies enjoying it. Though you'd need to like the old school fairy tale style protagonist.

 Code Name Verity
Elizabeth Wein
Publication date: May 15th 2012
by Hyperion

Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends.

But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in “Verity’s” own words, as she writes her account for her captors
*A copy was provided by Random House of Canada for review purposes*

This is the truest case of "It's not you, it's me" while reading, and DNFing, a book. I knew this was over my comfort zone to begin with. But I wanted to give it a try as it does sound like a good story - and it is, it was just too much for me. Too much piloting and plane details I didn't get. Too many war specifics that I didn't completely understand. I can easily see that if you can get into it it would be a fantastic novel, though. The narration is wonderful and the reason I kept reading so long--DNFed at 70%. So don't dismiss it on my account. It's a truly poignant story that has a lot of weight. I can see it becoming a true classic to be talked about for years to come. So it's very unfortunate that I wasn't able to get through the off-putting elements.

This concludes DNF Madness 2012! As I said yesterday, I'm sure some of you do, or will, love these novels, and I'm glad because they are not bad books if read by the right audience. I even envy those who had such great experiences with them as it's always an amazing feeling to fall completely in love with a book. But hey, this is why we read crap, eh? Trying to find the next diamond in the rough.

After so much hating, next week I will be featuring my top favorite books of the year! (Yes, I sometimes love books, too!) So stay tuned! :)

What books did you DNF this year?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 DNF Madness [Part 1]

Yes, sometimes books are so awful that I do not finish them. I used to refuse to leave a book unfinished, but then I realized how crazy I was to keep reading something I hated. However, as I usually read at least 50-70%, I still gather more than enough to have an opinion on it. This DNF madness event--which I gather will be at least 2 or 3 parts long, will showcase books that, unfortunately, took hours of my life that I will never get back. As these are simply reasons, or ramblings, on why I did not finish the book, they will not be up to par--in length and quality (hours of my life!!)--with my usual full length reviews. You might consider them... fleeting warnings.  

Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publication date: January 22nd 2013 
by EgmontUSA 

There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.
*A copy was provided by Egmont USA for review purposes*

This is my most recent DNFed book--just before the end of the world. Honestly I would have hated for this to be my last read ever, ditching it at around 40% figuring if I survived the apocalypse I would continue. And then the apocalypse never happened, saving me from my rash commitment.

Basically, I did not care for the writing nor the characters in this novel. It's written in spazzy, fragmented sentences that might be meant to show us the strange disconnection the characters are feeling, but only amounted to leaving me especially annoyed. I disliked both main characters very early on in the novel because of this, which is never a good sign. Futhermore, the concept may be kind of neat, but it was overly weird. In an uncomfortable/annoying sort of way, not as in "Oh this is very different and kind of cool". Finally, when I took a break to check the reviews on it, they convinced me that it's very unlikely I would grow to like this book if I continued. Thank you, failed apocalypse!

Leah Bobet
Publication date: April 1st 2012
by Arthur A. Levine Books 

Matthew has loved Ariel from the moment he found her in the tunnels, her bee’s wings falling away. They live in Safe, an underground refuge for those fleeing the city Above—like Whisper, who speaks to ghosts, and Jack Flash, who can shoot lightning from his fingers.

But one terrifying night, an old enemy invades Safe with an army of shadows, and only Matthew, Ariel, and a few friends escape Above. As Matthew unravels the mystery of Safe’s history and the shadows’ attack, he realizes he must find a way to remake his home—not just for himself, but for Ariel, who needs him more than ever before.
*A copy was provided by Scholastic Canada for review purposes*

My actual mini review right after I DNFed it: 

That's it I give up. Page 204 and I still don't know what's happening. Someone played Mad Lib with my copy and I'm not impressed!

above is written as if the protagonist never learned to speak properly, and although such a dialect worked great for me in Blood Red Road, it's really confusing in this case. For instance, random words are capitalized and sometimes he means a person, other times a thing, and I could never keep it all straight. To be honest, I only realized over 100 pages in that one of the characters was a girl--I thinking she was a he the whole time... It's a very true form of speculative fiction; there are a lot of fascinating fantasy/sci-fi elements which I usually highly enjoy, but the all showing, not telling writing style in Above makes it a very awkward read due to the character voices which really kept me from connecting to this book, or understanding it, in any way. I also felt as if it was aimed at a younger audience at times, not only because of the simplistic and choppy sentences, but for the fantastical oddness factor as well. This is a book that is looking for a very specific type of reader. It's even likely to garner a cult following. I am not one of them.

Corrine Jackson
Publication date: November 27th 2012 
by Kensington Teen

Remy O’Malley heals people with touch—but every injury she cures becomes her own. Living in a household with an abusive stepfather, she has healed untold numbers of broken bones, burns,and bruises. And then one night her stepfather goes too far.

Being sent to live with her estranged father offers a clean start and she is eager to take it. Enter Asher Blackwell. Once a Protector of Healers, Asher sacrificed his senses to become immortal. Only by killing a Healer can a Protector recover their human senses. Falling in love is against the rules between these two enemies. Because Remy has the power to make Protectors human again, and when they find out, they’ll becoming for her—if Asher doesn’t kill her first.
*A copy was provided by Kensington Teen for review purposes*

Let's see: This girl--Remy--moves with her dad to this tiny town. She meets a boy who seems to be intrigued by her immediately. He lives with his siblings, is insanely rich, and is a little mysterious with a reputation to never stick with one girl.

Then when we learn more about him and his powers, we learn that Remy lets him feel again, which is something that he craves--dangerously so--and that him and his family have to control themselves to not kill her for this "craving". Not to mention how faster, stronger, and all around better than he is than a human--and immortal!

Sound familiar?



This concludes part 1 of my DNF pile. I'm not saying you shouldn't read these necessarily, a lot of the times it's more of an "it's not you, it's me" misfired connection with a book, but you know what they say: To educate is to emancipate! >.<

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Xpresso Weekly: Stacking the Shelves (35)

Xpresso Weekly is my edition of Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews featuring the books I got this week, and I also mention blog news/happenings of the past week.

This week at Xpresso Reads
Ooh the holidays, how I love thee! I can't believe it's already Christmas! It's so exciting! I can't wait to see my kid open his presents! :) I hope you all have a fantabulous week, and just a quick note that Xpresso Reads will be going on holiday as well so you won't see new posts until the 26th or 27th--depending how much I ate. Before you go, make sure to get some extra entries for the 2 giveaways still open on the blog! They end soon!

Reviews on the blog this week:


-Blog Tour: Barbie Girl by Heidi Acosta
-Blog Tour: There Comes A Prophet by David Litwack
-Book Blitz: Obscura Burning by Suzanne van Rooyen
-Book Blitz: I Am Alive by Cameron Jace
-Book Blitz: Release by Nicole Hadaway
-Cover Reveal: Raksha by Frankie Rose
-Cover Reveal: Disconnect by Imran Siddiq

copyrightNew by Xpresso Design (click to view live)

Stacking the Shelves

I received for review (Click on cover for Goodreads):

I also won this a few weeks ago from Book Loving Mom and forgot to put it in my StS. Thanks Amypoo!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday! 
Link me up to your book haul post! :)